Here's How to Save Big on Your Disney World and Disneyland Vacations This Summer

Your Disney summer vacation just got a lot less expensive.

Disney World
Photo: Blaine Harrington III/Getty Images

Even though the costs of tickets, parking, and Mickey-shaped snacks have been increasing at both Disney World and Disneyland, price hikes don't have to derail your Disney vacation dreams.

One-day Disneyland tickets will cost up to $154 this summer, a record high, but there are still plenty of ways you can save money on Disney vacations, both in California and Florida, from May through August. And with the addition of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge on both coasts and the opening of Avenger's Campus in California this summer, now is the perfect time to book your trip.

Here's how to save money on your Disney World or Disneyland vacation this summer.

General Disney Parks Discounts

Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort post an array of discounts on hotels, merchandise, and occasionally park tickets on "special offer" pages on their respective websites, while both MouseSavers and Disney Food Blog provide a comprehensive list updated often with current promotions ranging from Disney Springs restaurant happy hours to AAA Disneyland discounts, many of which will apply during summer 2020.

Disney Ticket Discounts

Disneyland and Disney World use dynamic ticket pricing, meaning tickets cost more during peak times and less during slower times. Planning your trip for a less busy time can be a great way to save some money — just check out the ticket calendar to see ticket costs for different days.

Disney World is currently offering a 4-Park Magic Ticket for four days, priced as low as $89 per day. With this ticket, guests can visit one park per day for 4 days, plenty of time to see Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Florida residents can also get deals on tickets — like the 3-day Discover Disney ticket, which gives guests access to one park per day for $175.

Military, AAA, and teacher discounts are regularly available for Disney World and Disneyland tickets. Florida conference guests are also eligible for discounted tickets; inquire with your conference's organizers for purchase.

Frequent Disneyland or Walt Disney World guests should consider a purchasing an annual pass instead of park tickets. Disneyland and Walt Disney World annual pass holders can receive discounts on hotels, merchandise, and dining as well as complimentary parking. Even easier? Visit Walt Disney World or Disneyland with a local — visiting the parks with a passholder opens you up to those discounts as well.

An easy way to save money any time of year is to ensure you only purchase Disney tickets for the days you need. If you're heading to Orlando on a five-day vacation, your travel plans might not leave much time to visit Magic Kingdom upon arrival or explore Disney's Hollywood Studios before heading to the airport. Consider purchasing fewer days of admission if so, or select 1-Park tickets instead of Park Hoppers if you don't plan to visit two Disney parks each day. Also, with the parks reaching peak crowds in summertime, be sure you get the most for your money with a subscription to Touring Plans, which uses a mathematical algorithm to help guests skip lines and experience more for each day of Disney admission they purchase.

Vacation Package Discounts

There are regular promotions for vacation packages offered on the Walt Disney World and Disneyland websites (which include hotels, tickets, and sometimes airfare) both during the summer season and year-round.

CostCo Travel offers discount packages for Walt Disney World, and if you're planning to stay on-property at Disney World or Disneyland, consider booking with a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. Often, they will monitor price changes and promotions and obtain price-adjustments if your hotel room cost drops, guaranteeing that you save money if discounts or cheaper prices are released after your Disney trip is booked.

Food Discounts

The Disney Dining Plan can save you money, but only if you choose the right plan for your vacation. Offered in four different tiers — the quick-service plan, dining plan, dining plus plan, and deluxe dining plan — the Disney Dining Plan, or DDP, allows guests to "pre-pay" for quick-service and table-service meals at Walt Disney World. Disney Food Blog's e-book offers a comprehensive look at the cost-effectiveness of the Disney Dining Plan, and it teaches you how to utilize it to save money, while the website lists current Disney food promotions and discounts.

Annual pass holders save up to 20% off select Disney restaurants at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but Tables in Wonderland, exclusive to Walt Disney World Resort, offers significant savings — including discounts on food and beverages (including alcohol) at over 100 Walt Disney World restaurants. The annual membership costs $175 for Florida Residents, or $150 for Walt Disney World pass holders and Disney Vacation Club members.

Disney Hotel Savings

Disney World and Disneyland run hotel and ticket package promotions throughout the year, so you can shave a percentage off the standard rate at the on-property hotels. Disney Springs Resort Area hotels — which have the same FastPass and Extra Magic Hour perks as Disney's own hotels — often have seasonal promotions as well as discounts for military, teachers, Florida residents, seniors, and AAA members. Right now, guests can enjoy rates as low as $99 per night at Disney Springs Resort Area hotels as a part of the "Spring into Summer" promotion.

Parking Discounts

Some annual passes provide free parking, which is now $25 for standard vehicles at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World parks. Area hotels at Disneyland, some of which are a short walk or complimentary shuttle ride from the park's front gates, will often offer parking at a discounted rate.

If you're only visiting Disneyland for a few hours, parking at Downtown Disney is free for 3 hours with a $20 purchase and validation from a Downtown Disney location, or free for 5 hours with validation from a Downtown Disney table-service restaurant. Parking is complimentary at Disney Springs.

Merchandise Discounts

Annual pass holders get up to 20% off at Disneyland and Walt Disney World stores.

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