Saving money (or, rather, not spending it) at WDW

I’ve noticed a real and continuing change in my attitude towards budgeting at WDW. It’s motivated partly by necessity and partly by spite.

Because Disney has gone nuts with price increases and quality decreases, I’ve actually started considering the value proposition of many items.

Pre-COVID I thought nothing of booking multiple dessert parties, After Hours events, and so on.

But now, not so much.

My next trip is in December. I’m coming with three friends. In part I am aware that they have budgets and I have a responsibility not to put them in a position where they’re over-spending.

Originally I took it as a given that we would do MVMCP and the WAT. I was going to buy them all MBs in June but decided I’d wait till the MB+ comes out.

But now? None of that is happening.

MVMCP is not good value any more. They will miss a couple of cool things, but they don’t know they’re missing it and I’ve seen them before.

WAT is awesome but, again, they don’t know anything about it, and I’ve already done it. For four people? Youch.

MB+ might be cool. But they’re expensive and I want to punish Disney for not bringing them out when they said they would. Besides, the plastic cards you get for free are really cool souvenirs. And they’re free.

One summer I stayed at CSR (arguably my favourite resort) and another summer I did a night each at the Poly and YC. My go-to is Pop.

Not any more. I’m all about the All-Stars now. I’m booked there for my next two trips. They’re basically Pop without the Skyliner. The Skyliner is great in the morning after the rope-drop crowd, but it’s awful at park close. And the upcharge for it is so high you could take Ubers instead and save money.

I’ve just watched DFB’s latest video which is all about things you shouldn’t pay for at WDW and I’m really turning into a money-saving visitor to WDW rather than someone who buys it all.

I may even stop buying pins. My pinboard is full.

The thing about going with newbies, as I’ve said, is that they don’t know what they’re missing. I really wanted to take my friends to Space 220. It’s a cool experience. But they don’t know that. If I can get us in the lounge I will. Otherwise, forget it.

Dining in general can be cut down. They’ve requested one posh meal — we’re going to do CG, which is an experience as a well as a meal. Other than that certainly no signature restaurants. One character meal. But maybe not many table service, either. There are plenty of good quick service options.

My days of splashing the cash are over. I wonder if others are thinking similarly.


Universal all the way baby!!! :rofl:


Ironically, I am starting to do the opposite. We have done Disney on a budget for so long, and now with just being my wife and me, we are able to start splurging in ways we couldn’t before.

For example, prior to our Dec. 2020 trip, we would only have one table service meal the entire trip. Now we are planning about one per day. We are paying for MVMCP because we have never been.

Of course, I am appalled at Disney’s overstepping into woke politics and such, but the fact is we love our Disney World experience and will end up paying more now (at least per person).


I’m an AP holder and I will renew. I’ve had great value from it. But it would feel weird to fly all the way to Orlando and not do WDW. The time might come where I literally just do MVMCP or MNSSHP and nothing else at WDW, spending the rest of the time at UOR.


I thought that, but honestly it didn’t!

Our plan for our cancelled trip was to do a ‘sprinkling’ of Disney over a UOR trip, but everything we planned for that trip wasn’t available this trip, so we literally done no Disney. I’m genuinely surprised at how content we all were to do that :woman_shrugging:t4:


My family has done zero WDW many times and surprisingly they like those visits more!

Not having to worry about RDing, ADRs, running here to there, plus trying new things around Orlando definitely has benefits.


That makes sense. I’ve been nine times since my first visit in August 2017. I’ve done pretty much everything I want to do. Multiple times. There are still things I haven’t done that I’m interested in doing, but they are not necessarily expensive, e.g. Sci-Fi, which I’ve often booked but always ended up cutting.

Of course, we won’t agree about this. And it’s off-topic. I’ll rise a little to the bait by saying that I have long believed that businesses have obligations more than merely to their shareholders. Paying attention to those wider obligations is often good business and the shareholders benefit. Citizens United works both ways. If companies can spend unlimited money in pursuit of political goals, then you can’t get cross when they do. Personally I think Citizens United was an idiotic decision which has further wrecked democracy in the US.

BUT MY MAIN POINT is that Disney is overcharging and I’m fighting back by underspending.


Matt, I think what you are feeling is completely normal and natural. For me, going to WDW now has become a personal tug of war between doing again what I remember as fun, enjoyable and emotionally satisfying … versus … the financial reality of today’s experience. We had 2 trips actually scheduled this year. But our trip in April was a little too new, different and $$. When we got home, we cancelled our September trip (for F&W) because of all our perceived terrible C’s at WDW … Cost, Crowds, Catching Covid, and Complicated Computer apps, among other Changes. Now that September is getting closer, I’m going thru withdrawal. So yeah, a round about way of saying I’m thinking the same as you. :+1:

If we ever go back, we’ll adapt & improvise to overcome all those Changes so we enjoy ourselves again. :clap:


We are an every 3 year family. I would like to go more often than that, and I’ll be trying to save money on future trips. On our past trips, we did all of the things (multiple ADRs, dessert parties, experiences). Just whatever, cost be darn. Now, I’ll be focusing on money saving like you, just different reasoning.

