5 Ways to Save Money at Disney World

Updated: Oct 16

+Pandemic Pro Tips.

*This post contains affiliate links to products that we use and recommend to optimize your Disney experience*

OK, so our trip to Disney World wasn't exactly an ultra cheap road trip close to home--but we did do it on a budget. And we rented a minivan and it is a bucket list item, so it's still allowed on this blog!

As with many people, 2020 was a rough year for us so we decided to kick off 2021 at the Happiest Place on Earth. We kept it a total surprise from the kids until the day we left. We did a big scavenger hunt that ended with having them unzip a carry-on suitcase that had Mickey Mouse ears and matching Star Wars t-shirts. "We're going to Disney World!" Below is what our scavenger hunt clues looked like.

5. Buy Disney Merchandise Before Entering the Park (but put money aside for a park souvenir or two)

And that brings us to our first tip, which is buy most of your Disney Merchandise ahead of time. First, you get to do cool surprise reveals like that. Second, you can show up on day one in your Disney gear. Finally, you save a ton of money by paying half of the park prices.

SHIRTS: When we went to Disney World in 2021, season 2 of The Mandalorian had just ended and Baby Yoda was at the peak of his popularity. So, naturally we had to rock some Baby Yoda shirts! And it's our favorite picture from the whole trip.


if you’re going to Disney World and you know it will be moderate weather (not to hot or cold), bring a dress up and tennis shoes. we loved our $20 Frozen 2 Elsa dress-ups.

Plus, dress-ups are a fun way to recreate pictures and memories.

Merch Tip: All the Wal-marts near Disneyworld have giant Disney store sections.

Amazon, Wal-mart and Target compete with the Disney Store:

Baby Yoda shirts

$5 Men's Baby Yoda Shirt

$13 Women's Baby Yoda Shirt

$8 Toddler Baby Yoda Shirt

MASKS: And of course, a must-have for a trip to Disney World are

Disney / Star Wars masks. Since Disney World is very strict about requiring masks right now, we got ours ahead of time.

Here we are at Disney World with our Baby Yoda shirts, Disney masks, and Mickey ears we bought before stepping foot in the park.


Check out these Disney Loungefly bags if you're looking for a unique collector's item to show off at the park!


A favorite past time about Disney world is finding Mickey ears that compliment that things we love. Since we were stoked for Star Wars land, we found intergallactic sequin ears.

But the possibilities are endless on Amazon for your Disney taste.


Even on a budget, it's OK to leave room for special souvenirs that you can bring back to commemorate your trip! We allowed our kids to each pick one out from the park. Toy Story Forky

Light Up Bubble Wand $14 Kylo Ren Lightsaber

Pandemic Pro Tips:

  • Try masks on ahead of time to make sure they are comfortable to be in all day.

  • Download fun Disney Trivia apps to keep kids entertained.

  • Wait times are much longer than advertised on the Disney app thanks to snaking lines marked 6 feet apart.

  • Get up before 7am EST and use fast thumbs to get into the Rise of the Resistance ride in the app. It filled up for us in less than 5 seconds.

  • Bring a portable phone charger

  • Be prepared to wait in lines to get into stores you could normally just walk into

4. Stay in a non-Disney hotel

Lodging at official Disney resorts is great but so is a villa with amazing amenities for half the price. Orlando is full of resorts with competitive pricing and you won't forfeit a magical experience. Also, give yourself a beach day.


  • The majority of Orlando hotels have amazing amenities and Disney themes throughout.

  • You don't have to stay at a motel to save money

  • Be willing to switch hotels

  • Plan ahead. On the days you plan to be at Disney, don't worry about staying at a nice hotel with lots of amenities because you won't use them!

  • Weeknights are always cheaper than weekends, so if you want a resort experience, book it during the week on days you won't be at Disney.

Where we stayed on the weekend:

South Lake Buena Vista Springhill Suites

The rates were hard to beat - we paid less than $90/night.