How to save on last-minute Disney World travel
By Melissa Brodsky
Disney World is a magical place for both the young and not-so-young. But a trip to the destination can be extremely costly, even if it’s just for a long weekend. Many think booking a last minute trip adds more cost, but we have some tips to prove you can have your (funnel) cake and eat it, too!
Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn
Check area hotels first for availability and rates. This will let you know if the time you want to go is cost prohibitive. Many times, hotels offer lower rates during the off-seasons. Off-peak times are usually right after New Year’s through right around President’s Day, after Labor Day until around the week before Thanksgiving and late April through June.
Most airlines fly to the Orlando area airports. Spirit Airlines often has great rates, as well as some package deals. Check sites such as Orbitz.com and Expedia.com for reasonable package rates, too. If you book your air and hotel together, it ends up being significantly less expensive than booking individually.
The cost of getting to and from the airport and theme parks can weigh heavily on a budget-minded traveler. Many of Disney’s on-site hotels, as well as some of the surrounding ones, offer free shuttle to and from the theme parks. Some offer free airport shuttle, too. When booking your trip, be sure to find out these details so it’s not a surprise when you arrive.
Meals and snacks are perhaps one of the most expensive add-ons of the entire trip. For a family of four, three meals a day can cost upwards of $200 daily — and that’s on the low end. Walk-up dining is generally less expensive than sit-down meals. Some of the restaurants require reservations and, during peak travel times, may be booked weeks in advance. However, Disney does offer dining packages that could be cost efficient.
Theme park tickets
You can pre-purchase your theme park tickets through places such as AAA or via your hotel. You also may buy them online through the Disney site. Lastly, there is a Disney-authorized broker, Undercover Tourist, where you can purchase tickets at a discount.
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