Experts Share Hacks To Save at Disney This Summer as Travel Costs Skyrocket

Are you thinking about taking the family on vacation this summer? You are not alone. According to KAYAK, demand for air travel is up in 2023, with domestic and international prices up 52% and 29%, respectively, compared to last year.

This jump in airfare has caused the overall price of travel to outpace the already excessive inflation rate over the past year, at 9% versus 5% inflation, according to a Nerdwallet study. And it’s not just airline tickets: Travel costs are up across the board. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, rental cars for hotel stays are also up compared to last year.

If your summer travel plans involve a trip to a Disney theme park, you can likely imagine how things will play out regarding cost. The ever-rising price of a Disney vacation is not new, and seasoned travelers are familiar with watching their budget stretch higher year over year. However, with record inflation and a looming recession, a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth seems pricier than ever.

But some careful digging will reveal that it is still possible to take that dream Disney World or Disneyland vacation. Though a significant financial investment, there are numerous ways to save, from hotel accommodations to spending in the parks.

Think Outside The Box To Save on Hotel Accommodations

Hotel accommodations are among the more significant expenses of any Disney vacation budget.

Many families stay on Disney property for proximity to the parks, not to mention living inside that Disney “bubble” throughout their stay. But if you are not careful, this cost can balloon quickly, leaving little room for other expenses, such as dining.

Choosing the lowest-price resort option will, of course, help to afford much more ‘vacation,’ but do not be afraid to think outside the box as well.

For example, did you know you can still splurge on top-tier accommodations without paying full price?

Eduardo Silva, Disney Vacation Club expert at MickeyVisit.com, offers this advice: “One of the best ways to save money on a high-end hotel at Walt Disney World and Disneyland is by renting Disney Vacation Club points. Travelers can rent a set amount of Disney timeshare points and then use those points to book a Deluxe hotel room at what is typically a discounted rate.”

There are savings to be had at the Disneyland Resort as well. Disney’s three on-property hotels in Anaheim carry a high sticker price, but dozens of other options exist.

Gavin Doyle, founder at MickeyVisit.com, shares, “Unlike Walt Disney World, many hotels near Disneyland are just across the street from the theme park entrance. In certain situations, guests staying off-property may actually be staying in a room closer to the theme park entrance than those staying on Disney property. Don’t be afraid to book an off-property hotel. There are a number of great options.”

Discounts on Park Tickets Exist, if You Know Where To Look

Buying theme park tickets is an exciting part of the Disney vacation planning process, but it is also a pricey one. And with the cost of a Walt Disney World vacation going up year after year, it adds even more pressure to have a perfect trip once you arrive.

Finding a deal on park tickets might seem impossible. However, knowing that you can save on admission if you know where to look is essential.

Doyle notes, “Make sure you are finding the best prices on tickets. There are always discounts on multi-day Disneyland and Walt Disney World tickets from Disney ticket resale partners.”

Doyle also made sure to mention a warning about discount Disneyland tickets. “Disney does not sell single-day discount Disneyland tickets anywhere to the general public. If you see discounted one-day tickets, these are either for a specialized group or a scam. Buyer beware.”

Mickey Visit has an exclusive deal with one of Disney’s travel partners to secure additional discounts on Disneyland tickets for their readers.

Strategize Your Dining Budget

After you pay for your trip and are in the Disney theme parks, the most considerable expense you’ll encounter will likely be dining. Meals aside, the cost of those tasty snacks will add up fast – but the good news is that there are ways to save on dining in the parks.

Historically, families used the Disney Dining Plan to determine a fixed cost before travel. But since the Dining Plan has yet to return, you must budget more mindfully so your spending does not get out of hand.

Megan duBois, a travel journalist specializing in The Walt Disney Company, notes, “Try to plan out what you really want to do each day and stick to a budget. Most of the time, your family won’t need to do three big table service meals every day, which can be costly.

“Think about trying one table service restaurant or character meal every day, then snacking around the parks or bringing in your own treats to munch on as you explore the parks.”

Chris Provost, Creator of Provost Park Pass, adds, “Disney allows you to bring food into the park. You cannot bring in glass bottles or alcohol, but other than that, feel free to bring in food to feed your family. We often like to pack easy-to-eat breakfast bars so we can prioritize enjoying the parks in the morning.”

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Genie+

Before 2020, Disney theme park admission included access to each ride’s expedited queue. This system, known previously as FastPass+, was replaced in 2021 by Genie+, Disney’s new paid method of skipping the line at your favorite attraction.

Genie+ works the same as FastPass+, but you have to pay for it. The cost of Genie+ fluctuates daily depending on how busy the parks are. Expect to pay up to $25 or more per person per day at Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort.

Genie+ is not mandatory to experience your favorite rides, and as duBois points out, “Consider if you really need Disney Genie+ for your family. If you’re willing to get to the parks early or stay after the fireworks, you can get onto many attractions without Genie+, which can cost $20 or more per person per day at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

“You can also try for a boarding group for attractions like Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway or Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Disneyland and EPCOT, respectively, which are free with park admission, though entrance to the attractions isn’t guaranteed this way.”

Note, too, that because Genie+ is only available for purchase per day, you can pick and choose what days you need it. You may choose to buy it on your day in the Magic Kingdom, but you decide to save on your EPCOT day. Little strategies like this can add up to savings over time, giving you more flexibility in your vacation budget or the ability to start putting money away toward your next Disney vacation.

This article was produced by Disney Dose and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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