How to Save Money at Disney World

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Use credit card points and cash back

Most people are familiar with using rewards points for travel elements such as airfare and hotels, but there are a few things Kerr suggests when it comes to Disney trips.

First, you may be able to use credit card points to buy park tickets, adding that you generally just don’t want to buy them directly through Disney.

“Credit cards let you redeem points toward a travel purchase. But ticket purchases from Disney do not code as travel, so you need to buy from the deals site Undercover Tourist, ”he says. Tickets are also available through some online travel agencies such as Expedia. “Then you can use points, which are typically [worth] one cent a piece, to cover the cost of a Disney ticket. “

Cards that let you redeem this way and effectively “erase” your recent ticket purchases include the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Just note that these third-party sites may sometimes charge slightly higher prices than when you buy tickets with Disney directly. For instance, purchasing tickets through Expedia will incur a 5% convenience fee.

Meanwhile, those with Citi cards, such as the Citi Premier, can redeem their points toward Disney tickets by calling Citi’s third-party travel agency, Connexions Travel.

Kerr also suggests using Marriott Bonvoy points to book rooms at the Swan, the Dolphin, or the Swan Reserve, which are considered deluxe on-Disney-property resorts, offering early access to Lightning Lanes, extended park hours and free transportation to and from the parks and to Disney Springs, so you may be able to skip renting a car for extra savings.

“It’s the sweet spot of being on property, getting early access, and paying in points instead of crazy cash rates for your hotel,” Kerr says.

Kerr’s tip for maximizing Marriott points: Open a credit card with a welcome bonus. “There are several different Marriott cards out there, so my wife will get one card, which comes with a very large sign-up bonus, and I’ll get another card that has a sign-up bonus. Then Marriott lets you combine up to 55,000 points per year between spouses. ”

Here’s a quick summary of the current welcome offers for the Marriott credit cards:

Make smart budget picks

“This summer is like nothing we’ve ever seen,” says Kerr about airfares. He advises booking with a low-cost carrier that services Orlando extensively, such as Spirit Airlines or Frontier Airlines. Not only can it be cheaper, but those airlines are having fewer issues when it comes to overscheduling and understaffing than many of the legacy carriers, Kerr says.

As for resorts, if you want to be on property at Disney World, consider staying at its value resorts such as All-Star Movies, All-Star Music, Pop Century and the Art of Animation. There are specials on the Disney website, says Skamarakas.

“In a lot of situations, you’ll pay the same amount for a moderately priced room that you would pay for a value resort,” she says. The perks include early access to Lightning Lanes, free transportation and 30 minutes of early access to the parks.

Theme park journalist Megan duBois recommends the hotels in the Disney Springs area – about a 10-minute drive from EPCOT – which often run deals for teachers, members of the military, medical workers and government employees. Her picks of lei include the DoubleTree Suites, which is bookable with Hilton Honors points, and the B Resort & Spa. Just be aware that “In Disney Springs, hotel parking fees can be outrageous,” duBois says.

Off-property, duBois is a fan of the hotels in the Vineland area, about a five-minute drive from Disney Springs. “There’s a Marriott Village, which has a Springhill Suites and other brands that are usually very budget friendly,” she says.

Eat more affordably

Food is a big part of the Disney World experience – the experts agree that the biggest money-saving tip is to skip sit-down restaurants and head instead to quick-service counter-service spots.

Skamarakas recommends the Japan Pavilion in EPCOT, while in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, duBois recommends the Satu’li Canteen – “They have a bao fun burger that kids just go wild for” – and Flame Tree Barbecue, where entrees range from $ 11- $ 16.

You can also order cheaper kids’ meals for adults at any Disney quick service restaurant, says duBois, which are child-sized but suitable for an adult who isn’t too hungry. They cost around $ 6- $ 7, including an entree, a side and a drink. “I’ve never had a [Disney worker] say, ‘Where’s the kid?’ “she says.

Note that restaurants within the parks also code as dining, so make sure you’re using a credit card that rewards you and lets you earn points for that type of spending.

Another trick? Use pre-purchased Disney gift cards to pay for food and more – retailers such as Target and BJs sell them with a 5% discount.

For even bigger discounts on gift cards, Kerr advises keeping an eye on Facebook groups such as Disney Hacks, Disney Park Magic and Ways to Save for Disney, which often feature other invaluable tips to help you save money on your next Disney World trip.

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Information about the Capital One cards has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyzes, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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