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How to book a more affordable Walt Disney World Vacation

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Photo courtesy of Brian McGowan on Unsplash.

Walt Disney World® Resort has set its reputation as a premium vacation experience with four theme parks, two water parks, attractions boasting top-of-the-line technology and fine dining experiences. As the price of such experiences are highly customizable, there are some tricks and tips you can use to save money and take a more affordable trip during the booking process.

Lighter Seasons

Park tickets are priced based on the volume of guests during the season, as are the prices for resort hotel reservations. Saving several dollars per ticket quickly adds up when purchasing multiple tickets for an entire party, and that's before more affordable room rates are applied. Based on Disney's 2021 calendar, here are some of the most affordable times to travel:

  • Late April

  • Late August

  • September

Take Advantage of Discounts:

While a no-brainer, using Disney's discounts can take hundreds, if not more off a trip's price. From free dining plans (when available) to discounted rooms, discounts and deals can compound on top of lighter seasons to save a significant amount of money. As an added perk, those who book through a travel agent can have their already-booked vacation automatically converted to one with a deal when new ones are released for no additional trouble or charge. Here are the deals being offered for 2021 as of the time of writing:

  • Most 4 night, 3 day room and ticket packages with arrivals through Sept. 25, 2021 get an extra 2 ticket days added for free

  • Annual passholders save up to 30% on select rooms for five-night stays and get an additional $50 resort credit per night by booking until March 11, 2021

  • Save up to 35% on rooms at select resort hotels on most nights through April 17 by booking through March 15, 2021

  • Annual passholders save up to 40% on most stays through April 17, 2021

Research Menus in Advance:

The Disney Dining Plan, when available, is a mileage-may-vary option depending on how your family likes to eat. And although the option is not available right now, the advice remains the same: research menus before booking restaurants. Table service restaurants are categorized differently, with some being considered signature dining experiences. Those tend to have more extravagant, expensive menus than others. Still, visiting Walt Disney World Resort on a limited budget does not mean you have to exclusively eat quick service. For while there are dozens of outstanding quick service restaurants, many value the slower pace of a sit-down restaurant with their friends and family. This makes it great that there are restaurants with optional prix fixe meals, like Chefs de France in Epcot®, where $49.50 nets you a glass of wine, a soda, an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. Other restaurants, like Epcot's Via Napoli, offer family-sized pizza, where one menu option can feed an entire party. Reading through menus (or consulting an agent who may already have favorites) before booking dining reservations can lend to new, cost-saving options.

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