Easy but overlooked: 3 ways to save money on your next Disney vacation

Between refillable cups and affordable dining, we've got you covered

By Thomas Metevia - Digital Content Producer

Tom Metevia/Graham Media

Raise your hand if you’ve surprised your family with a Disney vacation — or you hope to some day.

Now, if you’ve taken that trip and you think back on it, do you wish you could have saved some more money along the way?

We have a handful of tips that will allow you to keep some of that extra cash in your pocket, so when your children ask for a last-minute souvenir, you won’t have to disappoint. 

From the park tickets to the resort stay, Disney can add up to a pretty hefty bill. Even when inside the parks, you can find yourself spending a lot on food, drinks — you name it. But it doesn’t have to be that way! These tips will make you a seasoned Disney park veteran, allowing you to leave your vacation feeling as if you’re the one in control.


Let’s start by investing in a refillable mug. This sounds odd: Saving money by spending money? These mugs are sold at all Disney Resorts and are equipped with a chip that allows you to refill your mug for a certain period of time. After filling your cup, the timer will start and once it has completed, you can refill your mug again. This allows you to save countless dollars by avoiding bottled drinks.

Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, bring a backpack. That doesn’t mean you need something huge -- you’re not trekking up Mount Everest ... yet -- but something small that is comfortable will prove to be very useful. Now, what are you going to put in this backpack? Simple:

  • SNACKS! We all get hungry at some point during the day, so these snacks will surely come in handy. They will also save you tons. You won’t be forced to purchase food from the many quick-service locations. A quick-service meal can set you back almost $20. Imagine how much trail mix you could buy for $20. Other things that should be included are water bottles (freeze them the night before and pack them with you), pens and autograph books, sunscreen and wet wipes. 
  • Now, if you have to buy food in the parks, think about getting something off the kids menu. And hey, Disney is for the young and young at heart. It doesn’t matter what your age is; you can order from the kids menu! Some of the kids meals are large enough to feed an adult, especially if you’re just looking for a light snack to hold you over until dinner. Keep in mind, this tip works at counter-service restaurants, but not table service. 

Our last tip is for the kids, in a way. Character dining is a staple when visiting the happiest place on earth. These meals are a fun way to meet all sorts of characters without having to wait in line to get a picture. The characters move around at a slower pace, allowing you to spend more time with them. However, it can also be the most expensive dining experience you have. But no need to worry, we’ve got you covered. When choosing a time to dine, pick between breakfast and lunch. Why? Because these meals are priced much lower than the dinner meals.

With these simple tips, you can easily save more than $100 on your next trip. You can mark that vacation as a success and put your savings away for the next time. You know you want to go back. 

What are your best money-saving tips? Leave a comment below and we just might feature your idea in a future article.

Graham Media Group 2019