• On Dec 1, 2019
    Mary from MO Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    I am planning a two day trip for my little guy (6). It was a Christmas wish. We will be arriving to the park on December 18th. I am operating on a STRICT budget, and hoping to collect all the tips and trips on tackling Disney on a strict budget. Thx

    Hi, there!

     Mary, I'm so excited to hear you'll be visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in just a matter of days. The holiday season is truly the most magical time of the year! Your heart is sure to melt as you watch your little guy's Christmas wish come true. 

     My mom worked really hard to make sure my brothers and I experienced the magic of the Walt Disney World Resort. We made regular visits, but we were always operating on a super tight budget. I learned my very best money-saving tips from her, and I'm happy to share them with you!

     Did you know that Guests are welcome to take food and drinks into the theme parks? Packing meals and snacks is a great way to manage your budget. Growing up, my mom would pack our lunches and a few snacks for a day in the theme parks. We'd find a park bench and happily eat our lunches as we watched a street performer or a parade pass by! If you don't want the added weight of drinks in your park bag, just stop by a Quick-Service dining location for a complimentary cup of ice water. My son is reluctant to drink plain water, so I make sure to pack a small bottle of flavoring!

     Portion sizes at most dining locations are very generous. I often order one meal for my two sons to share, and they still don't finish it entirely! To save you time and help you track your spending, use the mobile ordering feature on the My Disney Experience mobile app

     My family's favorite budget-friendly snack in the theme parks is warm, buttery popcorn. This mouth-watering snack is available in a souvenir bucket for $12, but refills are only $2 for the length of your stay (prices are always subject to change). When you're home from your pixie-dusted adventures, you'll have the souvenir bucket to remind you of the magical memories you made!

     Speaking of souvenirs, you and your family can take home some magic without breaking the bank. I always give my kids a Disney Gift Card that's loaded with a set amount of money. They know that's all they have to spend on souvenirs, and they do a good job of only looking at items they can afford with their card. Another option is to purchase souvenirs from Walmart or Target before your trip! 

     We sometimes splurge on Memory Maker, but we can still get fantastic family photos when it's not in the budget. Disney PhotoPass Photographers are happy to take photos with your personal camera or phone. Just ask! 

     There are lots of free activities in and out of the theme parks, especially during the holiday season. Be sure to visit Santa Claus at special locations in the parks and Disney Springs. If you have some downtime, do a resort tour to view stunning Christmas trees and incredible gingerbread displays. My favorite free activity is the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs. Stroll past uniquely-themed trees and enjoy the gentle, falling snow!

     I hope this was helpful, Mary. I'm wishing you a magical visit to the Walt Disney World Resort!

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Meet the Panelist: Ashley, Pennsylvania

Hi, there! I'm Ashley, and I have been a fan of all-things-Disney for as long as I can remember. My family and I enjoy sprinkling Disney magic into our everyday lives, but we most love making memories together on a Walt Disney World Resort vacation! The unique entertainment, fantastic dining, and incredible attractions completely immerse our family in the magic of Disney storytelling and keep us coming back to "The Most Magical Place on Earth" year after year.  Learn More About Ashley

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