by Female Abroad

I was at a party once and this very drunk woman came stumbling up to me "I'm not a stalker but I've been tracking your Disney trip, it was so beautiful! How did you do it? For my daughter and me to go it's going to cost us like $10,000". My shocked reply was "How? What are you booking?" but she stumbled off without an answer. I looked at my soon to be husband dumbfounded. That moment stuck with me and made me realize that people have this inflated idea as to what Disney is; they want to go but they cannot afford it - crazy if you think about it because it is just a theme park.

My number one tip is be a travel agent. The trip she spoke about was one I booked while I was one. We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort at DisneyWorld and had week long, hopper passes. The hotel & passes for the two of use came to just over C$ 700. Now, that is not a normal trip in any way. When we did DisneyWorld a few years later (and after they did two price hikes in one year) we stayed in Port Orleans and went for 10 days which ended up being about C$ 2,000 with the same park tickets. Certainly a price difference but nothing astronomical and kid tickets (as long as the child is 9 and under) are even cheaper than adults.

If you are reading this and still cannot figure out how we got it as cheap as we did, let me let you in a few little secrets...


Disney also releases prices for hotels, park passes, and dining plans usually in the summer for the next year (ex. pricing for 2020 was released June 18, 2019) however hotels will be available to be booked sooner than the passes so you could call Disney in April 2019 to book your hotel for April 2020 but they won't guarantee the price.

Usually Disney raises prices once per year but in 2019 they raised them twice - once at the beginning of the year and the next in October. If you have something booked before Disney raises the prices (even if it is not fully paid), they cannot raise your price unless it is a hotel booked before the actual prices are released.

While staying at a Disney property is a great way to keep the magic going, it might not be worth the cost. Disney is starting to make it where you should stay at one of their hotels. The main reasons we like to is because at the Disney Hotels (+ Swan & Dolphin) you get access to the Magic Hour events, transit to / from the parks & hotels, free wrist bands, free transportation from Orlando International Airport, 60 day window to book fast passes (the general public only gets 30 days so in demand rides are gone by then), and small random add-on (free rounds of mini-golf, free entrance to ESPN world, a drawing of Mickey from an Imagineer, etc). If you are not staying at a Disney property then take into consideration: the cost of a cab from the airport / your hotel (or the cost of a car rental + parking) and/or if your hotel has a shuttle then how often does it run & when? A lot of hotel shuttles are once in the morning and once around dinner time so if you were planning on staying to see the fireworks then you are on your own or if you have a little one that wants to nap mid-day then you'll have to find your own way to the hotel


If you are travelling with younger children, they can probably only handle one park per day or if you are going for a longer trip then the park hopper might not be for you.

Shorten your trip. Believe me, you can get tired of Disney! My rule of thumb (if not travelling with little kids) DisneyWorld: 1 day Epcot (unless you are doing Drink Around the World then add a day for hangover), 2 days everywhere else

If you are going for a special event (ex. A Very Mickey's Halloween) these are in addition to your park ticket so you'll have to buy a special ticket just for them. A lot of the parks will already be themed for the holiday's so unless you want the specialized shows and characters it might be worth skipping (and if you hate crowds then definitely pass)

If you don't have a lot of time but want to see everything then your best bet might be to buy tickets to an after hours event. It will have less people but all the rides will still be open.

Don't feel like you need to stay at a Disney hotel and be in the park every day either, take a day off and have a Resort day or explore the areas!


When it comes to booking the trip you can book directly (more on that below) or you can book with a variety of suppliers:


Priceline / Priceline Express


Undercover Tourist - sometimes has cheap park tickets


Disney registered Travel Agent

For packages (flights, hotel, and tickets) check out: Air Canada Vacations, WestJet Vacations, United Airlines Vacations, Air Transat Vacations, Apple Vacations, Get Away Today

Pricing should be roughly the same as what Disney offers because travel agents make about 10% commission but Disney has already included that in the price of the vacation. As Disney dictates the price, the travel agent cannot make it 10% cheaper and eat the difference so you don't pay them commission. Disney also does not pay agents until at least 30 days after you travel so if you cancel your trip, the agent won't make any money on all the work they have provided.


Some people feel the most comfortable going direct to the source and the Disney website makes it very painless to book your package. A few things to keep an eye on:

If you are booking park tickets + hotel on the website, the tickets will be priced for all of the days that you are staying in the hotel. This also means you will have tickets for the day you arrive and the day you check out. Double check the # of days that the system has priced the tickets for. It is highly unlikely you are going to go to the park on these two days so make sure to remove them, this will end up saving you $$:

  • Disney does price its tickets where the longer your ticket is valid for, the cheaper it is so if you are going for 2 weeks but only are going to use it for 10 days, paying for the full 14 days may be cheaper; try both scenario's before deciding

Also!! if you do end up buying 5 day pass but decide at the park you want 6 days you can go to customer service and add that additional day onto your pass AS LONG as you do it before the end of your 5th day. So if you decide on day 5 you want to come back tomorrow, you have until park closing on that day to add the additional day. If wait until the next day, then you pay the full price of a single day pass which could be $20+ more than if you added it the night before.

When you are pricing out a vacation package, Disney does not include the taxes until you get to the check out screen!

If you are booking DisneyWorld, price out if the "free dining" promo is actually worth it for your family. With the promo usually the hotel rate is higher and if you won't use all of the points (check out my article on how to use the Dining Program) then just paying for your food might be a better deal now provides pricing for Friendly Neighborhood Hotels - hotels that are not Disney owned but are near Disney and may provide some of the same perks. Also check the hotel's direct website to see which price is better

Disney does not have a Canadian toll free number so if you don't have US calling on your phone, prepare to be charged

When you are pricing out a package, click on the actual hotel you want for the most accurate and lowest price. The general search page will only show an average price which can be quite off.

Keep in mind that your price is not locked in until your final payment so keep checking back to see if there are any new promo's or if prices have dropped. If you book within their final payment due date (30 days out) or book a full pre-pay, non-refundable vacation you will not be able to make any changes. If you book with an agent and it included air, they may not be able to make changes depending on how they did it.

Make sure that you check using incognito mode on your browser and clear your cookies because if the website picks up that you've been there before, it will actually increase the price!

Sometimes booking the hotel separate from the tickets is cheaper than packaging so try this option as well


While it seems like Disney never has promotions you would be wrong, you just have to pay attention. For our last trip we got the Canadian Resident's discount for the tickets, they had a promo of save X # of nights and save X% on the hotel, a $25 gift card for booking direct, and a $125 gift card for declining housekeeping during our stay.

They usually they run a 25% off for Canadian residents twice a year

If you book direct with Disney, check the fine print as they sometimes will throw in gift cards without actually advertising it. If you do see it in your fine print, screen grab the info and email it to yourself in case you need to reference it!

Sign up for Disney emails as they will sometimes send out promo's

Do some research and find historical dates as to when promo's were run as usually Disney repeats the same patterns

Promo's are usually offered during low or shoulder season so if getting a lower price is important to you, be flexible with your dates!

Target sells Disney gift cards and with a Target Red membership you will save 10% on the actual gift cards. So if you price out the park ticket to be $100, head to target and buy a $100 gift card and use your Target Red membership which means you'll only be charged $90. Technically that means you saved $10 on your ticket! You can of course pay for your entire trip this way so you can end up saving 10% of your entire vacation if you use the gift cards.