Walt Disney World on a Budget

How to save on hotels, food, attractions and souvenirs at this Florida theme park 
 

Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life

Wondering how you can save money at Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort, no pixie dust required? We’ve got a few suggestions.

Stay

Reserve a tent or pop-up campsite for US$53 a night at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Located in a 750-acre pine and cypress forest minutes away from Magic Kingdom and Epcot, the campsite’s amenities include a picnic table and grill, transportation to the parks and Orlando airport, a pool area with a 67-foot water slide, nightly campfire activities and tons more.

Eat

Try the pot roast mac and cheese (US$8.99) at The Friar’s Nook in Magic Kingdom Park for lunch, then hop over to Animal Kingdom’s Tamu Tamu Refreshments to snack on a Pineapple Dole Whip Cup (US$4.19 or US$7 for a coconut rum version). For supper, Epcot’s Joy of Tea serves the Lucky Combo: a Chinese BBQ Pork Bun, curry chicken pocket, egg roll, caramel ginger or strawberry red bean ice cream and pop for US$9.98.

Disney Springs

Take a day off from the parks and stroll through Disney’s outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Ride on the Venetian carousel (US$2), check out waterfront dance parties, munch on free chocolate samples at The Ganachery and build all sorts of creations at the LEGO Store.

Souvenirs

Sign up for the free interactive role-playing game Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at the Firehouse on Main Street U.S.A. to receive five collectable Spell Cards featuring Disney characters. Or volunteer the Padawans (a.k.a. kids) for Jedi training at Hollywood Studios and receive a personalized certificate perfect for framing.

Explore

Head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge for a free daily tour of its Boma and Jiko restaurants. Hotel guests and non-guests can learn about the intricate African-inspired theming and sample breads, soups and coffee-flavoured Zebra Domes. After dark, head outside to the savanna overlook and borrow night vision goggles from a Disney naturalist to spot the creatures that roam around the resort.

Entertainment

Take the monorail to Disney’s Contemporary Resort to watch Magic Kingdom’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. The hotel’s fourth floor balcony blares the show’s music and offers great views of the fireworks. Afterwards, head to the Contemporary’s waterfront to check out the Electrical Water Pageant parade where brightly lit sea creatures float by. (Schedules vary so check with the resort or online for times.)

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