7 Secrets to Saving Big at Disney Resorts for Your Most Magical Trip Ever

Can a Disney World vacation be a life-sucking waste of money? Perhaps, and it’s definitely not for everyone. However, if you do find yourself embarking on a trip to the happiest place on Earth, there’s no reason to abandon all hope. As it turns out, a cost-effective trip really is possible. And when it comes to staying at your favorite Disney resort, there are plenty of money-saving secrets that will make your trip more magical than ever.

1. Take advantage of the resort’s free transportation

Disney Magical Express Bus

It offers free transport to the airport. | Michael Gray/Wikimedia Commons

At Disney World resorts, guests get a bunch of freebies, such as free parking and transportation from the resort to the parks. And if that’s not enough, would you believe Disney resorts also offer complimentary airport transfers and luggage delivery via the Magical Express? Well, they do, which means you won’t have to drop money on an expensive car rental at the airport. And that’s something to smile about.

Next: Don’t restrict yourself to your hotel.

2. Tour the other resorts

Night safari disney

Try the night safari at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. | Disney

Regardless of which hotel you book, there’s a major perk to staying at any Disney resort. And that’s being able to explore all the other resorts, which isn’t surprising, given Disney’s top-notch customer service.

So, stay at one hotel, and get access to all the others, even if they were out of your lodging budget. According to MouseSavers.com, “Several of the resorts, including Animal Kingdom Lodge, BoardWalk Inn, Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and Yacht Club, offer FREE tours that are open to any Disney resort guest (whether you are staying at that particular hotel or not).”

Next: A trip to Disney wouldn’t be complete without a Disney flick.

3. Catch a free Disney movie

Fort Wilderness campfire disney

Check out all the free nightly events. | Disney

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort hosts a time-honored tradition that’s perfect for the whole family. At no extra charge, any Disney resort guest can take part in the nightly events, which include a singalong and marshmallow roast. (Guests can either bring their own marshmallows or purchase a s’more kit.) After that, an outdoor screen shows a Disney movie — what’s not to love?

Next: Got fruit?

4. Skip the hotel breakfast

Breakfast with mickey

Skip the expensive breakfast with Mickey. | Disney

Sure, Mickey waffles are great, but when you think about how few of them you’ll actually eat, paying the resort price tag doesn’t seem worth it. Instead, stock your room with granola bars, cold cereal, and fruit. Not only will you save some cash, but you’ll be better fueled for your active day ahead.

Next: Be sure to seek out opportunities like these. 

5. Sign the kids up for free resort programs

Disney kids pirates

There are all sorts of fun activities for the kids. | Disney

The words “Disney” and “free” hardly ever go together. And yet, we have one more example of the two coming together in unison. Turns out, some Disney resorts offer freebies geared especially toward the little ones. You just have to know what to look for.

According to MouseSavers.com, “The Deluxe resorts usually have kids’ recreation programs such as coloring, crafts, pool games, Hidden Mickey searches, and storytelling at various times.” All of these activities are free to hotel guests, according to the discount Disney site.

Next: Don’t forget the helmets.

6. Bring your own bikes

Bikes disney

Renting a bike will be pricey. | Disney

If you happen to be driving to Disney, invest in a bike rack and bring your bikes with you. Why? Well, Disney resorts are chock-full of winding bike paths. And that, of course, means the whole family can enjoy some quality active time together for free. Rent a bike from the resort, on the other hand, and it’ll cost you $18 per person.

Next: You might not always love travel agents, but Disney’s are different.  

7. Use a Disney travel agent, and book in advance

Disney Travel Company

Disney travel agents are there to help you get the best prices. | Disney

Did you know that Disney-specific travel agents are available at no extra charge to you? Well, believe it, because apparently miracles really do exist. So before you waste hours researching on your own, try going through a travel agent, and let them do the hard work for you. And furthermore, be sure to book as far in advance as possible to secure the very best prices.   

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