6 ways to save without looking like a cheapskate – PREP005

(Article last updated: August 4, 2014)

I like to save money but not to the point of looking like a cheapskate.

Today, I have 6 tips for you on saving money on your Disney World trip that will still allow you to get the full experience.

I also have a quick tip on what I think is the very best time to visit Disney World and pay the least while being able to do the most.

6 ways to save

The main expense categories for Disney World trips are airfare/gas to get there, park tickets, hotel and food.

Here are some ways to save on all of those categories:

  1. Book your trip during a less expensive season. Here are the seasons defined by Disney World, in order from least expensive to most expensive (season dates can vary by resort):
    • Value Season - most of January (except New Year's Day, Marathon Weekend and MLK Weekend), the first 2 weeks of February, August and the first 2 weeks of September
    • Fall Season - the last 2 weeks of September, most of October (except Columbus Day weekend), the first 3 weeks of November, the first 2 weeks of December
    • Marathon Weekend and MLK Weekend - these 2 seasons are about the same price. Marathon Weekend is often the 2nd weekend in January
    • Regular Season - last week of February, first week of March, all of April (except Easter week) and all of May
    • Summer Season - all of June and July
    • Columbus Day Weekend - this is just the 3 days of that weekend that have slightly higher rates
    • Peak Season - Valentine's Day, the week following President's Day weekend, the last 3 weeks of March and the third week of December
    • Thanksgiving - the whole week of Thanksgiving
    • Presidents Weekend - the 3 days for this holiday weekend have higher rates
    • New Year - applies to New Year's Day
    • Easter - the week before and after Easter weekend
    • Holiday Season - the weekend before Christmas through December 31
  2. Start your trip on a Tuesday or Wednesday since those days tend to have less expensive airfare. You can check bing.com/travel (update: kayak.com/flights is a better option now) for the best time to buy your airfare.
  3. Purchase your park tickets using the private link in the Mousesavers.com newsletter which is sent on the 15th of every month.
  4. Visit during a Free Dining period.
  5. Rent Disney Vacation Club points (I recommend doing it through DVCRequest.com). Details on how this process works can be found at https://wdwprepschool.com/how-to-stay-in-a-deluxe-hotel-for-moderate-prices/
  6. Stay at the Swan or Dolphin which have of the same benefits of on-site resorts but not all. Prices are similar to Disney Moderate Resorts. Guests can use Extra Magic Hours and on-site Disney transportation but can't use Magical Express or charge things on a room key. You can also use Starwood points to pay for stay at the Swan or Dolphin (info on using points to pay for a WDW tip can be found at https://wdwprepschool.com/how-to-get-a-7-day-6-night-disney-world-trip-for-free-using-points-and-miles/)

Quick tip

My quick tip: I think the way to get the best experience for the least amount of money is to stay at a Moderate Resort during Free Dining in September or October. That allows you to pay the least expensive nightly rates, get free food (including the Basic Dining Plan which is better than what's offered at Value Resorts) and visit during a less busy time.

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