Pick a value hotel
Obviously, the best way to save on a Disney trip is to stay off-property. Between the scores of hotels nearby and things like Airbnb, you can save a few hundred a night. That is offset by needing transportation to the parks. If you're flying, the price of a rental car for even a few days can add up.
If one wants to stay at Disney property with its benefits, then the value resorts are the way to go. They lack the nicer amenities of other resorts, but the prices are reasonable, and the best way to be on the property without spending too much.
If you’re going to Disneyland, the benefit is that far more hotels are much closer to the parks, some even within walking distance. Thus, California visitors have the benefit of staying off-property for much cheaper but still close to the action, which can save a lot of money.
Use a travel agent/Look for Disney deals
Yes, travel agents still exist, either online or in actual physical offices. They can also be the best way to find some unexpected deals thanks to their own arrangements with Disney. Be careful to find ones who are trusted and the “fee-free” types, but what cost they have is better than going full-price for Disney. Often, the agent handles costs better than you do and will commit themselves to a good trip.
A good travel agent can work in your budget and help you plan just the itinerary you need. They’re also much better looking for any special seasonal deals Disney offers that can cut down on costs. Those with credit card rewards may want to check and see if their points can be used for gift cards or other Disney deals. While you can find such deals yourself, letting a travel agent help plan your trip avoids mistakes in costs and cuts down on how much you spend.