Me and the wife LOVE Disney World, and as such we try to make a trip down there as often as possible. Over the years we’ve done trips on all types of budgets — and have picked up a few great tips & tricks that are a great way to save a few bucks. Hopefully these tips help you out.
If You Want To Stay On Property — Consider Using Points for Swan & Dolphin
Staying on property at Disney World Resort is a magical experience, however it’s also a very expensive one. Marriott has two properties (three if you want to count Swan Reserve separately) that are on Disney World property, and as such let you book your stay on points. These are Walt Disney Worlds Swan & Dolphin resorts. The Swan and Dolphin range from 36,000 to 60,000 Marriott points per night — depending on the current promotions. Also don’t forget with Marriott you get the 5th night free whenever you book 4.
Now I will say upfront that these aren’t the usual Disney properties. These aren’t Disney themed at all really – but there are plenty of other benefits that I think far outweigh the room not being decorated with Disney theming.
Staying here on points nets you a few things. Firstly, you get all the benefits of staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort, such as Early Theme Park Entry, and Extended Evening Hours.
Staying here also puts you walking distance to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. You can also choose to take the free shuttle to any of the parks, or the boats directly to Hollywood Studios & Epcot.
You also have several amazing restaurants right downstairs — Il Mulino, Kimonos, Todd English’s Bluezoo. And if you forgot to pick up some last minute gifts, there’s a Disney store right in both the Swan & the Dolphin lobbies. There’s also a pinboard, usually at Swan, but also sometimes at the Dolphin Disney stores. Both pinboards remain rather active, and are worthwhile to check once a day!
Parking At Disney World Codes As Entertainment – Not Parking/Travel
If you do end up paying to park at Disney World — take note that parking will code as entertainment and not as parking/travel. So sadly — no 3x points here from American Express Green. However cards like the Capital One Savor or the Synchrony Marvel will net you 3% cash back on these purchases.
Preferred Parking Is Cheaper When Staying On-Property
When you stay at a Disney resort, you end up having to pay for parking at the resort. As such you don’t need to pay for traditional parking when visiting the parks. Furthermore if you want preferred parking you just have to pay the difference between traditional & preferred (extra $20). This savings can easily add up over a week-long trip.
Score VIP Parking At All 4 Disney Parks: Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom & Epcot If You Drive An EV/Hybrid
Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios have ChargePoint stations at the very front of their parking lots. These are literally ahead of where preferred parking gets you — and you don’t have to pay for preferred parking to use them. Simply grab the ChargePoint app, check if there is an available station, and then drive over and leave your car to charge. The cost to charge for the day is negligible compared to the cost for preferred parking, and you’ll have some of the best parking ever.
Disney World Tickets Code As Entertainment
The actual tickets for Disney World do code as entertainment/theme parks. As such any credit card that offers cash back for this category is perfect to use here. I generally use the Capital One Savor or the Synchrony Marvel card to get 3% back.
Get The Disney Visa Debit/Credit Card If You Plan To Book Alot Of Special Events
In a non-Covid time, Disney World had a lot of special events and tours you could buy tickets for. Most of the time these tours and events are 10% off for Disney Visa members. The great part is that you don’t need to get a new credit card just to get the Disney Visa — since it’s offered as a debit card also for anyone banking with Chase. The perks for the debit card and the credit card are the same, minus the ability to earn Disney rewards.