A Disney vacation is in your future. Maybe this is your first trip, maybe it’s your 10th but the important question is- do you know what things to buy BEFORE Disney to save money? Maximize your Disney savings by including these items while packing for Disney!
12 Things to Buy BEFORE Disney
- Items to Beat the Heat
- Sunglasses and Hats
- Glow Sticks and Light Up Toys
- Disney Clothes/PJ’s
- Autograph Book
- Disney Pins and Lanyards
- Discount Gift Cards
You’ve got your resort reservations, your Fastpass+ slots are filled, the magical MagicBand 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 add up to big Disney savings?
The Disney vacation 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. Here are things to buy before Disney for maximum Disney savings!
Practical Things to Buy BEFORE Disney
When it rains at Disney, this magical theme park becomes a sea of Mickey ponchos. At roughly $10 per poncho, it would cost $60 to cover our family of 6. 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. The bonus was that my family stood out with our red and blue ponchos making the kids easier to spot. Buy these before a Disney vacation for uniqueness and savings! Savings: $33-45 depending on the quality of ponchos
Suffice it to say that sunscreen is not cheap, to begin with, but when buying from a hotel gift shop, the price goes up. Sunscreen 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. Buy this before your Disney vacation and score major Disney savings. Savings: around $21
3. Items to Beat the Heat:
In case you hadn’t heard, Walt Disney World is in Florida. Florida is hot. In some months, unbearably so. Preparing for that in advance and packing for Disney in a smart “heat friendly” way is essential for Disney savings.
Things we always buy before Disney to help with the heat? Cooling towels, misting fans and more. One of my TravelingMom friends has a GREAT post up with a full list.
Bringing your own food can provide a TON of Disney savings. Yes, part of the experience is eating the food, but find out how we saved at least $50 every day by packing snacks and being selective on dining in the park.
5. Sunglasses & Hats:
As we mentioned above it can get HOT! Make sure to pack sunglasses and hats for all party members. Buying them on site can really add up! We always include a few extras. Our teen son has a habit of putting his hat into the mesh pocket on roller coasters and walking off without it.
Fun Things to Remember When You are Packing for Disney
6. Glow Sticks/ Light Up Toys:
Night 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. Not feeling the plain dollar store offerings? Head to a Disney Outlet and still save money- even for the fancy light wands. Savings: $17
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 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
8. 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
9. 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
TravelingMom Tip: Feeling a little fancier? Here’s a great tutorial for EASY DIY autograph books.
10. 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 utilized 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
11. Bring Change:
Packing pennies and quarters may seem like strange advice, but it will save you on souvenirs once you’re there! There are penny press machines in the parks and kids love pressing pennies. All in this souvenir will cost you 51 cents but only if you remember to pack the change. TravelingMom Kathy Penney says this is one of her kids’ favorite items to “collect” from Disney.
Lock in Your Disney Savings Before Your Disney Vacation
12. 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 offered an app special coupon to Buy $100 in Disney gift cards and Save $20. Utilizing my husband and my son’s mobile apps. we purchased$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
My biggest TravelingMom Tip? When packing for Disney, use a packing list! Print it out and check it twice. Nothing makes the cost of a Disney vacation skyrocket like items you forgot to bring. Knowing about things to buy before Disney only works if you actually pack them!
Be sure to check out this post on TravelingMom before packing for Disney. We’ve compiled a master list for you!