How To Save Money To Pay For A Disney Vacation

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If you are trying to save money to go to Disney, you know it is tough. Here are some UNIQUE ways to save money to pay for your own Disney vacation!

If you are wanting to plan a trip to Disney (either California or Florida), you know just how expensive it can be!  We’re going to start a new series to help you get the most out of your vacation — including savings tips, having fun, where to stay and more!

The first step in planning your vacation is getting there.  You’ve got to have the money for airfare (if needed), fuel for your vehicle, money for your hotel, and then there is the costly entrance into the park itself!   Below you will find some great tips as shared by Heather Fiory – Disney Expert!

Use your Target Red Card. You can buy Disney gift cards using your Target REDCard.  That makes a $100 gift card drop $5.  These can be used for everything on your trip from the resorts to tickets and even dining!  You can even use them to purchase your souvenirs.  This is an easy way to save 5% off of your entire trip!

Sign up for the Disney Credit Card.  When you use your card, you earn Disney Dollars which you can apply towards your trip.  If you want to finance your trip, you can do so and pay 0% interest for a six months  (keep in mind that you MUST pay it off before the interest starts or you will pay a LOT more for your trip.).  You can also receive special discounts for cardholders including character meetups!

Use your Airline Miles.  Your credit card might offer rewards which you can use to cash in for airline miles.  One example is Southwest.  If you use their card, and spend $3,000 in 3 months (just use it to pay for your groceries, etc and then pay it off instantly), they will give you 50,000 miles!

Visit with a Travel Agent.  These people know the best time of year to visit and the deals will be available.  They can also help you know the right plan for your needs, ensuring you don’t overspend — or not spend enough and miss out on something.

Plan ahead. Determine how much it will cost for your trip and start saving a year in advance.  Just divide the cost of your trip by 52 and you’ll know how much to set back every single week and you can quickly pay for your trip!

Use your coupon savings.  When you save at the store, just set that amount back.  You would have spent that on food and other items normally, so it is just a “free” way to save for your trip!

Keep the change. Use a change jar and throw your money into it.  When you shop, pay with paper money only and always save your change.  It may not fully pay for your trip, but it can quickly cover the cost of some meals, souvenirs and other items!

Heather Fiory is a mother of two, wonderful children.  She has travels to Disney often and is a Disney expert!  She has a passion for Disney, deals, and family fun.  Heather is a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations, affiliated with Mouse Counselors, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner.  She offers free, concierge service in planning such vacations as Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruises, Disney’s Aulani and Adventures by Disney.  She helps you to create personalized vacations to meet the needs and wants for your family.   Let her plan your next Disney vacation!  Contact her to request a vacation quote at or on Facebook.

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  1. Angie says

    I am saving for a trip in October. The money in the jar is a great tool to teach kids how to save, and the importance of saving. My kids (5,7 &10) are always picking up change when we go out, eager to add it to our disney jar. They’ve never been, and I’ve not been since 1998 for spring break in college. Any additional tips, please post them! I’ve already paid for the airfare and the timeshare is paid…. Looking forward to more posts!

  2. Erica says

    Don’t forget, you can book a Disney vacation with just $200 down and make interest free payments at your convenience as long as your vacation is paid in full 45 days before your arrival date.

    • candy says

      Hi! Angie how do you go about booking a Disney vacation with just $200 down and making interest free payments. We are planning on going Dec 2015

      • says

        Hi Candy!
        $200 is needed to put down a deposit. The balance does not need to be paid in full until 45 days before your trip. Yes, interest free! There is a way to do this for a trip that is far off (like December 2015) – it’s a little tricky but can be easily done. Here it is: book a trip for as far out as you can make a reservation (right now that is Jan. 5, 2015), pay the $200 (completely refundable) deposit, THEN BEFORE 45 days out of “scheduled” trip, change your reservation to your new date (say, December 2015) and you will not owe the balance until 45 days before that trip! I have clients looking at 2015 and that’s what we are doing. It also gives you time to chip away at a payment. As long as you cancel or change a reservation before 45 days out, there is no penalty. I’m happy to help you with it, feel free to email me at

      • Erica says

        Go to or call them directly at 1-407-939-5277. A Disney cast member can help you pick out the perfect resort for your needs and then take your deposit. Go to the website to make payments, dinner reservations, set up fast passes, view hotels, and more.

  3. says

    On getting money, have a garage sale. Ours is sched in 4 weeks, 3 weeks before we leave. The kids are expected to help and donate toys to the cause. They each get 10% and the rest is for the family.

