Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Walt Disney World: Five Moneysaving Tips for Parents

**For 102 pages on all my tips on planning, saving and vacationing in Disney, check out my ebook for $4.99 on Amazon!**

Truthfully, all of these "tips" have originated from the lovely emails I receive from Disney planning parents.  I've collected the most common questions I receive, and my answers are below.  I'm trying to help the masses, save everyone money and preserve as much sanity for Disney planners as possible.

It's a big job but someone has to do it.

1.  Disney has Pin Trading, which is a hoot for kids.  You can buy a starter kit in Disney World for about $30.00.  Anyone wearing pins can trade pins with anyone in the park who is also wearing the mighty pin trading lanyard.  We usually trade with every castmember we encounter.

Trouble is, these pins are pricey.  And you buy them only to watch your five year old trade a $15 pin for a $8 pin.  It takes a strong parent to watch this over and over and over again.  Trust me, I know from experience.

One tip I received from a reader will save parents of pin trading munchkins TONS of money.

Before your trip, buy a set of Disney pins on EBAY.  These are a fraction of the cost, and most of the pins will be traded in Disney anyway.  When you get to Disney, buy a new lanyard, load it up with EBAY pins, and watch your children trade away!

2.  If you don't have to worry about school schedules, plan your trip in the fall or summer.  Fall is a great time to visit, and Disney usually runs excellent deals such as free dining with their packages.  Summer also boasts many moneysaving offers.

3.  As tempting as it may be, trying to rent a car and squeeze in Universal is very costly.  Disney "rewards" you for saying longer, and the cost between a five and six day ticket is minimal (none if you buy through undercover tourist).  When you get into a day in Disney, a day in Universal and a rental car you are spending mucho denaro.

Just Sayin'.

Make your trip Disney all the way and save money.

4.  Kids love to spend money in Disney.  There is merchandise at every turn and the whining to shop is just enough to make any parent crazy.

You need a plan before you embark on your trip.

There is a little known thing such as "Disney Dollars."  Disney Dollars are face value, but can only be spent in Disney.  While I am a big believer in children bringing souvenir money and spending only what they bring, Disney Dollars can also keep kids in check.  Each child gets the same amount of magical Disney Dollars, sent from Mickey Mouse himself.

Stuff them in a Christmas Stocking, a birthday card or an Easter basket.  Once they spend them in Disney...they are gone.  No more stuffed animals and tiny Pirates of the Carribean figures.

More information on Disney Dollars.

5.  Do NOT rent strollers in Disney!  If you have a car, you are better off buying a cheap stroller at Walmart and leaving it behind than you are renting a stroller for five days.  While Disney strollers have a phenomenal turning radius, and they are convenient, they are expensive to rent.  If you are trying to save, bring a stroller, or buy a new one cheap when you get there.

Happy Planning!


  1. We are leaving for Disney this Friday! Our first trip! Can't wait!!

  2. My husband and I have been buying $1 mystery pins since we started collecting pins during our oldest daughter's first trip. These go on a separate, plain lanyard and accompany us to the parks to be traded if she asks. Much less stress over trading expensive or sentimental pins!

    My personal opinion is the best time to visit is late October thru Thanksgiving. If you time it just right, you get Halloween Party, Food and Wine Fest, and Spectacle of Lights all in one trip ;)

  3. My advice is if you don't care about pulling kids out of school is to go during free dining! I just got back from a week long vaca with my S.O. and it only cost us a little over 1500 for a Sun-Sat at pop century with the regular dining plan (we paid $200 to upgrade from the free quick serve that was offered at the value resorts) 6 day tickets with park hoppers. It wasn't crazy busy either, everyone was from the North or England.

  4. For stroller rentals, you can try out baby wheels orlando. They have comfy strollers at a lower price than that of Disney's.

  5. Great tips especially on the pins! Thank u..

  6. My husband and I are taking our twins for their first visit to Disney World. We can use all the help we can get! tnx

  7. Thanks for these great tips. Will definitely be referring to it when we book our trip.

  8. We have 2 boys and enjoy our Disney Vacations. We have been many times and have heard the whines of please can I have this too often. We are teachers so last trip on the first day, decided we should do something about the whining. Each one wanted a fairly expensive souvenir they had seen $25 to $30 each. So, we came up with a point system. We were there for 2 weeks and they had to accumulate 7 points to get their souvenir. They earned points for obeying, helping, not whining, waiting patiently, being nice to each other, cleaning up, etc. They lost points for the opposites. It quickly changed a whine to I'm sorry and what can I do to help! It took about 10 days for each of them to earn enough for their souvenir. It helped us all to have a more enjoyable trip and I think both of them appreciated the souvenir even more because they earned it! We only had a few days left and not once did they ask for another item because they knew they had to earn more points.

    While I liked this plan, I want to use the Disney Dollars this time to also teach them about money and its value. I'm getting pouches ready and the Easter Bunny will bring them a few dollars to start the vacation. You have a great blog and thanks for the tips!


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