March is a special month for my family, so we decided to do something big although last minute and on a budget. Disney World, here we come! We will be celebrating birthdays and our 10th anniversary!
Under normal circumstances, you should plan a Disney World vacation six months in advance at minimum, but if your schedule is inflexible and you are on a budget, I feel you.
Here are some things I’ve learned while planning a last minute Disney vacation on a budget.
Last Minute Disney Budget Vacation Tips
I planned my trip in two weeks with a budget of $1000, roughly. Yours may be significantly lower or higher depending on your circumstances. Disney can be expensive, so it’s always good to find deals to help lower any expenses.
- Off Season is Best. Luckily, our trip is off season. The best deals are during off-peak season when demand is lower. This includes ticket deals. Here’s an example of the Magic Your Way ticket being about $70 per day for 4-days. The catch is it must be purchased by 5 March 2017.
- Military Ticket Discounts. If you are military, you have options, such as Disney Salute. As of February 2017, it costs $209 for a 4-day park hopper ticket (without water park option). That’s a deal! Visit your local MWR for more information, as tickets and prices may change.
- Compare Hotel Prices. I compared prices on hotels.com and trivago.com to find the best deals. On trivago.com, I found a four-star hotel on sale, so instead of paying over $100 a night, I got it for $58 instead because it was 60% off. It cost me $260 for 4 nights, 3 days. When finding your hotel, compare prices online and read the details/reviews to see if there are any hidden fees. (Note: if you really want to be cheap, sometimes you can get offered 3-4 nights free hotel if you watch a timeshare presentation. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are truly interested in timeshare).
- Additional Fees to Avoid. Choose a hotel that doesn’t tack on expensive fees for parking and watch out for exorbitant resort fees too. A hotel with free shuttle service/parking will help.
- BYOB Food. Select a hotel with complimentary breakfast, so you don’t have to eat out. If not, bring granola bars, bananas, and other easy foods for breakfast. Bring sandwiches and a few snacks with you to avoid paying hefty prices for lunch or dinner. If you want to eat at Disney, plan ahead to find the best deals, so you don’t end up in an expensive restaurant that breaks your budget. Breakfast is the least expensive at Disney compared to lunch or dinner. For some great tips on Disney Food, check out the Disney Food Blog here and Disney’s official website here.
- BYOB Stroller. Bring a $20 umbrella stroller instead of renting daily from Disney World. Renting can cost you anywhere from $13 – $31 a day! At least you get to keep your own stroller. A baby carrier is great for little ones too.
- Take Your Own Photos. Professional photographers are all around Disney, ready to snap your picture. Get your photos taken in case you want to buy any, but they are not cheap. The quality may be inconsistent too. Bring your phone/camera instead of relying on Disney. You still have the option to buy after you leave the park but at least you’ll have free photos on your phone or camera.
- Download the Disney App. Check out the price of Disney restaurant meals before you go. That way, you know ahead of time whether you can afford it. It will also save you time when you book ahead! The app is also great for finding events and booking FastPass activities.
While trying to plan and book our upcoming trip, I realize there are a few things in our favor. However, you can still use the tips above to find some spectacular deals throughout the months or have a general idea of what to look out for.
If you don’t have to plan last minute, it will give you more time to find the best deals and to come up with your own ideal budget. But if you do, don’t worry, it is possible to still go to Disney World last minute with some type of budget.
Good luck planning your Disney vacation!
Are you planning a trip to Disney World? If you have been to Disney World, what money saving strategies did you use? I would love to hear your tips!