How Do YOU Save Money at Disneyland or Disneyworld??

Disneyland Disney World Travel TipsPlanning a trip to Disneyland or Disney World… and looking for some tips and tricks to make your day super special??

Be sure to check out these Savvy Disneyland and Disney World Travel Tips before you go!

You see, I haven’ been for several years… so here’s my question for you:

How Do YOU Save Money at Disneyland or Disneyworld??

Leave a comment and share your tips for stretching your dollars at Disney Parks…

Comments

  1. Sarah says

    We stayed in the campground, which was fun and had transportation to the parks. We took a suitcase full of food so we wouldn’t have to buy expensive, unhealthy meals and snacks.

  2. says

    For Disneyland, we find a hotel with free breakfast and make sure there’s also a fridge and microwave to help us save money on other meals as well.

    For Disneyworld, we plan to go during FREE Dining promo- usually only in the fall, but they’ve extended it for the rest of this year and most of 2011!

      • says

        The Free Dining is for Walt Disney World. I can get you a free quote if you check out my site- let me know the dates, your party size and anything else you’re looking for! (www.dealstodisney.com)

        • Elizabeth Gonzalez says

          Hi there! I am heading to Dineyworld in Orlando and needed info on the Free Dining. There are 12 in our party and will be there from September 28-Oct. 1….Thank you kindly

      • Jenn says

        If you go to the Disney World site they have the info on there. If you stay in a Disney hotel in Aug & Sept (I believe) the dining plan is included. There are also grocery stores that will deliver to the hotels

  3. pearl says

    do the time share meetings. they feed you and all you have to do is listen to their presentation. it’s a great way to save on meals

  4. Gynnette West-Watson says

    I went to the dollar store-they had lots of disney stuff and to the disney store-great deals sometimes-and got lots of cute disney toys all under $5 and put them in a decorated box and each day my kids got to pick a gift for the day. They also each got a large stuffed disney character that I snagged at the disney store for $6 each. They loved it and no one asked to buy lots of stuff at the park!

  5. says

    We pack up one suitcase with snacks, bowls, cereal, spoons, styrofoam coffee mugs and lids (and coffee/ filters), juice boxes, and eat breakfast in our room in the morning and then we have an empty suitcase at the end of the week for any souvenirs we may want to bring back. We fly southwest so we don’t have the extra bag charge.

  6. Jayne says

    We order a case of water from Costco and have it delivered to our hotel room. This saves on buying bottled water at the parks and you can leave it in the mini fridge in your room.

  7. Angie says

    you can bring food into Disney now! Pack your lunch and save the HUGE expense and time with buying food there!

  8. Meghan says

    We’re headed to Disneyworld in February. I kept my eye on mousesavers.com and we just snagged the free food offer (1 snack, 1 quick-service, 1 sit-down per person per day). That’ll help us :)

  9. says

    I take all of our own “glow” toys. Glow bracelets at Target are 15/$1. Dollartree had glow wands and swords, perfect for a little tinkerbell or pirate. We also did pin trading this year for the first time. I bought a lot of 100 pins (there are 7 of us) on Ebay for less than $1/pin. Also bought the lanyard of choice online before we went. This occupied the kids(and my husband!) and kept them from the “I wants”. They literaly went into the stores just to look at the workers lanyards! I also took snacks to tide us over in between meals.

  10. Becca Dubow says

    The Walmart near Disney, all of them, carry many isles of Disney stuff, t-shirts r 5 bucks not 20! All Authentic Disney stuff and u dont need to travel there with it all! Before the parks open, head to Walmart, make it a “that day” event! Buy everyone a shirt to wear to Disney that day, a hat, and a toy for after or a stuffed Mickey to carry that day!

  11. Myra says

    Several restaurants from Disneyworld participate in Restaurants.com. I’m not sure if Disneyland offers the same, but it’s worth checking. Also if you are a AAA member you can get discounts on the rental car, park tickets, hotels, etc. Have fun!

