Visit the Mouse AND Save Money
Many families choose not to take a Disney vacation because they think it simply costs too much. While this may be true during the peak vacation seasons or around holidays, there are many ways to “do Disney” on the cheap.
For starters, go when nobody else is going. If you have kids, this means taking them out of school (gasp). But depending on what grade they’re in, and the rules at your school district, this may not be as difficult as it sounds. If possible, visit Walt Disney World during January (after New Years), the first half of February (before MLK weekend), or September through mid-December (excluding Thanksgiving). The rates and crowds will be the lowest of the year.
Secondly, stay at a Value Resort. Disney has 4 “levels” of hotels on property, with Value being the least expensive. During the months listed above, you can usually get a Value room for somewhere between $82 and $95 per night. Yes, they’re more expensive than the chain hotels just outside property, but remember that you’re paying for “Disney Magic” too, which is hard to put a price tag on.
Depending on your eating habits, one of Disney’s Dining Plans may be in order. If your family is full of picky or light eaters, pack some Pop Tarts and granola bars for breakfast, and pay for some Quick Service (fast food style) meals as you go along. If you get free water, or share sodas, you can eat for less than you might think.
Of course, if your group is full of big appetites, a Dining Plan can save you some serious cash. If you would normally get tea/soda and dessert with lunch or dinner, you’ll spend far less money on a Dining Plan than if you paid with cash or credit for each meal – especially at Table Service (sit down style) locations.
And if you’re good at number crunching, you’ll find that the more days you visit the theme parks, the less you pay per day. That’s the beauty of Disney’s Magic Your Way tickets. While the first day might cost $82, the second day will only add $80, and the third day will only add $62…and so on. By the time you get to a 6-day ticket, you’re only paying $40/day to visit the theme parks. Therefore, if your budget allows a longer trip at one of the less expensive resorts, you can get more theme park time for your money by buying longer tickets. You just have to look at it in terms of “value” as opposed to actual “cost” in this case.
The best way to save money on a Walt Disney World vacation is to travel during a discounted time period. Disney is known for offering some pretty substantial discounts for slow seasons, when they really need to fill rooms. The days of year-long Free Dining are probably behind us, since the travel industry has seen a significant boost in the last 6 months, but Disney is still offering room discounts, month-long periods of complimentary meals, and other unique promotions (like the current one that includes a PhotoPass Photo Book).
They also send out the infamous, and mysterious, PIN Codes. Potential guests receive these via mail or e-mail, and they provide a guest-specific code that will save you money if you travel during specific dates. These are reserved solely for the person receiving the offer, and come with an assortment of rules. If you’re lucky enough to get one, you may need to adjust your travel dates slightly to benefit.
In most cases, you need to be fairly flexible in order to take advantage of one of these offers, again because they apply primarily to periods of the year when people don’t visit. If you’re planning a mid-summer vacation, you’re going to be paying some of the highest room rates, and likely won’t benefit from a discount offer. The same applies if you travel on or around a major U.S. holiday like Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year.
Disney doesn’t do a great job of publishing these discounts, and their phone agents won’t tell you about them unless you specifically ask. If you book a Disney vacation, and a new discount comes out, you’re not going to know about it or benefit from it…unless you book with a travel agent like Mouse Unlimited.
Along with many “white glove” services – which are all free – Mouse Unlimited will watch for new discount offers and if your reservation qualifies (and the new offer is a better deal than your current booking), we’ll make the change automatically! And if the new deal might cost you a few extra dollars but would offer a nicer hotel or more amenities, we’ll present you with the options and let you make the decision based on your budget.
How does this work? Magically! Mouse Unlimited constantly monitors Disney news and rumors, so when a new discount is released, we know about it. We’ll then go through each and every one of our clients’ reservations to see if any will benefit from the new offer. If so – we sprinkle a little pixie dust and, just like that, you save money! If you book directly with Disney, you won’t get so much as a phone call or post card telling you that you could save hundreds of dollars.
Mouse Unlimited’s agents offer a “personal touch” to your travel planning experience, offering help and advice that neither a website, nor Disney themselves, can provide. We handle every aspect of your trip from airfare, to lodging, to ground transportation, to activities, to tours and more.