This is How to Save Money at Disney Since Ticket Prices Went Up Again

Park visitors walk around Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.
Park visitors walk around Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

Less than a week before my daughter turned 3, I took her to Walt Disney World as an early birthday celebration.

I specifically choose to go before her third birthday, because children 2 and under get into the park at no charge. A trip to Disney is no low-cost affair, and I wanted to save wherever I could.

I know that will be the cheapest Disney trip we ever take — not only because I’ll have to pay for an actual ticket for my child from now on, but because Disney ticket prices keep going up.

Disney officials increased the admission prices at its parks in Florida and California over the weekend, according to various media reports.

Disney ticket prices have gone up between $2 and $5 at Walt Disney World in Orlando and between $7 and $11 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, USA Today reports.

Annual passes and parking prices are also on the rise.

According to USA Today, annual passes at Disneyland increased by $30 to $100, depending on the type of package.

Annual pass packages went up between $20 to $50 at Disney World, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Parking at the Orlando theme park rose $2 for general parking and $5 for preferred parking.

Price hikes like these aren’t anything new, yet people continue to come and drop a small fortune.

So how do you experience that Disney magic without spending all your moolah?

Be Aware of Ways to Save Money at Disney

As Penny Hoarders, we’re always looking for ways to stretch our money.

We got insider intel from a Disneyland cast member on ways to save at the park. Some smart tips included bringing your own food into the park, staying at a non-Disney hotel and choosing to get a pressed penny as a souvenir in lieu of pricier gifts.

Writer Ron Walpole regularly vacations with his family at Walt Disney World and shared advice on how to reduce expenses. Some of his recommendations include planning well in advance (to take advantage of fluctuating prices throughout the year) and arriving at the parks super early (to ride the most popular attractions before insane lines form).

If you want to score some awesome freebies while you’re at Disney, check out this post. Photos and celebratory buttons are just a couple no-cost options.

Make a Trip Out Of It

Many visitors will take advantage of lower ticket rates by purchasing multi-day passes. The more days you stay, the cheaper the price per day.

But you’ll spend more over the course of your trip.

For example, if you purchase a two-day pass to Disney World, it’d cost $104.50 each day or you could purchase a five-day pass for $79 per day.

While it’s cheaper per day the more days you go, keep in mind you’ll be shelling out more money in the long run. Using the previous example, a two-day visitor would be spending a total of $209 on admission versus a five-day visitor spending $395.

And that’s not even factoring in the added costs, like additional days of lodging, more parking fees and extra meals out.

If you’ve blocked out several days or a week for your Disney vacation, you may want to consider fewer days at the park and more time exploring low-cost options in the surrounding area.

Penny Hoarder writer Carson Kohler recently shared 20 fun things to do in Orlando outside of Disney’s gates.

Avoid expensive food at the park by getting groceries delivered to your hotel. You might not even need to splurge for a rental car to get around to area restaurants or grocery stores.

Save Up

Unless you live close to a Disney park and have an annual pass, a visit to the land of Mickey and Minnie probably won’t be a spur of the moment trip.

Prepare in advance with a smart plan to fund your trip. No digging into your emergency fund!

This story about a woman who used SwagBucks to save for a trip to Disney is perfect inspiration.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.