  12. says

    1) If you buy coffee, save your cup, you can get free refills all day long.
    2) Broken or lost balloons (with proof, even if found) can be replaced free with any balloon vendor.
    3) Get drinks at Rancho Del Zocalo (at DisneyLAND) and go back for free refills all day.

    http://www.organicparenthood.com

  13. Kim says

    I always had great memories with my parents at both Disney Parks. We saved money at any amusement park by packing our own lunches… made our own sandwiches, and each of us had a water bottle which we could refill, and my mom had a container of Country Time lemonade powder in her bag to mix in the bottles for drinks!

  14. Brooke says

    If you use the dining plan, don’t forget that tip is not usually included with your sit down meal. We went on our honeymoon, and his parents got us the deluxe meal package. We ended up spending an extra $20-30 per day on tips (most of our sit-down meals were around $100 for two).

    There is a discount store in downtown Disney that has everything under $10 if you have kids that want something small to bring home.

  15. Tonya says

    We eat breakfast in our room (stuff that we brought with us), carry our own snacks and water in to the park, and eat only one big meal per day in the park. This usually saves A LOT of money.

  16. Stacie says

    We went to Disneyland last summer with our two girls (5 & 3 1/2 y/o). We had such fun and really saved lots of money!

    First, I went to the Disney store and bought a few special items that I knew my girls would love. With the sales and such it was very inexpensive. I even bought a few little items (for about $1). I then wrapped up the little gifties and gave them to my girls every few hours on our long drive down to Disneyland to break up the trip. Once there we did let the girls pick one reasonably priced souvenir but it is SO hard for the kiddos to walk by all of the stores of the most wonderful Disney items – so we gave them their special souvenir (from sometime on the first day (we did two days at the parks – perfect amount for our family) and they were thrilled!

    We also brought the girls fave princess dress up dress so that they could wear it when they met the princesses. SO very worth the wait in line. It was the highlight of their trip!

    The cheapest and best thing we did was take lots of colorful cardstock (from my stash of scrapbooking stuff) and sharpie markers. Then we got autographs from all the characters we saw (and they are everywhere) and took photos with them. When we came home we put together a scrapbook with all the photos and autographs! So fun and special and almost free!

    One quick thing that we did was write our name & cell phone number on their wrist in sharpie so that if we lost them they could get a hold of us! We didn’t have any problems but I had peace of mind!

    As far as food goes we saved lots by bringing our own snacks and lunch food into the park. We brought granola bars, drinks, sandwiches, fruit and veggies and such. It was easy to pack and well worth it! The thing we did pay for was dinner and treats. We found a few reasonably priced dinner places (considering) and so we ate dinner at the park and added some of our fruit and veggies to stretch it! And we bought ice cream treats and lollipops at the park – a fun fairly inexpensive splurge treat!

    Hope you have fun!

  17. Lisa W says

    You can pack your lunch in. We always take our own meals and snacks. We have annual passes and have never had a problem taking in our food. I know they have lockers at the front where you can store it if you don’t want to carry it around, but I don’t know how much they are. I also, think they have a size limit on coolers, so you’ll need to check that out. Have fun! Oh, how did you get free tickets?

  18. Heidi says

    These are fabulous ideas ~ keep them coming!!

    Oh, and about the free tickets… at the beginning of the year, Disneyland gave away 1 million free tickets to anyone who did an approved community service project. It was fun to complete the project as a family, and also fun to receive 4 Free Tickets! 😉

    ~ Heidi

    • Marlene says

      about the free tickets to disneyworld…how do we sign up for this…my family does alot of community service and I would love to see if anything qualifies us

  19. MJ says

    Went in June for the first time ever, and it was magical! We told the girls we’d have one evening when we would souvenir shop — we went at mid-week to the “$10 and under” store and they each got to pick 3 things. After that — stay out of the gift shops! If they’re busy meeting characters and riding rides instead of shopping, they’ll not see anything they want to buy. We took breakfast bars and fruit to eat while we waited for the parks to open. We also carried granola, chex mix, and pb&j sandwiches, plus our own water, so we could eat snacks and lunch while we waited in lines or took a break.

