A Disney vacation is expensive and it seems more and more people are getting priced out lately. Disney does offer discounted stays at Walt Disney World Resorts, however, some people can’t travel during these times and park tickets are still pretty pricey.
It’s especially expensive to travel during Christmas. Sure it’s an amazing experience and in my opinion, worth every dollar, but it costs a big chunk of change to visit during the holiday season. With it being the peak season, you certainly won’t save on park tickets or rooms. The only thing you can try and save on is food and beverages! To help ease the pain a little bit, let’s take a look at some money saving tips for food and beverages for your next trip.
Use Your Snack Credits Wisely
This goes for those on the Disney Dining Plan. I can’t tell you how frustrated I get when I see people use a snack credit for a soda or bottled water. Sure, it’s there money and they can spend it however they like; but using a snack credit for a soda or water is a very poor value. Instead, pay out of pocket for the drink and save your snack credit for something that costs $3.50 or more. If you must get a beverage, head over to Starbucks. Some drinks cost as much as $5.50 (sometimes more!) making them a great use of a snack credit.
Use your Dining Credits Wisely
Maybe I should fix the title to be “Dining Plan Money Saving Tips & Tricks.” I promise I’ll touch on some non-Dining Plan tips.
Guests with dining plans often fall into two categories: those that don’t use the plan to its full potential and those who try too hard to “beat” the system. Both parties lose. At the end of the day, the dining plan is more about convenience than it is about saving money. You should eat what you want. But that doesn’t mean you should use your credits for poor values. As I mentioned above, drinks are a poor choice of a snack credit. Breakfasts are often a poor choice of a table or quick service. Breakfast buffets (and all buffets, really,) can be a great value depending on how much you eat. Many quick service spots, such as resort food courts are a poor value on the dining plan. Instead, use a snack or pay out of pocket for your meal. There are some quik service spots that have value, such as Be Our Guest. For a full list of values, check out this article by WDWPrepSchool.
Use Your Mug!
Another tip for those on the DDP. You receive a mug as part of your dining plan package and yet, many fail to use it. Here’s a little tip that you can use. Personally, I hate filling my mug with coffee. I think it holds the taste and it’s very hard to wash away. Plus, I hate the idea of carrying my mug to the parks. But I need my morning coffee.
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, too. Within every resort room is a coffee maker. Disney usually provides you with a few foam to-go cups to enjoy your coffee. I usually bring the to-go cup with me and fill it with coffee in the morning. Sometimes I’ll bring my mug to show good faith (that I’ve paid for the mug but chosen not to fill it.) One morning, I filled up my to-go cup before heading to the bus. A CM looked my way and I felt the need to explain myself. I looked her way, smiled and said “I don’t feel like toting my mug around all day.” She smiled and replied “all the power to ya’, I wouldn’t want to either!”
I usually tuck a few of the foam cups in the drawer so that the maid will replace the cup. If you happen to see the maid cart, ask for a few cups. The food court usually has lids, making it easy to bring your coffee with you and not worry about carrying a mug all day!
There’s a few different grocery delivery services at Walt Disney World. Some popular ones include Garden Grocer and WeGoShop. There are minimums (usually $40 or so) and delivery fees apply.
My favorite, however, is Amazon. Last year we ordered a 24-pack of water along with a few toiletries and had them sent to our resort. The order was waiting for us when we checked in! Every resort has an address for delivery. Everything you need to know can be found here, thanks to DisBoards.
Go Grocery Shopping
If you don’t have an Amazon account or don’t feel like paying delivery fees, head to a nearby store. My sister and I drove from Tampa last year for Food & Wine and stopped by Walgreens off I-4 before heading into Disney. We grabbed a 12-pack of water for around $3.00—the price of ONE water in Disney.
If you don’t have a car, order an Uber or a taxi to a nearby store. I know there’s a Target nearby, as well as a few grocery stores. Even if you spend $20 for an Uber roundtrip and $3.50 for a 12-pack of water, you’ll come out ahead (think 12 x 3.50 = $42.)
Grocery stores also work for breakfast. As I mentioned earlier, breakfast is a poor use of a Counter Service and for some restaurants a Table Service credit. Pick up some cereal and milk or a few muffins or breakfast bars instead.
How do you save money at Disney? Let’s hear some more tips!