Take advantage of specials. Disney World often offers special deals throughout the year, including room deals and even free dining.
Currently, if you book at least a 5 night/6 day vacation package (including room and park tickets) and travel between August 25-September 29, 2012 you receive the dining plan at no cost. Booking must be completed by May 18, 2012. If you book at Disney’s value resorts, you receive the quick-service dining plan which entitles you to two quick-service meals and one snack per person, per night. Booking at a moderate or deluxe hotel entitles you to the standard dining plan, which includes one table-service meal, one quick-service meal and one snack per person, per night.
If you’d like to upgrade from the quick-service to the standard dining plan, you can pay the difference for every member in your party, which is between $16-$19 for adults and $3-$5 for children, per night. The same goes for an upgrade from the standard dining plan to the deluxe, platinum or premium plan.
Also, if you book before March 31, 2012, you can save up to 30% on Disney hotels between April 13-June 14, 2012. You can save as much as 20% at Disney’s value resorts, 25% at the moderate resorts and 30% on deluxe accommodations. Rates vary based on travel days and the deal isn’t valid on all hotels.
Disney also offers discounts on both park tickets and hotels for members of the U.S. Military.
Compare transportation costs. Chicago currently has the highest gas prices in the country and airfare deals are harder and harder to come by so it is important to do your research. Compare the airfare prices on at least three carriers and compare those prices with the cost of driving. Airlines often change their prices from one week to the next, so be sure to check back a few times before making a decision. Currently, Southwest Airlines is offering flights between Chicago (Midway) and Orlando (MCO) for as low as $112 one-way in May.
When it comes to getting around Walt Disney World, forget about a rental car. If you stay on property at one of Disney’s hotels, you are entitled to free transportation from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to your hotel. Also, Disney World has their own bus system, monorails and even boats to get you where you need to go. You can travel from hotel to park, park to park and even to downtown Disney without spending any money.
If you prefer to stay off-property and want to save money on your tickets, you can purchase park tickets on Undercover Tourist, which can save you anywhere from $5-$37 on park tickets.