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We just did our cheapest trip to Disney World. That is how

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Even though the cost of entry has increased, we still managed to save.

Key points

  • Disney World can be an expensive destination.
  • Consider driving instead of flying and see if you can schedule your trip at a less popular time.
  • You can also save money by not eating in the parks or paying for extra services, such as photography.

My family took several Disney vacations before the pandemic hit. And although we intend to return there in 2021, we did not manage to repeat the trip until the spring of 2022.

When my husband and I sat down to buy our tickets, our jaws almost dropped at how much the cost of admission had increased in the last two years. But alas, we entered our credit card number, made our reservations, and prepared to give our children an amazing surprise.

Our kids weren’t just shocked, we were shocked when we sat down to look at our post-trip credit card statement. Despite paying more for our tickets, this latest trip to Disney was actually the least expensive to date. This is how we manage to save.

1. We had a bad week

As someone who takes learning seriously, I didn’t feel too good taking my kids out of school for several days to go on vacation just two weeks after spring break. But I figured if we had a week off, we’d save some on tickets. Turns out he was right. I compared the cost of our tickets to my friend’s, which were booked for spring break week. The difference was quite noticeable.

2. We drive down instead of flying

My family has done a lot of road trips, so we are no strangers to logging hundreds of miles on the road to get to a destination. While airfare wasn’t outrageously expensive the week we wanted to go to Florida from New Jersey, we knew we had the potential to save a lot by driving, even with gas prices so high.

3. We barely ate in the parks

When we took our first trip to Disney, we wanted to experience it all, and that included $200 character breakfasts where my kids could say hello to Mickey Mouse while nibbling on a muffin. But these days, my kids are too old to care about meeting the characters. And they couldn’t care less if they eat breakfast at a regular restaurant or at a Disney restaurant where it costs five times as much. And so, with the exception of one dinner, we didn’t eat anything in the parks, and that saved us a lot.

4. We do not buy souvenirs

During our first trip to Disney, we decided to indulge our children and let them buy a souvenir every day. This time, we are limiting them to one item each for the entire trip. Not only did my kids agree with that, but they chose inexpensive items that really didn’t make a big dent in our total bill.

5. We do not buy a photo pass

There are many great photo opportunities at Disney, and sometimes it can be difficult to take family photos (because, after all, someone has to be on the other side of the camera). During previous trips, we’ve paid for the photography service, which gives you access to Disney photographers who will take as many family photos as you like. This time, we skipped that and relied on the kindness of strangers to take our photos.

Let’s be clear: the trip we just took to Disney World was not a cheap vacation. But we also find ways to keep our costs down. If you’re eager to visit Disney but have limited funds, think about ways you can spend less. For example, see if a Disney credit card could help you save a little more cash. A few minor tweaks could mean the difference between a trip that fits your budget and one that puts you in debt.

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