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By Shereen Travels Cheap
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Disney + Other Theme Parks On A Budget

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Being on a budget can sometimes make theme park vacations challenging, since everything seems to cost an arm and a leg. As fun as theme parks are, it’s not all that fun when you know you are quickly draining your bank account and spending way more time in line than you need to be. With some strategic planning you can get a better value for your dollars and still have a great time at the parks. Here are my top tips for doing Disney and other theme parks on a budget:

Get to the parks early

My number one rule of visiting any theme park is to get there before they open. The worst line you stand in is the one before you get into the park. Try to arrive 20-30 minutes before the gates open and you could avoid large crowds of excited guests.

Avoid EMH

Disney parks that have Extra Magic Hour each day tend to be the busiest ones. Find out which are participating on which day and avoid them. The other parks will be less crowded in the morning and that means shorter lines.

Bring snacks

Even if you don’t have children in tow, it is always a good idea to bring a bag stocked with healthy snacks and bottled water (or a reusable bottle that you can refill for free around the park). Those churros, pretzels and popcorn throughout the day can really add up and they aren’t very nutritious either. The other upside to bringing your own food is that you don’t have to wait in line forever to get a drink or an overpriced ice cream. You have your own snack bar in your bag!

Make dining reservations

Dining reservations are a must when visiting Disney. There are so many restaurants to choose from, but even at the least busy times you may have to wait up to an hour to be seated. Look at menus and prices online, then book a table right there (or call Disney Dining). Aim for times outside the normal meal times – 11-11:30 A.M. or 2-2:30 P.M. for lunch and 5-5:30 P.M. or 7:30 P.M. or later for dinner – to take advantage of a ready table and to beat the crowds. Ride lines are considerably shorter during lunch and dinner. You can book reservations at a few restaurants inside Universal as well.

Buy souvenirs off-site

There are many cool things to buy inside the parks, but you’ve probably noticed their high price tags, too. Children have a habit of wanting things wherever they are. Surprise them by purchasing clothing and toys at one of the nearby souvenir shops or discount stores like Target. You will keep them happy and also save a bundle.

By doing a bit of preparation, you can pack more into each day and really get your money’s worth. Waiting in line sucks, and your kids (or your significant other) will be glad you took the time to learn some tricks to help eliminate needless standing around for things, and you can do the happy dance when you wallet isn’t empty at the end of each day.

Theme parks don’t have to be crazy expensive. We do a lot of them and we know where to cut corners and how to make the most of our time as well. 

How do you make your visits to theme parks more affordable?

Want to read more tips for traveling worldwide on a budget? Check out my blog at Shereen Travels Cheap or find me on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll also find product and website suggestions, packing tips, current deals and a whole lot more to help you travel better for less!


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