Disney World on a College Student’s Budget

Disney World on a College Student’s Budget

College was a great time.  In fact, its only been four years since I left and I remember it well.  Probably too well.  I worked my way through college so it wasn’t always the best of times but that’s why a Disney vacation was in order.  In fact, the vacation that ended up being the motivation for this website happened when I was in school.

I want to help you have a great Disney trip even if you’re on a college student’s budget.  Here are the tips you need to make that vacation possible.

Travel During the Low or Value Season

This tip is going to apply to all budget travel.  When you travel during the offseason, everything is much cheaper.  Accommodations lower their prices trying to get more rooms filled, flights are cheaper to get more people going, and more.

The Disney value season for this year is January after New Years until Mid-February and also Autumn.  Late August – through Sept, and late October- Early December.

Monitor Flight Prices

Sign up for fare alerts on airfarewatchdog

Put your airports in and get alerts on deals.

Look up fare history to figure out when prices are lowest from your are to Orlando International Airport (MCO).  Take these prices lightly.  When I use it always gives me higher prices.

 

Bring Someone

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with traveling alone.  In fact, Disney is probably the perfect place to go alone.

However, when trying to go to Disney on a dime, bringing someone is the way to go.

Invite your significant other or a few friends, (or both).  The more people you bring the more ways you split some of the budget items, like the hotel.

Disney on a college student's budget

If you were going on your own, $110/night for a hotel might seem like a lot.  But split it in half and $55/night isn’t too bad.

 

Stay on-site at Disney World

Why do I suggest this?

Staying onsite not only creates a magical and immersive experience but removes vacation complexity completely.  Disney World is full of free shuttles going everywhere within the world.  You stay on site and you remove the complications of the vacation which end up costing money.

I’ll just start with being completely honest, apparently that’s part of being an Aquarius…

The cheapest you will ever get a Disney owned hotel is $106/night.  But don’t fret.  We will either set your vacation up where $106/night is possible or we will shave a few dollars off of that per night.

disney on a college student budget

While the savings tips to free up enough money are within the article, let’s go over how to get something a little cheaper and still stay on the Disney property.

The Disney Springs hotels are 7 hotels not owned or operated by Disney.  There is a Hilton, a Best Western, a Wyndham, and more.

My top choice is the Wyndham Garden.  The rates are great and it’s a quick walk to Disney Springs.  Which means a few things that we can go over later. I’ve seen rates mostly at $79/night.

The Wyndham wins for a few reasons.  It’s proximity to Disney Springs is great, the prices are doable, and it has one of the best character dining options.  No one is too old for character photos and signatures.

Best Western Lake Buena Vista usually has really good rates too.

Check all Disney Springs resorts for pricing before you choose one.

All seven links

 

Don’t Eat Out

It’s a tough but a doable exercise.

Eating out is so expensive even when you’re at home.  And I know that you know because you’re in college.  And I was there once too.

Almost all of my money went to food because all I did was order food late at night and eat junk.

Take this mentality to Disney and you will go over Budget.

Here’s the thing.  You’re going to be too busy for a lot of sit down meals.  Pick a few places to experience and try to avoid eating out otherwise.

Make sure to gather groceries for drinks, snacks, breakfast and whatever else you think necessary.

More at Eating at Disney on a Budget

 

Park Tickets

Free Tickets = Undercover Tourist

Discounted Tickets = UnderCover Tourist

Pay 2017 prices in 2018 = UnderCover Tourist

cheap disney tickets

Example Budget

Watch me put together a budget for you with the totals at the end!

Download a free Disney on a Budget Worksheet

disney on a budget

 

 

Disney on a college student's budget

36 thoughts on “Disney World on a College Student’s Budget

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    Oh it can definitely be done! We take the family every year and we’ve definitely learned how to do it more frugally each time we’ve gone.

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    These are very good tips for students who are planning to go to Disney but are also trying to save some money. To be honest, anyone under a budget would appreciate this guide!

