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Disney World: How to get the most bang for your buck. Part II.

disney world in the dark

In Part I we covered planning and budgeting for your magical adventure. Now on to the more exciting aspects of your trip, plus some practical tips and tricks on how to get the most bang for your buck!


It’s time to uncover the hidden gems of Disney World that will make your trip extra magical without draining your bank account. From captivating shows to enchanting experiences, there are plenty of budget-friendly activities and entertainment options to discover.

Let’s start with the captivating shows and parades that Disney is famous for. These spectacles of wonder are included with your park admission, allowing you to experience the magic without any additional cost. Whether it’s the dazzling fireworks at Cinderella Castle or the high-energy performances of the Festival of the Lion King, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Plan your day to catch these incredible displays of Disney artistry and let the magic sweep you off your feet. The play times for each show are listed at the front of each park, as well as in the Disney World App.

A pro-tip for finding budget-friendly entertainment – keep an eye on the daily schedule for character meet-and-greets and special appearances throughout the park. Many character encounters are included with your park admission, so take advantage of these opportunities to create lifelong memories for you and your little ones.

Speaking of magical encounters, let’s not forget about exploring the Disney resorts. These hidden gems offer a world of enchantment just waiting to be discovered. Take a leisurely stroll around the lush grounds, soak in the ambiance of themed lobbies, and marvel at the intricate details that Disney is known for. Some resorts even offer complimentary activities like movie nights under the stars or marshmallow roasting over an open fire. It’s the perfect way to add a touch of Disney magic to your day without spending a dime.

Did you know that taking a ride on the iconic Disney transportation is an experience in itself? Hop aboard the monorail or take a leisurely boat ride across the waterways to soak in the picturesque views. It’s a fun and budget-friendly way to add a touch of whimsy to your journey between parks and resorts.

Lastly, make sure to take advantage of the myriad of free entertainment options that Disney World offers. From street performers and live musicians to dance parties and character cavalcades, there’s always something happening around every corner. Disney World is a treasure trove of hidden details, interactive experiences, and whimsical surprises. From interactive queues that entertain and engage to delightful scavenger hunts like the Ducktales interactive game at Epcot, there are endless opportunities for free or low-cost entertainment.


Once again let’s talk about the power of pre-planning. Before embarking on your Disney World adventure, set a souvenir budget. This will help you make conscious choices and avoid any impulsive splurges. Knowing how much you’re willing to spend ahead of time can save you from post-trip regret and ensure you’re making thoughtful purchases.

One of the simplest and most cost-effective options is collecting Disney pins. These little treasures can be found throughout the parks and can be traded with Disney cast members or at most shops in the park and the resorts. Not only do they make great collectibles, but they also provide an interactive and budget-friendly experience.

When you have your little ones in tow, consider setting up a “souvenir allowance” for them. Give them a set amount of money they can spend on souvenirs and let them make their own choices. Not only does this teach them about budgeting and decision-making, but it also helps them appreciate the value of their purchases. Plus, it can be a fun and empowering experience for them to choose their own special Disney keepsakes.

DYI disney ears

A practical tip to create magical keepsakes without spending a fortune – embrace the power of DIY. Get crafty and make your own Disney-inspired creations. From personalized autograph books to homemade Mickey ear headbands, there are endless possibilities to unleash your creativity. Not only will you have unique and meaningful souvenirs, but you’ll also have fun memories of the time spent crafting together as a family.

Lastly, let’s not forget about the importance of memories themselves. Instead of solely focusing on physical souvenirs, invest in experiences and create lasting memories that will stay with you long after your trip. Take plenty of photos, capture videos, and write in a trip journal to document your Disney adventures. These memories are priceless and can be revisited time and time again, allowing you to relive the magic whenever you want.

Tips and Tricks

To ensure you make the most of your budget-friendly adventure, below is a list of practical tips:

  • Remember to pace yourself and take breaks. Disney World can be overwhelming with its vast offerings and bustling crowds. Take advantage of the numerous benches, shaded areas, and quiet corners to rest and recharge.
  • Virtual Queues and the power of strategic planning. Take advantage of this complimentary service to secure access to some of the most popular attractions without spending extra money on expedited passes. You can access it on the Disney World app. Make sure to check ahead of time, as the most popular attractions will have just a couple of opportunities to get in on any given day.
  • Don’t forget about complimentary entertainment. Fireworks, parades, street performers, shows, and live music- there is always something happening around every corner. Check the daily schedule for these enchanting offerings and plan your day accordingly.
  • Disney’s PhotoPass service. Photopass photographers stationed throughout the parks can capture your family’s special moments against iconic backdrops. And the best part? It’s absolutely free to have your photo taken. You can then preview the photos online and purchase the ones you love most. Photos from your roller coaster ride also show up in this free preview and can be another great way to save the memories of your trip.
  • Disney’s free celebration buttons. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or first visit, these buttons are a fun way to commemorate your special occasion and may even lead to unexpected surprises from cast members. Wear them proudly, and let the Disney magic enhance your celebratory experience. Pick one up at the guest services desk, all Disney World resorts, park ticket counters and Guest Relations buildings at each park

As you embark on your budget-friendly Disney adventure, remember to take breaks, plan strategically, and embrace the wealth of complimentary experiences and services available. By being mindful of your spending, you can create a magical and memorable experience without breaking the bank.

I hope these tips and tricks have inspired you to embark on your very own budget-friendly Disney adventure. Remember, the magic of Disney is accessible to everyone, regardless of budget. So go forth and make unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime!

Discover the best budget friendly food option at each of the parks. Download the Disney budget food guide!

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