On Wednesday, I wrote about different ways to make or save money at Disney Parks. For college students, however, this is only half the battle. Going to Disney can be extremely expensive if you don't know what you're doing, so I'd like to give a few suggestions on how to have a great trip and not break the bank.
1. Stay at a value resort or off property. Where you'll be staying can be easily half your budget, so definitely do your research on which resort will be the cheapest. On Walt Disney World property, these are the value resorts, and you can often find great deals in the surrounding area as well. Keep in mind, however, that if you choose to stay off property, you will usually have to provide your own transportation. This can be pricey and difficult if you're too young to rent a car. Which brings me to point number two...
2. Use provided transportation if possible. If you're staying on Disney property, use Disney's Magical Express as well as the other provided Disney transportation (for the values, you'll be using the bus system). Yes, driving is usually faster, but Disney transportation is always free-er. Some off property hotels may have complimentary transportation as well, but if they don't, weigh the price difference between staying on property and using Disney transportation and staying off property and renting a car (if you can).
3. Share meals. Meal sizes at Disney are huge, and if you can agree with someone else in your party on what to eat, you should definitely consider sharing an entree or an entree with an appetizer/extra side. Also consider having just an appetizer as a meal. Budget conscious guests should avoid Signature Dining experiences, and if you're very budget conscious, you might want to avoid table service restaurants in general. If you really want table service, though, consider going during lunch time. Entrees are usually similar if not the same as dinner time, and the prices are lower!
4. Buy pins, Vinylmation, and other collectibles on eBay. If you're a collector, it can get pricey. One way to save on your collectibles is to buy them on eBay and then trade the ones you bought for the ones you want. This can really save you a lot of money, but beware of fake merchandise. Like I said in my previous post about pin trading, make sure you trust the seller. Scouting with the Mouse recommends always checking the seller's reputation, and if you plan on buying a large number of pins from one seller, buy a small amount first to make sure that they're legitimate.
5. Crunch the numbers. This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you for saving money at Disney. The minutes that it will take you to calculate the prices of different hotels on and off property, different deals, etc could save you hundreds of dollars. If you're not great with numbers, get a travel agent to do the work for you. That's what they're there for. The worst possible thing you could do is book your trip with an offer that seems good and leave it. There are multiple offers out at every given time, and you don't want to miss one.
And those are my five ways to save money at Disney. What do you think of them? What are your ways to save money? Let me know in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!
This post is part of the sixth DisMarks.com Disney Blog Carnival. Click the link to see more great Disney articles!