15 Tips for Planning a Trip to Disney World on a Budget (A Guide for Solo Travelers)

Do you know how to do Disney World on a budget?

Traveling Disney World is a dream for most people. But the real struggle comes in balancing the trip and the budget.

A ticket to Walt Disney World does not come cheap, and neither does flights, food, and accommodation in Orlando.

To put things in perspective, Disney World vacation cost for 6-7 days trip can cost around $1300 per person. So, how do you take a cheap solo trip to Disney?

It is hard to find travel suggestions that go beyond “free things to do at Disney” or “be calculative and frugal”.

Well, worry not!

In my quest for tips to travel Disney without breaking the bank, I found effective ways that will help you save a few hundred bucks.

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Planning a Solo Trip to Disney World on a Budget

Cheap solo vacations to Disney World do not have to come with compromises. And to be memorable, your solo vacation does not have to be expensive.

Tomorrowland Rockets in the Magic Kingdom with the TTA. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

After all, it is the Most Magical Place on Earth, and making sacrifices here does not make sense.

Let’s, dive into the following list of tips that will help you figure out:

  • Ways to Save for Your Solo Disney Trip
  • How to Plan a Trip to Disney World on a Budget
  • Tips to Save Money at Disney World

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How to Save for Your Solo Disney World Trip?

Now that you know that a trip to Disney World on a budget is possible, how do you save for it and realize the fantasies of jetting off to the magical theme parks?

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2023 Princess Tiana Topiary in the American Pavilion with NikkyJ. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

Here are some key (realistic) answers to how to save money for Disney World vacation.

1. Make a Realistic Budget

I know how one time I got motivated to spend a minimal amount and saved no backup. Well, it did not work as planned.

The kickstart to saving for Disney is by making a budget that is practical – say around $1300 to $1500 at least – for 5-6 days trip.

How to save for disney in six months. Save Money for Disney. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.
Disney Savings Jar for Your Solo Trip (Save This Image for Later Using the Share Button Below)

It will help you make key decisions regarding where to stay, where to eat, what activities enjoy, and what to avoid.

Recommended: Ultimate Florida Packing List: What to Pack for Your EPIC Trip!

2. Focus on Your Needs

Cut out fancy drinks and snacks to save more money. It’s undeniable how these little purchases add up to make big numbers.

The best way to figure out which is to see what you spend most on.

You can do this by browsing through your bank account, and consciously decide to cut back.

3. Stay In: Eat In

Staying inside on the weekends and making your own food can yield magical results!

Disney Wilderness Lodge Resort Hotel NikkyJ in Lobby

Invite your friends over instead and have a potluck once a week where you help each other make dinner.

WATCH NEXT: Top 5 BEST Quick Service Restaurants at Epcot!

4. Netflix and Save

It may be hard to hear, but canceling subscriptions to streaming platforms like Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, HBOMax will save you several bucks a month.

Woman getting rid of online streaming services to help save money fast. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

You can also consider subscribing for a family or group account with friends to split the expenses.

5. Keep Travel Money Separate

Seeing more money in the account can legit make me go “I can totally buy that $30 dress”.

NikkyJ at Norway in front of troll. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

The next thing I know is I have two new dresses and more days to spend saving the money.

I recommend having the following bank accounts:

  • Fun Money Account: here you keep money in it for things that are “fun” such as going out to eat, streaming services and anything else that’s not vital
  • Bill Pay Account: here you keep money that’s needed for paying your bills each month that way it doesn’t get confused with your fun money or your savings
  • Emergency Fund Savings Account: here you save 3 to 6 months of your monthly expenses that you have set aside just in case something breaks or an emergency happens
  • Short-term Savings Account: here you use this account to save for something that you really want such as a vacation

Now I only keep around $250 in my Fun Money Account each month to help me “adult” the right way. It also makes tracking how much money I spend each month easier.

New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Story Book Circus Pluto. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

The rest? In another savings account dedicated to travel. You could also use the old-fashioned saving jar trick.

Use software like Freshbooks to help you keep track of everything. Start your free trial here today!

6. Find Free Alternatives

Get enrolled in free online courses, watch YouTube for free instead of cable, or find recreation in free sports like tennis, cycling, and soccer.

Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!

7. Sell Unwanted Belongings

The easiest way to make money is by selling old textbooks, clothes, and other belongings you do not use anymore. You can set up and account on eBay for it.

Another great way to save money for Disney is by trading one belonging for another – let the old barter system help you reach the Happiest Place on Earth.

How to Plan a Trip to Disney World on a Budget?

The first step to planning a cheap solo trip to Disney is by starting to plan ahead.

