Disney is expensive, there’s no ignoring that. But, if you avoid these mistakes, you’ll be able to save yourself money on your trips. Read below for thirteen mistakes that are costing you money!
13. Making Every Day a Park Day
If you are going on a longer trip, don’t expect to go to the parks every day. Plan to take at least one rest day on longer trips, if not more. Disney can exhausting, especially for kids, and sometimes a pool day at the resorts is all you need. At night, you can still visit the resorts (like the Polynesian for dinner, then to watch Happily Ever After). You can always add another day on later in the trip if you want to!
A few fun things to do at Disney that don’t require theme park admission: play mini golf at the Fantasia golf course or Winter Summerland, try a dining option at a resort like Chef Mickey or ‘Ohana, attend the Luau at the Polynesian, spend the evening at the Boardwalk and ride the Skyliner, enjoy the resort pool, or head to Disney Springs.
12. Being Unaware of Cancellation Fees
There are cancellation fees for resorts and dining. For all table service restaurant reservations, guests will have to provide a credit card guarantee. If the reservation needs to be cancelled, but isn’t done one day in advance (at most dining locations), a $10 per person charge will be made to the card.
If you need to cancel day of, here’s a trick: modify the reservation to a later date (which you can do up to about an hour before the reservation), then cancel it!
11. Not Taking Advantage of Discounts
At certain times of year, Disney offers discounts for booking tickets, free dining, resorts, and more. These deals change month-to-month, but pay attention to the website or look into using a free travel agent, who will be up-to-date on all the latest deals.
Click here to head to our article to find the right travel agent for you.
10. Flying Into Sanford if You Aren’t Renting A Car
You have two options when flying to Walt Disney World – Orlando International Airport (MCO) or Orlando Sanford International Airport. The Magical Express, Disney’s free transportation service to and from the airport for onsite guests, only picks up and drops off to MCO. If you choose to fly to Sanford, you’ll have the additional cost of renting a car, taking an Uber, or arranging a transportation service to get you.
9. Renting a Car If You Are Staying Onsite
If you are staying offsite, we highly recommend renting a car rather than relying on Ubers. But, if you are staying onsite, we don’t recommend renting a car. The Disney resorts have fees for parking overnight – at value resorts it’s a $15 fee/night, at moderate resorts $20/night, and deluxe is $25/night.
Disney resorts have a variety of transportation options – some resorts have access to the monorail, Skyliner, or boats. All resorts have a bus line that travels to each park. If quicker access is important to you, look into a resort with monorail or Skyliner access rather than relying on the bus system.
8. Paying for Preferred Parking
All Disney parks offer preferred parking for $45/$50 (depending on time of year) per day. Standard parking is $25. Although preferred parking gets you closer to the park, it saves very little time and will end up being an unnecessary expense.
7. Using Minnie Vans
Minnie Vans cost $20 for a ride around Disney property. Rather than paying this fee, look into using Disney transportation or getting an Uber or Lyft, which will almost always be cheaper.
6. Booking Multiple Rooms for Larger Travel Parties (book villas instead!)
Here is perhaps a very simple money saving tip. If you are traveling with a larger group, avoid booking multiple resort rooms and instead book villas or suite rooms. Some of the best options are the Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge or Boardwalk Villas. Another excellent option is the Swan and Dolphin suite rooms. They are excellent and typically come with a corner room view!
If you book one bigger room opposed to multiple standard rooms and split the overall nightly cost (which is very easy with online payments), the costs typically work out to far less for larger rooms opposed to multiple resort rooms, especially after taxes if booking separately.
Larger rooms also tend to come with extra amenities like a small kitchen or full size refrigerator which can be a huge bonus!
5. Getting the Deluxe Dining Plan
The Deluxe Dining Plan includes three counter service restaurants or table service meal credits per night; two snacks per night; and, one refillable mug per trip. The three meals can be table service or quick service. Obviously, table service meals offer better value than quick service, so financially it makes sense to do that. But, if you eat at only table service restaurants, you’re going to be eating a LOT of food. These meals include appetizers and desserts, and they take up a lot of time compared to quick service. Getting a less expensive dining plan is more logical, and saves money, unless you want to eat at table service restaurants multiple times a day, every day.
4. Overbooking Table Service Restaurants
Table Service restaurants are a lot of fun, and can be a great break from the craziness of a day at Disney. But, you don’t need to do more than 1 or 2 a day. Sit-down meals take up a lot of time, and cost more than quick service. Each parks have great quick service options and seating and are a great alternative to table service.
3. Spending Time at Other Orlando Parks
Orlando has several other theme parks including Sea World and Universal Studios. But, if you are looking to go to go to both Disney and another park, you’ll end up spending more money. Disney tickets get less expensive each day you stay – so, if you do 4 days at Disney and 4 days at Universal, you’ll pay significantly more than if you do 8 days at Disney.
2. Renting a Stroller Each Day
A single stroller rental currently costs $15 per day, and a double costs $31 per day. Buying a multi-day/length of stay rental saves $2 per day for a single and $4 per day for a double. There are many options for better strollers you can rent – one popular option is Kingdom Strollers. They can do drop off directly at the airport, and pick up from the same spot. We have an affiliate link for them, but take a look at the prices below and see if this makes sense for you!
1. Buying Water from the Parks
Note: With COVID, this is different. Some water fountains are closed, and you must mobile order cups of water.
In normal times, there is no need to buy water from Disney. Reusable water bottles are allowed in the parks, and we highly recommend bringing one. There are water fountains and some soda fountains with water around the park to easily refill water bottles. And, you can ask any quick service restaurant for a free cup of ice water!