Yesterday, we shared some Disney Park Hopping Tips and today, we are sharing some WDW Park Hopping Moneysavers. As some of you might have read, the ILFT crew got a chance to Disney park hop for three days, thanks to the Zootopia press junket I was invited to. Here are some of our experiences and money saving tips you can use when planning a memorable visit to Walt Disney World!
- Travel Off-Peak- Walt Disney World just switched to seasonal pricing for their one-day tickets, so traveling off-peak can save you some money, whether you buy regular or value day tickets. Also, traveling off-peak means you can squeeze more value into a park hopper ticket as the lines are shorter for everything. We traveled off-peak and found that we were able to get through some of the rides quickly without even needing to use Fast Pass.
- Stay Hydrated- When you drink water frequently, you will have less of an urge to eat. It’s simple, when you become dehydrated (from walking for miles outside), your body might misinterpret thirst for hunger; tempting you to eat much more than you need to. This hungry behavior can get pretty expensive, so staying hydrated can save you money. Plus, you can bring in a plastic bottle and refill it at the various water fountains near the bathrooms, saving you even more money. Note: You can’t bring in any glass containers (or anything with a straw if you are going to Animal Kingdom). My kids loved stopping at the water fountains to grab some water. It’s really refreshing too when you are contending with heat.
- Bring Small Snacks- Disney lets you bring in snacks that don’t need to be heated. Keep in mind that when you are park hopping, you’ll want to travel lightly and carry smaller snacks that can fit in a purse. Snacks such as trail mix and baby carrots (our fave) can really help quell the munchies. Try to avoid a lot of sodium, which can make you even thirstier and hungry.
- Eat at Epcot- Epcot has tons of food options. Plus, 30 of its 57 restaurants offer an average per person meal price of under $14.99. My kids and I ate at the Electric Umbrella for less than $30, and all of the meals we selected had healthy ingredients. It’s close to the entrance, and has a popcorn stand right across so you can grab some popcorn for $4 (or $6 with a souvenir cup) while watching IllumiNations at night.
- Look Out for Merchandise Deals- Disney is known for having exclusive park merchandise, so it’s always cool to collect something while you are there. What’s even cooler is that they sometimes offer deals on the merchandise that might actually be cheaper than buying something similar on the outside. We picked up 2 packs of 6 Star Wars figurines for only $26! That’s around $2 per figure that we would normally pay $5 or $6 per figure for. There are other low cost souvenirs like autograph books, postcards and pressed pennies.
- Buy 3 Days & Visit Disney Springs on the 4th Day- You don’t need to purchase 4 days to see 4 parks. We made multiple visits to each of the parks in the three days we were there. If you have a fourth day available, opt to visit Disney Springs. It’s free, and you can find a lot of themed stores, shops and attractions as you walk around. At night, there are several places with live music. They have an AMC movie theatre (which coincidentally is where we watched Zootopia), and a Splitsville Bowling Alley too! @PapaHypeBlog and I might even visit there for our upcoming anniversary.
- Park for Free- If you are watching every dollar, you might be looking to find a way to save money on parking. While resort guests, annual pass holders and those who are disabled, can get free parking; the average non-resort guest must pay to park. However, there are some limited exceptions to this rule. For instance, you can park at Disney Springs and take the Disney-provided buses to get around. We took the bus to Disney Springs and learned that the trip can be about 45 minutes each way, but Disney Springs is open until 2am so you can head over there even after the Magic Kingdom closes. (The water parks and ESPN have free parking, but the hours and transportation options are not consistent with the other parks, so it’s not worth it). If you are planning to eat at one of the restaurants in the resorts, you can park for free for about three hours. Parking at a resort just to go to a park is not allowed.
- Pre-Purchase Memory Maker & Link Your Family- When traveling lightly (sans a DSLR), so that you can get between the parks quickly, you might want to rely on the many professional photographers Disney has placed around the parks, as well as the shots taken during opportune times of different rides. While you could have everything put on a PhotoPass for free, and make your selections later, there is another option that lets you have all of the pictures taken at Disney for 30 days for one flat fee. It’s called Memory Maker, and you can buy it for $149 when it’s purchased at least three days in advance. If you buy at the park, it’s $169. It comes with extra perk called Magic Shots, which adds some extra fairy dust onto some of the pics. Plus, you can link your family members to the account, so even when you aren’t together, the pictures can all go into the same account.
- Snag Some Discounts- You can find all kinds of discounts for Disney, you just need to do some digging. The Undercover Tourist offers discounted tickets and park hoppers online. If you are a Florida resident, a veteran, Disney vacation Club (DVC) member or an AAA member, you can also snag some additional discounts. Get a Target REDcard and save 5% on Disney giftcards. (You can enroll in Target Pharmacy Online to get a stackable 5% off coupon that you can also use towards the purchase. There’s also more ways to get Target giftcards at a discount to get Disney gift cards at a discount as well). Travel in groups or take advantage of special Y.E.S. programs to save even more! One of our favorite sites is MouseSavers.com because it really breaks everything down into detail for you (just sure to keep clicking through it all because there is a ton of info you can use).
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Have any moneysavers you’d like to share? Comment below!
Disclosure: Heather was invited to attend this exclusive Zootopia press junket by Disney, and we received park hopper passes in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.