Over on my podcast, DIStracted Life Podcast, I had a great episode with my friend Angie Muma and we discuss how we save money on our vacations.  I wanted to make certain everyone that follows this blog and doesn’t listen to the podcast has this information.

If you want to listen, just click on the player below.

How to travel to Disney For Free is an article that was written by guest blogger Brad Barrett at IAmThatLady.com Blog. He and his wife, coach people on how to use credit cards to maximize the reward dollars earned.

The strategy is opening various credit cards to use for your daily spending. Opening credit cards that specifically give you the best bang for your travel buck with their reward programs.  I think the strategy similar to the television show Extreme Couponers, where they feature people who go to the grocery store and buy $500 worth of merchandise for $14.  Can it be done?  Yes.  Should it be done? That is for you to decide.

This episode is fueled by my desire to share reasonable approaches to save money at Disney.  In putting this together we realize this is a subjective topic by adding the word reasonable.  Our tips can save you money.  Some tips will save you more than others, it is up to you to decide if it is worth the savings.

Transportation / Airfare
Use Kayak.com for airfare.  You still need to look at specific airline websites because not all airlines are on Kayak.  Jet Blue, Southwest, and Spirit are examples of airlines that are not on Kayak.
Look at airports that are in the Orlando area,  Tampa and Sanford may be options to get you cheaper airfare.  However, you will need a rental car since Magical Express does not run from these airports.
If renting a car – continue to re-shop.  Prices fluctuate based on supply and demand.
mousesavers.com is a great resource to find rental car discount codes.
Join a rental car’s frequent renter program.  You can get some upgrades or other perks for free.
Get a coupon for parking at the airport before you fly out.  Google search your airport name parking coupon.

Resort Stays

If the kids are in session at school then there is usually a room discount at Walt Disney World.  Some discounts are better than others.
Look at staying offsite.  But why would you want to?
If staying onsite, consider renting Disney Vacation Club points.  You can save 30-50% on deluxe accommodations.    Angie has used David’s Vacation Club Rentals to rent her points before.  He has an excellent reputation.
Free Dining is not always the best promotion to take advantage of.  Most of the time there is an option of free dining or a % of your room discount.  You need to do the math.  You may be better off to take the resort discount instead of free dining.


Buy admission tickets from a reputable broker – won’t save a ton, but it’s better than nothing.  The Official Ticket Center and Undercover Tourist are reputable ticket brokers.
Touring Plans Ticket Calculator is a convenient resource to price out where to buy your ticket.  They will show you who has the best price online.
Check with your employer, some large companies have access to discount tickets.
Do you really need to a park hopper pass?   You can save money by planning to spend only one day in each park and not add the option to be in multiple parks in one day.

Dining / Food

Listener Christy wrote:
     My money saving tip is to travel with reusable water bottles. My husband and I use siggs, and we use thermos brand for my toddler. We keep ours empty through security at the airport; we do keep his full because you are allowed a ‘reasonable’ amount of fluids at the airport for infants and toddlers. Once through security, we fill up our water at a fast food restaurant. We’ve just saved ourselves $7 for 2 bottles of water.
We take our bottles to the parks and have them filled there was well. There is no charge for ice water at quick service stations. They will sometimes just give us a cup of water to put in the bottle, other times they will fill the bottle for us.

Share Counter Service meals as they tend to have a lot of food.
Look at having groceries and snacks available to you in your room.
Carry snacks and food into the parks.
Eat lunch at table service restaurants instead of dinner.  Lunch prices are cheaper.
Tables in Wonderland is a program available where you can save 20% at most dining locations at Walt Disney World, including quick-service.  The math on this gets tricky.  It costs about $100 to purchase and is only eligible to  Florida residents, Annual Passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members.   The break-even is if you spend more than $500 on food.

If you want the Memory Maker, share it with a family that is going with you.
If you have small children – bring souvenirs from home.

Disney Visa card – 1% rewards come in a gift card.
Go to the Dollar Store and load up on misc things for the trip.  Toys, things to keep the kids occupied waiting for meals.  But my favorite is ponchos.  You don’t have to pay for the crazy expensive Disney ones and since you will stock up, you can just pitch these little $1 ones when you are done using it.
Disney Gift Cards purchased on discount.  I use my Target Red card to get a 5% discount.

This is more of a saving money in the general item.
Disney Vacation Account
$20 gift card for every $1,000 qualified vacation purchase.
Contributions to your Disney Vacation Account can be made using debit cards, credit cards, and Disney Gift Cards. Accepted types of debit cards and credit cards include:
Disney Visa® Card
Discover® Card
American Express®

You can contribute with your Disney Gift cards bought from Target with your RedCard at a 5% discount.  I think I am going to open an account after this next vacation so we can start saving for our first Disney Cruise.


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