This is probably the most frequent question I get from families- How do I save money on a Disney trip.
Here are my five top ways
5. Pick the right dates- Disney used to offer strictly seasonal rates. But they have moved to a nightly pricing system. Meaning, that weeknight rates are lower than weekends. In addition to the nightly pricing Disney also has “seasonal rates.” Seasonal rates also coincide with lower crowds. The two lowest priced months of the year are September and January. November and the first two weeks in December are also low season. Regular Season pricing is higher and includes May and October. Peak Season Pricing includes anytime around Spring Breaks- February, March and April, Summer vacations- June, July and the first two weeks in August. Holiday Pricing (the highest prices) fall around Christmas and New Year’s as well as Thanksgiving.
The difference between going in September and going in April can be substantial. So, when planning, make sure you have dates that fall in a “value” season time at Disney.
4. Booking a package- Book one night of your stay as hotel only. Okay, so this one is slightly complicated. Many people fly into Orlando later in the day or leave early on their last morning. Disney prices your packages by the number of nights. So, if you have a six night package and on the 7th morning you leave at 8:00 am you are essentially paying for a night of a package you will not use. Book hotel only for that night. You will have two separate reservations but it can save you several hundred dollars.
3. Book using a Disney discount. I know, people will tell you they save a ton of money by staying off site but that is an entirely different conversation. In short, Disney has this figured out. Disney offers sometimes fairly substantial discounts. These are released anywhere from 3-6 months ahead of time and they sell out fast. So, if you are booking on your own, check the specials section of the website. See if one applies to your reservation. If it does, price the special with two different weeks and see if one week is less than another. Second, using a Disney discount means that you save across the board (if you book a package). Sometimes people get a great rate on a house outside Disney but have to pay full price for tickets and dining. Having to pay full price for these two negates any savings you gain by staying offsite. In addition, the rule of thumb is- If you are staying at a value or moderate resort the package discount is usually the best discount. If you are staying at a deluxe the room only discount is usually best (you can add tickets and dining to this room only turning it into a package).
2. This is really not a discount, but it’s a way to save. Wegmans, Giant and everyone else sell Disney Gift Cards. I put one in my cart every time I shop. They add up, quickly. Like many of you, I have a grocery budget I stick to. But if I am not at that number for that week I throw in the gift card. I stick them in an envelope. I also take those Disney gift cards to the Disney Store at the Lehigh Valley Mall and add to them. So, instead of buying $20 worth of chocolate or junk at the mall I add $20 to the gift cards. Last year I basically paid for our whole trip this way.
-If you have a Target Red Card (debit)- you can buy Disney gift cards for 5% off. This may not seem like a lot off $50. But if you have a $4000 trip, it adds up.
1. Be flexible and use a Disney Travel Agent.
-Be flexible with your dates to get the best deal. Be flexible on the hotel. Not all hotels are included with the best discounts. If you want to save, stay at the hotel with the best rate.
Use a Disney Specialist. There are a ton out there, they work for free for you and they know all of these things. They also take care of them for you. It takes the stress off of you and they can get you the best price for your family.