Now that Disney has raised admission prices to all of its parks, I want to tell you the best ways I know to save money when you want to visit the Mouse!
Saving money on Disney is tough, but possible
The cost of a trip to the Magic Kingdom is now $105 a day for Magic Kingdom. The other Orlando parks that are less popular are $97 a day. (Disneyland is $99.)
Unfortunately, the cost is the cost with the price of Disney parks. There's not a lot you can do to save, unless you're military. What you've got to do is try to save on where you stay and where you eat.
I recommend that you buy The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World as a starting point. They'll tell you all kinds of money and time-saving tips that the parks don't want you to know. That's the key to getting the best value out of a trip.
For example, it's so important to know how to navigate the parks: What order to go to things, where to go first when you arrive, what time of day to arrive. Knowing that makes a trip so much more enjoyable.
For my money, I say make sure you take ponchos from the dollar store with you for afternoon and evening thundershowers instead of buying overpriced ones for $10 at the park. Sure, they won't have cute characters on them, but they'll help you keep more of those other kinds of "characters" in your wallet.
Two other websites you need to know about too: MouseSavers.com also features a lot of info on how to save on the experience. And if you want to stay on the property, try renting a timeshare. MouseOwners.com has resources for both owners and potential renters.
When should you plan your Disney trip?
Fall is the best time for Florida vacations each year. That's the time of year that Walt Disney World offers discounts to Florida residents that fill the parks with daytrippers. That creates some traffic, but not as much as you would have encountered over the summer.
The real time to book, though, is during the first two weeks of December. Almost nobody goes on vacation at that time.