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    These are great tips for anyone on a budget, not just college students. To be honest though, my daughter is in college full time, and working full time. I’m not sure that she could afford to go to Disney, and we live in Florida.

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      Anything is possible! I was working FT and was going to school FT too!

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    You don’t have to be a college student to want to save. I am not planning on Disney any time soon but will keep all these tips in mind for our next Disney or other vacation.

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    Disney on a budgets can for sure be done. We always stay on site and like to bring a cooler with food and drinks to keep in the room .

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    My husband was very leery that it can be done on a budget! I am working to change his mind, so thank you for all of these tips!

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    Disney can be expensive for everyone – not just college students! Love these ideas to save money and enjoy the day without stressing over the finance side!

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    This is good advice for anyone looking to save on vacation. When I go away with my husband, we usually stay somewhere that has a fridge and at least a microwave. That way we don’t have to eat every meal out. That gets so completely expensive otherwise.

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      Yea it does for sure. And I don’t even like have every single meal as a full sit down so we ended up wasting food.

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    These are great ideas! I really enjoyed visiting Disney World. It’s fun for any age!

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    I’m an Aquarius too, is honesty really supposed to be part of it? Makes sense! I am thankfully no longer on a college student’s budget, but I think it makes sense for everyone to follow good budget rules.

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      Yes, apparently honesty to a fault. Like telling someone their outfit is ugly haha

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    I love these ideas. I have some aunts (in their 80s!) going to WDW in the spring and I am going to make these suggestions to them. Thanks!

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    This is awesome! I know so many who have always wanted to go to Disney but never understood you can do it on a budget you just have to prepare and do it properly! These are great tips.

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    Love this post. Since I was a child, I have always loved going to Disney world. As an adult you realize how expensive it really is. This post definitely helps.

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    I had no idea you could do Disney on such a budget and still enjoy the experience. I plan to take the kids very soon. It will be their first time.

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    When we went we saved a ton of money by staying onsite. We were able to get two days of free park passes and free meal plans because of a special they had going.

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      That’s super awesome! Disney’s deals can really be awesome

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    This is a great guide with tips and tricks for anyone on a budget, not just a college student! We love disney!

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    Looking for Disney deals is a great way to save money. Staying on site really does save you money because you don’t have to pay for your transportation to and from the parks, plus you get extra time on the rides.

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      Exactly. It might save money but it can def end up breaking even

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    Sometimes it’s better for you to be frugal in spending money and these tips are quite helpful. Would keep this in mind when we are planning to go to Disney someday.

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    I agree that it is so important to not eat out as it can take a huge chunk from your budget! I was a student only two years ago so I hear you on the takeaway front, we used to order pizza like every week!

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      I spent so much money on food in college. And it was like junk and fast food too!

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    These tips are extremely helpful. Just being mindful of where your money is going can help you make the changes that will make the biggest impact for your bottom line.

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    This is such a helpful post for students, I defintiely would have liked to visit Disney when I was a student. Plus, these are helpful tips generally for people hoping to save money on a trip, student or not.

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    I would have never thought going to Disney on a college student’s budget was possible, but you have laid out a pretty good plan of attack here! I hope some students will find time to make use of it during the school year.

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    When my husband was a frequent traveler and we had all those hotel points and miles, we’d go every year. It was affordable. Now that he doesn’t travel, we just can’t afford it and the airfare, too.

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    I didn’t even know that Disney had a ‘value season’ – that’s good to know. I haven’t been there yet, but it’s on my ‘places to visit’ list.

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    I just wish that Disney World is near to our place.. Visiting it is still on our bucket list and our family’s still praying for it to happen. I’ll keep these tips!

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    Excellent tips! We always used to have annual passes but haven’t purchased over the past few years. We just looked at pricing and were a little shocked at the difference after having two daughters!

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    I like to read any post that shows me how to save money at Disney. It can get pretty expensive with a family of four so it is great to see that there are ways to stick to a budget.

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