  20. Ashley says

    Quite often when we would go to Disneyland we would try to eat outside of the park, especially at all you can eat buffets for lunch. Usually cheaper and you can have a big meal and a light snack at dinner time. You can go in and out of the park all you want.

  21. Nicole says

    When we used to go (been a while) brought sandwich makings and chips or treats and put them in a backpack and brought into hte park. Just find a locker there to store the bag so you dont have to carry it around all day!!

  22. Didi says

    We stayed in a condo outside of the park with my four kids. The night before the park we froze water bottles for all. Morning of we started with a very large homecooked breakfast. We packed a bag with our frozen water bottles tucked into old tubesocks and plenty of high calorie snacks ( nuts, lifesavers, whole grain crackers.) We got to the parks before opening then had fun like crazy until early afternoon @2:00. At 2:00 we gathered everyone up and left the park and had a meal out at one of the all you can eat steak chains and everyone ate their fill. We would then go back to our condo for a nap during the heat of the day and head back to the park about 6:00 pm until closing. We had a wonderful time and ate very little park food. We got to enjoy the big rides early in the day before the place was packed but were still able to see the closing shows. Had a wonderful time.

  23. Julie says

    I live an hour away, so we don’t stay at a hotel when we go….we’ll drive. Also, we always share meals at the parks…they’re so pricey!

  24. Amy says

    Mousesavers.com gives lots of great tips. Also, we stayed on site, saved on parking that way by taking the bus. Brought our own water and snacks. And we bought the refillable hotel/resort cups, we’d get our breakfast drinks finish those then refill for the morning and we’d even hop on the monorail for a refill (we had park hopper passes) and it gave time for a quick nap for our at the time almost 3 year old.

  25. Shannon says

    Just went in July. First, download Ridemax – totally worth the money ($15). It prints you a schedule – we didn’t wait more than 20 min. for any ride!

    We stayed at the end of hotel row. The further you go, the cheaper the place. The Anaheim Resort Shuttle is great and is cheap – you can ride back and forth to hotels all day for just few bucks (kids are free). We packed snacks and lunches in our backpacks, including a water bottle for each. We only bought food in the park on our last night, and found a great Mexican place in Downtown Disney that was very good and very reasonable.

    I made autograph books for the kids using small spiral bound notebooks and Disney stickers. Then they could find the character’s page and get it autographed!

    Wear good shoes and socks. Bring plastic bags to cover up gear during wet rides. I brought two garbage bags to put our backpacks in. We stuck our flip-flops in our backpacks – wet feet are no fun.

    Our hotel had a microwave and small fridge. We ate mac n cheese, cup-a-soup type meals with fresh fruit/veggies. Hotel had free breakfast, and we took some fruit for our lunches.

    I gave each kid (mine are 10 and 13) $10 bucks for a souvenir. Anything more expensive than that would have to be paid for by them. :)

    Have fun!

  26. Stephanie says

    1) Don’t bring bottled water into the park with you. If you get thirsty and want water, all you have to do is go into any restaurant and ask for a CUP of water. They will give it to you for free. Most of the time, they are the kids cups, and they won’t make them larger, but they will let you order more than one! I usually go in and ask for 2 cups and will down them in a matter of minutes! :) That will save your back from carrying water around with you all day.

    2) Also, on the coffee… you don’t have to save the cup, just the reciept. Once you buy your coffee, you can bring your receipt to the coffee house on Main Street for free refills all day!

    3) A pretty inexpensive and good place to eat at the Disneyland resort is called White Water Snacks. It is actually in the Grand Californian Hotel, but its really easy to get to from California Adventure. You can get a big chili dog and fries with a drink for about $6-$7 and it is really a lot of food!

