By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Families at Walt Disney World on a Tight Budget

By Dave Shute


This site has two sets of guidance for families going to Walt Disney World on a tight budget.


For the basic December trip recommended by this site

  • See this for what to budget during the basic December trip
  • See this if you are on particularly tight budget, for (difficult) ideas to reduce the December trip budget by more than $1,000

If you can’t go the week this site recommends, see Estimating Budgets for Different Trips

For help getting to much lower budget numbers,



  • For reducing your transportation costs, see this


For Walt Disney World price seasons,

  • See this for resort price seasons
  • See this for Disney Dining Plan price seasons
  • See this for Walt Disney World theme park admission tickets

For the Tightwad’s Guideto Walt Disney World, see this

For the Comfortable Guide to Walt Disney World, see this


1 Beth { 01.24.13 at 1:52 am }

I have a reservation at Art of Animation in October 2013. I’m wondering if I can use this reservation, buy tickets through the Youth Education Program (great discount), and still add a dining plan. I called the reservation hotline, but the lady only knew of the YES program for groups. The website offers individual enrollment. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

2 Dave { 01.24.13 at 10:48 am }

Hi Beth, sorry, all I know about re YES is the group stuff…

3 jose L { 02.01.13 at 4:41 am }

Hello Dave, great page !!!

i have a question, i am driving to Orlando, Can I stay in a hotel inside Disney with my car??

4 Dave { 02.01.13 at 7:43 am }

Hi Jose, and thanks!

There’s tons of parking at the WDW hotels for registered guests of the hotels…

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5 Joe { 03.27.13 at 6:18 pm }

we are a family of 6 going to disney world for the first time. We have a hotel outside of disney. 155.00 for 3 nights. Shuttle runs until night fall. Our hotel has a full kitchen. We are going to eat there and pack snacks. Will we be able to survive on $1300.00 for our trip?

6 Dave { 03.28.13 at 7:43 am }

Hi Joe–ticket prices–which may go up any day now–are the big variable, and as they vary by age and you don’t give ages, I can’t answer that for you. See this for the current numbers:

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7 Emily { 04.07.13 at 12:35 pm }

We are a family of 6 (15-12-10-4) ages, going to Disney world this April . How can we save money tickets , hotels, airplane . Which park should we go to visit? If we can’t visit them all? First time going !

8 Dave { 04.07.13 at 1:26 pm }

Hi Emily! On the money side see this: and for the parks, take a look at this:

Both will likely raise more questions than they answer, so come back with more questions!

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9 Felicia { 04.28.13 at 1:50 am }

I am addicted to finding huge deals at Disney. It seems like a great deal of my day is devoted to finding new tips and tricks. One of my favorite recent tricks I just read about using a credit card to buy a Disney gift card and save a lot of money.

10 Dave { 04.28.13 at 11:39 am }

Hi Felicia, and thanks for the link!

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11 Miranda Terhune { 10.14.13 at 10:01 am }

I have a family if 19 wanting to go that’s 9 adults 2 kids 10 and up 4 kids 3 and up and 4 kids under 3 I don’t even know where to start I’m just looking for the best deal we also have on military and 3 with disabilities but not sever any advise so I don’t go broke please and thank you

12 Dave { 10.15.13 at 7:12 am }

Hi Miranda! Each active or career retired military person can get 6 low price 4 day tickets, and discount rooms. They can also sponsor, depending on the time of year, 3-6 (6 with a spouse) rooms at the lower-priced resort Shades of Green. Take a lok at the stuff that’s here:

Was this even remotely helpful?

Well then mosey on over to the home page, and like it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest!

13 Anonymous { 10.22.13 at 8:06 pm }

want to know on a budget for 1,500 2 adult and 1 child 5 found a hotel for 234.00 at and want to know is it enough money for diseny and busch garden going for aweek and driveing

14 Dave { 10.23.13 at 7:25 am }

Not sure what you mean the $1500 to cover–just tickets and food? Or the hotel and driving too… I don’t know about Busch Garden costs, but you should budget about $125-$150 a day for food for the three of you, and 6 day tickets at WDW for the three of you will cost about $950–see this:

15 melissa { 01.22.14 at 12:05 pm }

hello, we are a family of six. 2 adults and 4 teen. we are looking to go to disney for the first time ever and looking to find the best deals. we want to fly out of charlotte nc and stay for 1 week, i need to find the best deal for airfare, hotel, tickets and food. coud you please help, i can not afford a 8,000 trip but i also am willing to change the dates and amount of time there if needed

16 Dave { 01.23.14 at 7:23 am }
17 Tara { 02.20.14 at 8:10 pm }

We live on a small budget. But I wanted to give my kids some kind of Disney World experience while they were still young. I planned a trip for our family of 4 for $500.00 out of pocket. This is how I did it. :

18 Lena { 05.15.15 at 4:25 pm }

Hey Dave! I’m sure you recognize my name. hahah Anyways I just learned about the “Bounceback” offer but after our stay at Caribbean Beach Resort in April ’15 we wasn’t offered the “Bounceback” deal. Do they still do that? If I they do, is it too late to call to try to get the deal and is it worth it? Also when we booked our April trip I had used our “Come Back to the Magic” special (35% off room only at a moderate) they sent to my e-mail how often do they send those out do you know by chance? Sorry Dave there’s a lot of questions in this short little note I’ve sent!!!! Oh and here’s another 🙂 for you since you said you tend generate more questions than smiley faces. Have a magical day Dave!

19 Dave { 05.16.15 at 3:09 pm }


So on the bouncebacks, the word is that you have to book them before you check out. There’s not always a card in the room, so the trick is to call x8844 from your room phone (or 407-939-1923) and ask if there are any current offers…but again before you check out.

On the “how often they send out the email offers” (known colloquially as “pin code offers”), no one knows…

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