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Disney World is an amazing destination for family vacations. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can act like a kid, regardless of your age. But, it’s expensive! So, how can you make your Disney World trip special without breaking the bank? Here are 13 affordable ways to do just that!
- #1 Get celebration buttons.
- #2 Bring glow sticks.
- #3 Leave surprises for your kids.
- #4 Get a character wake-up call.
- #5 Take a stroll on the beach.
- #6 Get autographs.
- #7 Eat dessert.
- #8 Ignore bedtime.
- #9 Spend time at the pool.
- #10 Go for a spin on the monorail.
- #11 Do something extra.
- #12 Buy Disney shirts before your trip.
- #13 Act like a kid.
#1 Get celebration buttons.
One of the easiest ways to feel special during your Disney World trip is to wear a celebration button. Pick one up at the Guest Relations office at any park or at the front desk of your Disney World hotel.
They have buttons for first visits, birthdays, weddings & anniversaries, plus general celebration buttons. Many times, the cast member will write your name on the button to make it extra special.
When you wear them in the parks, cast members and other guests will notice comment on your button. Sometimes, you even get extra attention or free things because of your button. And the best part is that the buttons are FREE!
#2 Bring glow sticks.
After dark, Disney World turns into a magical glowing spectacle. The lights on all the rides and buildings add an extra layer of fun to the night.
Carts full of glowing souvenirs also magically appear once the sun goes down. Kids are drawn to these toys like a moth to a flame. To make your kids feel special without shelling out a chunk of money for these expensive souvenirs, bring your own glow sticks.
Buy packs of them at your local dollar store, Michaels, or Target for a dollar. Throw them in your park bag and give them to your kids after dark. They will love having them and you will love all the money you save!
My son never asks for the light up toys after I pull the glow sticks out of my bag while we are in the parks.
#3 Leave surprises for your kids.
Glow sticks aren’t the only thing you can pick up before leaving to make your Disney World trip special.
Head to Target, Walmart, Michaels, or your local dollar store and pick up some small Disney themed items your kids will love. You can find many great items in the dollar aisle.
Wrap them up and sneak them into your luggage. Each morning of your trip, leave one or two gifts out for your kids to find. Tell your kids they are from Mickey or another favorite character.
You could also theme your gifts to the park you will be in that day. For instance, give them animals or animal print items when heading to Animal Kingdom. Give Star Wars items on the day you go to Hollywood Studios.
#4 Get a character wake-up call.
If you stay at a Disney resort, make your Disney World trip special by arranging a wake-up call for your kids. Simply request a wake up call on your hotel room phone, and then let your kids answer it.
The calls are made by a variety of characters. Your kids will be so excited to hear Mickey Mouse, Stitch, or a princess on the other end of the phone. This is another FREE perk that will mean a lot to your kids.
What kid wouldn’t love getting a wake-up call from Mickey Mouse?!?!
#5 Take a stroll on the beach.
To make your Disney World trip special for your spouse, take a nighttime stroll on one of the beaches.
Several of the Disney hotels, including the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Caribbean Beach have beaches you can walk on, even if you aren’t staying there. And if you time it right, you may see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the Grand Floridian or Polynesian beaches.
This can be a very romantic and peaceful way to end a day.
Alternatively, take an evening stroll around the boardwalk at the Boardwalk Inn.
#6 Get autographs.
For many kids, meeting their favorite characters is the highlight of a trip to Disney World. An easy way to make it special for them is to get autographs from the characters they meet.
While you can buy an autograph book in the gift shops at Disney World, save yourself some money by getting one before you arrive. This is a very easy way to get lots of souvenirs without spending a ton of money.
I like using spiral-bound index cards as an autograph book. Then, after our trip, I can put the autographs into my son’s scrapbook with a photo of him with each character. I can get a 3 pack of index cards at an office supply store for about a quarter of the price of an autograph book in the parks.
#7 Eat dessert.
If your family is anything like mine, you don’t typically get dessert with meals. So, simply getting dessert at one or more meals while on vacation can be a great way to make it more special for everyone in the family.
Either order dessert at the end of your meal or stop for ice cream or another yummy treat after you leave the restaurant. Either way, it’s an affordable way to make your kids feel the trip has a little extra magic to it.
#8 Ignore bedtime.
Sometimes the little things have the biggest impact. Another free way to make your Disney World trip special for your kids is to ignore bedtime. Let them stay up late. Stay in the parks to watch fireworks or ride a few more rides before calling it a night.
However, remember be careful so this one doesn’t backfire on you and cause an epic meltdown the next day. Depending on your children’s ages, personalities, and sleep habits, you may need to sleep in the next day or require a nap in order to make ignoring bedtime work.
Use your discretion on how best to implement this tip.
#9 Spend time at the pool.
Most kids love swimming. So, spending time at the hotel pool is a surefire way to make your vacation feel special for them. And since this won’t cost you a dime, it is a great thing to incorporate into your trip.
Remember, sometimes the simple pleasures are the best. So, take an afternoon or morning off from the parks, and let your kids swim while you relax.
#10 Go for a spin on the monorail.
Another easy and free way to make your Disney World trip special s to take a spin on the monorail. Kids love riding it. So, jump on it whenever you can.
Add even more fun to your trip by taking a boat or the Skyliner from point A to point B whenever you can. Disney transportation is always a lot of fun for kids.
#11 Do something extra.
There are many fun things to do outside of the parks. These include playing miniature golf, going fishing, bowling, and renting surrey bikes.
While they may come with an additional charge, many of these options are relatively cheap. So, elevate your trip by doing one of these extra things.
My family loves spending a few hours playing mini golf while at Disney World. It is a great way to get away from the crowds for a little bit too.
#12 Buy Disney shirts before your trip.
Even if you are not a fan of matching shirts, buy a few new Disney shirts for your kids before your trip.
Your kids will love wearing shirts with their favorite characters on them while they meet those characters. And you will save a ton of money by buying these shirts before you arrive.
You can usually find some cute ones at Target for pretty cheap. And, while you’re at it, get a new shirt or two for yourself! Amazon also has some cute Disney shirts for the whole family.
#13 Act like a kid.
Finally, the best way to make your Disney World trip special is to let go and act like a kid. Children tend to remember when their parents are in the moment playing with them. So, embrace the carefree feeling of being on vacation. Dance to the music. Giggle with your kids.
Acting like a kid is one way to guarantee your family has the greatest vacation ever!
Disney World is a unique destination for family vacations. Make the most of it by making your Disney World trip special with these easy and affordable tips. While your trip won’t last forever, the memories you create during it definitely will.
For more money-saving Disney tips, head over to Mousesavers. For help planning your trip, see our step-by-step guide, best resources, quick tips, and where to stay at Disney World. Happy travels!
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