    4) If you buy things at the resort, they will store them for free for you all day so you don’t have to carry them around with you. This will save you from having to buy an $8 locker! You can bring your packages to the Newstand by the park entrance/exit and as long as you bought it at the resort, they will hold it for you… for FREE! Just save your receipt and the claim ticket to pick up your things at the end of the day!

    5) Tip on Fastpasses… they can be used anytime after the first time printed on the ticket. Fastpasses are free and a great way to get on the more popular rides. However, it says on the ticket to return between times. Even if you missed the time to return by, you can still use them so don’t just throw them out!

    I know a lot of my tips weren’t really money saving, but they are good tips to help you enjoy the park anyway! Have a great time!!!

      • says

        There is a kiosk at each ride. You just print up a ticket and come back at the time it tells you to. Once you come back you can get right on. Oh and yes they are free.

  27. Amy says

    I grew up very near Disneyland. The one big money saver we ALWAYS did was to never eat a meal in the park. It is a little harder to get in and out of the park now than it was in the 90’s due to a new parking lot, but I think it would be worth it.

  28. Monica says

    We’ve gone to Disneyworld the past 2 years & will be returning for our 3rd year!!
    I’ve read through the tips & everyone has the same, great ideas! Biggest money saver is hands down 1) definately bring in your own food, snacks & water! Lines at food places are long & things are very expensive! We also got the free tickets last year & thought we could splurge on food…it was the cost of a ticket to eat one meal!
    2) Buy all your trinkets, toys, t-shirts, spritz fans, autograph books, towels, postcards, pens etc at Walmart or Target, you’ll save a killing!
    3) Your parking pass is good all day to come & go at the park-being Disney’s open sun up to sun down, we went early, left mid day for naps & back into the late night.
    4) If you haven’t found a place to stay, check out homeaway.com. We got our OWN house w/ OWN pool for $500 for the week (all taxes & cleaning included!) 3 bed/2 bath-10 minutes f/ the parks!
    5) If you need to rent a car-order the Orlando Travelers guide for discount codes on car rentals-Dollar has the cheapest rental cars of all of them.
    6) Renting a stroller at Disney is definately worth it-it’s $30 but, keep your reciept & if you leave, you can come back & get a new one. It is worth the money for all your “stuff!” If you get on a ride, you take your name card & when you get off you slip your name card into an empty cart right there-slick!
    7) If you plan on going to more than one park, talk to a ticket agent about discounted tickets, using your parking pass & stroller pass at other parks! Everyone at Disney is super friendly & there to help!
    Have fun!

  29. Erin says

    We just got back from Disney and we got the free dining plan, but it only provided two meals and a snack each day so we brought food to eat breakfast in our room. We also bought a cheap toaster, so we could have Eggo waffles or just toast and jelly in the mornings. You can take any food into the park now except things in glass bottles, so that would be another way to save big!

  30. Karen says

    My parents own a timeshare, so my family (there are 4 of us) use their “extra vacation weeks”, (it’s not their actual week) as they are called, instead of staying in a hotel room or spending a crazy amount of money on a WDW resort room. We get to stay in a 2 bed/2 bath condo for a minimal amount. We just booked another trip for this coming December for a week and only paid $225 – what a steal!! We are only 10 minutes from the parks. We also drive down from New Jersey (about 16 hours) instead of flying to save on airfare. It only costs about $200/250 in gas money, which is still minimal compared to flying. We also pack snacks and lunches to bring into the parks. We budget our food spending for the week by going food shopping (we have a full kitchen in the condo), but also incorporating eating out a few times to break up our week. We do have two character meals planned already, as you can’t go to WDW and not eat with the characters!! I also check different websites to save on our park tickets (still looking). We buy our sourvenirs in Target and/or Walmart that are nearby us instead of inside the parks.

