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Tips for Making Disney Affordable

My husband and I have been making annual trips to Disney with our oldest since she turned 2. We typically take a two-week trip there once a year. A trip to Disney World is a very magical experience for both the young and the old, and each time we go the girls get something different out of the experience.

Making Disney Affordable

“Brenda, give me the phone. I want to call Mickey.”

When I have talked to our family and friends about our trips, one of the first questions they ask is, “How can you afford that?” My husband likes to say that, “Disney is the only place you can get robbed with a smile on your face.” 

Nathan is right, Disney can be obscenely expensive, but it can also be affordable. We haven chosen to not buy the $20 light up balloons, $10 hot dogs, and tons of other Disney paraphernalia in order to make our trips more affordable. Only you know what will work for your family, but here is a list of some of the cheap easy things my family does to make it affordable for us. 


  • Breakfast – I always pack a cheap 2 slot toaster I bought at target to bring to the hotel. Once we arrive at the hotel I’ll go out and buybagels, bread, peanut butter, etc. This is a cheap easy breakfast in the room. We also use the coffee pot to make hot water for oatmeal.
  • Lunch – We buy bread, ham, cheese, peanut butter,  jelly, and bags of chips at the store. We pre-make all of our sandwiches to take to the park. Disney allows guest to bring food into the park and eat it in their quick service restaurants where you have access to napkins, utensils, mayo etc.
Making Disney Affordable

Pb&J at Cosmic Ray’s Cafe

  • Drinks – I bought everyone a nice water bottle to take with them to the park each day. We fill it with ice water before we leave, and any quick service restaurant will give you free ice water throughout the park. I bring water flavoring to put in our water, just because we don’t care for the taste of Florida water. 
  • Snacks – I always stock up at the grocery with our favorite snacks to keep in the hotel room and to take to the park. We buy bagged popcorn to bring for parades, cookies, granola bars, juice boxes, and just basically anything I think the family may want to snack on.
  • Dinner – We allow the girls to pick one special place they want to eat while we are at Disney. The last time we went they wanted to eat at Be Our Guest. Pick one or two special places but other than that eat off Disney property, there are plenty of chains the kids like, and local eateries as well to try. 


  • Light up/ Noise making toys – I have a bunch of these at my house. We have collected them from different shows, holidays etc. I keep them put up so that the kids arent bored with them and always pull them out for the trip. I also buy glow sticks off of the $1 rack at target to pack before we go.
  • Princess/Pirate dress up – We bring everything we need from home. Colored hairspray, eye patches, face paint, nail polish, sparkley make up, as well as our collection of dress up clothes.
Making Disney Affordable

Everyone wants to be Elsa

  • Autograph books – We buy drawing pads and bring sharpies. Characters such as Winnie the Pooh appriciate the larger paper, and bigger sized marker. It is easier for them to handle. 
Making Disney Affordable

Jake signing our sketch books.

  • Something to take home – We only look at things we may like for the first half of our trip, so that we may have time to think about what we really want. This helps keep us from implusively buying something just because we, “want” it. Towards the end of the trip each person gets to pick 1 thing that they really want. 

I can not say enough, about what a wonderful place Disney World is to visit, and now that we have found ways to make our trips more affordable we enjoy our time there much more. We also do not feel as rushed to see, do, and experience everything, since making the trip to Disney is affordable everyone knows that we will be returning soon. 

Making Disney Affordable

A family ride on the people mover.


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About the author


Susan is a stay at home mom to two spunky little girls, ages 4 and 1. She likes to keep the girls busy with lots of outside activities, gymnastics, dance, music, and seasonal sports. However, always make time to have play dates with friends and just be a kid.


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