Frugal Tips for Walt Disney World

Updated on July 15, 2013
M.E. asks from Tampa, FL
16 answers

Hello. We live about 1 to 2 hours from Walt Disney World. We are meeting up with friends from NJ tomorrow at Disney Hollywood Studios.

Do you have any frugal tips you could share to help us keep costs low while we are there for the day? We are a family of 5. Our kids ages are 12, 7, and 6.


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answers from Dallas on

I agree with saving on food. Go to the grocery and eat in the room simply as much as possible. Give each child a certain amount of money for souvenirs. When that is gone..... no more! Let them take responsibility for themselves. If they run out of money and beg for me. NO!

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answers from Boston on

In addition to the great tips you have already received...

You only need to bring one water bottle for each person. You can refill them at any Disney restaurant or kiosk by asking for a cup of water.

If you want to sit in an air conditioned restaurant (like me), don't be shy about ordering one meal for each two people. The idea is to drink a lot of water (tap water is free), enjoy a little meal, cool off and see the sights. Some of the restaurants are so cute, they're part of what's great to see. ( And this way you leave an appetite for one Disney treat at an ice cream vendor.) Use the restaurant restrooms and wash your faces, arms and necks. Oh, bring your own face cloths in a zip-lock bag. So wonderful to wipe your brow and neck with really cool water.

Bring bandaids. No kidding. One good blister can ruin anyone's day.

Have a wonderful time.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Pack lunches and snacks, as everyone else has said. And don't buy bottled water, there or anywhere. Way too expensive plus an environmental nightmare. Stainless steel bottles with a few ice cubes in it to keep it cold and also serve as an ice pack for sandwiches. Put an insulated lunch box in everyone's backpack - everyone is old enough to carry their own stuff.

Make sure the snacks contain something with protein in it - e.g. almonds or peanut butter. Not just sugary snacks to fire up the blood sugar levels (and then crash, making people hungry) or salty stuff making everyone thirsty.

Kids will want souvenirs - another budget buster. Give the kids a set amount of money and suggest that they look around all day, making a decision at the end of the day when you're on your way home. That way they won't have to carry their purchase(s) around all day and will have a chance to look as you go through the park. There are many stores and stands, so it's not like they have to buy the first thing they see.

You're a Floridian so you know what to expect for weather. It's hot and humid. You'll see a lot of those personal fans or spritz bottles for sale so if you think it's going to be an issue, bring your own. One thing that's a big seller at WDW is the ponchos for those surprise afternoon showers. You might stop at the dollar store or even the camping section of a major retailer and pick up a few of the $1 emergency ponchos. If it pours, you can keep going without everyone complaining about the rain. You can also sit on an unfolded poncho if the rain stops but the benches are still wet. Even if the poncho can't be re-used, it was only $1 somewhere so it's no big deal.

And have everyone wear really comfortable sneakers with good support. No flip flops. Feet get sore, everyone wants to sit down, and that leads to whining about a sit-down meal and overall fewer rides - given the cost of admission, you want to see as many things as you can.

Map out your proposed rides ahead of time, allowing for preferences and height restrictions. One of the great tips we read about years ago in the "unofficial guide" was to go to the back of the park first, rather than jump on line for the first attractions near the gate. Walk past all the tempting rides and stores, and go to the farthest ride you are interested in. You'll have fewer crowds. Then slowly work your way back toward the gate. When everyone is exhausted at the end of the day, you'll be near the exit and won't be facing a huge trek across the park. Also read up ahead of time on anything that may be undergoing renovation so you don't waste time going there only to be disappointed and having wasted time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

You will have to pay for parking and tickets to the park. There's nothing else you HAVE to pay for. Pack lunches and drinks. We put our in a backpack. I thought it was really convenient,because we could just find a bench or picnic table and sit down to eat. No lines!

At the end of the day, we did go out for dinner. Still much cheaper than eating out both meals. Also, food at Disney is very expensive!