  31. Maura says

    1. Pin trading is a cool hobby that kids love. Order cheap disney pins off of ebay and you then trade up with the disney cast members. If they have pins, they have to trade with you.
    2. We buy pez dispensers of all the disney characters and when we are waiting in line, we give one to the kids depending on the ride, for example we gave them toy story pez dispensers when we were waiting on line for the toy story ride.
    3. Get your photos taken at all the photo points by the photographers but then ask them to take photos with your own camera, they are more than happy to do it. That way you get the great photos, but don’t have to pay the crazy prices they charge!
    4. In florida we hit the dollar tree’s locally and got tons of disney stuff we brought home as gifts for the neighborhood kids. They loved it.
    5. buy glow braclets, necklaces whatever before you go, don’t tell the kids then pull them out for them and voila…they are instantly happy
    6. If you get the chance go to a local thrift store, I am willing to be you will find disney shirts/hats for your whole family for a few dollars. We do this everywhere we go!
    7. Take a photo with your digital camera of your contact info if your camera gets losts there is a great chance you will get it back.
    8. We brought those little individual packets of crystal light for our water bottles and the kids used the fizz hawaiian punch to jazz up our water. The first day or two we used water bottles, but then we used our camelbacks instead, holds a lot more water, insulated so it stays colder longer, frees up your hands, and lets you carry additional stuff if you need it.
    9. Bring food and drinks for the hotel, even if you don’t want to bring it with you from home, go shopping at a local supermarket.
    10. If your staying on property, definately use the magic hours.

    Have fun!

  32. Cristina says

    My family has been an annual passport holder for 7 years now! We love Disneyland….the beauty of living 30 minutes away! :-)
    If you would like to buy souveniers, there is a disney outlet store with great deals. the store is about 10-15 minutes away from the park. Check out the website for address and more info. http://www.ams-liquidation.com/listings.aspx. Let me know if you will be going and I can mail you a 20% off coupon or you can sing up for their emails and they send 10%off coupons.
    Happy Mousing’round! :-)
    p.s. it is the one in Fullerton.

    • roberto muñoz says

      Hello, im from mexico city and i´ll be at disney next week with my family. 5 adults and 2 kids. Can you please e mail me the 20% discount mentioned in your post. Thanks a lot

      • Shelly Ricketts says

        We are going to Disneyland at the end of September (celebrating both mine and my daughters birthday) – could we get a 20% off coupon at the disney discount store.

  33. Theresa says

    We had been planning to take my daughter to Disneyland for her 9th birthday. My husband travels a lot during the course of the year, so we saved his reward points and used those for our hotel stay. We also bought our tickets from an auction website…we were able to get $70 tickets for about $35 each. It was an awesome day and one that my 9 year old will remember forever. One of the workers gave her an “It’s my Birthday” button, so all day long she was receiving best wishes and even got to be in the parade. Disneyland is truly the happiest place on earth!!

      • stacy says

        Purchasing Used Disney Tickets or Used Disney Hoppers is ticket roulette! The State of Florida has outlawed the reselling of used Disney tickets. If you buy useless tickets under the assumption that there are remaining days to hop between the parks, Disney will not help or reimburse you. And tickets you buy through Ebay are not marked in ANY WAY to show you if they have previously been used or not.

        A smart and careful customer will NEVER buy used Disney tickets. The new Magic Your Way Disney tickets are linked to the fingerprint of the ticketholder. So you if had a used ticket and tried to used it, the ticket gate worker would not allow you to use the ticket even if there WERE still days on the ticket. That ticket would be fingerprint coded to the original ticket buyer. The safest way to purchase Disney tickets at a discount is through a reputable travel agent, check out
        Stacys Kingdom-Magic-Vacations on facebook for more tips

  34. Judy says

    This advice is based on what we do when we go to Disney World (have never been to Disneyland) but hopefully the tips are transferable.

