Disney World is one of the world’s most popular destinations – and Disney knows it. They charge a lot of money to get into the parks, eat at the restaurants, and stay at the hotels that are part of the Walt Disney World resort. However, there are ways that you can save money if you do some research and are patient.
As far as hotels are concerned, even the most affordable accommodations at Disney World are still expensive. This summer, rates at the Caribbean Beach Resort are over $200 per night plus taxes! If you’re going to Disney for a week, that’s over $1,400 just for the hotel room.
That’s a lot of money to spend for a room at a resort that isn’t terribly convenient to any of the parks. However, there is a way to spend a lot less on hotels – use points!
Starwood has a property inside the Disney World Resort area! The Walt Disney World Swan is a Category 4 hotel and costs just 10,000 points per night. For a seven night stay, that’s just 60,000 points since you get the 5th night free. If two parents were to sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, they would each receive a total of 30,000 points after meeting $5,000 in spend within 6 months! The Walt Disney World Swan is also in a great location. It has easy access to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios by boat. You’ll also get access to Disney’s BoardWalk which has lots of shopping and eating options. While Disney can certainly be an expensive place, the hotel does not have to be part of the expense.
Florida can be very expensive when it comes to car rentals, but luckily you don’t need one while you’re at Disney World. Disney offers complimentary transportation to and from the airport via Disney’s Magical Express, which will take care of all your bags for you. I took this service for the first time last summer and I was amazed at how well it was operated. I waited for just a few minutes while at the airport and not at all when being picked up at my hotel. It’s a great service that I’m sure not enough people take advantage of.
Disney World itself has an amazing transportation system that can take you all over the resort for free. Buses pick up guests at their resorts and can take them to all the different parks as well as Downtown Disney. The only time you would need a car is if you wanted to leave the resort, but each hotel has plenty of cabs waiting to take guests anywhere they want to go.
Park admission is still expensive. There are sometimes packages that go on sale, but there’s nothing cheap about them. If you’re able, try to buy multiple days at the same time. The more days you buy, the cheaper each day gets.
A one-day pass is $89 for people over the age of 10, but a 10-day pass brings the price down to $31.80 per day. Passes do expire within 14 days of first use, unless you purchase the “no-expiration” option. This option used to be available online, but according to this article in the Orlando Sentinel it is now only available via phone or in person.
Food will also be a big expense at Disney World. Luckily, there are plenty of grocery stores nearby, where you can stock up on snacks or even meals to help off-set the high resort prices.
For many people, the price of Disney World might make it seem out of reach. However, with some research you’ll find that you can save a lot of money by using the same techniques we always use – points and the internet!
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49