    On staying. On property has advantages and can be as cheap as off property. We are renting a trailer in Fort Wilderness campground. The rental company sets it up and takes it away. Huge space for the price compared to other options. We got the Meal plan as per my calculations this was saving 15% on meals. We also will eat in the campground for one meal a day.

    Get your tickets from Undercover Tourist at The site also has great info on park traffic and how to use your Fast Pass + effectively.

    We got the 3 day pass with the water park option. This gives us 3 days in one of the parks per day and 3 days in the two water parks. That is 6 days of fun. We will prob only use 2 water park days and have a campground resort day. There is plenty to do at Fort Wilderness.

    • says

      I completely agree John! Disney’s cost is usually upfront- resort, dining, etc. but the advantages certainly give it an edge and the price can be the similar or less once all the costs of offsite are taken into account (airport transfers, rental cars, parking, food, Magic Bands, gas, etc.) It all adds up and you end up paying more than you may have initially expected! Disney offers a wide range of facililites to meet different types of budgets.

  4. Shari W. says

    Just went to Disney a month ago and our entire trip was covered with the rewards earned from our Chase Disney Rewards Visa.

  5. April says

    Check out awesome site… inside ways to save money… many blogs on trip and tricks…another cool way to save is buy ur souviens when on clearance and pack in suitcase. Keep kids out of this one.. I put a few things out each night and my daughter thought the characters were doing it…I spent about $50 and got everything from shirts to cups to special pens..even a Cinderella dress… if I had bought at Disney would have been over $200

  6. Kelly says

    We’re going in Dec 2014. We used the Chase Disney Visa to finance, it’s 6 mos interest free payments.
    You can book your trip 499 days out. You can make your trip deposit then have up until 45 days before your trip to pay it off. I believe this is booking thru a Disney travel agency & possibly thru Disney direct.
    Discount tickets thru undercover tourists works well. Checkout for special discount codes to save more.
    Selling stuff: eBay & garage sale helps plus you declutter the house. Change jar is good.
    Request a travel DVD from Disney -it’s free to give you an insight on what’s happening & to think about. Check out travel books at your local library about Disney travel: hotels on & off property, vacation homes, timeshares, restaurants, transportations. Best times to go.
    There are a lot of websites and podcasts specifically about Disney. Pinterest has info as well.
    If you have AAA, speak w them to compare prices. Military discounts.

  7. M says

    Just remember if you use a travel agent to book your vacation, they earn commission, booking through Disney doesn’t cost you anything. You will also have the opportunity to speak with Cast Members who actually work there and can tell you lots of stuff. If you are going to Walt Disney World and staying at a WDW resort, don’t forget to sign up for Disney’s Magical Express it is a free shuttle service to get you to and from the resort. This must be booked at least two weeks in advance!

    • Kelly says

      There are some Disney Travel Agencies that do not charge you any fees, they work directly with Disney & Disney pays them. The Mouse for less, The Magic for Less, Mousefan travel.
      When I used AAA, the charge was $25.
      Going thru an agent is nice that they can make changes to your reservation a lot easier than you can individually when there are discounts.
      On one of the blogs I follow: Orbitz tends to have special promos on top of Disney discounts.

      • says

        Great point Kelly! If your travel agency charges a fee to book a vacation through Disney, that is a RED FLAG! You are correct- Disney pays the commission at no cost you (the client). Agencies should not be charging a fee to book a package! My agency, Mouse Counselors, does not. The great thing about using an agent is you have the expertise of both the agent and Disney Cast Members at no cost to you. The agent will also watch for promotions and let you know (where Disney does not unless you continue to call them and specifically ask).

  8. says

    Here’s another tip:
    Consider the ages your children are when you are traveling! Children under the age of three, get into the parks for free and eat for free too (huge savings). I recommended this to a client that had twins – she changed her trip by going two months earlier and saved a ton! Also, children 10 and older pay the ADULT price for park admission so you might want to take a trip before someone’s 10th birthday!

    So bummed that Target changed their pharmacy policy since I submitted the article- I felt the need to add another tip to make up for it! : )

  9. Kim says

    We went to Disney World in March and it was the first time for my husband and 4 children, ages 18,16,13 and 8. I have to say the best things we did to save money were stay in the Hilton Doubletree where are breakfast was free. Take advantage of bringing snaks and water into the parks. My favorite tip was the disney gift card. I purchased each child one for $50 when I could swing it during the months prior. I gave them to them along with pre purchased souvenirs the first morning and they could spend it any way they wanted. This made them make better choices and think twice before each purchase because they were spending their “own” money.