Our partner, Sarah Reinhart with Hi Ho Vacations has experienced what it’s like to travel and visit Disney parks with young children first hand. Her children began visiting Disney World as infants! Sarah has experience with Disney travel at all price points and can help families find what’s best for them! Bloomington Moms Blog invited Sarah to share her advice, tips and tricks for planning a memorable and magical Disney vacation.
Are you Wishing Upon a Star for the perfect Disney Vacation, but worried about the budget? With a little planning and preparation, your Disney family vacation can be magical, and full of excitement and adventure without breaking the bank!
Here are five ways you can plan ahead and save on your Disney vacation!
1. Travel During Low Season
Choosing your travel dates carefully can greatly affect your overall travel costs. Resorts and flights are less expensive during low seasons, avoiding holidays. If you have preschoolers, or if you are willing to excuse your school age children from a few days of school, consider late winter or late summer (January to early March, mid-August to September). Lower costs and lower crowds… Win, win!
2. Pack Your Own Snacks
Did you know Disney allows food and non-alcoholic drinks into the parks? Personally, I LOVE the Disney dining plan (which saves you money and allows for snacks), but even on the plan I suggest packing your own snacks. With single serving popcorn, ice cream, and other treats falling between $4 and $6 a pop, and a toddler meltdown approaching, it pays to be prepared. Throw your child’s favorite snacks and your refillable water bottles into the backpack or stroller, and whip them out as you see the “hungries” coming on. Refill your water bottles with fresh ice and water for free at any quick service restaurant.
3. Avoid the Gimmies
Purchase ahead of time! Disney has no shortage of super cute, fun, and unique items to purchase with your child’s favorite characters. Shop at dollar stores, Target, and Walmart for Disney themed T-shirts, autograph books, glow sticks, bubbles, and toys to save big. Pack these items and surprise your kiddos each morning before you head to the parks! Also, watch Amazon and Ebay for Mickey Ears, Disney Trading Pins, and other goodies for a discounted price.
If you are worried about how you are going to manage your child’s spending money in the parks, put it on a Disney gift card. Get one gift card for each member of your family and preload that card with a specific amount. This will allow you to accurately budget and it gives your child a sense of responsibility.
4. Don’t Wait Until Your Kids are Older
Waiting until your toddler gets a little older before you travel to Disney? Don’t wait! Kids under the age of three years are completely FREE at Disney parks and resorts. See the magic of Disney through your toddler’s eyes! They might not be remember it, but you will, and you will cherish those memories for a lifetime.
5. Work with a Disney Authorizied Travel Planner
It’s free! Using a Disney travel planner will ensure that you have someone in your corner looking out for your best interests. When a new deal is released, we know it first. Finding the best promotional offers, resort information, and all of the latest dining and Fastpass+ updates is easy when you are working with a planner. Disney planning can be overwhelming, so let an expert help plan your family’s Magical Disney Vacation.
You can spend days, even months, wading through the message boards, blogs, books, and podcasts created to give insight on “hidden deals.” There are some good ones, but there is also a ton of misinformation out there. Also, don’t get so caught up in the planning that you forgot why you are traveling to Disney in the first place.
Make the most of your Disney vacation by being prepared, and when you are ready to see the Mouse, give me a call – I’m all ears!
Sarah Reinhart is a graduate of Disney’s College of Knowledge and is able to assist families in planning their dream vacation to all of the Disney destinations. Having traveled to Disney World and Disneyland, she has experience on both coasts!
Sarah and her husband have three children ages 12, 9, and 8. She has experienced what it’s like to travel and visit Disney Parks with young children first hand. Her children began visiting Disney World as infants! Based on her experiences, she is able to provide unique assistance to families traveling with children.
Sarah’s favorite Disney memory is opening the Magic Kingdom on Mother’s Day with her family, Mickey and the Gang. Sarah’s goal is to help everyone fall in love with the magic of Disney, just as she has, over and over again.