WDW Magazine - - How To Save At Wdw - BY KARYN LOCK

Vis­it­ing Walt Dis­ney World any­time of year is al­ways a spe­cial oc­ca­sion for my fam­ily. We’ve been lucky enough to make the trip from Ohio to Florida twice a year and each visit lasts around a week at a time. I know what you must be think­ing: How does a fam­ily that doesn’t call them­selves lo­cals af­ford to visit so fre­quently? Over the years, I’ve learned quite a few tips about sav­ing money on re­sorts and ho­tels both in and around the House of Mouse. With some easy ad­vice and tips to plan your next WDW va­ca­tion, you can find ones that won’t break the bank as well and are per­fect for your fam­ily’s va­ca­tion­ing style.

If you’re adamant about stay­ing on­site, you’ll def­i­nitely want to check out the Value Re­sorts to save money. We’ve stayed at on-prop­erty mul­ti­ple times and have never been dis­ap­pointed. Se­ri­ously. All of the All-star Re­sorts (Mu­sic, Movies, and Sports), Pop Cen­tury Re­sort, and even Art of An­i­ma­tion of­fer guests larger-than-life Dis­ney char­ac­ter icons through­out and a de­cent food court to grab meals. The out­door ac­tiv­i­ties tend to cen­ter around the main pool area at a value re­sort but they cer­tainly cater to kids with nightly movies, hourly games, and even fun, hol­i­day-themed events. As with all on­site WDW re­sorts, you have the ad­van­tage of let­ting Dis­ney do the driv­ing the en­tire length of your va­ca­tion which can save you money on car rentals and gas as well.

Tip: Walt Dis­ney World’s Value Re­sorts use mo­tor coach trans­porta­tion to all of the theme parks and other at­trac­tions. We love rid­ing the buses back and forth (fun, themed mu­sic

PHOTO BY CLIFF WANG depend­ing on which park you’re headed to plus you’ll never know who’ll you’ll have the plea­sure of chat­ting with), but if you’re not a fan of public trans­porta­tion (the buses do get crowded at rope drop or when the theme parks close), think about rent­ing a car. You won’t have to pay for park­ing be­cause you’re re­sort prop­erty guests and can come and go as you please.

If you re­ally want to save some cash and want to stay on­site, vis­it­ing dur­ing the off-sea­son is an op­tion for both lower re­sort rates and lower crowd lev­els. WDW loves of­fer­ing dis­counts on rooms, din­ing, and tick­ets when the crowds are lower (think the week af­ter

Thanks­giv­ing, the weeks af­ter Christ­mas and New Year’s Day, the week af­ter Spring Break and Easter va­ca­tions, when the kids go back to school, etc.) and when you bun­dle all of your va­ca­tion needs into a pack­age you’ll tend to spend even less.

This way to save re­quires va­ca­tion flex­i­bil­ity and the abil­ity to jump on WDW’S of­fi­cial web­site to look for specials pretty fre­quently. While you’re on the site, re­quest a free plan­ning DVD that will put you on its of­fi­cial mail­ing list. You never know when you’ll get an ex­clu­sive of­fer or “pin code” in the mail to save on ho­tel stays and other va­ca­tion needs.

Dis­ney An­nual Passh­old­ers and Dis­ney Va­ca­tion Club mem­bers also tend to re­ceive some pretty deep dis­counts on re­sort room rates and United States mil­i­tary mem­bers can score great dis­counts at Shades of Green, Dis­ney’s on­site re­sort ded­i­cated to mil­i­tary fam­i­lies. If you are a mem­ber of the ac­tive mil­i­tary, a re­tired mil­i­tary veteran, or meet Dis­ney’s other qual­i­fi­ca­tions, check with your lo­cal mil­i­tary base for amaz­ingly dis­counted deals on park hop­per tick­ets, too.

Us­ing ho­tel points is an­other easy way to score re­sort and ho­tel room dis­counts. Both the Walt Dis­ney World Swan and Walt Dis­ney World Dol­phin ho­tels are Star­wood prop­er­ties, are ad­ja­cent to Ep­cot so they’re on­site, and of­fer SPG loy­alty pro­grams. The pro­gram is easy to sign up for and in­cludes free night awards and other perks. If you’re into ac­cu­mu­lat­ing loy­alty pro­gram points, you can save up and book free nights off site. Al­ways check with your loy­alty pro­gram spon­sors to find out which ho­tels qual­ify for your par­tic­u­lar pro­gram.

Next time you book a WDW Va­ca­tion and con­sider stay­ing on-prop­erty, re­mem­ber to in­ves­ti­gate and price out all of your op­tions to find out how much you can save on Dis­ney ho­tels!

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