20 Cheapskate Tips for Souvenirs and Activities at Disney World: How to Save Money!!

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cheapskate tips for souvenirs and activities at Disney World

Updated for 2018!

Disney vacation souvenirs are expensive, but do you always have to pay retail?

We have some tips on saving money for your next Disney vacation, plus ideas on how to save money on souvenirs and activities. So put your Visa card away, hide your checkbook, and let’s see how the cheapskates do Disney!

Read: Almost 130 FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities!

save money for a Disney vacation

Save $ on Your Trip FOR the Souvenirs

1. Driving

Driving to Orlando can save you money over flying. No one wants to pay thousands of dollars for plane tickets, but of course driving is also dependent on your geographical location and your ability to spend hours or even days in the car.  

2. Avoid Credit Cards

Save up for the trip rather than paying for everything using a credit card once you arrive. Unless you can pay it off at the end of the month, those finance charges you incur while on your trip can rack up pretty quickly. Nothing can speed up the depression you get once you return home than opening up massive credit card bill. 

3. Use a Disney Visa

So we just advised against you using a credit card. However, when you use your Disney Premier Visa card at select Disney locations, like Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, you’ll earn 2% in Disney Dream Reward Dollars.

You’ll also earn 2% on card purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. For more information, use this link. 

Disney Visa Cardmembers also save 10% every day on select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at Disney Store and DisneyStore.com. Plus, you get access to exclusive Disney Visa Cardmember events at Disney Store.

Read: The Day You Arrive at Disney World, Don’t Waste Your Tickets on This…

Disney Visa Card perks

4. Use Cards with Perks and Cash Back

Sometimes using other credit cards can give you more perks or money back than using the Disney Visa. Many people use credit cards at stores like Kroger and Target for fuel points and cash back. Obviously pay those off to avoid finance charges. 

5. Kids Pay for Souvenirs

Have your children bring their own money to pay for their souvenirs. If that doesn’t get them very far, you can always help out. When children spend their personal money, it helps them decide if they really want an item or not.

They’ll probably put more thought into their purchases when they know it’s their money they are spending.  

6. Answer “Gift Cards” When Family Ask What Kids Want

Does your extended family know you are headed to Disney on vacation? As your children grow older, and family members inquire what they want for holidays and birthdays, suggest cash or Disney Gift Cards. It may not seem to be a very personal gift, but you can personalize the cards online.

And the thank you note for the gift they choose on resort property can be very personal.

Read: Going to Disney? Got Kids? Get ’em Gift Cards!

Disney Gift Card perks 

7. Disney Gift Cards

You can purchase Disney Gift Cards for your vacation purchases at Disney Stores, Disney World and Disneyland. They are also sold online at DisneyStore.com in denominations from $25-$500, and shipping is FREE.

Save Money ON Souvenirs

8. Disneystore.com (also called ShopDisney.com)

Order souvenirs (before or after) the vacation from DisneyStore.com. They have free shipping on all orders of $75 or more. They also offer Official Parks Merchandise, but you may not find any bargains on these official items unless they run a specific promotion. It never hurts to do a little online window shopping online.

Use this link: To Save Money, Should You Buy Disney Souvenirs Before Your Vacation?

9. Head to the Warehouse

Check out Disney’s Character Warehouse for discounts on Disney Theme Park Authentic merchandise sold in gift shops on property. You can save up to 70% off retail prices and walk out with some tremendous bargains. They also accept Disney Gift Cards.

Use this link: 70% Off Disney Parks Authentic Merchandise? Cheapskate Bargains Galore!

10. Budget shop for souvenirs

My favorite cheapskate shopping spots are yard sales, eBay, and second-hand stores like Goodwill. Lanyards, trading pins, jewelry, and children’s Disney-themed costumes are solid online purchases. Use this link: How Can You Save Money on Disney World Souvenirs? One Four Letter Word…

save money on Disney souvenirs

11. Raincoats/Ponchos

It rains a lot in Florida, which catches many people by surprise given Florida’s motto of being the Sunshine State. Bring your own raincoats/ponchos. To help you keep up with your group in a sea of Disney raincoats, try purchasing colors other than clear or yellow. Disney can change their colors without notice though, so do what you can.   

12. Autograph Books

Plan to get character autographs? Make your own books. You can purchase a small, inexpensive journal and have the kids do the decorations themselves. They can always use blank pages in the back as an actual vacation journal. Remember to bring a Sharpee marker or a pen so you don’t have to buy one on property for full retail price. 

