Are you wondering if it's possible to take a Disney vacation on a budget? Planning an affordable Disney vacation is not as difficult as you may think. It simply means doing your homework and making a few choices that will keep your overall cost down, such as timing your trip right and selecting a wallet-friendly hotel.
Also, consider easy ways to keep your spending in check while you are at Disney World. When it comes to souvenirs, you'll find an assortment of inexpensive, small items in the gift shops, but it can take a lot of willpower to pass up the flashier, more expensive keepsakes.
On a budget? Limit your time in the gift shops and turn on your kids to these less expensive options.
Ask Your Favorite Disney Character for an Autograph
Did you know that you can get an autograph from your favorite Disney characters (with just a few exceptions)? You can purchase a Disney autograph book in any gift shop, make an inexpensive personalized version before your trip, or take DIY Disney souvenir book to a whole new level.
You can track down your favorite Disney characters and schedule meet-and-greets with MyMagic+. And don't forget: hugs are always free, too.
Collect and Trade Disney Pins
Pin trading is not only a great way to collect souvenirs; it's also a fun activity that adds a fun dimension to your Disney vacation. Pins are available at gift stores in Disney's theme parks, cruise ships, and resorts. Kids can focus on a favorite character, collect sets, or look for commemorative pins.
You may trade up to two pins a day with any cast member and also swap with other guests. Get started by buying a pin or two or, if you have more than one child, consider a pack of five or six pins. Then start trading. Make sure to research the basic Disney pin-trading rules before beginning.
Get a First Haircut (and Mouse Ears)
Head to the Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom for an inexpensive and oh-so-fabulous memory. The My First Haircut package buys you a cut, special "first haircut" mouse ears, and a guaranteed fabulous photo op. You can also opt for special Disneyworld haircuts for boys and girls under nine years old. The stylists will also be happy to add Disney sparkle to adults' hair, too.
Collect Disney Pressed Penny Souvenirs
For just two quarters and a penny, you can make a collectible pressed-penny Disney souvenir. They're fun for kids and, best of all, you can have 10 for just more than $5. You'll find coin-press machines at many resorts and attractions at Disney World and Disneyland as well as at some Disney Cruise Line ports, and each one offers a selection of different images.
Go on a Photo Scavenger Hunt for Hidden Mickeys
Disney destinations are filled with "Hidden Mickeys"—silhouettes and images of Mickey Mouse's iconic head cleverly hidden by Walt Disney Imagineers throughout the theme parks, resorts, and cruise ships. It’s fun to find and take photos of Hidden Mickeys on your smartphones and, if you like, put together an album when you get home. (You'll find this hidden Mickey pictured on the carpet at Animal Kingdom Lodge.)
Buy Your Costumes Before You Go
If your kid is obsessed with Elsa and Anna and knows every word to "Let it Go," you can save significant money by buying a "Frozen" souvenir or two from a store before you leave home. Same for almost every other Disney film. To make the souvenir more special, consider offering it as a surprise on the day you leave or when you arrive at your Disney destination.