Disney on a Budget 2018 – the Ultimate Guide

disney on a budget 2018

Disney on a Budget 2018 – the Ultimate Guide

2018 is a new year and that means that everything is more expensive than 2017.  

I’m waiting for the year where prices go down….

And though my last year’s guide to going to Disney on a budget is still relevant in many ways, I’m ready to take it to the next level with this information on going to Disney on a Budget 2018.

And this year I received hundreds of responses to my question:

Disney on a budget 2018

And the responses were so great to collect.  But also disheartening, most people think a Disney World vacation costs around $6,000.

No wonder, that’s so much money!  


Straight from my survey

disney on a budget 2018

And some twitter friends too!

disney on a budget 2018


So here’s what I think.  You all have a ton of money to be saved.  A Disney vacation for 4 can most definitely cost $6000 or even more, but it doesn’t have to.

Here’s my budget.  These are real numbers that I ran;

Spending on a 5-night/6-day Disney Vacation (for four):

Accommodations:  $185

Transportation:  $300

Souvenirs: $100

Food:  $400

Park Tickets: $1190

Total: $2175

Let’s go through the bolded sections to see how I got there.


Accommodations

One of the many great things about going to Disney World so often is I get to try different offsite hotels to tell you about.
Let’s be frank.  As I always am.
With off-site hotel prices as low as $20/night, at a decent location may I add, there’s no way you can financially beat that price.
You might be able to find a hotel with shuttles as many of them now have, but even adding in a car rental and gas. That would put you at about $40/night.
That being said. My suggestion is the Ramada Gateway.  1 mile away from the entrance to Disney World property.
disney on a budget 2018
The trick with looking up hotel prices is to check multiple sites. Expedia, Trivago, and Priceline are my three.
There was a time where I assumed every travel aggregator was the same with the same deals.  But it isn’t true at all. Make sure to check all three.
When looking for a hotel, try to find one with different add-ons that will save you even more money.  Such as complimentary breakfast or theme park shuttles.

Souvenirs

The majority of your Disney vacation costs come before you get there. But two do not and souvenirs are one of them.
It’s also a part of your budget that can’t be strictly planned.
The best way to save the most on souvenirs consists of a few methods.
Method 1
Pre-buy as many souvenirs as possible.  To show you how much you can save by doing this I’d like to give you two examples.
Belle Dress – Favorite attire for the kids at the parks
disney on a budget 2018 disney on a budget 2018
Mickey Shirt – Great to wear during your vacation
disney on a budget 2018 disney on a budget 2018
Method 2
Give yourself a strict souvenir budget and find creative ways to stick to it.
Put souvenir money on a Disney gift card. When the gift cards run out then you know that’s it.
Method 3
Wait. When you see something you like, use the Shop Disney App to save it to your cart and wait until the end of the vacation to buy your souvenirs. A lot of times waiting gives us the clarity we need to say no and then you can have everything shipped to home.

 

Method 4
Stick to inexpensive yet useful souvenirs. No need to spend an arm and a leg on something you’ll only look at a few times in your life.
You can also find other great deals on this post.  I go through 25 awesome budget souvenirs.

Cheap Disney Flights

 

The challenges of getting to Disney World differs depending on the circumstances. How far you are from Disney as well as the size of your family is going to impact your decision.

 

I am not a huge fan of long boring drives, but if the alternative is giving up a day at the theme parks or not going to Disney at all, then I will have no problem driving.

 

I’ll break this down into circumstances.

 

20 hours or less from Disney World
3+ Family Members

 

The complication of having a family with 3 or more members, is that even if you find a great deal on flights, multiplying that number by three gets things expensive pretty quickly.
That’s why in this situation, my suggestion is to drive.
The drive to Disney is never bad at all because it’s all excitement.  However, the ride back can be a drag so make sure to leave extra time for it.
If you can, make the trip a sight seeing adventure.
Read my journey while driving to Disney here.
20 hours or less from Disney World
Less than 3 Family Members

 

Which is basically 1 or 2 people traveling.  At this point, I think the decision becomes very numerical.
Can you find an inexpensive flight?  And with the tools in my eBook, I can’t see how you can’t.
What’s the cost of driving compared to the cost of flying?
My trip in December will only be two of us and we will be driving.  Because it’s the holiday season the flights are way too expensive and the ulterior was not going.

 

More than 20 hours from Disney World
Any family size

 

Time is money, right? What makes a drive that is longer than a day worth it?
Maybe a family with at least 3-4 drivers?  I can understand that.
You don’t want to get to your vacation exhausted from your drive or have to spend the entire time dreading the drive back.
Really think through such a long drive.  Write down the numbers, consider the effect on your time, etc.

 

Cheap Disney Tickets

What’s a Disney vacation on a budget withou cheap Disney tickets?

Have you taken a look at how much Disney World tickets are going to cost you?

Park tickets will always be a huge part of any Disney vacation budget. They’re incredibly expensive.  1 day at Magic Kingdom costs more than $100/person per day.  Not a great number, but it’s reality.

The good news is that there are discounts available for Disney World tickets and I’ll tell you exactly what they are.

Disney World is very strict with their tickets.  They make sure that every person inside those parks has paid their fair share (using fair loosely here).  As expensive as they are, you have to see the goodness in knowing that everyone had to deal with that.

There are two ways you can legitimately buy Disney tickets.

  1. Through Disney 
  2. From an authorized reseller

When buying tickets right from Disney, 9 times out of 10 you will pay full price for them. With an authorized seller, you can actually save money.

