Young, broke, & nerdy at Walt Disney World

Disney Dining Budget

You can do Walt Disney World on the cheap

We were all young, broke, and nerdy at one time and did Walt Disney World on the cheap

I use to live about an hour and a half from Walt Disney World in Sarasota Florida when I was in high school and sometimes I would drive to Walt Disney World in my car with my friends.  I spent many nights sleeping in my car behind the Arby’s on I-Drive in Orlando.  When I did have money we would get a group of friends together and all go in on a hotel room and enjoy the Disney Village which is now Disney Springs.

You don’t have to sleep in your car to do Disney on the cheap now that Walt Disney World has Value Resorts.  You can stay on Disney property in a value resort room for $125 – $150 a night and when you split that with friends it becomes very do-able.  It’s also much safer than sleeping in your car like I did.  The advantage of the Walt Disney World Value resort is that it also includes all your transportation.  So you are not paying to park at the resort or at the Disney parks.  Also if you fly into Orlando FL., you get Disney’s Magical Express to and from the Orlando airport for FREE.  I like Free!

Listen to this weeks Mouse Chat podcast.  We cover where to stay, what to eat, and what to do to save at Walt Disney World.


Listen to our full Mouse Chat show here for doing Disney World on the cheap.


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Author: Steve Griswold

Steve Griswold - You can follow Steve Griswold and "The Real Life Griswold Family" here on Mouse Chat - a Weekly Disney Podcast covering everything from Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line. Also follow the Griswold Road Trips - Disney Edition show at: and on Twitter and Instagram @GriswoldVac Media Contact: Steve Griswold Phone: 678-815-1584 Email:

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  1. We never really set out to do Disney on the cheap, but the more we go the more we find that our favorite things to do are free or inexpensive.

    There are collectible penny press series available at the hotels. The pennies will say “x of 6” on the bottom. We will take the boats or monorails or buses between presses at all the hotels to collect them all. It only costs $3.06 to get a full set. has a free list of all the collectible sets.

    We liked the beach club so much after visiting for the pennies that we ended up booking our next trip there.

    The ham and cheese croissant at the bakery in France is a complete meal for only $4.75 and they will give you an ice water for free.

    The Sorcerors of the Magic Kingdom cards are my sons favorite thing to collect at Magic kingdom and they are free. You can buy a board game from the shops for about $15 to play the game at home with your cards.

    The Lego store in disney lets you build and race Lego cars for free. If you have a little money they have always let us put our cars in the $8 clear bucket of parts and buy them to bring home.

    Art of Animation has a free scavenger hunt kids can do with a prize at the end. Ask for maps at check in.

    Just a few suggestions we like to do.

    Thanks for the great podcast. We enjoy listening to you guys every week.

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  2. When we want to Disney cheaper, we drive down, stay at Fort Wilderness, cook at the campsite and pack a lunch for the parks, then enjoy a nice dinner at one of the many restaurants.

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    • Hi TJ,

      Fort Wilderness Campgrounds is a perfect Disney World money saving option. Great pick! I love just touring around there sometimes during Halloween or Christmas time too and seeing all the sites decorated up.


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  3. Its been quite a few years, but my sister and I would drive down. We would stay off property at cheaper hotels, thankfullywe chose wisely. Then we would eat somewhere before going to the park. Then we would eat at small places like at Epcot, we had an eggroll at China sextion, then later a pastry at France. Then we would seat for the light show at Mexico at night and have chirros and flan. We would save up and buy our tickets in advance so we didnt have to do the money all at once. Another good thing to do, is buy a Disney gift card at Kroger, and get gas points towards cheaper gas. The last time i went I bought a 100 dollar gc on a weekend having 4x the points, so forty cents offper gallon!

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    • Hi Ken,

      Thanks for the comments. Those are all great Walt Disney World saving tips. Target I hear is also good for Disney gift cards, no gas, but 5% back I think.


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