When we last left off, I had shared some of my prep for an “on the cheap” Disney vacation with my son. Our room cost roughly $84 with points, flights roughly $23 with points, and I used my Target Red Card to pre-purchase $200 worth of Disney gift cards for $190. Overwhelmingly, though, many of you folks were concerned I was disregarding ticket cost. Here is the deal, I knew we would be going on a bigger Disney trip later in the year … so I bought myself an annual pass! Because this trip was before my son turned three, he was FREE! The annual pass cost was $779, but I purchased it using gift cards purchased from Target using my Red Card for 5% off!
If I had not invested in an annual pass, our ticket cost would have been roughly $290 for a three-day ticket for myself. This would put the total vacation at 3 days for two of us at roughly $587 total.
But let’s get to our actual park spending and how I kept it UNDER $200. Some of these tips I covered in my original post, but some bear repeating!
First tip: BYOS aka bring your own snacks.
I almost ALWAYS have 3 days worth of pouches, fruit leathers, cereal bars, and other packaged snacks on hand (which means no TRUE additional cost). I load them up into gallon zippy bags labeled by day for easy access when packing our park bag for the day! This will save you anywhere from $5-20/day depending on your kids’ snack habits. All three park days we had one treat in the park. These were all under $5!! Mickey shaped ice cream FTW!
Second tip: BYOB.
Water bottles, y’all … we aren’t talking crazy! I had my son’s sippy cup and a water bottle of my own to fill up throughout the day. This keeps you hydrated and keeps you on budget!
Third tip: Bring some new Disney toys with you to have to start each day.
Some people refer to these as Tinker Bell gifts for their children. I usually get a book, some stickers, and maybe a figurine. This helps dissuade from the souvenir itch AND serves as a great distraction during early morning park transportation. Think dollar spot at Target! I typically spend about $10 ahead of a trip to save $100 in “I wants.”
Fourth tip: Enjoy a buffet breakfast one or two mornings!
These typically include character interaction, are FAR less expensive than lunch or dinner buffets, and you can fill up + nab some extra whole fruits for later in the day! And because kids under three enjoy buffet meals for free … that’s an extra incentive! We had one character breakfast buffet this trip for a total of $38 including tip for the both of us. Worth every penny!
Henry and I enjoyed pizza in Italy at Epcot ($42 including drinks), breakfast at Be our Guest ($25), lunch at a few of Disney’s fast casual establishments ($22), and a breakfast with Disney Jr. characters at Hollywood Studios ($38) this past trip!
Our food total, including snacks, was right under $150! Leaving room for a souvenir!
Outside of myself splurging one night on an in room sitter to enjoy Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival solo, we enjoyed all of our meals AND snacks AND a new light saber on our $200 gift card budget!
If you want to spend thousands per head on a once in a lifetime experience with the Mouse, I am ALL for it! Because I want to be able to enjoy the Magic with Henry over a handful of smaller visits, I’ve made it my mission to find ways to save and enjoy our trips for not much more than the cost of a New Orleans staycation!