How to Save Up to $1,000 on your Next Disney World Vacation

By: Kingston Amadan

Costly accommodations, exorbitant theme park ticket prices, overpriced meals and loads of unnecessary souvenirs have the potential to turn a dream family vacation at Disney World into a true nightmare for your wallet! Fortunately, by following the tried-and-true tips below, you can save up to $1,000 on your next Disney World getaway:

Plan Ahead
Don't just wing it! Research the destination thoroughly before you arrive and sketch out your Disney World itinerary. Don't make it too rigid (you'll want to leave some room for spontaneity). Check out comprehensive online vacation guides to Orlando and Disney World such as Orlando-Florida.net, which provides detailed information on Walt Disney World Resort such as theme park attractions, live entertainment, restaurants, resorts and specialty shops, as well as great deals on discount theme park tickets, hotels and vacation packages.

Travel During the Off-Season
Avoid the crowds! Walt Disney World theme parks are most crowded during Spring Break, from mid-June to mid-August, Easter weekend, Thanksgiving week, the week before Christmas through New Year's Day and on three-day holiday weekends such as Memorial Day and Labor Day. Value season typically runs from after Labor Day weekend through the end of September, the week after Thanksgiving until a week before Christmas and after New Year's Day until just before Presidents' week in February. For an added bonus, schedule your vacation around one of Disney's immensely popular annual events and festivals, many of which are included with the price of admission such as the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, ABC Super Soap Weekend, Holidays Around the World, Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and Star Wars Weekends.

Seek Out Budget Accommodations
Believe it or not, you can still stay on Disney property without spending a fortune by booking a reservation at one of Disney's budget all-star resorts - Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, Disney's All-Star Music Resort and Disney's All-Star Sports Resort - all of which provide complimentary scheduled transportation to Disney World theme parks, as well as Downtown Disney. However, you will enjoy even more savings if you opt to stay off Disney property at one of the numerous budget motels and hotels that lie near the main entrance to Disney World along Highway 192 in Kissimmee or along world-famous International Drive. Before you book your reservation, check to see if the motel or hotel offers a complimentary continental or full breakfast each morning for guests. If you have a large family or are planning a family reunion, look into renting a vacation home - many of which offer private backyard pools, enclosed garages and washer/dryers.

Take Advantage of Complimentary Transportation
All Disney World resorts provide complimentary scheduled transportation to Disney theme parks and many area hotels, motels and resorts also offer free scheduled shutttle service to Disney World, as well as Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando. If you are staying at a Disney resort, enjoy free shuttle service to and from the Orlando International Airport aboard Disney's Magical Express (reservations are required).

Purchase Multi-Day Tickets
Believe it or not, a one-day, one-park ticket to Disney World is currently $71 plus tax! Fortunately, there are more Disney World multi-day ticket options than ever before. Look into Disney "Park Hopper" tickets, which allow you to come and go as you please throughout any of the four Disney World theme parks: Disney's Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Choose the appropriate Disney ticket deal based on your family's length of stay in Orlando and remember not to overdo it - you should definitely schedule time for rest and relaxation during your Disney vacation. Most importantly, do not purchase your Disney World tickets at the gate - seek out the best online deals before you arrive to the theme park.

Eat Out Wisely
If you plan to eat at one of the Disney World theme parks, make lunch your big meal of the day when prices are significantly lower than for dinner (especially at Epcot's World Showcase). Also, don't forget to bring along some water bottles and small snacks for the kids. In addition, you don't have to spend a fortune at one of the Disney Character Breakfasts for autographs and photo opportunities - just take your kids to one of the free character meet and greet areas throughout all of the Disney World theme parks such as Town Square at Disney's Magic Kingdom or Camp Minnie-Mickey at Disney's Animal Kingdom. If you have a large family, check out one of the many budget, all-you-can-eat buffets that lie just outside Disney property on Highway 192 and along International Drive. Also, pick up a copy of free publications such as I Love Orlando magazine, which contain discount coupons for Orlando restaurants. Finally, many motels and hotels with onsite restaurants offer "Kids Eat Free" deals (one child eats per paying adult).

Set a Budget for Souvenirs
Establish a budget for Disney souvenirs and, most importantly, stick to your budget! Check out some of the area factory outlet stores such as Orlando Premium Outlets for Disney merchandise at substantially lower prices. In addition, purchase such necessities as film and sunscreen before you arrive at the theme parks, since prices at Disney are more expensive for those items.

Take a Break from the Theme Parks
Plan some time to take occasional breaks from the Disney theme parks and you can unwind and save money in the process. Check out some of the free things to do at Disney World such as strolling around Disney's Boardwalk and Downtown Disney, both of which offer theme restaurants and specialty shops. If you really want to get away far from the madding crowd, consider a hike through the scenic, 12,000-acre Disney Wilderness Preserve, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. The entrance fee is just $3 for adults and $2 for ages 6-17.

Enjoy Membership Discounts
If you are an AAA or AARP member, make sure to take advantage of any special rates or discounts that are available during your Disney World vacation at hotels, restaurants and Orlando area attractions. Also, if you are a Florida resident, check with Disney World about any available discounts.

Book Your Disney Vacation Online
The best way to enjoy significant savings on your next Disney World vacation is to seek out the best online deals for discount Disney World tickets, budget accommodations on or off Disney property and individually tailored Disney vacation packages. Several leading online vacation providers such as HotelsCorp.com serve as comprehensive "one-stop" resources for incredible deals on Disney tickets, hotels and vacation packages.

"A variety of online vacation providers are available but HotelsCorp.com prides itself on offering the best online prices for Disney World vacations," said Kyle Collins, Director of Interactive Marketing at HotelsCorp.com.

Orlando, Florida Guide, the most comprehensive online guide to Orlando and Disney World, also features discount Disney World tickets, incredible deals on Orlando hotels and individually tailored Orlando vacation packages.

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