Frugal Disney Tips

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Frugal Disney Tips

There really is nothing better than indulging in a trip with your family to the happiest place on earth. According to my Timehop app, it was three years ago, my husband and I first took our then 2-year-old daughter to Disney, or “Mickey’s House” as she called it then.  We’ve been blessed to be able to make the trip each year since, and make it a frugal yet memorable experience each time.  But a trip to Disney doesn’t have to break the bank*, not by a long shot! Here are some of my favorite frugal Disney Tips:

1)  Bring your own food and drinks.  Disney World does it right – while you are welcome to treat yourself to a Mickey-shaped ice cream, or any other foods in their many dining areas, you are also welcome to bring your own food inside.  We usually bring a small to medium fabric cooler, place 2-4 frozen water bottles in it, along with sandwiches, frozen yogurt tubes, apple slices, grapes, and fruit veggie pouches for the kids.  We drink the water bottles as they thaw throughout the day, and it helps lighten our load as we go as well.  Also we bring along some non-cooler goods, like Goldfish, crackers, bananas, and granola bars – and we’re good to go!

Along those lines…..

2) Free water available!  Did you know, you can get free water at Disney parks?  Yep.  At any dining area where they sell fountain drinks, you can ask for a cup of water, and it won’t cost you a dime.  We found this to be great for re-filling the kids’ sippy cups throughout the day.
Frugal Disney Tips - Disney free water
3) If you wish to indulge in any purchases while on site, purchase Disney store gift cards at discounts ahead of time.  If you have a Target Redcard, you can get 5% off the purchase of a Disney gift card.  So, a $100 gift card will only cost you $95.  (Or less, think of all the gift card deals Target offers with select purchases, along with the extra 5¢ off with your shopping bag.  That all adds up, y’all!)  Other stores offer discounted gift cards as well – check Sams and Costco, as well as your drug stores for gift card deals.  The Disney gift cards are good at any park, as well as any Disney resort, and obviously the Disney stores – so you’d be surprised how quickly you spend “Disney money” – save where ever you can, y’all!

Frugal Disney Tips - Disney gift cards

4) Order a custom Disney map for FREE!  Yep, you can order a map of the Disney parks of your choice, absolutely free.  You can choose to have it sent to you via mail, or print it out for faster use.  With the custom maps, you can highlight the attractions of your choosing, which can expedite your traveling to and fro at the parks. This creates special keepsake maps of all 4 parks that highlight your favorite attractions and entertainment.  Also, you can get a FREE Disney Parks planning DVD. It’s a cute and easy (and FREE – did I mention it’s FREE) way to introduce your trip to your kids, and start planning what you want to do.Click the banner below to get your FREE custom Disney map and your FREE Disney Park planning DVD:



4) Get souvenirs ahead of time.  Dollar Tree almost always has little Disney trinkets that will make for great souvenirs for your Disney trip – and depending on what you find, your child can have them to use during the trip.  I also have found good luck in perusing the clearance racks at Walmart or Target for Disney shirts or tanks to wear for wearing to the parks.  (One year, my daughter was gifted a $3 Tinkerbell tank, and for all she knew, Tinkerbell herself delivered it to our hotel room that evening.)Dollar Tree Disney

5) Check for bundled deals for park tickets and room/board.  Two years ago, we found a Groupon for a resort (non-Disney) that hit the spot: two bedrooms, full kitchen, and a “living room”, all of which came in handy since my in-laws graciously joined us to take care of my then infant son while we took our daughter to Disney for the (long) day.  Last year, my in-laws (God bless them!) scored a deal through their local Mustang club, where we got to stay at a Disney resort for 2 nights, and got park admission after 5 pm for one day, as well as admission to some Mustang show dealy-thingy.  (Ok, not my cup of tea, but …)

Also, if you’re flying, make sure to find out how to save money on your flight.

Finally, a word of warning: when it comes to park tickets to Disney, be carefulIf it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Be wary of individuals selling tickets via Craigslist or other “non-secure” outlets.  That guy holding park tickets on the side of the road may have legit tickets, or he may be selling one-day tickets that have already been used – you just don’t know.  And what a pity to spend money on tickets, only to have your dreams crushed once you reach the park, right?Frugal Disney Tips

Finally, a few general (bonus) tips for doing Disney:

* Bring comfortable walking shoes.  If my Jawbone Up 24 was any indication from our last trip, you will walk MILES and MILES in a single day.  Period.Frugal Disney Tips - Steps Taken
* Rider Switch Pass: if you’re with your kids, and some of the little ones are too little for a particular ride, have one adult go through the line and ride with the bigger kid – ask for a rider switch pass when you get in line, and another adult in your party may go through the fast pass line with the bigger child.  Pretty sweet, huh?  We did this with Space Mountain, and my daughter LOVED getting to do it twice – she “coached” me as we stood in the (quick) line, since she’d just ridden it with her daddy.Frugal-Disney-Tips_Rider-Switch-Pass

In full disclosure, my husband has family who work for the Disney parks, so we get to get in for free once a year.  See, y’all – it pays to stay in good graces with your kin folk!  😉


What are your favorite ways to save at Disney parks?  Answer below in the comments.  🙂

Keep on saving!  :o)

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**


  1. Wow! Great tips for saving money on an expensive trip.

  2. We always have the backpack of snacks and water bottles for Disney World. Makes a huge difference and keeps us from standing in more lines. The gift card is a good idea, might as well save 5% if we can!

    • Exactly Julie. Some folks will think that 5% is insignificant, but considering the gc can be used ANYWHERE (resorts, stores, parks), you’d be surprised how quickly you can blow through a wad of cash. 5% savings is 5% savings, no matter how you slice it! 🙂

  3. I have never been to Disney world but these are great tips because I have heard it’s very expensive to go. We are saving now and hope to go sometime in 2016.

  4. I loved Disney when we went last year! We want to go again maybe next year. These are great tips!


  1. […] – Dollar Tree Disney items are a no-brainer, in my opinion.  And remember one of my Frugal Disney Tips?  Yep.  Dollar Tree Disney items make that tip […]

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