How to do Disney on a budget: Money-saving tips for your upcoming vacation

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Matthew Liebl
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Matthew Liebl /
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When it comes to planning a Disney vacation, the cost is always going to be one of the biggest factors. Disney has been expensive for decades, but it seems even worse today. From park add-ons to parking fees to food and souvenirs, Disney can easily push a family's budget to the limit.

But for the smarter tourist, it’s possible to have a fun Disney vacation that's still affordable. It’s not just picking a cheaper hotel but smaller details. Here are some good tips on how to do Disney on a budget and proof you don’t have to be rich to enjoy a trip there. 

Set a fixed budget

This is an obvious one, as it’s a vital tip for vacationing just about anywhere. It’s always important to see what budget you can have for a trip and balance it out via planning. Then set that budget from airfare to accommodations and do your best to hold to it. Sure, there’s a temptation to splurge now and then, but if you go in thinking of how there’s a limit to spending, it helps you figure out your costs for the rest of the trip. Also, making sure your kids know how much they can spend can help in planning a trip out. 

Go for off-season

It's always best to go during the quieter times for a Disney park. It can be trickier with Disney so busy but historically, mid-January through March is the less busy time for Disney World. The crowds are lower, which means you can save money on Genie+ and Lightning Lane for lines. Also, this is usually the time when Disney offers special deals for guests. So while it may mean less fun in the sun, these periods are the cheaper time to hit WDW.