Monday, February 02, 2009

Pinching Pennies at Walt Disney World

We have all felt our wallets getting a little skimpier over the past year or so; it is not a pleasant thought to admit, but many of us have found ourselves cutting back on the things we normally take pleasure in. And often, a vacation would be the first on that list of cutbacks, but at Walt Disney World, you can still have a dream vacation that won’t make your wallet go into extinction. Just follow a few handy tips, and you’ll be able to preserve the most magical part of your year.

First, there’s no question that one of the highest costs of a vacation can be food and beverages. Keeping your group fueled and quenched is no cheap feat. However, you can get the most bang for your buck at any one of Disney’s expansive buffets. For example, you can get a satisfying breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom. Not only does the Crystal Palace serve a wide variety of American favorites, but you can also dine with your favorite characters too. Watching the chefs prepare your meal in the live on-stage kitchen also provides easy and free entertainment.

At many of the Walt Disney World resort restaurants, it’s also possible to have an inexpensive meal for $10 or less. Mara at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Spoodles Pizza Window at the Boardwalk Inn, Food and Fun Center at the Contemporary, and Hurricane Hanna’s at the Beach and Yacht Club are just a few of the places offering fun themes and low cost eats.

And instead of purchasing a drink everywhere you go, consider purchasing a bottomless mug instead. Available at the food courts of nearly all the resorts, these refillable mugs can be bought for $12.49 and used repeatedly for the length of your vacation. This is especially money-saving for coffee lovers, soda junkies, or anyone enjoying a lengthy vacation.

Another area where it helps to save money is souvenirs. Let’s face it – every year we go to Walt Disney World, we come back with more and more stuff. And shopping for a unique memento is definitely one of the most enjoyable parts of a Disney vacation. So how can you enjoy adding a souvenir to your stash without losing too much cash? Simply look for creative souvenirs. For example, at the Walt Disney World website, you can order a customized park map and have it mailed to your house – for free! The maps come with stickers so you can mark your favorite spots, and when you’re finished with them, they serve as a special reminder of your visit.

You can also score a great souvenir by pinching pennies – literally! For a fee of fifty cents (plus one penny), you can get a special Disney-imprinted penny for a fun and affordable keepsake. Kids love watching the pennies being squashed, and these souvenirs are available all over the four parks and at many of the resorts. You can also usually find a unique design in each area featuring a Disney character or icon, so they make a great collectible, too.

Finally, make sure to take advantage of all the extras Disney has to offer. Squeeze the most fun and value out of your Disney vacation by using FASTPASS and Extra Magic Hours. Avoid the high costs of a rental car by using Disney’s Transportation System. And last but not least, save big by ordering your Walt Disney World tickets at You’ll score the same Disney experiences for less, and you won’t even have to cut back on a single attraction. Now that’s a value vacation.


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