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How to Save Money on Your Disney Vacation

Author: Michael Jackson

Disneyland and Disney World, part of the Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), may be two of the happiest places on Earth, but for people's wallets, Disney vacations can be anything but happy. With transportation and accommodations needed even before entering the parks, taking a family to Disneyland or Disney World can be one of the most expensive trips of the year. Regardless of budget, it is important to be money conscious. The following are five tips on how to save money during a Disney vacation.

1. Leave the Souvenirs Behind

When it comes to a Disney vacation, one of the smaller costs that adds up quickly is the little souvenirs and trinkets offered throughout the parks. While individually, these souvenirs do not cost much, park patrons fall into the trap of purchasing multiple trinkets, compounding small expenses into a large bill.

It is more important to spend money on experiences rather than physical items, but if there are kids who want souvenirs, there is a simple life hack for saving money and giving them what they want. Purchase Disney souvenirs on Amazon prior to a vacation so the kids get the benefit of Disney's trinkets for a fraction of the cost.

2. Plan for a Day Away From the Parks

Disneyland and Disney World are great, but it is not a necessity to be there for every day of a vacation. If staying at Downtown Disney, for example, plan a lounge day where the family can hang out by the hotel pool and explore the free surroundings.

If a Disney vacation is going to last for five days, it is probably better not to frequent the park for all five days. Instead, save a little money on park admission and all the associated costs by having a break in the middle of the vacation. If staying at a Disney-sponsored hotel, there are a lot of fun things to do without ever leaving the hotel property.

3. Decide on One Park Rather Than a Being a Park Hopper

This money-saving tip is much more relevant for Disney World vacations, but it also applies to Disneyland. Disney World is comprised of four parks, and a Park Hopper pass allows people to travel among all of them. It is possible, however, to get a single pass for one of the parks and save money. For example, the Magic Kingdom in Disney World is almost identical to Disneyland and provides enough fun for an entire vacation. Disneyland does not have four parks, but it does have California Adventures right across the street. However, those looking to save about $40 per ticket will find there's plenty to be entertained by at the original park.

4. Visit the Parks During the Off-Season

Planning a Disney vacation during the winter months or during the week is a great way to save money. The best off-season times for Disneyland and Disney World are between the months of January and March, and again between the months of September and November. Taking a vacation during these off-peak times provides many cost-saving benefits. Flights and hotels are often cheaper since these off-season dates are during times when people are usually not traveling.

5. Do Not Hesitate to Stay Outside the Parks

Stay at a hotel other than a Disney hotel to save money. Rather than going through Disney, check companies such as Priceline, Expedia or even Airbnb for better deals. Paying a premium to be in a central location to the parks is not all it is cracked up to be if it costs you a ton of money. It is even possible to go camping, with several tent and RV campsites in close proximity to both Disneyland and Disney World.

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