A Disney vacation is one full of magic, excitement, and wonderful experiences. Most of us need to plan or budget out the cost of a vacation to make to make these phenomenal plans a reality. Trips to Disney can be arranged with many different budgets in mind, but we all know that it adds up. Below I have included five affordable options to add a little more Disney magic to your vacation. Whether you are hunting for a destination to relax between park days or looking for ways to extend your vacation, we’ve got you covered.
1. Stay Off-Property
Disney resorts are amazing and full of magical perks, but they can also be pricey. If you plan on staying at a Disney resort, consider splitting your time with another resort off property. Derek and I were not able to get a longer reservation at Fort Wilderness and knew we wanted more time to celebrate our honeymoon. Adding about 5 days to our honeymoon at a pre-Disney resort has been wonderful.Tropical Palms RV Resort provides great amenities including a pool with DJ and happy hours, some of the nicest and most affordable laundry facilities we’ve ever seen, and convenient access to all things Disney!
Staying just outside the Disney property is more affordable, and still allows you to experience all the extras Disney has to offer. Our commute from Tropical Palms was around 15-20 minutes depending on what part of the property we were trying to reach. I expect that during busier times of the year travel time may increase, but we did not have any issues commuting or navigating the ample Disney transportation options. The outskirts around Disney also offer a wide variety of roadside giants, souvenir shops, and tourist experiences along Route 192.
2. Resort Hopping
The Disney property offers a variety of hotels and resorts comprised of well over 20 impeccable themes. Each resort creates a magical experience transporting guests through its intricate details, well-timed special effects, and delicious offerings for both your eyes and your taste buds. We heard about the concept of resort hopping from a friend, and thought it would be a great way to get a taste of Disney while enjoying some of the resorts. Resort hopping is also a great way to gauge your interest in staying at the different resorts Disney offers.
Basically resort hopping is when non-registered guests of a hotel or resort visit to grab a bite to eat, shop at the local mercantile, or explore the sights. Guests can journey from New Orleans to the French Polynesian back to Florida, all on a visit down the monorail or a boat ride around the lake. The resorts at Disney really are special to see, offering a wide variety of experiences, cuisines, and themes that anyone can enjoy. While resort hopping, it is important to respect areas reserved for registered guests like the pools and room hallways.
Click here to read all about our Disney World Resort Hopping experience!
3. Disney Boardwalk
One of our favorite locations outside the parks is Disney Boardwalk! Derek and I loved the boardwalk so much that when our resort hopping travels ended up taking us in that direction, we went back for a second visit. Several resorts, as well as Epcot, are located a short walk from the boardwalk and Hollywood Studios is only a boat ride away.
The boardwalk itself is modeled after the quintessential charms of beach attractions, Coney Island and Atlantic City, in a time since passed by. Don’t let the size of the boardwalk keep you away. While the wooden walkway is only a quarter-mile stroll, each step and turn of the head presents a new opportunity. From upscale dining to classic boardwalk treats, the area has something for everyone to enjoy. Shopping, nightlife, and relaxing views are abundant when visiting. We highly recommend visiting after dark for a chance to see the boardwalk lights come to life.
4. Disney Springs
Disney Springs is a unique combination of shopping, dining, and experiences that all revolve around Disney! This is one destination you don’t want to miss and what I would consider a shopping mecca, boasting over 100 shopping locations. Even though Derek and I don’t buy many souvenirs- not much extra space in the RV- we still had a great time immersing ourselves in the Disney atmosphere.
A buzz fills the air as crowds bustle in and out of stores, bags lining their arms. Guests can enjoy sweet treats as they shop or take a break for a full meal at one of the many themed bar and restaurant destinations available. A movie theater and bowling alley are also on the site, as well as some truly Disney unique encounters including a balloon ride 400 feet into the air and amphibious cars!
5. Souvenirs along Route 192
Route 192 just outside the Walt Disney property is lined with restaurants, tourist experiences, and souvenir shops. Seemingly each passing souvenir shop is bigger and flashier than the last. Giant roadside mermaids and wizards, and outlandish murals tantalize traveling tourists through the door of these shops. We decided to hunt for a Disney shirt to wear in the park. For a fraction of the price a huge variety of Disney merchandise was available for our shopping considerations.
Tourist experiences are abundant in the area surrounding WDW property. While driving down the corridor we saw adds for helicopter rides, miniature golf, laser tag, and Old Town. Classic American fun is promised at Old Town recreation area and we feel like that promise was delivered. This roadside attraction has no entry free and is free for patrons to walk around and enjoy the old time small town feel. Guests can explore shops, bars, restaurants, and several family-friendly rides and attractions. Every day of the week brings something fun to participate in at Old Town including weekly car shows and classic car cruises.
There you have it, five tips to extend a Disney vacation that are easy on your wallet. Do you have other suggestions for an affordable way to sneak in some extra Disney magic? Let us know in the comments below!