When you decide the vacation dates, itinerary, and accommodation beforehand, it lets you book tickets and rooms in advance, when the prices are low.

Disneyland Solo with Dapper Dans in red, blue, yellow and purple along with NikkyJ. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.
NikkyJ Solo Disney Trip

But this is a strategy everyone – even a newbie solo traveler – knows so far. So, what else?

1. Plan the Inexpensive Disney Vacation Around Non-Peak Season

Holidays, festive days like New Year’s or Christmas, and summer vacation maybe my go-to Disney trip dates, but they are a disaster when it comes to cash (as well as crowds).

Disney Magic Kingdom Christmas tree in the Florida sun. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

It is best to avoid taking a trip to Disney World during these days.

NikkyJ in front of sparkling Cinderella Castle at Christmas. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

Single-park admission ticket prices start at $109 pre-tax during low season times, and an alarming $159+ between Christmas and New Year’s.

But if you plan an inexpensive Disney vacation during the “Value” window, which is mid-January to early-March and late-April to September-end, you get the same ticket for $107.

Snow White and Seven Dwarfs topiary at Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

Here’s the official calendar to take help when booking dates for a “Value” deal. Remember that prices are subject to change at anytime!

2. Refrain from Cashing in Every Disney Amenity

I get it – it is a Disney trip and it ought to be perfect. But do not let the desire to make the vacation perfect pressure you into purchasing Disney add-on experiences.

When buying the online ticket from the WDW app, there come tons of tempting suggestions like Water Park Pass, Park Hopper ticket, Memory Maker PhotoPass, and more.

My advice would be to stick to your Disney World budget and say a no.

You can take your own photos. Even the characters around the park are often willing to help you snap the perfect picture.

Water slide at Blizzard Beach Water Park. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

Water parks are fun, but we all know that’s not what we are planning a Disney trip for! Nonetheless, you will always find a pool in the hotel to splash and swim.

3. Keep an Eye on the Sales to Get the Cheapest Disney World Tickets

Getting a discount is the most convenient, cheapest way to buy Disney World tickets. Websites like CityPASS Orlando, The Park Prodigy and Undercover Tourist are always flashing Disney sales and coupons ranging from deals on transportation to attractions and events.

These sites can help you create the perfect inexpensive Disney trip that we all Disney fans desire for by dropping as much as $80 or up to 50% off the ticket price.

4. Whether to Stay On-Site or Off-Site Disney Hotels?

Staying off-site is arguably the cheaper option. However, it is best to be calculative about where to stay when planning a trip to Disney World on a budget.

Wyndham Garden Hotel Orlando on International Drive. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.
Wyndham Garden Hotel Orlando on International Drive (5 minutes from Universal Orlando Resort and 15 minutes from Walt Disney World)

The perks of staying off-property are that the room comes for a super-cheap price compared to a Disney hotel.

However, it will do no good if the same price gets consumed into commuting.

Disney Beach Club Resort Hotel Back area. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort

On the other hand, staying on-property will cost more than double the price of an off-property hotel.

However, you also get perks like free round-the-clock shuttles and Extra Magic Hours.

I find the best option to be “value” hotels like the Pop Century Resort and Art of Animation Resort.

They may not be the most glamorous, but they are the cheapest way to stay at Disney World.

5. Buy Disney Souvenirs and Merchandise Ahead of Time

What a weird tip for traveling Disney on a budget! But it works. Some of us Disney-ians simply cannot do without Mickey’s ears.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Ears at Walt Disney World Resort. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

They can cost a whopping $27.99 inside the theme parks. So, why not save some bucks and order your pair beforehand online?

Ratatouille Mickey Ears with Chef Hat. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

On Etsy, you will be able to find custom Mickey ears for a price lower than $12, while on Amazon, you might get lucky with a $5 pair also.

Disney World 50th Anniversary Mickey Ears. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

The same goes for other Disney accessories like T-shirts, bags, lockets, caps, and sweatshirts.

Disney Pins at Target Minnie Mouse Heads. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.
Disney Pins at Target in Orlando, Florida

You can also visit local outlets, Targets and Wal-Marts in the Orlando area to save a significant amount of money on your Florida souvenirs.

How to Save Money at Disney World?

Starting from taking advantage of the free activities to bringing your own food into the parks, there are several ways of saving money at Disney World.

Beach Club Resort Epcot Lagoon with Swan and Dolphin Boardwalk and Yacht Club. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

Here’s everything you can do at the theme parks to save some bucks.

