A trip to the most Magical Place on Earth is in your future. Maybe this is your first trip, maybe it’s your 10th but the important question is- do you know what to buy BEFORE you go to save money? We break down the things to buy before Disney!
You’ve got your resort reservations, your Fastpass+ slots are filled, the magical Magic Band box has arrived at your house and you’ve made the decision between the Disney Dining meal plan or packing lots of snacks– but have you made your list and checked it twice to see if you included some items that will save you money? The Disney pixie dust can easily take over a vacation and lead to extra spending. When the parade starts and every other kid has a glowing light toy you can guarantee your toddler will find them fascinating. Some advance planning can yield big savings with lots of these items even available at your local dollar store.
8 Things To Buy Before Disney
Glow Sticks/ Light Up Toys: Nightime descends on Disney and suddenly like fireflies glow sticks and spinning light toys pop up everywhere. Pick up a few packs of glow stick bracelets, wands and necklaces and you’ll have your kids covered for $3 instead of twenty dollars. Savings: $17
Costumes: A favorite tradition of ours has become having the girls wake up on their first morning at Walt Disney World to a dress left for them by a “princess.” By keeping an eye on Disney Store Outlet emails I am usually able to snag these for an average of $23 apiece. While at Walt Disney World during our visit last time I spied the exact same Belle dress my girls were wearing for $64.95. Savings: $42
Disney Clothing/Pajamas: With sales at the Disney Store and the outlets you can usually score disney t-shirts for $4.95-$9.95 and pajamas for $7.99-9.99. These run about $5-10 higher in the parks. We usually grab a few t-shirts for $4.95 and nightgowns for 9.99. Savings: at least $10 per child
Ponchos: When it rains at Disney it becomes a sea of Mickey ponchos. At roughly $10 per poncho it would cost $50 to cover our family of 5. There are a few ways to go here: dollar stores typically have ponchos for $1 but they are the thin ones. I found heavier ponchos with reusable pouches for $3 (kids) and $4 (adults) at Walmart. Bonus was that my family stood out with our red and blue ponchos making the kids easier to spot. Buy these before a Disney vacations for uniqueness and savings! Savings: $33-45 depending on quality of ponchos
Sunscreen: Suffice it to say that sunscreen is not cheap to begin with but if you’re buying it from a hotel gift shop the price goes up. Sunscreen usually has a Use By date printed on it. This year I scored sunscreen on markdown at the end of the summer at Target getting 3 aerosol bottles of it for just $2.99. Savings: around $21
Autograph Book: A popular toddler and kid activity at Disney is to get the autographs of various characters as you wander the parks or attend character meals. Autograph books in the parks average $10. We made our own out of dollar store notebooks (2 per pack for $1) and Disney princess stickers (also $1). Savings: per child $7.50
Discount Gift Cards: The art of discount Disney gift cards is truly that – an art. Disney gift cards can be used across the parks for everything from dining to hotel rooms to souvenirs. Planning ahead and shopping sales can turn your Disney budget up a notch. For example my grocery chain HEB recently had an app special coupon that was Buy $100 in Disney gift cards Save $20. Utilizing my husband and my son’s mobile apps we were able to buy $300 worth of Disney gift cards for $240. These deals tend to pop up starting in November through the Christmas season. In addition you can purchase Disney gift cards at Target using your Red Card for an everyday savings of at least 5%. Savings: 5-20% of the value you buy
Disney Pins/Lanyard: Pin trading is a great way to interact with the characters and to introduce a new aspect of Disney to kids who may have visited several times already. Pins need to be Official Disney pins with the original backing on them. I bought several at the Disney Store Outlet for $4.95 each to get each of my kiddos started. I was able to utilize my collection of conference lanyards (I knew I was saving them for a reason!) for the pins. Pins in the parks range from $7.95-$13.95 each and you’ll pay around $8 for a lanyard. Savings: $11 per child
How do you save money at Disney? What else do you like to buy ahead of time?