Disney vacations are expensive. Having some great Disney hacks to lower the cost can make all the difference. We use these strategies to get a couple of completely free Disney vacations every year. Here are our favorite Disney Hacks:
1) Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses
You can quickly save $1,000 or more with the right credit card sign up bonus. There is so much opportunity to save with a sign up bonus, we made it a featured part of our website. Our “Top 10,” featured at the top of our website, is a list of our favorite ways to use sign up bonuses on Disney vacations. Many of them can cover your entire hotel stay or all your family’s flights. Each one has a post with detailed instructions on what you need to do. Our #1 on the list shows you how to get Five Free Nights at Walt Disney World’s Dolphin Resort. It can save you nearly $1,500.
2) Discounted Disney Gift Cards
Of all the Disney hacks, perhaps the most popular with our readers is discounted Disney gift cards. There are a number of strategies you can follow to save from 7% to 14% on the price of Disney gift cards. You can consolidate these in a Disney Vacation Account to pay for your trip. Most Disney vacations for a family result in giving Disney at least a couple thousand dollars. When you can cut that down by 10% or more the savings start to add up.
We’ve written a whole series of posts on discounted Disney gift cards, which you can find HERE.
3) Earn Cash Back
If you LOVE Disney, like we do, this is hard to hear: the Disney credit card is below average for earning rewards. It has some fun perks and we love Disney, but it won’t help you save for a vacation very quickly.
Rather, we suggest some good cash back cards like the Citi Double Cash, which has no annual fee and earns a flat 2% cash back. And/Or, the Discover it Cash card, which can earn up to 10% cashback in your first year in certain bonus categories. They can actually both be used to compliment each other and earns lots of cash back.
Consider reading our Citi Double Cash Review and Discover it Cash Review to learn more and consider if these cards are right for you. The Discover it Cash card comes with a $50 sign up bonus when you use one of the application links from our site.
4) Invest in the Right Airline
We recently booked three flights on Southwest Airlines from Seattle to Disneyland for 27,000 miles TOTAL. Had we booked that flight on United, American, or Delta, we would have paid at least 75,000. Choosing the right airline can save you a ton! We’ve written a post where we’ve ranked our favorite airlines for using points on flights to Disney World or Disneyland. You can find that post HERE.
5) Use Shopping Portals
When you shop online, always use a shopping portal. It costs you nothing extra and you can earn more points. In most cases, you’re going to earn something around one to five extra points per dollar you spend. If you like earning Southwest points, use the Southwest shopping portal. Do you carry the Discover it card for the cash back? Use that portal to earn more cash. If you know where you want to shop, but don’t want to check around to see who has a partnership with that store, use Cashback Monitor. It’s a site that allows you search for retailers and find the best shopping portals.
6) Amex Offers Rebates
We’ve saved $303.30 this year using Amex Offers. It’s a rebate program where you spend a certain amount of money with a retailer and Amex rebates a certain amount of your purchase back to you. If you have an American Express card, but you’re not using Amex Offers, take a closer look. We only use it for things we already intend to buy, but it has helped us save some decent money this year (which goes to our Disney vacations of course).
7) Bring Souvenirs from Home
While not points related, we always bring souvenirs from home for the kids. We’ll get something small for them each day on Amazon or at JC Penney, and pack it in our suitcases. This usually saves us a couple hundred dollars on each trip avoiding the exorbitant Disney Parks prices.
If you fly our favorite airline, Southwest, bags fly free. This means you can check that suitcase with souvenirs and not worry about a fee. If we added one more and made this a list of 11 Disney hacks, free checked bags would be it. It’s hard to do a Disney vacation in carry-on luggage only. Picking an airline with free checked bags makes a huge difference.
8) Swagbucks Makes it Free
One of our readers used Swagbucks to get an entire trip to Disney World for free. What is Swagbucks? It’s a website where you earn points for taking surveys, watching videos, doing online searches and more. The points can then be redeemed for gift cards, including PayPal gift cards, which are basically cash. You won’t get rich using Swagbucks. We earn the equivalent of about $5 an hour when we’ve used it. But, our reader earned $3,000 in one year doing it, so it’s definitely possible.
9) Check Back for Disney Discounts
Something I really love about Disney… if they offer a better deal on a vacation package, they’ll let you switch to save money. Especially at Disney World where they occasionally offer free dining, this can save huge amounts of money. Our tip? After you book your trip, be sure to check for new offers. We’ve often used Mousesavers.com to periodically check for savings and have found the information is up to date and fairly easy to access.
10) Utilize Category Bonuses
Most credit cards earn bonus points in certain categories like restaurants, travel, groceries, etc. Make sure you use the right credit card at the right store to maximize your earnings. We have a dry erase board on our refrigerator where write down each card and the categories where we should use them. Others put a small piece of tape on their credit cards and label them with the category bonuses so they don’t forget. This is an easy way to double what you earn throughout the year.