Your Fairytale Trip to Walt Disney World Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune!

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The weather’s warming up, cities are beginning to thaw out, and many kids (and grown-up kids!) are dreaming of taking a trip to Walt Disney World this summer.

But tickets to the park alone can cost ~$100 per person per day!  So how can a family make it more affordable?

Your Fairytale Trip To Walt Disney World Doesn't Have To Cost A Fortune
You Don’t Have to Wish Upon a Star to Get to Disney World!

I’ll show you how you make your kid’s dreams come true for less!

(Almost) Free & Cheap Flights to the Magic Kingdom!

1.   Southwest Airlines

Southwest is an excellent way for families to get to Disney World.  That’s because with the Southwest Companion Pass your child or spouse can fly with you for free!

You need 110,000 Southwest Companion Pass miles to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which you can earn in 8 Easy Steps!  Once you have those points, you can fly to Disney World for a fraction of the price.

Let’s say you have a family of 4.  If 2 adults earn the Southwest Companion Pass, 2 kids can fly for nearly free!  That means you only need to pay for 2 award tickets.  A round-trip flight in coach from Chicago (MDW) to Orlando in June can cost just 15,628 Southwest points, plus ~$11.

Your Fairytale Trip To Walt Disney World Doesn't Have To Cost A Fortune
With the Southwest Companion Pass a Family of 4 Can Fly From Chicago to Walt Disney World for Only ~31,000 Miles & ~$22!

Just like magic a family 4 can get to Orlando for only ~$22 out of pocket!

Your Fairytale Trip To Walt Disney World Doesn't Have To Cost A Fortune
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo! Your Magical Carriage Has Arrived!

2.   British Airways

You could also get to Orlando for almost free with British Airways Avios points.  British Airways Avios points are great for short-haul flights because it’s only 7,500 points for flights up to 1,149 miles.

Use the British Airways visual map tool to find out how many points you’ll need!

2016-02-01_08-50-12
Fly to Orlando Using 7,500 British Airways Avios Points Each Way for Flights Under 1,150 Miles

And there are lots of ways to earn British Airways Avios points including:

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You Can Get to Disney World With British Airways Avios Points.  And You Can Get British Airways Avios Points Fairly Easily!

3.   Finding Cheap Paid Flights

If you plan on paying for your flights, budget carriers like Frontier Airlines, Southwest, and JetBlue often have sales that could save you some money!  Also check out my post on how to find mistake & low fares.

With Southwest your 1st 2 checked bags are free, which can save you ~$25 per person each way!  Or check out my list of cards that can save you money on checked bag fees.

Find Your Castle for Less!

Use Points for Your Stay

Most major chains have hotels near the Disney World parks.  Hotel Hustle and AwardMapper can help you find a hotel where you can pay with points!

Your Fairytale Trip To Walt Disney World Doesn't Have To Cost A Fortune
Walt Disney World Swan Resort Is Located Right Inside the Park and You Can Stay for Just 10,000 Starwood Points per Night!

If you sign-up for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express, you get 50,000 Starwood points when you complete the minimum spending on both cards.  The 5th award night is free, so that’s enough for 6 free nights at the Disney World Swan or Dolphin hotel!

Sometimes you can save more by redeeming for your flight and hotel stay together.

For example, with Starwood’s Nights & Flights, you can get 50,000 airline miles and 5 hotel nights at the Disney World Swan or Dolphin hotels for just 70,000 Starwood points.

Or you could stay at the Radisson Orlando Celebration Resort.  And use the 85,000 Club Carlson point sign-up bonus from the US Bank Club Carlson Card for 3 free nights!

Your Fairytale Trip To Walt Disney World Doesn't Have To Cost A Fortune
Do Your Best Impression of Sleeping Beauty on the Lounge Chairs by the Pool!

Also, check out all the ways you can earn Hilton and Hyatt points for stays near Walt Disney World.

Pay for Your Stay

You may be able to save on paid stays with:

  • AAA membership – Reduced rates for members at select hotels
  • MouseSavers – Sometimes has discounts for Walt Disney World hotels
  • Visa Savings Edge – Enroll a Visa business card an get 5% back at participating budget hotels

Remember to use TripAdvisor to ensure you find a hotel that fits your needs!

If you’re traveling in a large group, you might save money by staying somewhere you have more space and can cook your own meals.  For example, the Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista.

Or use Airbnb to rent out an entire house, condo, or apartment!  And if you’re new to Airbnb, you can currently save $25 on your 1st $75+ booking.

You may also find deals on meals and activities with sites such as Groupon, Living Social, and Restaurant.com.

Rental Car

If you need a car during your stay, check out my series on cheap car rentals for tips on how to save money.  And AutoSlash will keep an eye on prices for you and re-book you if they find a better rate!

Your Fairytale Trip To Walt Disney World Doesn't Have To Cost A Fortune
AutoSlash Can Help Find the Best Prices on Cars

Paying for your rental car with a card that offers primary insurance will make sure damages to your vehicle are covered in case of an accident.

Save money on parking expenses with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard (2.1% back when redeemed for travel purchases of $100+).  And fill-up your tank with cards that earn bonus points on gas like:

But keep in mind, parking at Disney World is pricey at $17 per day.  So you’ll often save money by finding a nearby hotel with a free shuttle.

Tickets, Food, & Souvenirs

TouringPlans (paid membership ~$13 for a year) will help you organize your trip and give you time and money saving tips!

And you can save 5% to 6% on Disney tickets and more when you buy Disney gift cards at grocery stores or office supply stores with cards such as:

  • SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express – 5% cash back at US office supply stores. Terms apply.
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – 6% cash back at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year; then 1%. Terms apply.

Or better yet, you can pay for your tickets, food, souvenirs, and more at Disney World by completing the minimum spending and earning sign-up bonuses on cash back cards like:

  • SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express – $250 cash back
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard – ~$420 back (when redeemed for travel purchases of $100+)
  • Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card – $300 cash back after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

You can also pay with the Citi Prestige card, which earns 2X points on entertainment expenses including amusement parks.

The great thing about using miles and points for your airfare and hotel is that you have more cash to spend on entertainment when you get there!  But there are also other ways you can save:

Remember to use a shopping portal for purchases you make online!

Your Fairytale Trip To Walt Disney World Doesn't Have To Cost A Fortune
Avoid the Overpriced Food at the Park by Bringing Your Own Drinks and Snacks!

Certain groups can also get discounted tickets:

Bottom Line

You can make your family’s dream vacation to Walt Disney World a reality for a fraction of the price!

Get your flight and hotel for (almost) free with airline miles and hotel points!  And cash back cards can save you lots of money on tickets, food, souvenirs, and more!

Let us know in the comments if you have any tips for saving money on a trip to Disney World!

Million Mile Secrets is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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