I agree with you–if your people aren’t researchers, and they don’t know what they are missing, you should be able to wow them without $$$.



There is so much to see and do, especially if you’re new to it, that I think it makes perfect sense to skip some of it. And cost wise it of course makes sense too. I’ve taken my family 3 times now and they haven’t seen even half of it (= things other than rides), I’m more and more comfortable with not doing everything and also this way there is a lot of options and new things for each time we visit.


This 100% … I’m actually hold Comps from a previously Disney IT botched trip until either 1) There is an improved ROI for the money I would need to spend to make the trip a reality or 2) I bump up againts the expiration date of the Comps.


If you wanted to do something special at AK that isn’t as expensive as WAT there are the rhinos or elephant things that are shorter and cheaper. I’ve not done any but we plan to do those 2 on our January trip. WAT isn’t an option due to my DHs balance and mobility issues. Just a thought. Hope you and Calvin are staying cool and hydrated enough.


A first trip will be special enough.
A first trip with someone who knows All The Things will be a VERY special trip.

Just the basics done well will make a splendid trip. Those few add ons will blow them away.

You may even find a more simple trip is less stressful. :woman_shrugging:t2:


We were planning every other year, but with delays in ride openings and wanting to avoid the 50th celebration it’ll be 4 years since our last visit by the time we go again in 2023. Last time we stayed at Poly as our extra expense vs evening events, DH and DD missed CBR. So now it’ll be back to CBR and no plans of additional activities except maybe doing surf school. We’ve done enough TS meals to know which ones we enjoy, and what can be dropped. DD13 has outgrown a few extras we would have previously done i.e. BBB, princess room celebration. So that makes some cuts easier.


I never thought I’d see you say that. LOL! I was always flabbergasted/impressed/envious at the money you could toss at extras and when it’s just one person it’s “affordable” but with a family of four, it’s an extravagance. Disney can be just enjoyable without all the extras. Just think of how many MORE trips you can take now that you are saving money by not doing the extras. #DisneyMath

I totally agree with everything you wrote… Except about staying at All Stars. We stayed at ASMo two days before our Disney cruise and my husband referred to it as the steerage of Disney resorts. Nothing in particular was bad. Theming was cute but personally, I’ll pay more for Pop simply because of the skyliner and location/accessibility to other resorts. The rooms are basically the same though. I think everyone decides for themselves what things are “worth”.

Christmastime at WDW is magical and I didn’t need the party when I went in December 2019 and didn’t feel like I was missing out. There were tons of resort stuff to do instead that was free.

I do like one TS meal every day because I felt like I was eating a lot of junk the very first trip we ever went on and did only QS. That was in 2010 and the choices may have been a lot less then as well.

I think your friends will have a great time without all the frills and extras. Spending less is the way to go.


Me too! If only that would work.

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This might be our last trip at least for awhile. We might hit up DL in a few years when we do a CA trip so I’m going to go all out this time but I wouldn’t of we went all the time.

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I have never had an issue staying at an All star resort- the theming is fun and the rooms are clean!

I think you make a lot of good points. I used to feel like I was getting a lot of bang for my buck with some of the deals they have, that I felt OK splurging on some fun extras. Now everything is just too costly and not worth it.
I’d be inclined to do more QS if DD8 wasn’t such a picky eater.
We are only doing MNSSHP this year because DH wasn’t with us the last time and has never done it, so we decided to spend the money.
I’m finding more “free” things that I can enjoy ( pin trading, scavenger hunts, snack/drink hopping at resorts) that occupy/entertain us without costing much.

I’m actually surprised with all the trips you’ve taken the in the past you never bought DVC?


I’ve been thinking about @mousematt 's other thread about making this trip special. I think that WDW is so beautiful and immersive – especially in December – that you really won’t need to do any of the extras.

We used to have a TS meal or two each day, but I now love the freedom of only having them every other day or so. I don’t have to worry about making my park time fit with a reservation. We’re also ordering less when we do more QS or Epcot food booths because we share a lot more. Saving money is great, but saving stress on vacation is the best.

We also re-used magic bands because 1) they don’t come free with our $$$ stay and 2) the new ones weren’t ready for our trip. I was not going to spend more money on old technology.

Short answer: yes, I am happily skipping some things I did in the past because WDW is just constantly overcharging for every little thing. I don’t think any of us even bothered with a Mickey bar this last trip.