Doing Disney The Smart Way

A Seasoned Magic Kingdom Traveller Shares Her Money-Saving Tips

So you’ve finally decided to take the family to Walt Disney World for a magical and memorable vacation.  Just book your trip on line or with your local travel agent and that should be it, right?

Well, you’ve got a big surprise waiting for you when you arrive.  A truly amazing Walt Disney World vacation takes planning and budgeting, and you won’t figure this out until you get there and it’s too late. I’ve been to Walt Disney World over 30 times and always seem to learn something new with each visit. Vacation cost is extremely important for most of us, so I would like to share some very important money saving tips with you.

Take advantage of money savings by waiting for special offers. Traditionally, Disney offers many yearly discounts to Canadians. Some of the discounts that have been offered in the past are “free dining”, usually in late August to September, “free ticket upgrade and discounted room rates” for early January to mid-February, and discounted room rates are usually offered in the late spring.

Stay on site at a Disney owned resort: you will get free transportation to and from the Orlando Airport with Disney’s Magical Express© and access to all Walt Disney World© transportation systems throughout the resort.

Once again stay on site at one of the 22 Disney owned properties. There are many benefits while staying on site and Disney is the best at making you feel special. You will be immersed in the magic 24 hours a day and can stay anywhere from a value resort or campground to the award winning Grand Floridian Resort and Spa©. Resort guests are privileged to get Extra Magic Hours© which gives you entry into the parks before opening and late entry to the parks after closing. This is a benefit you can’t pay for!

Use a Disney Specialist Travel Agent (not an employee or affiliate of the Walt Disney Company©). You will pay the same price whether you book your trip on your own or through an agent. Disney trained specialists are graduates of The College of Disney Knowledge© and some have even taken Agent Education Programs on site. Here’s the benefit to you; they will plan your trip, make advanced dining reservations, create itineraries for you, offer you tips and apply discounts to existing reservations. You would have to pay the long distance fees to make your own advanced dining reservations or any changes to an existing reservation. Let the expert work for you while you save money.

Search the internet for discounts. Flights, cars, even Disney discounts are out there if you know where to look. I’ve saved thousands of dollars by flying out of the U.S. and by using discount codes for car rental.

Go to the next page for more fantastic money saving tips! See Disney during slow periods. Traditionally there is lower attendance during specific times of the year. Discounts are usually offered at those times to draw guests down the Walt Disney World©. The best times to visit with low attendance are January 2 to mid-February, the day after Labour Day until American Thanksgiving (last 3 weeks of September are the best) and the first 2-3 weeks of December. This will help you pack in two weeks of fun into one if you visit during less crowded times, that’s huge savings!

If you have a vehicle with you while staying on site, here is a tip to help maximize your time at Walt Disney World©. You can drive from park to park and get FREE PARKING! This is a benefit to Walt Disney World© resort guests that is not very well known. Waiting for the bus system can be time consuming, so if your geared up to see the most you can, drive to the parks.

Book the Disney Dining Plan because it is a great deal. You will get more than your money’s worth on a great selection of counter service meals, snacks, dine in restaurants and dinner shows.

Which park tickets to buy? If you decide to go more than once in the year or longer than 11 days, consider purchasing an Annual Pass. Special discounts are offered to pass holders which include food and resort stays.  If you are only purchasing park tickets and plan to visit for longer than 2 days, ticket discounts are available if you purchase your tickets in advance for the same rate through Disney or a travel agent.


Sandra Halket is a self proclaimed Disney fanatic that visits a Disney destination 2-3 times a year along with her husband Craig, and 2 kids, Alexi and Marlee. A former producer at MuchMusic in Toronto, Sandra left her job after her 2nd child was born to focus on family.

Sandra researched and discovered every possible way to get discounts so that she could continue to travel there as often as possible. Friends and family soon started asking advice so Sandra decided to channel her passion and know-how for Disney and create her own home business. She formed, a travel agency dedicated to giving you the most magical and memorable vacation experience through expert advice, knowledge and passion.