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10 Tips for Going to Disney with Small Children and Saving Money
Disney is the most magical place! All that magic comes with a price.
You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the perfect Disney Vacation with your family.
Here are my 10 Tips for Going to Disney with Small Children and Saving Money!
Lodging: We were so lucky to be able to stay at my parents 2 bedroom condo at Orlando Breeze Silverleaf Resort with a full kitchen for free! This really helped us lower our cost in many different ways.
First, we cooked breakfast in the condo each morning before heading into Disney. This saved us time and money! We also ate most lunches outside the park and dinner too.
Second, it was 2 bedrooms – This saved us some sanity by allowing Aidalyn to have her own bedroom, so we could stay up or wake up early without bothering her.
Transportation: We decided to drive the 11 hour trip from Richmond to Orlando. It was really an easy drive. We woke up super early (4:30 am) and were on the road by 5. We made it to Orlando by dinner.
If we had flown we would have had to buy 3 tickets since Aidalyn is over 2 and also would have had to rent a car once we arrived in Orlando.
Tickets: We bought our tickets early on www.undercovertourist.com The prices of tickets just went up and we were able to purchase ours $30 cheaper each by buying early.
All children under 3 are free, so we purposely decided to go one month before Aidalyn’s 3rd birthday. This saved us over $200.
When to go: We decided to go the first week of November. This is historically a low season time and it was noticeable. The longest wait time for a ride was 15 minutes – I think for Buzz lightyear. Most times we waited less than 5 minutes for anything.
It was also during the Food and Wine festival at Epcot – which was certainly a highlight of the trip! The festival runs for 45 days through the end of September to the beginning of November.
Food: We decided to eat most of our meals outside of Disney. We ate breakfast in the condo and usually ate at a restaurant for lunch and dinner. Some days we only ate one main meal like a late lunch and then just snacks for dinner in the condo after we got in late from the park.
We also took snacks into Disney to cure any munchies. We brought protein bars, breakfast bars, Annie’s Bunnies, apples, fruit gummies, and pretzels. We also brought our own water bottles that we just refilled throughout the day at the park.
That is one nice thing that Disney doesn’t mind you bringing food or drinks into the park – and that definitely saves money!
Toys: Before we left, I purchased a few new small toys to give to Aidalyn each morning on our way to Disney so she would have something new and wouldn’t be tempted to shop in the stores (luckily these also kept her busy through any line waiting we had to do). I bought a few My Little Ponies on ebay and a few small princess figurines.
I also bought some light up toys for her to have once it got dark in the park. We all enjoyed the light up bracelets and necklaces. She had special light up rings and hair extensions.
Gear: We didn’t need to use it during our trip, but I packed a plastic rain cover for our double stroller. We brought hats and sunscreen for during the day and jackets for at night.
Annaleigh is almost 5 months old. We brought a carrier for her which ended up being almost as important as the stroller was! She would take naps in it while we rode rides or walked to the next land. I used a Baby Bjorn because it is easy to strap on and doesn’t take up much room.
Schedule: Our plan was to be at the park 30 minutes before it opened, then leave for a late lunch, catch a nap, then head back to the park for more fun in the evening (probably my favorite time). We stayed all day at Epcot the first day without leaving and surprisingly Aidalyn did great. The rest of the days, it was pretty obvious that she needed the nap – and we didn’t mind a break from the hottest part of the day either. We usually made it back to the park by 5 or 6 and were able to stay as late as we wanted.
We did one day at Epcot, 3 days at Magic Kingdom, and our final day at Hollywood Studios. It ended up working out well for us. Magic Kingdom was certainly our favorite, so we were glad we spent the most time there.
Since the crowds were lower, we didn’t have to use any fast passes during our trip. We did however, go straight for attractions that were popular first before a line developed. We did this for Enchanted Tales with Belle, Meeting the Princesses, and the Toy Story ride at Hollywood Studios.
We were able to also park so close to the park that we didn’t have to ride the tram (avoiding another wait line when ready to go). Every day we were able to get a great parking spot when we returned to.
Aidalyn’s favorite rides were the People mover in Tomorrow land, The carousel, and the Tea cups.
Costumes: The kids love to dress up at Disney. If you look to buy something there, the dresses will cost over $60… We were SO incredibly lucky to be able to borrow 2 dress up dresses for our trip, one Ariel and one Minnie Mouse. I did by a crown for Aidalyn on Amazon.
Apps: I used undercover tourist app on my iPhone to help with maps, scheduling attractions based on location or what has short or long lines, and managing parade times or shows. It is a great app! I would totally recommend having an app on your phone before going to Disney.
Disney is such a magical place to go for anyone – couples, singles, families, young or old. I can’t imagine anyone being there not having a great time. We honestly can’t wait to go back! I hope that this post helps you plan your trip to Disney with small children and makes it a great trip for you as well!