Instead of buying a full meal, we bought turkey legs and ate and walked though out the park. Seeing how we were able to just reseal the bag it useful as well as it being so big that it took a while to finish.
We were able to also refill out water bottles at the water drinking fountains and declined on buying souvenirs or gift. Although we didn’t spend much that day, we were able to still enjoy the park.
To avoid spending unnecessary money on water I used my hydration backpack, which holds 2 liters of water. This was more than enough for me and my girlfriend to spend the day and save several bucks.
We bought some energy bars at Wal-Mart and ate them to stay healthy. This kept us away from burgers and also saved money. We didn't stay at one of Disney’s expensive hotels. Instead we picked a nice hotel off Disney property and took the bus every day to the parks.
We didn't buy many souvenirs at the parks as they're very expensive. We just got two stuffed Disney characters and two mugs. That was more than enough, especially because we were trying not to come back with a lot of stuff.
Also, we took our own umbrellas to the parks so we wouldn't have to buy one should there be rain. These are small details that helped up save a lot of money. Also, we bought the tickets online way before the trip so we got a sweet deal.
I find that certain Disney travel websites provide so much up to date information about everything from buying tickets, to showing menus, that I can plan a trip with ease. First determine which Disney Park you want to visit. Disneyland, Walt Disney World?
Then determine how long you want to stay. It's not hard to vacation in Disney World for a week, and still not see everything. Once you figure how long you want to stay, then you can look to see the options between getting a Disney Vacation plan, or just a reservation for a room, and park tickets separately.
The tickets are the next thing to figure out what you need. Disney offers so many options for park tickets, and some of the options you may not need, but would cost you money. If you know you are not going to Park Hop, then do not choose that option, and you can save yourself some money.
If you are going in the winter time, and know you are not going to go to the waterparks, do not choose that option. Again, planning the vacation can save you money.
The resort is the next option to save money. The value resorts might just be what you are looking for if you are looking to stay on a budget. These are the low end of the Resort Spectrum, but there is no lack of Disney-ness to any of the resorts.
Also, think about food. Disney offers a Dining plan, which can be included with packages for free, depending on what Disney is offering at the time. The Dining plan gives you a variety of Sit-down meals, Counter service Meals, and Snacks.
The portions of food are rather large, so think about splitting a dinner, or a lunch, or if you have small children, plan on them splitting meals, this will save you some money. If you get the dining plan, and have snacks left over, make sure you get the snacks before you leave to go home. You can take the snacks with you for the ride home.
Then I drew up a list of breakfast items, snack bars, and other sorts of pantry basics based on that store’s online sales ad, and made sure to print any online coupons that would be useful. Eating breakfast in the hotel room every morning was actually useful in a couple of different ways.
Not only did we save money, but no one was cranky from low blood sugar in the mornings. We even bought our own bag of Starbucks coffee to brew ourselves, rather than spend $4 a cup in the Disney cafes!
I also made sure each family member had at least a protein bar and a 100-calorie package of almonds on them each day. Those are lightweight foods that can help stave off those 2pm hunger pangs – and they were a heck of a lot cheaper and better for us than buying candy or nachos on site.
Because we managed our food budget so well during the day, we were able to splurge and enjoy some really nice Disney dinners without guilt at night – which was one of my favorite parts of this Disney vacation on a budget!