We’re back! After a weekend at D23 and some time to get that blog post together, we are back for another Disney Travel Hack blog as promised! This week I am rounding up some of the best ways to save money on lodging during your next trip to Walt Disney World.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission should you chose to purchase using my link that will help fund my Disney obsession. You will not be charged extra plus you will help fuel my crazy love of the Mouse! Basically, you’re the best! For all Amazon links, please know – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchase. Read the full Disclosure Policy.
Before we get into the ways to save big on accommodations during your next Disney trip, we have to get the on-property vs. off-property discussion out of the way. I’ll start out by saying that I’ve stayed at most of the Disney Resorts on-property and only a handful of off-property hotels, mostly because I didn’t mind spending the extra money to take advantage of all the benefits that come with lodging at Disney. One of the biggest benefits for me is the Magical Express, a complimentary shuttle from Orlando International Airport to any Disney Resort on property. While I may have been paying a little extra to stay on property, I don’t have to shell out any additional money for transportation to and from the airport and I feel safe even if I was arriving at 2 AM by myself.
The other benefits that Disney Resort guests are afforded – transportation to the parks, Extra Magic Hours, and 60 day FastPass+ bookings – are actually available to a select group of off-property hotels that are located in the Disney Springs resort area –
- Best Western Lake Buena Vista
- B Resort & Spa Lake Buena Vista
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando
- Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- Holiday Inn Orlando
- Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
- Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
When you’re deciding whether to stay on- or off-property, my biggest piece of advice is think about every dollar that will have to go out of your pocket during the trip. Do you mind paying $30-$60+ one-way for an Uber to get to your hotel from the airport, but save on your room? Would you rather pay up front and have access to all the Disney benefits? Those are all questions that you will have to answer before booking your trip and there are no right or wrong answers! Below are a few tips and tricks to implement into your planning so that you can get the best hotel rate at Disney, no matter where you stay!
Tips for Saving Money on Accommodations
- Be flexible – If you are able to be flexible with your dates of stay, you will have greater opportunities to cut down on costs. Weekdays are often less expensive than weekends and there are periods throughout the year (i.e. September, early December, January, and February) that rates are much lower due to crowd levels.
- Consider your options – Once you have selected the dates you would like to visit, take a look at all the options that are available by doing a quick search on Google. Compare both on and off-property hotels and even consider Airbnb or timeshares.
- Show off your membership card – Be sure to check out any special rates you might be eligible for – Disney Visa Cardholder? There are discounts for you! AAA Member? There are discounts for you! Active Military Personnel? There are discounts for you! Also take a look at your credit cards and identify if there are any discounts available to you. I recently took a trip with my boyfriend where we didn’t pay a penny for hotels because we were able to use Amex Rewards – score!
- Head over to UnderCover Tourist – UnderCover Tourist has been helping people save money on all aspects of their Walt Disney World trips since 2000. Even as a Disney veteran, I still find myself checking out their site because they highlight some of the best rates available. Definitely bookmark their site and consider signing up for their email newsletter to stay up to date.
- Stay off-property – There are a ton of great options for off-property lodging in the area. Depending on what your transportation needs are, you can find rates as low as $40 per night if you are willing to travel a bit to get to the parks and miss out on the Disney Resort guest benefits. If you don’t want to give up on all of the perks, consider staying at a Disney Springs resort, listed above.
- Stay at a Value Resort – This is the most obvious of the tips, but it has to be noted! Disney’s Value Resorts offer guests an affordable option that still includes all of the benefits of staying on property. Starting at $143 per night, Value Resorts, such as Disney’s All Star Resorts, Pop Century, and Art of Animation, provide an alternative to staying off-property.
- Rent DVC points – Did you know that you don’t have to be a DVC Member to stay at a Disney Vacation Club Resort? Yup, lots of DVC Members will rent out the points they aren’t using to make some extra cash, offering Deluxe level accommodation at Moderate Resort level cost. Individual DVC Members and companies, such as David’s Disney Vacation Club Rentals will rent DVC points for as low as $10-$15 per point. To put it into perspective, the average cost of Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary during “Adventure Season,” aka quite season, is 102 points per week. Multiple that by $15 per point and your total cost for a DVC villa is $1,530. The best part? You get a ton more room than when staying at a Value or Moderate Resort, have a washer and dryer in most rooms, a kitchen or kitchenette, and if you stay at Bay Lake Tower, access to the monorail.
- Couch Surf – Airbnb is always an option to consider if you are looking to save considerably. You won’t have access to resort transportation or the other benefits WDW Resort guests have, but you could pay as little as $20 per night for two people.
- Camp at Disney – Now I don’t think I would ever do this, but if you don’t mind camping you can save a ton of money! Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds has four types of campsites that range from tents to areas for 45-foot long RVs. These sites can hold up to 10 people and cost as low as $79 per night.
- Pay with a Disney Gift Card – If you do decide to stay on property, be sure to open a Target RED Card before hand and purchase Disney gift cards. You will receive 5% off of your gift card purchase that you can then use to pay for your resort stay.
- Check periodically – No matter what option you go with, be sure to check the rates periodically to see if they have decreased. If they have, consider calling to see if you can rebook at the lower rate. It never hurts to ask and you could save a couple dollars!
I hope these help as you plan your next Disney vacation! Oh, and don’t forget to download the packing list for free so you don’t forget that sunscreen!