Your next vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. (Photo: AP)
Let’s face it, Disney World is expensive. With a one-day ticket to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom now going for $105, families are looking for more ways to save. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your trip.
1. The cheapest day of the year
Circle Friday, May 22, on your calendar. For the past three years Disney has kept the Magic Kingdom open for 24 hours straight on the Friday before Memorial Day. Starting at 6 a.m. on May 22, you can go on rides, meet characters, see shows, eat churros, cupcakes and popcorn and even dance under Cinderella’s Castle in your jammies until 6 a.m. Saturday morning. If you can stay up the full 24 hours, that’s a great value – less than $5 an hour.
2. Go for a Ride
There are three different Monorail routes, all free and accessible from the Ticket and Transportation Center. The Resort route stops at the three Magic Kingdom resorts, Disney’s Polynesian Village, Grand Floridian, and straight through the center of the Contemporary; while the Express route travels between the Ticket and Transportation Center and Magic Kingdom (without stopping at the hotels). The Epcot monorail route makes a graceful arc inside the Epcot theme park, passing its Spaceship Earth icon, and offers fabulous views of the riotous flowerbeds below.
3. Window Shopping at Downtown Disney
The park’s shopping and entertainment district is a great place to while away the hours. You can stroll the sidewalks, people-watch from a bench or just snap photos. The Ghirardelli Chocolate shop even offers free samples of its sweets. At Downtown Disney, you’ll find performers on the stage and sidewalks at all times of day and night – everything from student groups, to solo musicians, dance groups, bands and DJs.
4. Take in a Show
One of the most popular performers at Disney World hosts free shows Wednesdays through Saturdays at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside resort. “No one has more fun than us,” says Yehaa Bob Jackson, who entertains the crowds with his wacky singing, hollering, marching and piano playing at the intimate River Roost Lounge. Head to the food court next door, grab a snack or dessert (they’re fine with bringing food to the table) and stay for the show. Everything is kid-friendly, too. After all, this is Disney.
5. Resort Hop
Disney World’s deluxe resorts would be stand-alone destinations in any other part of the country. Holiday decoration displays are attractions unto themselves. You can easily entertain the family for an hour or two exploring the hotels, and many of them have free activities that are open to all. Here’s a sampling:
-Animal Kingdom Lodge – African animals wandering a savanna
-BoardWalk Inn – Stroll the turn-of-the-century styled Atlantic City Boardwalk
-Grand Floridian – Watch a live orchestra playing from the balcony above the lobby
-Polynesian Village – Grab a lei, take a hula lesson
-Wilderness Lodge – A geyser blows on the hour
-Cap off your day of cheap Disney fun watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach at Sunset Point of Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
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