A Disney expert shares Disney World hacks and how to save money at Disney parks in 2022.
Here’s How To Save Money At Disney Parks In 2022, According To Experts

It’s worth it to rope drop!

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Going to Walt Disney World or Disneyland can be a truly magical experience. However, going to a Disney park can also be quite an expense at the same time. While a trip to Disney is not cheap, there are plenty of ways to make your vacay more budget-friendly. With the help of some Disney experts, we’ve assembled tips on how to save money at Disney parks in 2022 with Disneyland money saving tips.

If you’ve been researching for an upcoming trip, you may have noticed recent additions to the Disney planning experience with Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes. These perks for an additional cost can help you bypass some of those long lines, but are they worth the added $7 to $20 on top of your ticket? And what about all that delicious Mickey Mouse-shaped food you’ve been eyeing on Insta. Is it possible to try every Disney snack on your to-eat list without completely going over your food budget? Plus, what are some items you can bring with you from home, so you won’t have to pull out your wallet as much when you get to Disney?

These are all questions that can be answered with Disney World hacks from anyone who visits the parks regularly, like these Disney experts who spoke exclusively to Elite Daily and shared their best-kept Disney savings tips. Here’s how to save money at Disney World in 2022.


Share Food With Your Friends

Rachel Chapman

Keshia Sih-Tseng (@keshiasih) is a lifestyle blogger and content creator based in Los Angeles, who often shares her 2000s and Disney-inspired ‘fits on the ‘Gram. She’s also a Disney pro with some of the best advice on how to save money at Disney, like sharing your food.

Sih-Tseng tells Elite Daily, “Food portions are pretty big, so to save money you can usually share food with another person.” If you’re really wondering how to save money on food at Disney World because your goal is to eat all the new Insta-worthy snacks available, digital creator Aena from @aenaenchanted agrees that sharing food is the way to go. She says, “Doing this is a great way to get more mileage out of your food budget, and it allows you to try more yummy food!”


Order Water Cups

Sih-Tseng also suggests ordering the free water cups at Quick Service restaurants. Instead of splurging on a drink for lunch, Disney has free water cups you can ask for to keep you hydrated. Not only do they also save space in your bag from having to bring your own bottle, but they’re “usually cold.” LA foodie, Kassey Cordova (@kase_eats), seconds this tip, saying, “Ask for cups of water rather than buying water bottles.” This is genius considering a bottle costs about $4 now.

If you do end up bringing your own water bottle, Aena mentioned, “There are also bottle refill stations around every theme park, so bringing a collapsible water bottle works well, too!”


Get Discounts With An Annual Pass

If you plan to go to the Disney Parks often, an annual pass or Magic Key can be worth it. “They can save money in the long run with tickets prices,” according to Sih-Tseng. Depending on which pass you end up getting, there are “discounts on food, merch, and parking” as well.

If you’re a hardcore Disney fan, you could even invest in a Disney Vacation Club membership — which is like Disney’s version of timeshare. DVC “can save you loads on Disney hotels, as well as get you discounts on food and merch too.”


Thrift Your Disney ‘Fit

The pressure to look cute at Disney is all too real. With so many adorable spirit jerseys and Mickey ears all over, you’ll want to dress up. To save some money, thrift your Disney OOTD. You could even find some Disneybound inspiration from TikTok with the clothes you already have in your closet. When you’re feeling cute, you’ll feel less pressure to buy new merch from the store.


Bring Along Snacks From Home

If you’re not a big foodie, one way to save money is to bring your own snacks from home. Aena shared, “People don’t always realize this, but you can bring your own food into the parks. Having sandwiches with a bag of chips on hand will not only help you save money, but it can also come in handy when someone in the party just can’t wait another minute to eat.” You can even pack a granola bar or some trail mix to keep you going throughout the day, and it will save you from having to dish out $6 for a pretzel or $5 for a churro.


Get To The Parks Early

Aside from castles and Mickey Mouse-shaped food, Disney is known for their long lines. Popular attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Space Mountain are sure to have long wait times during the day. While splurging on Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane can save you the trouble of having to wait in those long lines, they also cost up to $20.