    Bring baggies in to the park with you. That way if there are leftover chips or have eaten snacks you can seal them up and eat later (great for the kids). Also agree with many others who posted – eat breakfast in room (you can mail a box to your hotel), bring your own snacks, fill water bottles and use crystal light etc for taste, buy pins on ebay to trade and keep a separate lanyard for those your kids want to keep, Hit the dollar store for lanyards, glowsticks/glow bracelets, and rain ponchos. Look for clearance items on disney site for souvenirs/surprises and pack them to bring – I had one thing for each day per kid (stuffed animal, sweatshirt, tshirt, pin etc) and spent less per kid than I would have for one sweatshirt in the park.

  35. Julie says

    Check up on affordingthemouse.com. She gives great tips on how to save money, what to expect at the Disney parks, and the latest Disney news. Her blog just saved our vacation $$$ by getting signed up for the free dining plan during our stay.

  36. Sandra says

    Besides all the awesome tips listed, the biggest way I saved money is to have a daily budget. Example:
    After tickets and such were purchased, I allowed $100.00 for the day. Each day, depending what we did, the budget was set. This not only saved me hard earned money, but it taught my sons the value of money. The best part of this, there were some days we were under the budget and that money was put away for our next family outing.

  37. Yvette says

    CouponingToDisney blog is where you will find more than all the information you need or want! Hope you post pics for us to see! Thanks for all you do!

  38. Jen in GA says

    I have been reading up and following the Yahoo Group “The Mouse for Less” for a couple of years now! I started reading all the posts daily while I was planning my first trip and found all kinds of neat tricks people do–Did you know that a couple of the restaurants in MK have a “toppings” bar for burgers- and that you can buy a basket as a “double” burger, then pay just a tiny bit (like 15 cents!) for a bun!!>?? That is a whole sandwich for a kid or other light eater!

  39. Jen in GA says

    OH!!! The Restaurant.com certificates are AWESOME too!! You can look for places you’d like to try that are on your travel route, or around Orlando/ Kissimmee even!
    HINT: House of Blues at Downtown Disney (FL) is on Restaurant.com!!! I go December 1-6 and can’t WAIT!!!

  40. Carol says

    Just to correct a slighly incorrect post above….you can get ONE free refill from the restaurants at Disneyland (not just Rancho but all Counter Service). But, it’s not “all day” it’s while you’re eating your meal. They do ask to see your receipt and they do mark it so that you can only get one refill. Now, I haven’t tried coming back for that refill hours later, but they DO look closely at the receipt, though I’m not sure if it’s for the date or the date and time. But it’s definitely not “free refills all day”. Now in DisneyWORLD they have a refillable mug that you buy for about $12 and you can get free refills your entire stay AT YOUR RESORT (not in the parks).

  41. Jolynn says

    My family will stay in a hotel that has the free continental breakfast and eat as much as we possibly can until we are stuffed. My mom will take an extra apple for a snack later in the day. We then do one of two things. We either don’t eat lunch until around 2:00 (we do eat in the park, but we can feed three people with two meals) and then snack the rest of the day. Or we go back to the hotel and nap and eat lunch there, then eat dinner in the park. It really just depends on how late the park is open that day.

  42. Kali Carr says

    I am from the Orlando area and visited disney alot. If you’ll be visiting through out the year, you’ll save with the annual passes, they do have payment plans. Also stay at hotels in Kissimmee area, 192 area is much cheaper. Bring your own snacks. Shop the novelty stores for gifts etc, there are tons of them.If you can afford a hotel with a kitchen do so, buy your own food and cook it, it will be much cheaper than eating out.

  43. Tammy McCoy says

    I must be blessed because I have a family member who works at Disneyland and another that works at Universal Studios.They always signed us in for free.We would always pack a cooler and leave it at the lockers just outside of the park.When lunchtime rolled around we would all just go have a picnic lunch at the picnic area where the lockers are.Bottles of water are always a good idea as you can refill them free at the water fountain.If you want to eat one meal within the park the most bang for your buck is the mexican place called Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante. It is the most economical and the food is actually pretty good.

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