13. Have Something Else Signed

Skip the autograph book and go for autographing something unusual. We have some great and CHEAP ideas for items for characters to sign beyond signature books. 

12 Totally Cool Ideas to Replace Your Usual Disney Character Autograph Books

We also have ideas for those of you who plan to stand in lines with the kids for autographs, from our readers who have been there and done that.

Over 20 Disney Character Autograph Tips from Fans and Parents

make your own Disney character autograph book

14. Photos are Cheap!

Now this option won’t be too popular, especially with the younger crowd, but to save money, simply don’t buy any souvenirs; take pictures instead. This will undoubtedly be pretty hard to do, because eve as a middle-age adult, I find it hard to walk out of gift shops with all the merchandise in sight, tempting me.  

Kids will outgrow toys, and adults will wear out t-shirts or drop coffee mugs, but a photo in a nice frame can stay on your shelf for years and years. Here’s some information on making your own picture frames for cheap: Make Your Own Disney Inspired Picture Frames for Super Cheap!

15. Make your own shirts

Souvenir t-shirts are going to cost you $20 and up, with some in the 30$ range. Make your own shirts. If they match so you can find your groups, bonus points for times saved rounding up small children. Use this guide: Making Your Own Disney World T-Shirts: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

make your own shirts for Disney vacation

To Do

16. Rent a Stroller for Longer

If you plan to rent a park stroller, rent it for multiple days for a discount. This will also make your stroller pick up easier on subsequent days rather than waiting in the payment line every day. 

Single Stroller    Daily: $15 Multi-Day  (Length of Stay): $13      Recommended for children 50 lbs. or less.

Double Stroller   Daily: $31 Multi-Day  (Length of Stay): $27     Recommended for children 100 lbs. or less.

17. Do Your Own Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique

Children dress in full Disney Character costumes at the parks these days, especially girls, and it won’t take long for you to see all the princesses with identical slicked back hair, all glittered out and wearing pink sashes. Most of them have gone to the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique at Disney Springs and Cinderella Castle.

You can pay upwards of $50 to have your little girl’s hair done up like a princess, or you can do it yourself for free. Now going to the boutique is a true event and way more fun, but doing hair and makeup yourself will save you money. Younger children won’t even know there is a paying option until they are older. 

To see how much the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique costs, use this link: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

save money on Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique prices

18. Harmony Haircut

Choose a haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop at Magic Kingdom on Main Street over a Bibbity Bobbity Boutique package, because the costs are far less, and when the glitter and hair gel gets washed out from the BBB, the hair cut will last for months longer. Use this link for details and prices:  Haircuts at Walt Disney World For $20: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

19. Ride Those Monorails

Riding monorails are free, even if parking at the resorts with monorail access may not be free for long. You can even ride the monorail from the Ticket & Transportation Center to Epcot, which takes about 10 minutes one way, not including waiting on the monorail. 

20. Ride Those Boats

Riding boats are free, and there are lots of boats to choose from. You can ride the ferry from the Ticket & Transportation Center to Magic Kingdom and back. Ride a boat from any of the Monorail Resorts (Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian) to Magic Kingdom. Riding the boat from Disney Springs to Port Orleans Riverside takes about 20 minutes one way, not including waiting on the boat to arrive. 

21. Resort Hop

Walking around the Disney Resorts, called “Resort Hopping,” is free, even if parking at the resorts may not be free for long. All the resorts have different theming and landscaping, and you can actually feel like you have stepped back in time or even journeyed to another state while still standing on Disney property. A cheap activity we highly recommend is picking up a dessert at the resorts, and if you have purchased a resort mug, this will save you money on purchasing drinks at every stop. Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

22. Ride the Balloon Early

If you want to ride the balloon at Disney Springs, buy your ticket and ride before 10 a.m. This offer could change at any minute, but it’s been available for years.  Save Money on Disney’s Characters In Flight


Speaking of souvenir money, if you are taking children on vacation with you, it’s highly suggested you read up on their vacation money, because they can nickel and dime you ad infinitum, and at Disney, that means get out your $20s and $100s!

Read: Should You Give Your Kids Money for Souvenirs at Walt Disney World?

save money at Disney Springs

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you rolling quarters and eating bagged sandwiches instead of eating out for lunch. Whatever it takes to save up that money!

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate Princess


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