Disney World is by far my favorite place! I love the rides, the food, and the whole Disney experience. I still get teary every time I see the castle for the first time on my vacation. However, we all know a trip to Disney World isn’t cheap. Here are some tips for visiting Disney World on a teacher’s budget.
How to Visit Disney World on a Teacher’s Budget
Normally, the number one tip for saving money at Disney World is to go during the off season. I’m not even going to put that on my list, because it’s virtually impossible as a teacher. Unless you have a week-long break that isn’t over a major holiday, that’s not going to happen. However, there are still plenty of ways to save money on a trip to Disney World.
#1 – Start Saving a Little Bit at a Time
Paying for a Disney vacation is a lot easier when you have money set aside specifically for it. I have a Disney envelope that I add money to each time I get a paycheck. Just add whatever you can, and watch as it grows. Even my kids are willing to give their five dollar a week allowance to the Disney fund.
Wait until you have enough money saved. Then, start planning your special vacation. Any extra money you build up in the meantime will be perfect for spending money while you’re there.
#2- Buy Disney Gift Cards at Target
If you have a Target Red Card, you get 5% off of all your purchases. Amazingly, that includes Disney gift cards. For every holiday leading up to our Disney World vacation, I buy my kids Disney gift cards from Target. I love getting 5% off of them, and they love planning what they’re going to buy with them.
#3 – Ask for Disney Gift Cards for Gifts
You can save up Disney gift cards, too. They work for food, souveniers, and almost everything in Disney World. I ask for Disney gift cards from all my family members for Christmas and my birthday. I’ve even received them from some of my students who know how much I love everything Disney.
#4 – Find an Affordable Place to Stay.
You can definitely find places off Disney property that are very affordable. There are condos and even whole houses for rent really close to Disney World.
However, I always save a little bit longer to be able to stay at a Disney resort. There are so many added benefits to staying on property, like Extra Magic Hours that allow you into the park an hour before the general public. You also get to reserve your dining and FastPasses before everyone else. Plus, Disney transportation is a reliable way to get from one place to another.
If you want the best of both worlds, The Swan and Dolphin Resort offers a teacher discount and most of the advantages of staying at a Disney resort. This resort is managed by Marriott, but you still get to book your FastPasses in advance and benefit from Extra Magic Hours.
The Hilton Orlando also offers a Teacher Appreciation Discount. You’ll receive 20% off your room and a daily $50 resort credit.
#5 – Buy Souveneirs for the Kids Before Leaving Home
One of the easiest places to spend a lot of money at Disney World is the gift shops. They are everywhere, and of course you have to walk through one every time you get off a ride. It’s inevitable that the kids are going to see something they want in every single shop.
I stock up on little Disney surprises before I leave home. You can get stuffed animals and Disney light-up toys for a lot less money than you’re going to pay in the parks. I give my kids a little treat each day so they feel like they’re getting something.
Then, when we look in the gift shops, we take pictures of the items they like and their prices. The day before our vacation ends, we look back through the pictures, and the kids choose what they want to buy with their gift cards. On the last day, we go back to those stores and purchase the few items they really want.
#6 – Get a Disney VISA Card
Another way to get money toward your Disney World vacation is with a Disney VISA Card. With everything you purchase, you get points. Those points convert to dollars to spend on a Disney vacation. Plus, you get special discounts at the Disney Store a few times a year.
Find out how to get your Disney VISA Card, and start earning points today! Plus, you’ll get $200 statement credit when you spend $500 in the first three months!
#7 – Take Your Own Pictures
I love having pictures to remember our special Disney memories. One year, I invested in Disney Memory Maker. That gives you access to all the photos the Disney photographers take during your vacation. It was a nice service, and there are some neat effects the phototgraphers can add to the pictures, but I wouldn’t do it again.
Disney makes it really easy to take your own photos. A cast member will use your camera or phone to take pictures of your family at character meetings. Plus, you can almost always find a friendly person nearby who will happily snap a photo for you.
#8 – Bring Some of Your Own Food
Food is another place you can spend a lot of money. Disney food is really expensive. Don’t be surprised when they ask you to pay $7.oo for a small cup of yogurt. That’s why I bring my own breakfast foods and snacks. I pack boxes of granola bars, cereal, and juice boxes in my suitcases. That way, we can grab a quick breakfast before heading out for the day.
Disney allows you to bring food into the parks. I stock my bag with snacks. We often munch on them while we’re waiting in line, and they usually keep us from stopping for lunch.
Dinner is the meal we usually splurge on during our Disney vacation. We sit down as a family and choose the restaurants we really want to try. Then, I book our reservations 180 days before our trip to guarantee the times we want. We always schedule a character dining experience, like dinner at Be Our Guest.
#9 – Don’t Rent a Car
If you’re staying on Disney property, there is no need to rent a car. The Magical Express will pick you up at the airport and transport you directly to your hotel. The Disney busses, boats, and monorails will get you everywhere else you need to go during your stay. The monorail was actually my son’s favorite ride when we were there. Ironically, you don’t even need to buy park tickets to ride it. Haha!
#10 – Don’t Worry About Money During Your Vacation
If you’ve budgeted appropriately and saved up your Disney gift cards and credit card points, you should have more than enough spending money for your trip. That should allow you not to worry about money during your vacation. Enjoy every minute you spend soaking in the magic of Disney World with your family!
Looking for other vacation destinations for your family? Find out how to plan an amazing vacation to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
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