Have fun!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Pack lunches and snacks and bring water bottles in a backpack. I'm not sure about Disney World but Disneyland now allows you to bring outside food and drink into the park as long as it isn't in glass bottles.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Take your own hats, water bottles . or stop on the way and pick up some cheap ones.. Maybe even sunglasses.. Take your own food.

The last thing is tell your children, you are NOT buying any souvenirs. Do not even go into those shops.

But be prepared at the end of every ride, show, you will walk through the shops to leave the building.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Bring water bottles, lunches and snacks. Bring your own cooler. We go to Disney a few times a month.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

Bring a cooler with your own drinks and food. If it is too big to bring in then go to the car and have lunch there. I would suggest bringing water bottles of your own and refilling them at the water fountains, they will also let you have cups of ice if you need it.

I am not sure if you can get resident discounts (blackout dates apply this time of year) this time of year unless you pick up annual passes. If you plan on coming back or going to any other parks that pass would be worth it.

You already know how the weather is so just go and have a great time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Bring your own food and a refillable water bottle. I bought my water bottle from Walmart for $.99. It has a screw on top and the mouth is almost exactly the same size as the ice chutes of soda machines. It holds 28 oz and I carry mine almost empty with just enough water to satisfy and small thirst. When I want more I simply go to a concession area and get ice and water.

We went to the McD, BK, fried chicken, etc and bought stuff off their dollar menu. (No mayonnaise!)

Many stores in the Disney World area have Disney souvenirs. Walmart has a big selection, as does K-mart. We went to the stores after the park.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I have not read the other responses so I'm sorry if I'm repeating. Bring water for everyone. One is good and you can refill with cold water while you are there.

Don't buy "stuff" there - especially if you live so close and possibly go semi-often. Take pictures for souvenirs, it works for my kids and always has...they enjoy looking back at the pictures and the stuff they would like to buy is either outgrown or missing in a matter of months. So don't buy things.

Plan ahead of time what you will eat. If you don't want to eat in the park, you can come and go...or you can pack protein bars to get you through a mid-day meal and do dinner somewhere else.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I see many people suggesting you bring your own water--DON'T! It's heavy, and you don't need it. Any Disney concession with a soda fountain will give you as many cups of ice water as you want. Yes, you have to stand in line for it, but it's free. And Disney water has gotten MUCH better over the years! We are locals, and we take sandwiches, chips, and drink packets in so we can make punch or whatever for lunch, so the kids don't miss the sweet taste of soda or lemonade for their lunch, then we just pick up cups of ice water whenever we're near a quick-service place where the lines aren't too long. Other than that, the tips here are pretty good--and remember, all the area stores have pretty decent Disney souvenirs, so there's very little reason to pay WDW prices for them, unless it's just an amazing souvenir! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

If you are only there for the day, eat a big meal before you get there. Big breakfasts are good! Then you can buy some ice cream etc. if you do not mind carrying a backpack (I hate to, I like hands free) pack some snacks and eat dinner when you leave. Your biggest expense is admission.



answers from New York on

Frugal and Disney in the same sentence? JK.

Excellent suggestions here. BYO water, food, etc. and most important set boundaries with the kiddos in terms of impulse purchases. Photos with the Disney gang on your camera is the best souvenir of all, aside from the memories :-)



answers from Orlando on

We go often & I bring all of our own food. Good there is pricey. Disney will let you bring in any food or drinks.



answers from Detroit on

I tried to balance being frugal with carrying tons and tons of heavy stuff all day.. so... we ate breakfast at our rented house.. then we packed one snack.. like a half sandwich fruit and juice for everyone. we ate that about 11.. then we had a lunch int he park at abut 130.. lines were shorter at 130..

we one had one dinner in the park.



answers from Los Angeles on

bring your own food from home and limit the kids to one souvenir each (or zero if you choose). Set a price limit on the one souvenir as well.

If you have time, check out disboards for more great info.

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