Read more on cheap Disney tickets here. 

Bonus Tip: Learn how to save on Disney giftcards that you can then turn around and use to purchase Disney tickets right from Disney.  Click here to learn more


Discount Disney Tickets

Want more?

Disney World on a Budget 2018 eBook is for you.  Click here to learn more.

32 thoughts on “Disney on a Budget 2018 – the Ultimate Guide

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    Oh yeah, it an totally be done. I go every year and know lots of secrets about how to get freebies and stuff. With a little homework, it can definitely be done.

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    Wow it is amazing how you managed to show us that actually when you limit your souvenir budget and find an off site accommodation rental you can save so much money. I would love to go to Disney one day x

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    This is great to share! I would love to go and definitely want to do it on a budget so it can be enjoyed yet you can go all out and make sure you can afford it and save money too!

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      Exactly! On the budget is the smart way even if you’re aren’t actually tight on funds. Why overspend?

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    Great tips here. I couldn’t believe how much a trip to Disney set us back. When we were in Florida the worst part was we stayed in the park so you had to eat what they had as options!

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      Next time you can order. I order pizza at least once. Try Flippers Pizzeria or just use grubhub. Now with Uber Eats you really can’t lose.

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    Did you know that when Disney first opened, it was advertised as affordable family entertainment.? I lived in Florida when I was little and this is what my parents told me. Now it is so expensive. There are great tips. If you save a littler here and then a little there, it will eventually add up.

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      Ha! Once upon a time.

      I might do some research on old costs vs new costs.

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    Thank you for giving such detailed information! We are wanting to plan a trip to Disney, but we are in the middle of transitions, so this post helped to see that we can go as long we budget and spend wisely!

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      Planning a Disney trip is definitely a big undertaking but so worth it! Good luck with everuthing

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    This is amazing! And perfect for any family that’s planning to go to Disney next year. I think it would be really nice to be able to go without spending too much!

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    There are so many ways to save money for a Disney trip. I am thankful I live so close to Orlando so I could technically go for a day and go home at night. When we do stay, we typically do splurge on the on site accommodations though. One thing I know is that Dollar Tree has a lot of Disney themed items and I grab some up for my daughter.

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      That’s a really great money saving tip. Dollar Tree has a ton of cool stuff

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    I just found RT tickets to Orlando from Knoxville, a tiny airport, for $23. Yep, $23. I didn’t buy them because my husband has class on the weekend, but if you really want to go you just have to monitor the deals! Good to know about authorized tickets too, I didn’t think it was possible to save on ticket prices.

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      Small airports are the trick. In 2015 I paid $19 each way from NJ. It’s the best

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    Wow I had no idea park tickets would be the most expensive portion of the budget! I haven’t been in years and when I did go my tickets were paid for. Guess I should start planning a little more closely.

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    We would love to visit Disney some day, these are some great tips and definitely give a good idea of how to get started saving!

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    If we didn’t live in Florida, where we get resident discounts, honestly we would have never gone. I just couldn’t ever fathom spending that much money on a vacation. Sure Disney is great, but it’s not as great as it’s hyped up to be.

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    When I saw the average amounts for a family vacation at Disney world… I think I threw up in my mouth a little. Wow! This is a great resource for families. I grew up in So Cal and I can remember going to Disney for less that $20 a person. Things sure have changed.

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    These are all great ideas! We went there in December and had a great time but we did spent the money. Next time I will look into your great tips!

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    These are great tips. I like the specific ideas such as the hotel. It is helpful to have it all broken down.

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    I love going to Disney World, but I definitely don’t love how expensive it is. The ticket and food prices are kind of insane, but with a little pre-planning and some budgeting you can find great discounts.

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    My biggest expense is airfare! I am trying to find deals now for our Disney trip in March!

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    Can’t wait to take our kids to Disney. Thanks so much for these tips! There is much to be said about saving a few dollars!

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    I had no idea that hotels near Disney could be that cheap. You are opening my eyes to the fact that we may be able to do a trip this year.

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    I have a special birthday coming up next year, and I think it would be so magical to spend it at Disney. However, the price does really put me off. Thanks for these really helpful tips, there’s definitely plenty of ways to cut the cost.

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    Great tips, I’m always up for anything that can help save up money in trips like this. I’d love to bring my family there on Disney when my little one is born and a little bit older.

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    My husband and I have always wanted to go to Disney but never thought it a possibility because of money. Seeing your budget gives me a renewed sense of hope!

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    We have not yet went to Disney because of the price! We will definitely be doing more research on how to save big money!

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    I can’t even fathom a motel room for $20 a night! Especially when I saw the really low rating it got. I’d pass on going before I stayed in a dump.

    And other things need to be factored in to the total cost. Maybe some off-site resorts now provide transportation, but you’ll still have to get from the airport to the hotel and back. Stay in a Value resort and you’ll pay around $120 a night for two beds and Disney will pick you (and your luggage) up at the airport and drop you off at your resort. Their buses run about every 30 minutes to all of the parks and Disney Springs. Some resorts have a morning drop off and evening pick up, so if you don’t want to stay the entire day, you’re out of luck. Same goes for if you want to park hop. Forget renting a car (that’ll drive the cost up!) then having to pay $20 for parking at each park.

    I also don’t see how a family of four can be at Disney for six days, plus the days driving back and forth and eat for only $400??? Are you skipping meals or eating at McDonald’s every day?

    I always stay at a Disney resort and have never spent near what was quoted above. All it takes is a little time to research the specials they’re offering and the best times to visit.

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