How to Save Money at Disney World

Depending on how and when you plan to visit Walt Disney World and its four theme parks in Orlando, you may pay between $99 (value) and $119 (peak) for a one-day ticket, before taxes, into one park, per person; one-day ticket prices vary by season and theme park. Stay longer, and the daily fee lowers a bit, but it can all add up, and so we thought we’d take a look at how you can save money during your visit to see Mickey, Minnie and the gang.

Pack It In

When I visited Walt Disney World a few years ago with my sister and nephew, Disney veterans themselves, I was surprised to learn guests can in fact pack their own snacks and drinks to enjoy throughout the day. In our backpack, we brought along sandwiches and a few bottles of water, and bought a snack or two whilst in the parks. This saved us a considerable amount of money, and even time so we could focus more on having fun.

Disneyland, California pano

© Matthew Clausen |

Stay Offsite

Staying on Disney property offers several benefits, including transportation to the parks, as well Extra Magic Hours, or extra time before or after regular operating hours to enjoy with less crowds. However, staying off of Disney property will likely save you some money, and there are loads of options around Disney World, off of International Drive and in nearby Kissimmee. A lot of these off-site hotels run shuttles to the theme parks, which can save you money on parking, too.

Opt In

If you do decide to stay at one of the Disney World resorts, consider adding a pre-paid Disney Dining Plan to your stay. This year, the plan includes one quick-service meal, one table-service meal and two snacks for each night of your stay. You’ll also receive a refillable drink mug to use at self-service beverage islands at Quick-Service locations at any Disney Resort hotel. Quick-service meals include one entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; table-service meals include one entrée (or buffet or family-style meal) and one non-alcoholic beverage for breakfast, and one entrée (or buffet or family-style meal), one dessert and one non-alcoholic beverage (or one alcoholic beverage for guests 21 and older) for lunch or dinner. Snacks vary from ice cream to fruit to soft drinks.

Military Discount

Active and retired members of the U.S. military receive a discount on four- and five-day Park Hopper tickets for up to six people, including the Eligible Service Member or his or her spouse. In 2018 (Jan. 1 through mid-December), the four-day Park Hopper ticket with the discount is $225 (plus tax) per person, and the five-day ticket is $246 (plus tax) per person, for substantial savings.