We visit Disney a few times a year if we are lucky. We have found ways to see some sights on a budget. I just sent this to a friend whose family member is going for the first time.
Disney World on a Budget tips:
1) Pick up Disney toys/stuffed animals/clothes at Wal-Mart/Disney Store before the trip and hide them/bring them out during the trip.
2) Bring snacks and water into the parks – we brought cereal bars, raisins, etc. They check your bag, but it’s allowed. Also, pick up some rain ponchos at a dollar store and bring them in case of rain.
3) Take the monorail around to the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary resorts and walk around each resort to see each theme, eat at the restaurants.
4) If you stay at a Disney world resort and plan on going to the parks, each day one park is usually open an hour early and closes late for Disney resort guests only. These hours are called extra magic hours and are available to resort guests only, not the general public. Each guest will have to have a resort pass and their park ticket. Visit www.disneyworld.com, click parks, then park hours for more information and specific days for which park remains open late.
5) Eat at Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney – great sandwich, low cost – they even have breakfast. While you are at Downtown Disney, visit the Lego store and let the kids play with hundreds of legos for free. You can also take a boat ride and see some of the resorts.
6) Walk on Disney’s Boardwalk – it’s just like New Jersey and there are carnival games up and down the boardwalk. There are restaurants, a bakery, ESPN zone with arcade, boat rides, a large family bike rental, you name it! You can see the fireworks at Epcot here too on the bridge.
7) Make a reservation for character dining and make it the end of the brunch time around 11 – 11:30 before it ends. You have more time for characters and less people by then. (our favorite place is at the Contemporary – Chef Mickey’s)
8) You can get a mini-fridge and stay at the Pop Century or All-Star resort and take the bus to the parks. Also buy the refillable mugs and get free drink refills at your resort during your stay. Check out your resort’s activity calendar for outdoor movies, crafts and more at the pool.
9) See the characters at the Epcot Character Spot – they are all lined up inside the building and if you go early, there is little wait time.
10) Go “Around the world” at Epcot:
– We like to eat at the Rose & Crown in England – make advance reservations – good kids menu, great food.
– Get a cheese plate in the bakery in France and have wine.
– Pick out an oyster in Japan and get a pearl – under $20 – our girls LOVE this.
– Sample foods from different countries, watch shows.
– Log flume ride in Norway (a little dark/scary for younger kids – Vikings)
– Take a boat ride from the world showcase back to the other side of Epcot.
For more tips, Sue Rodman from Field Trips with Sue recently wrote Free Things to Do at Disney World – I especially like the free hula lessons at the Polynesian resort.
The key is to get creative and mix the higher cost events with lower cost activities to stay within budget.
What else can you share that helps your family on a Disney trip? Happy trails!