Category Archives: Travel

Saving Money at Disney World


Earlier this week, I showed you the t-shirts I made for His Majesty for our trip to Disney World.  They served as souvenirs, for a fraction of the cost, and he loves wearing them.  I was pretty excited to do something so fun for so cheap, so I went on the hunt for a few other ways to save money on our trip.  I found this pin for  It’s All Good in Mommyhood, which linked to a post  with several helpful suggestions.  The bloggess, Jodie, is a Disney pro, having traveled there dozens of times, and some of the tips were really practical for my family. For instance:

1.  She doesn’t recommend getting Park Hopper privileges added on to your ticket, which saves you a few dollars.  Park Hopper privileges allow you to visit more than one park in a single day without using two of your park days.  For instance, if you went to Magic Kingdom in the morning, and wanted to do Epcot in the evening, if you had Park Hopper added to your tickets, you’d only use 1 day of admission.  If you didn’t have Park Hopper added on, you’d use 2 days.  However, if you want to leave and return to the same park later in that same day, you can still do so even without the Park Hopper option.

Now, I questioned this, but I took her advice. And you know what? I was so glad that I did.  We were thoroughly EXHAUSTED from the parks every day.  The last thing I wanted to do was go to another park when we’d already been exploring one all day.  That saved us about $150.  Even if I had only been traveling with my husband, I can’t see wanting to do more than one park in a single day, let alone with the family in tow. We planned our park visits around where we’d booked our character meals.  If we had a meal booked in Animal Kindgom on Thursday, we went to Animal Kingdom on Thursday, and that was it.

2.  Pack a cooler for the parks to save money on snacks.  We took this a step further and packed lunches on the days where we didn’t have lunch booked in the parks.  Disney allows this, so long as you don’t bring in a large cooler.  We brought a small soft sided cooler for the cold stuff, and also a backpack with the snacks, first aid stuff, hand wipes, sunblock, etc. We packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, shelf stable puddings, granola bars, crackers, cheese sticks, pretzels, cherry tomatoes, yogurts, all sorts of typical lunch stuff.  We also brought in water bottles, and filled them up at drinking fountains throughout the park.  To change it up from time to time, we brought individual Crystal Light packets, which are easy to pack, and certainly cheaper than buying lemonade at the parks.

We also ate most of our breakfasts in our condo, with the exception of the one breakfast we ate at O’Hana.  We had cold cereal, hardboiled eggs, and oatmeal, quick meals that we could eat before heading out to the parks nice and early.  I don’t know how much this saved us, but I’m guessing it saved us about $300 over the course of our 8 day trip. Not bad.

3.  Bring souvenirs with you.  I already mentioned the shirts, but you won’t believe how much Disney stuff you can find online at places like Ebay.  I bought Mickey Mouse ears (the hat type), 20 trading pins, a Disney autograph book, and a Hidden Mickey book to make the waits a little more fun for us on Ebay for about $50, including shipping.  I was pretty pleased with myself.

But that’s not all I did.

My kids didn’t trade the pins (His Majesty wouldn’t even let me look at his, he was that obsessed with them, so no way was he trading them), but they were fun to wear in the parks, and to have to take home as a memento of the trip.  In order to wear them, they needed a lanyard.  So did I buy one online, or snag one at one of the 3,000 gift shops in Disney World?

No, I did not.  I made them, using ribbon purchased at Walmart for $3/roll, a spare ring from an old keychain, and about 2 minutes of sewing.

Start by looping off the length of ribbon you want your lanyard to be, overlapping the ends, inserting the key ring, and pinning the ribbon with a few straight pins at the bottom. 

Here’s a better picture of the pin placement.

And here’s what the back will look like:

Then sew the bottom up. I used a straight stitch… because it’s the only one I know how to use… I also went over the rows a few times to make sure that the stitches were nice and sturdy.


That’s it.  Then put your pins on. I put all of them on this one to show how many it can hold, but each kid only got 10 pins when we went to the parks.  They were actually kind of heavy, so I don’t know that any more than that would be comfortable to wear all day.


Then present them to your kids for approval.


Or not… Apparently I should wait until Christopher “does his hair” and changes out of his pajamas before I photograph him… Or so he suggests…

So, now you have a few ways to save money at Disney with a little bit of planning ahead and some minimal sewing skills, if you feel so inclined.

What are some ways that you save money on vacation?