Vacation Essentials That Are Cheaper Outside of Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that a trip to Walt Disney World can come with a hefty price tag. On top of hotel reservations, park tickets, and restaurant tabs, there are many other, essential expenses to consider when budgeting for your trip.

Don’t Forget to Pack These Items!

It’s hard to avoid purchasing many of the items we’re highlighting today as they are essentials for a successful, stress-free vacation. But buying them outside of Disney World (aka off property) could add up to big savings for your family!

Here trip essentials that are less expensive to purchase outside of Walt Disney World.

Food and Drinks

Disney doesn’t hide the fact that guests are welcome to bring food and drink items into the parks with them — with very few exceptions, like no alcohol and no glass containers (except for baby food jars) — and by packing your own food rather than purchasing food in the parks, you can save a ton of money. However, it may not be feasible to bring fully prepared meals with you every day, and you can’t put a price on convenience.

Plus, you might want a Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich here and there!

That said, bringing snacks that are easy to pack in your bag could add up to big savings over a week in Disney World. Instead of purchasing things like individually packaged crackers or cookies in the parks, you can purchase in bulk (or just buy the full-size boxes) off property and package them yourself every day. Likewise, bottled water is notoriously overpriced in the parks. Bring your own bottles purchased elsewhere, or, better yet, bring a refillable water bottle!

Bottle Refill Station at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

Here are some tips for bringing your own food into the Parks of Walt Disney World.

Rain Gear

You should be prepared for rain any time of year in Central Florida, but particularly during the summer months, guests at Walt Disney World can expect a solid thunderstorm every afternoon. Because of this meteorological truth, Disney knows it can make a ton of money off unprepared tourists! If you’ve ever seen a display of umbrellas and ponchos ‘magically’ appear at the start of a downpour, you know just what we’re talking about!

Ponchos

Ponchos and umbrellas are available for purchase in the parks, but it will cost you big time! Stock up on $0.99 ponchos at your local big box store or online, or spend a little more for a thicker, more durable material that you can get more than one use out of. If you do catch yourself in a downpour, you might be inclined to purchase an extra set of dry clothes, too. Stocking up on extra socks and t-shirts before your trip could turn out to be a lifesaver!

Learn more about weather preparedness at Walt Disney World here.

Souvenirs

There are plenty of souvenirs at Disney World that are totally worth splurging on, as they are a great way to look back fondly at your time spent in the Most Magical Place on Earth. That said, some ‘necessary’ souvenirs could add up quickly, and you can avoid dishing out this extra cash by coming prepared. Many souvenirs, like autograph books, can be purchased online for a fraction of the price you will pay in the parks. This option has all the magic for less of the cash.

Disney Parks Autograph Book ©Disney

Same thing goes with souvenirs like Bubble Wands and Pin Lanyards. And pins? You can save a ton of money buying them online before you go! Also know that shopDisney regularly runs sales, and if you keep an eye on their site, you can find tons of park merchandise on sale! These sales are exclusive to shopDisney, and you won’t find these sales in the parks!

Other Sundries

We’ve all forgotten to pack that an essential for our vacation, and you find yourself running to the resort gift shop to remedy the situation. Turns out, while Disney sells many popular vacation necessities (like sunscreen, aloe, first aid supplies, toothbrushes, etc.), they come at a price. Don’t forget to pack items such as sunscreen, which will likely cost a lot extra once you’re on property!

Over-the-counter medication is also available at your resort as well as in the parks at First Aid Centers, but it will cost more than buying a store brand variety at your local drug store. Be prepared ahead of time, and you’ll save money if you ever end up needing medicine! Keep in mind that the Baby Centers and First Aid in the parks are often stocked with basic medicines and items, so be sure to check there first if you happen to be in the parks!

First Aid Items

Finally, there are the portable chargers. Between taking tons of vacation photos and using My Disney Experience to grab dozens of FastPasses and to check wait times, your phone battery will most likely run out of juice before the end of the day. Disney World has Fuel Rod stations set up throughout their parks, which is a convenient option. It’s on the pricier side, however, and at $30, you aren’t getting the best quality charger. Check online for stronger chargers at a fraction of the cost.

Fuel Rod Station

Learn more about keeping your battery fueled up during a Disney Parks day!

Using these tips about purchasing essential items outside of the parks — either before you leave home or by hitting up a superstore near Disney before your vacation begins — can add up to a lot of savings. And we think if you can reduce your budget woes, it is likely to increase the magic you experience on your Walt Disney World vacation!

In what ways do you save when you budget your trips to Disney World? Let us know in the comments!

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