13 Savvy Ways to Budget for Your Dream Disney Vacation

Find ways to build up your Disney fund for a fun vacation.

Family at Disney World
Updated May 28, 2024
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Disney can be a dream trip that turns into a tough reality when you see how much it costs.

The good news is there are several ways you can save some extra cash to go on that Disney dream trip.

Before you book your trip, check out these clever ways to save up so you can enjoy your trip to a magical place without worrying about a villain cleaning out your wallet.

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Use Costco to supercharge your savings

jetcityimage/Adobe costco wholesale

A great Costco hack is to use your membership for items that are basic bulk purchases from the warehouse. But, there are also other ways to save money at Costco that you can use to save for your Disney trip.

For example, Costco Travel has great deals for vacations not only at Disney resorts but also on Disney cruises if you prefer to travel by ship on your next vacation.

Look for options that include a free Costco Shop Card to pay for Costco items and use the money you save for your Disney trip.

Set specific goals

Syda Productions/Adobe woman with money and travel map

It can be hard to save money when you have a generic goal like “Save money for a Disney trip,” so set specific savings goals that you can reach to get to your dream vacation.

You might want to set a goal for how much you plan to save each month to get to the amount you need. You could also declutter your home and create a goal to sell a certain number of items each month and put the cash toward your Disney dream vacation.

Start a high-yield savings account

fizkes/Adobe couple paying bills online

A great high-yield savings account is one option to help you earn extra interest on the money you’re saving, especially if you’re saving an amount for a big purchase like a Disney vacation.

You can set goals to put a certain amount in each month to help build your savings for your vacation and keep tabs on how much additional cash you’re earning in interest.

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Cancel streaming services (but not Disney+)

tanaonte/Adobe little boy watching the new Disney

Streaming services may only cost $10 or $15 a month, but that can add up and be used for a Disney vacation instead. Reevaluate your streaming subscriptions and see if you can cancel some or rotate your subscriptions each month.

One thing you shouldn’t cancel, however, is your Disney+ streaming service. The resorts have offered discounts in the past for Disney+ subscribers so keep an eye out if they revive that discount.

Create a budget

wutzkoh/Adobe woman hand using calculator

A budget is an important part of any savings plan so set up a few different budgets to reach your Disney goals.

You’ll want to either create or revisit your monthly budget to see if there are extra ways you can save cash to reach your Disney trip. It’s also a good idea to build a Disney budget so you can make attainable savings goals to reach the amount you need.

Get a rewards credit card

PPR109103/Adobe woman sitting in a café

The best rewards credit cards are great options if you want to find ways to earn points and perks while spending money.

Check out the Disney Visa Rewards card, for example, which helps you save money at Disney dining locations or gets you extra park perks as a cardholder. You can even pick your favorite characters to be on your rewards card and show off your love for Disney.

Buy Disney gift cards

jetcityimage/Adobe disney gift cards

You’re probably including souvenirs and other fun purchases in your Disney budget so get those costs covered now and put that toward your Disney trip savings at a discount.

Disney gift cards can be purchased for less than the face value at stores like Sam’s Club, or you can use your Target REDcard to buy Disney cards at face value but use your REDcard discount to get 5% off the purchase price.

Cook at home more

Lumos sp/Adobe african american father cooking

You’re going to love all the unique restaurants and tasty treats when you go to a Disney resort, so spend some time in your kitchen before you go to save money.

It could also be a fun way to get the family involved and have everyone pitch in on dinner nights to save enough for your big trip.

Download shopping apps

Aleksei/Adobe walmart application icon

There are still plenty of everyday expenses you can’t avoid while putting cash in your Disney fund, but there are ways to save when you shop.

Check out the apps for places you visit regularly such as grocery stores or retail stores like Target and Walmart. You can find additional coupons or discounts that can help you save during each visit. The extra savings can add up over time for your trip.

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Get a side hustle

AnnaStills/Adobe girl with down syndrome choosing watercolor paint

Side hustles can be great options to help you earn and save extra money. Find a side hustle that fits into your schedule or pick an option that fits your talents such as a hobby you can turn into cash, or tutoring using your knowledge of a specific subject.

Get the kids involved

pressmaster/Adobe buying toy at yard sale

Sometimes you might want to surprise your kids with a Disney vacation they didn’t expect, but it can also be a good idea to get them involved in saving so they feel like they’re contributing.

If your kids are old enough, encourage them to help neighbors out with yard work or shoveling sidewalks to earn a little extra cash. You can also have them collect cans from family and turn them in for cash if you’re in a state with a can and bottle deposit.

Buy used instead of new

DenPhoto/Adobe man holding iPhone X with Internet shopping service eBay

There are some great websites to purchase things you may need without spending as much for them if they’re used compared to if they’re new.

Check out sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist for items you need before you head out to buy them new or order them online. You may be surprised at how much you can save using online thrift shopping.

Use your tax refund

tashatuvango/Adobe keyboard with Tax Refund button

It can be exciting to find out you’re getting a tax refund after filing your tax returns in April.

Keep track of that refund when it arrives and earmark it specifically for your Disney fund to give your trip an extra savings boost.

Bottom line

JHVEPhoto/Adobe entrance gate of disney world florida

Disney can be so much fun for your family, even if it is a very expensive trip.

But there are ways to save so consider planning and researching different options to help you keep cash in your pocket, especially if you’re trying to save up money for other things as well.

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Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.