You don’t grow up just about an hour and a half away from Disney and not spend the vast majority of your time at the parks. Countless hours spent playing with our favorite characters encompassed my childhood, and the same rings true of my own kids. My husband and I have purchased annual passes for ourselves and our four kids since the day that our first daughter was born. It’s our favorite way to spend a Friday evening, or a day off school. We love it; and it’s because the kids love the magic. Because we head to the parks several times a month, we know a thing or two that many people don’t know. For example, we pack snacks for our 1-year-old twins in our diaper bag for every trip so they can munch on whatever in their stroller as we walk around. We had no idea people didn’t know you could do that.
It made me think; I bet there are people who don’t go to Disney because they don’t think they can afford to go. I wonder what I’ve learned about the park that I could share with readers that will save them money and allow them to budget more accordingly for the park so that they can enjoy the same fun and magic we get to experience regularly with our own kids.
Pack your own food
We don’t pack meals, but you can. We usually make a reservation at one of the park restaurants or one of the park hotel restaurants (the Contemporary and Grand Floridian house our favorites). However, you can pack a straight up cooler with an entire meal so that your family has not one thing to purchase throughout the park. You can pack drinks, food, snacks and anything else you might need for the entire day to cut costs.
You don’t have to spend money on fancy photos sold by the park. In fact, just hand over your phone or camera to a Disney photographer and they will happily take your photo in front of the castle or with the characters and you have them free of charge. I promise you – we never buy photos there. PS – selfie sticks are not permitted; they will be confiscated and you will have to claim them later.
If it’s your birthday, your anniversary, your bachelor party, your first visit, whatever; the park will give you a free button to wear. The fun fact, too, is that every single cast member that sees you is then required to tell you happy “Whatever” and call you by name. Even though it’s in their job description, you still feel a little like a celebrity for the day.
You might not have enough water to cool you off during the day but no matter where you go in Disney, they are required to offer you a cold cup of ice water if you simply ask. There is no need to pay for bottled water if it’s not in the budget.
And as a bonus tip – if you’re visiting for more than one day, but the multi-park, multi-day tickets. They’re worth the price when you take time to do the math.
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