Disney on the Cheap - Part 2 {Guest Post}

Last week we heard from Jonathan about finding a place to stay on your Disney vacation without shelling out half of your life savings. This week, Jonathan is back to share about ways that he and his family save on Food and Tickets at the "Happiest Place on Earth". Join me in welcoming Jon back to Busy Nothings! 

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Eating on property (in the parks) is the most expensive way to feed you and your family at Disney. If you do want to eat on property, there are some good Disney dining options when paying out of pocket

Alternatively, if you want to be cheap, cook for yourself as often as you can. There are many good grocery stores nearby, like our favorite - Publix. Of all the grocery stores we've been to in the area, the Publix stores have been the best for quality and service

You can stock up on sandwich meat and take your lunches into the park. If your room has a kitchen of any kind, you can cook your own dinners

Want to know what is truly possible as far as saving money on food? We have some friends that cooked all their own meals and averaged $18 a day for a family of five. Now that's saving some money!



The last major expense of your Disney trip - tickets. Disney does not discount tickets often, but there are a few ways you can save a few dollars. 
  1. If you are active or retired military, Disney currently has some big discounts for tickets.
  2. For those who are not in the military, Undercover Tourist has discounted tickets. The discounts vary throughout the year. 
  3. If you're a AAA member, you can save a couple dollars. 
  4. If you work for a large company, always check with your employer. I've been amazed at how many times friends have been able to get free tickets, even just a few, through work.
Word of Warning: Unlike booking your lodging, I would strongly advise against eBay for tickets. We looked into it a few times when we saw good deals but regularly saw very bad signs through user feedback. Things like, "unauthorized tickets" and "family held by security and asked to leave park" popped up enough to make us bite the bullet and make sure we got them from a legitimate ticket supplier.


Final Advice

My last bit of advice for those traveling to Disney who need to watch their pennies - budget. Before you start planning your trip, decide how much your family has to spend. Research travel, tickets, lodging, and estimate your food to see if you can afford it

If you will be flying, remember that two of the lowest-cost airlines, Southwest and Allegiant Air, only sell through their own company websites, so make sure you check those out when you are researching airlines. 

As part of your planning, decide how much you have for food, souvenirs, and extra activities. If you're on a very fixed budget, I'd suggest setting aside money for the trip in some way. Some people prefer to take cash so that they can monitor their spending. Others have purchased Disney gift cards to pay for food and souvenirs. 

One of my favorite ideas is giving your kids gift cards. It works the same as giving them a ten-dollar bill at the beginning of the trip and saying "This is all you get for the whole trip", but the gift card is a lot more fun.

So, there you have it - how our family saves when we go to Disney. I hope that these ideas will be useful to you in the future. If you have other cost saving tips that you'd like to share, please comment or tweet to me @jonathanbriehl

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Photobucket ABOUT: Jonathan is a husband, father of two young boys, and Walt Disney World nut. Jonathan is always looking for opportunities to hear about other peoples experiences as well as help others plan their trips to WDW.

I'm also linking up to Frugal Friday on Life as Mom

1 comment:

  1. We just came home from Disney and I suggest giving each child a small back pack filled with a water bottle, a cheese stick, something sweet and a lolipop or something special. Water bottles are over $2 in the park and when you have a big family that really adds up.


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