10 Ways to Save For a Disney or Universal Vacation


If you are like us you love going to Disney! But going on a Disney vacation can be expensive and prices keep creeping up( at the parks and in our every day life.) So what can you do?

Here are 10 ways to cut costs, raise money, or save for a Disney Vacation!

  1. Always check for Disney and Universal deals!

Disney offers deals throughout the year, especially during times when they might have lower attendance, so if you watch you can save on rooms, get free dining, and even score gift cards.

Universal does the same. Right now they have buy days get days for park tickets and their new value resorts will be opening soon!

Deals are always out there just keep your eyes open!  Or contact a travel agent. They do not charge for their services and can often find you amazing deals that you might not have known about.

2. Rewards Credit Cards

Another good way to save money is by using credit cards with rewards attached to them. Earn free flights or cash back and then put that money into your trip savings.  The Disney Visa card from Chase is another great option! When you pay your bill you get money back that can be used at the Disney parks. Use it for tickets, booking your trip, buying merchandise and more.

I use my rewards to purchase my Disney Alex and Ani bracelets.  I’ve heard people use their card to pay all their bills and then pay the card off each month and use the rewards to pay for special events tickets or trips! (Make sure to pay off these cards monthly or the interest will eat up any reward.)

Or book a Disney trip on your Disney Visa card, with a Disney special going on, and then pay it off and use all the reward dollars you get for special event tickets, souvenirs, etc.

The Disney Visa also gives you special access to exclusive photo ops, early tickets, 10% off over $50 at Disney stores and ShopDisney.com and more!  I highly recommend it. You can apply for a card and learn more about perks HERE.

3. Use Coupons and Reward Apps

This sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. Couponing can save you a lot of money. I’m not talking about becoming an extreme couponer, I’m just suggesting that sometimes you should look for coupons on products you use. If you are buying stuff you don’t use to save money you aren’t saving money. Then take the money you save and put it into your vacation savings!

There are also many apps out there that can help you save. Ibotta is a great one to use at stores you use every day. Just check the app, see what’s available, buy what you use, scan in your receipt and they put the savings into an account. When you’re ready to use it just send it to Paypal or convert it into a gift card! I use it all the time and I’ve saved hundreds of dollars! Just download the app (It’s Free) and go. If you would like to help me out just use referral code glusjsg.

Plus, a lot of restaurants offer free apps with rewards and freebies if you look! Always check for deals first! Then put the saved money into your vacation savings!

4. Buy Used

Thrift stores, Ebay, Mercari, trusted social media groups and yard/garage sales are a great way to save money!  I personally do this all the time! Why pay full price?

(Tampa Thrift Store-Facebook)

Sometimes you have to buy new, but only shop the sales on these. When it comes to everything else consider buying used! I always find amazing things at yard sales and thrift stores. Our one chain here does a clearance sale on Sundays and Mondays where you can get items for .70. I’ve gotten new condition (sometimes new with tags) brand name clothes for .70 each!

Trusted Social Media groups and local Facebook groups are great for buying as well! You can get great deals on Disney purses, bracelets and more on Mercari and Disney Purse groups on Facebook! Take your savings and put it into your vacation account!

5. Sell Unwanted Items

In line with number 4 on the list, sell your unwanted items.

You can sell on places like eBay, Mercari, trusted social media boards or even have your own yard sale! Take all the money you make and put it towards your vacation fund! When I was a kid my parents funded a lot of our vacations this way!

6. Change or Cash Jar

This is probably a bit harder now than it used to be as most people use their cards for most everything, but if you use cash save your change!

Put all your change in a change jar or save all the $1, $5, or $10 bills you get when you get change. I’ve seen people use this technique successfully. You choose a denomination of cash and save ONLY that type. So you save all your ones or your fives. It adds up quickly!

Then put it back for your trip!

7. Cut Down on Your Bills

Take a look at your monthly bills and see if there is anything you can cut down on.

Could you use a smaller television plan or switch to Hulu (they offer live television now) or other Streaming services to cut down on costs.

How about your cellular phone? Could you cut extras and lower your monthly payments a bit? Or use less utilities by turning off things you aren’t using all the time or turning down your heat a couple of degrees or air conditioning up a couple of degrees.

Maybe pack your lunch for work a couple days of the week or switch to a cheaper coffee or bring your own from home.

These little swaps can add up to a lot of money and won’t make much of a difference to your lifestyle. Then take the extra money and put it away for your vacation!

8. Side Jobs

If you want to make some extra money why not consider some side jobs. You can add a part-time job if you would like, or you can do some smaller projects like babysitting, mowing lawns, craft shows (If you have a special skill,) tutoring, consulting, etc.

A lot of these allow you to pick and choose what you want to do and how much time you want to spend on them. You can make some good money doing these on the side! Then pocket it all and take your vacation!

9. Direct Deposit or Vacation Clubs

In the past people used things like Vacation Clubs to save money for their trips. Some banks still offer this option. You set an amount and the bank automatically takes it out weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Since it happens at set intervals you don’t miss the money and it adds up.

You can also set it up to take money and put it into a savings account if your bank doesn’t offer a Vacation Club.

There are also Apps and online programs that will take money out of your account at set intervals, and put it into an online savings account.

We actually use this something like this for stocks and retirement accounts. The same principle can be applied to vacations!

10. Gift Cards

Another great way people are saving money on vacations is by buying gift cards at places like Sams Club or Costco. These stores will often have packs of gift cards at a discount. It’s only a few dollars per one hundred, but if you buy multiple gift cards to pay for your trip you could save a lot of money.

For example say you saved $4 per $100. You need $4,000 for your trip. Buy 40 cards (sometimes they have larger packs) 40 X $96 = $3,840 and you saved $160! Then pay for your trip with the gift cards. Or use a rewards card to buy the gift cards, then save on the cards and pay off your rewards card to get the rewards. You saved twice!


I hope this helps some of you. Some of these may sound difficult or time consuming, and they might be at first, but you will quickly get the hang of it and it will become second nature.

Even if your goal isn’t a vacation, you can use some of these tips to pay off debt faster or save for other large purchases.

Do you have any great tips you want to share? Comment and let us know! I would love to hear them!

Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.