Video: Ways to save money on a Disney vacation


Coming to Disney World is like entering into a fairytale. But, unless you’re Cinderella there won’t be any fairy godmother there to make your credit card bill disappear at the end of your vacation. Here are some realistic ways to save money while visiting the happiest place on Earth.

Getting there
Getting to Disney World is your first major expense. The good news is, budget airlines JetBlue and Southwest also service Orlando and depending on where you live, you might be able to score several roundtrip flights with one credit card signup bonus.

Otherwise, you can do what Josh Manuel, his wife, parents, and three children did: squeeze into one vehicle and get a little closer on the road.

 “You get to share it with the family and it’s a lot of people that you know and you love,” he said. “You’re in a tight group, but you can save way more money that way.”

Staying there
Manuel’s family stayed tight-knit when they bunked up in one room to save some extra cash. The Disney World advice website recommends saving some money on hotels by resisting the urge of doing everything Disney.

“Staying at an off property hotel is probably our best tip. That would be a non-Disney hotel,” said Sarah Stone of

While the Disney themed hotels come with a lot of perks, you can’t redeem hotel rewards at them.

If you’re just looking for kid-friendly comfort and easy access to the parks, there are dozens of hotels to choose from where you can use points you already have or can obtain through signing up for a credit card. Several even offer free shuttles to the parks, kitchens in the room, which can help lower food costs, as well as free breakfasts and even free snacks in the evening. If you want to stay ON Disney property but want to use points, you can sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest Visa card from American Express and stay at either the Swan or Dolphin resorts. Beware though of resort fees, parking fees, and pricey food.

Being there
Next up: the park itself … including the abundance of souvenirs designed to catch every princess and hero’s eye.

You can try to resist the temptation through on time-tested tactic.

“Distract them. Just distract them from it,” Manuel said.

If that doesn’t work, you can try to save instead on the tickets to the parks themselves, which run into the hundreds of dollars.

Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is a good option here if you buy your tickets through the authorized seller, as the tickets qualify as a travel purchase, meaning you can use your sign-on bonus to cover the cost.

Disney also has a co-branded Chase Visa card, but the rewards aren’t as substantial as others out there. However, if you need a special financing option for your Disney trip, the card is worth considering.

With these tips in hand, you can keep that happy glow even after your magical vacation is over.

See related: Video: How to save on a national park vacation, Summer spending: Plan, set budget for more fun, less debt, Getting the most out of multiple rewards cards

Published: September 9, 2016

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Updated: 10-24-2016

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