1. Know About the Free Things to Do at Disney

Disney World is a magical world on its own. There are plenty of things you can enjoy here for free. The crème de la crème experiences include:

That’s not all. There are several other, almost 70, free things at Disney World that will make your trip special without taking another cent out of the purse.

2. Ditch the All-Inclusive Meal Plan for A Cheap Disney Trip

That’s right. BYOF! Perhaps, this is a travel trip that few visitors capitalize on. Disney World actually allows its guests to bring their own food, except glass bottles, or things that need a microwave.

japan pavilion flower and garden festival food with udon noodles. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

You can also get food and drinks delivered to your room in a Disney Resort.

Not only does bringing your own food help you save bucks, but it also saves time when you don’t have to get into long queues.

This is another great tip for you, who may be wondering how to save money on food at Disney World.

Free Disney Timeline Planner Sign Up

3. BYOWB – Bring Your Own Water Bottle

By bringing your own refillable water bottle with a built-in filter, you will not have to buy one every hour. Not much thirsty?

You will be under the Florida sun, in between restaurants and rides.

Brita Hard-Sided Plastic Premium Filtering Water Bottle, BPA-Free, Reusable, Replaces 300 Plastic Water Bottles, Filter Lasts 2 Months or 40 Gallons, Includes 1 Filter, Sea Glass – 26 oz.
  • BRITA WATER FILTER BOTTLE: One 26 oz. BPA-free Brita Hard-Sided Plastic Premium Filtering Water Bottle with one filter that reduces chlorine taste and odor in water as you drink
  • CUTS OUT IMPURITIES: Activated carbon block filter cuts the taste and odor of chlorine and also reduces particulates in drinking water; not a water purifier bottle
  • SUSTAINABLE: By switching to Brita, you can save money and replace up to 300 standard 16.9-oz. single-use plastic water bottles with each filter
  • CONVENIENT DESIGN: Features include an easy-sip straw, built-in carrying loop for portability, one-handed push-button lid and leakproof design/construction to avoid surprise spills
  • TOP RACK DISHWASHER-SAFE: Just place this personal water filter bottle in the top rack of your dishwasher for easy cleaning

Exploring Disney is no less of a marathon. Every time you refill the brought bottle, you will be saving $5.

Additionally, it will also be better for the environment.

Apart from this, make sure you carry sunscreen to protect the skin against the Florida sun. Purchasing one inside Disney will cost 40% more than usual.

What to Know Before You Go to Walt Disney World?

Now that we have the basics covered, let’s go through the most common questions regarding your solo trip and how to do Disney World on a budget.

Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty at Disney Epcot. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

When is the cheapest time to go to Disney World?

The cheapest time to visit Disney World is between January 9th to February 8th and August 19th to September 26th.

Best Time to Visit Disney World Infographic. Best day to go to Disney with this Crowd Calendar. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.
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You can also check the date-based Disney calendar to check which date offers the best deal on the tickets.

Which is the best Disney ticket for me?

The best option for shoestring travelers on a budget is the “value” ticket or choosing a non-peak time of the year at Disney World.

Hollywood Tower of Terror at Disney Hollywood Studios. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

Apart from it, you can also consider getting the mid-day tickets.

Is Disney free on your birthday?

Sadly, no. The theme parks no longer offer free admission on birthdays. This used to be a good way to do Disney World on a budget.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2023 Three Caballeros Topiary with Donald Duck and NikkyJ. Guide to the Best rides at Epcot for Solo Travelers.

Recommended: Watch How to Afford a Solo Disney Trip…even if you’re broke!

Is there an authentic Disney ticket reseller that offers discount deals?

Yes, you can browse The Park Prodigy to find some official Disney discount deals. The site also offers low prices on other Florida theme parks, including Universal Orlando Resort.

Ready to start planning your next Disney World vacation? Listen to the latest podcast episode on Apple or on your non-Apple device now!

My Final Thoughts on Doing Disney World on a Budget

Orlando’s Disney World may be one of the most expensive WDW parks, but that does not mean there isn’t a cheap way to explore it.

NikkyJ ThemeParkHipster Disney. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

In this article, I have enlisted some of the most effective tips for cheap solo travel in Disney World.

DINOSAUR Entrance with Dinosaur in the garden at Animal Kingdom. Keep reading to learn how to do Disney World on a Budget for a solo trip.

Depending on your budget, it will help you map out all the things you could do at the theme park without breaking the bank.

Guide to How to budget for Disney World with Cinderella Castle in the Florida Sun.
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What’s your favorite way to budget for Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments section below.

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

UP NEXT: How Much Does Disney World Cost? (Let’s Make Disney Affordable Again)

(Original Article Date: December 17, 2020/Updated January 30, 2024)

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