Are you looking to plan a Disney vacation on a budget?
I love to travel with my family, but I never do so unless I’ve already budgeted and saved the money.
Of course, since we do love to take trips, we want our money to go as far as possible (spending less on Trip #1 means we have money for Trip #2).
Here is how I plan a Disney vacation on a budget, so we can visit Orlando Florida for less!
Consider Reading: 25 Best Vacations on a Budget
Choosing Our Accommodations
I’ve done a great deal of research over the years, but I always come back to the same accommodations.
You can’t beat the price and amenities of the Blue Heron Beach Resort. It’s located on 13428 Blue Heron Beach Drive, Orlando, Florida 32821.
It’s just 1 mile from Disneyworld and you can even watch Disney’s fireworks at night from your balcony!
I am not an affiliate for this vacation condo. I simply love it and how it allows me and my entire family to visit Orlando Florida for less.
We never stay anywhere else. We have an upcoming trip planned for November for my daughter’s 22nd birthday.
So what is so amazing about the Blue Heron Beach Resort? Everything!
Our upcoming trip costs just $115 per night (price varies based on the date of your visit). While the facility operates like a hotel, you’re actually getting a full condo.
So we will have two full bedrooms, two bathrooms, two balconies, a set of bunkbeds built into the wall in the hallway, a stackable washer/dryer, a full kitchen, a dining area, and a living room with a pull-out sofa.
The condo also features an Olympic-size swimming pool, a kiddie pool and a hot tub. All of these face the water and you’ll enjoy the dock, as well as the nature trail.
If you enjoy water sports, the staff can arrange to have watercraft brought right to the dock (for a fee of course). We stick with swimming in the pool, as it’s free, but it’s nice to know this is an option.
There’s also a game room, two fitness rooms, and a business center.
What About Food?
After you budget for accommodations, you’ll need to take food into consideration.
Another reason why I love the Blue Heron Beach Resort is the big savings on food. You can visit the nearby Publix and stock up on a week’s worth of groceries and prepare your own meals.
This is a huge way to save. The Blue Heron even offers grocery delivery through Publix Instacart if you don’t want to take up precious vacation time walking the aisles of the grocery store.
Disney actually allows guests to bring their own food from home, so you can continue to save by not spending on the very very very expensive park food.
If you want to make the meal a little more special for your kids, you can actually pick up Disney-Themed snacks from the nearby Dollar Tree and Walmart.
How to Save on the Theme Parks
Each of the theme parks actually charges for parking. You can skip this cost completely if you choose accommodations that include complimentary park shuttles.
Blue Heron Beach Resort offers this service and we definitely took advantage of it!
When it comes to ticket prices, there are a few ways to save some money to bring down the cost (although you won’t find huge savings – still every dollar counts!).
- Ask a family member residing in Florida to purchase the tickets for you. Florida residents qualify for a discount. Fortunately for me, my mom lives in Florida.
- Talk to your local AAA travel agent. AAA is authorized to offer special deals.
- Visit Orlando Florida on the off-season. Ticket prices fluctuate during the year, based on popular travel dates. Tickets are the cheapest during the off-season.
- Purchase multiple days instead of single day passes. The more days you add, the bigger your savings.
What About Souvenirs?
Never ever purchase souvenirs at the theme parks. The prices are super inflated. Instead, leave yourself a day to visit Orlando’s many shops to find souvenirs for less.
When my friend and I traveled to Disneyworld, her parents took us to an outlet where I got a Disney shirt for $5.
When I took my kids, we found Disney plushes at the local Walmart for $10 (selling for $30 at the park).
Another option is to pick up a few Disney items from Amazon without the rest of your family knowing.
Pack them in the suitcase and surprise them with the items when you get to your hotel/condo. They’ll get the excited feeling of having something new without the big price tag.
Don’t Forget the Cost to Travel to Disney
We have traveled to Florida via train, car and plane. It’s always the cheapest to drive, even though it takes us 19 hours to get there. It helps that my kids are grown now and we can take turns driving.
When they were young, I actually drove the entire way without stopping for the night (I could never do that now that I’m older ha ha ha).
What I do is pack breakfast, lunch and snacks so that all we have to purchase on the way down is dinner.
My first time traveling to Florida I packed us kielbasa pasta salad for dinner and kept it in a cooler because I didn’t have the extra money to spend, so it can be done if you need to.
Conclusion: You Can Plan a Disney Vacation on a Budget
As long as you sit down ahead of time and plan for every expense, then give yourself time to save up for the trip, you can certainly enjoy time at Disney with your family for a reasonable amount of money.
I recommend using a vacation planner, as they will help you see all the figures and savings goals, so you can stay on track and travel debt free.