1) Make Your Trip Off Season
By traveling during the off peak season, you can drastically lower some of your major expenses. Airfare and hotel reservations will be much cheaper if during the early Fall and late Spring before the big Summer rush gets in.
Off season travel is advised for a number of reasons besides just money. The park will be less busy meaning less time spent waiting in line. In addition, the weather during the off season is a bit milder, so if you hate intense sunshine, this is the right time to come to Florida.
2) Stay Off Property
The on site properties are nice, but they are a bit over rated, especially post Covid. With the reduction in character appearances at the resorts, the added expense to stay on property is simply not justified.
Save some money and stay at one of the many off property hotels. Sure, you may have to spring for a rental car but you will usually come out ahead. Additionally, you will have the ability to come and go to the park as you wish. The bus system at Disney is nice, but you will find yourself waiting in long lines for a bus that then has to make multiple stops along the way. After a long day in the park, having a car to whisk you away is a very nice thing.
3) Limit Your Park Time
If you are staying in Orlando for 4 to 5 days, nobody says that you have to go to the park each day. Besides, not all of the Disney parks justify an entire day spend. You should plan to spend a full day at Magic Kingdom and Planet Hollywood, but Epcot and Animal Kingdom can easily be combined into one day.
Limiting your actual park time can save you hundreds of dollars and open yourself up for other activities. Believe it or not, there is more to do in Orlando than Disney World. For example, Orlando is only about an hour away from some world class beaches in Daytona and Clearwater.
4) Plan To Share Meals
The serving sizes can be very large at Disney World, allowing kids and even adults to share meals. This effectively cuts your food budget in half. The exception to this is Epcot where portions in many of the lines are often snack sized.
With all of the snacks you will be eating, share a few of the meals and give your wallet a break.
5) Bring Your Own Souvenirs
Everything becomes much more expensive when you enter the park. A T shirt that might retail for $15 at a normal store can easily fetch $45 in the park. To combat this Disney inflation, bring your own souvenirs and toys.
Pack your own t-shirts, glow sticks, bubble machines, etc and spring them on your kids at the last minute. They will be happy with their new Disney gear and you will have saved a fortune on inflated prices.
6) Pack Wisely
If you forget to pack something, you can count on it being very expensive to buy at Disney. They carry a little bit of everything at the property stores, but it will be roughly three times the normal retail price and half the size.
Download a Disney packing list, like this one to make sure that nothing is taken for chance. You will save money and not lose time shopping for day to day gear.