For many families, a Disney vacation is a once in a lifetime opportunity that requires saving and sacrifice to make the dream vacation a reality. For others, it is an annual pilgrimage to relive favorite family memories and traditions. Whatever the case may be for your family, here are some helpful ways to start saving for Disney:
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Start today with the $5 bill rule
Instead of collecting spare change towards your family trips, collect $5 bills! Each time you get a $5 bill, put it aside and see how fast it adds up!
Disney Gift Cards
Disney gift cards can be used towards a Disney cruise, Disney theme park vacation packages, park tickets, dining and merchandise throughout the resorts.
Purchase discounted Disney gift cards from stores like Costco and Sam’s. Have a celebration coming up? Let your family know you are saving for Disney and a Disney giftcard would be an excellent gift!
You can use Disney gift cards to apply against the balance of your Disney reservation if you book directly with Disney, and most travel planners can also apply them for you. (Be aware Costco will not allow you to use Disney gift cards or Chase reward points to pay for your vacation).
Read More: How Young Is Too Young For A Visit to Disney
Earn rewards with the Disney Visa by Chase*
Chase offers a Disney Visa that accumulates points which can then be redeemed for Disney rewards! While you won’t get bonus frequent flyer miles with this card, you will get reward points that can be used towards your Disney parks packages, park tickets, airfare, merchandise, a Disney cruise, or even a stay at Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa in Hawaii!
Cardmembers receive discounts at select shops and restaurants within Disney parks as well as at the Disney Store.
Disney often offers early access to cardholders during special promotions for the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or the Disneyland Resort in California which can save on the nightly hotel rate or even free dining!
Rack up miles and hotel points
Whether you live on the other side of the country or the other side of the globe, being loyal to travel partners can take a huge burden off the cost of traveling for your family vacation.
Airline frequent flyer miles, accumulated by actual miles flown, airline credit cards, or partner sites such as car rental partners that offer airline points, may be able to get at least a portion of your family to your destination. If your city is a hub for an airline, fly only on that airline, if possible.
Apply for your preferred airline’s credit card and get bonus miles. Alternatively, there are some great credit cards out there that offer points towards travel on most airlines. If you need to be flexible with the airline you use, a Chase Sapphire card is a great card for travelers.
Gas and groceries alone can really help to rack up the points. Just be sure to avoid carrying over balances as that will defeat every benefit of the card and eliminate any savings. Use that one credit card for all of your family’s purchases and try to pay it off monthly.
Loyalty to a hotel chain can also help get you where you want to be, whether it’s a night’s lodging on a long road trip or a local hotel close to the attractions.
Tip: For anyone who owns a business or travels for their job, these same tips apply! Load up on miles both from your family’s own travel and spending as well as all your business-related expenses!
Book a Disney Package
If you want to stay on-site at one of Disney’s resorts, always book your vacation as a package (resort + tickets), never piece together independent bookings (resort and tickets purchased separately) for the same destination. If a Disney promotion is released, it often requires a package with a minimum number of nights and days in the parks in order to apply for the promotion.
Purchasing a package also allows for more flexibility with modifications, as well as cancellations if your family’s plans change. When you purchase your tickets as stand-alone tickets, you purchase them in full, and they are non-refundable/non-transferrable. Packages can be modified for dates, resort, tickets and dining plans, and you can also spread your payments out up until close to your arrival date.
Work with a professional travel planner who specializes in Disney destinations
For Walt Disney World and Disneyland, professional planners who specialize in Disney will not only know all the tips and tricks to get the best deals for your vacation, but they can also help walk you through everything. They will help explain all the details about tickets and dining plans, as well as helping you with any family members who have dietary, mobility or sensory concerns. Be sure to mention what you love to eat or want to try! Disney planners do an excellent job at recommending restaurants, and even mapping out areas to rest tired little feet while filling up hungry bellies.
Make sure you have these travel-friendly must-haves when you want to take the best photos of your family while on vacation.
For a Disney cruise, a specialist can help recommend a specific stateroom category or area on the ship. Whether you are looking for a quiet area, are concerned about motion sickness, want to be near the kids’ areas, or simply want a great view, they can point you in the right direction.
Many people relish the planning and details of a vacation. Working with a travel planner does not relinquish the planning power. The agent will be responsible for making payments for you as well as making any modifications, but you can have full control over your daily plans and making FastPass and dining reservations if you choose. You will have the added benefit of an extra set of eyes to check all the details as well as the expertise of someone who might be able to suggest experiences that are new to you or your family. When it comes to saving for Disney, a travel planner can help you get the most bang for every buck you’ve saved!
Tip: If a Disney promotion is released after you are already booked, your travel planner will be aware and can try to apply the promotion to help you save on your Disney vacation without you needing to do a thing.
Priorities when saving for Disney: Who needs it all?
Determine your priorities for this vacation and go from there. While living it up on vacation and going all out can be fun, you do not need to upgrade every experience to make incredible memories. No matter your budget, there are lots of ways to start saving for Disney now so you can experience an amazing vacation with your family.
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Photo credits: Nancy Wideman