That additional cost is not worth it when you can just get to the parks earlier in the day. If you’re able to rope drop — aka arrive at the parks right when they open — you can prioritize some of the bigger attractions first. You can actually get through tons of rides early in the morning before the big crowd arrives in the afternoon. Staying at one of the Disney hotels can also get you early entry into the park as well.


Plan Out Your Food Budget For The Day

With some research, you can pre-plan how much you think you’ll be spending. If you’re a foodie, check out some accounts like Disney Food Blog to see what’s worth ordering. Even Disney Food N Fun (@disneyfoodnfun) has a roundup of snacks that are less than $10 and totally shareable. You could also browse the menus available on the Disneyland and My Disney Experience apps for prices to start creating a budget.


Skip Buying PhotoPass Pictures

Rachel Chapman

Disney has PhotoPass photographers scattered around the parks to take professional photos of you. While these photos can be great, they also cost extra. To save some money ask if these photographers can take additional pics with your camera or just snap your own photos for free.

If you do end up wanting to get a few of the PhotoPass photos, Genie+ gives you unlimited downloads of your photos from the day. Genie+ is $20 a day at Disneyland and $15 a day at Walt Disney World. If you’ve got a big group, that’s not bad at all to split to be able to download all your fave photos for the ‘Gram.


Take Advantage Of The Free Things

There are actually a ton of free things you can do within the parks to save on souvenirs. For instance, if you’re at Disney California Adventure Park, stop by the Animation Academy. In this attraction, you learn how to draw your own Disney character and get to take your masterpiece home. It’s like a free souvenir.

You can also stop by Guest Services at the front of the park to get a free button. There are a few different kinds of buttons like for your first visit or birthday, but they also have a generic “I’m Celebrating” button that can be a great souvenir as well.


Travel During The Off-Peak Season

If you ask anyone who goes to Disney often, there really is no time when the parks are completely empty. However, there are off-peak seasons at Disney when things are a little bit cheaper. “If you can swing it, traveling during the off-peak season can save you money on both your tickets and your Disney Resort hotel room,” Aena shared.

This is around September before the big holidays and between January and March when school is back in session. With not as many people traveling during this time, you may be able to find some good deals. “Disney tickets are date-based,” Aena says, “and tickets during the holiday season tend to be pricier.”


Apply Those Special Offers When You Can

Aena knows all about a good deal at the Disney Parks and is sharing this well kept Disney World hack. “After you book your stay, keep an eye on the Special Offers section of the site for discounts,” she shared. “Most of the time, these discounts can be applied to your existing reservation. There are so many different discounts- Annual Passholder, Military, Florida residents; there’s even one for Disney+ subscribers currently!” So, if you’re someone who marathon-watches every Marvel show on Disney+, you can also get a discount on your next Disney vacay.


Look At ShopDisney For Discounts On Souvenirs

If there’s a certain souvenir that caught your eye, you can always check to see if it’s on shopDisney and wait for it to go on sale. You could even look ahead of your trip for discounted Disney merch to wear on your vacay. Aena shares, “If you like to plan ahead ... you can grab discounted goodies from shopDisney during the site's sales before your trip.”


Get A Disney Credit Card

Walt Disney World Annual Passholder, Caroline of @letsfindmagic, has a Disney credit card that allows her to “earn points, which can be used for future Disney trips.” Of course, this is not a tip for someone just planning one vacay to Disney. However, if you’re a big Disney fan, a credit card that gets you rewards points may be a good investment. You could even look into a credit card that gets you travel rewards to make your trip to Disney World or Disneyland a little cheaper.


Get A Refillable Popcorn Bucket

Caroline also suggests getting a refillable popcorn bucket. While the refillable buckets may be a little more expensive at first, it’s worth it for the “cute souvenir and cheap snack throughout your visit.” So, consider this a major tip for any popcorn lovers out there.

The CDC recommends traveling only after you’re fully vaccinated and your vaccine has become fully effective. If you’re not fully vaccinated and must travel, check the CDC guidelines before you book. Check your destination’s vaccination and testing requirements before you depart.

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