Save at Disney & Universal Studios

Am I the only person that intends to take photos on vacation and then doesn’t? I had the best of intentions. I brought the camera with on day one and two, but it ended up raining. By the time the sun came out on day three, I wanted nothing to do with the camera. I don’t have many photos this post…sorry everyone!

Luckily, this post isn’t about the photos anyway. It’s about saving money! I love a good bargain…I mean who doesn’t? I thought I would share a few budget friendly tips for those of you thinking about a trip to Orlando.

Split Meals

One of the most expensive items for purchase at theme parks are the food and beverages. One of the ways we save money is by sharing a meal. You could also pack, but that seems like more of a hassle to me. If you’re visiting Universal Studios, one of our favorite breakfasts to split is the American Breakfast. You can enjoy it at either Leaky Cauldron & Three Broomsticks. The meal includes a croissant, sausage, bacon, eggs, potatoes, and a drink (we recommend a cold butterbeer). A great meal option at Epcot can be found in Mexico. We split nachos and churros at La Cantina De San Angel. It was more than enough for the two of us. We also recommend sharing a bento box in Japan (Tokyo Dining).


Consider a Season Pass

If you have any intentions of visiting Disney more than once in a given year, a season pass is the way to go. If you aren’t local to Florida, you have two options: Platinum & Platinum Plus. Not only does it get you access into all of the parks, but it also includes parking. Parking is $25 per day at each park. Yikes. A membership also includes magic bands, discounts at the parks and at Disney Springs, and access to all of you favorite photos taken in the park. Those are just a few perks. We were impressed by the amount and variety of discounts. If you want to save on parking from the get go, we recommend purchasing your passes at the Guest Relations center before heading to the parks, located at Disney Springs.

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom

If you plan on spending more than five days at Universal Studios, the annual pass is a must. It gets you access to both parks, free parking (Preferred or higher), and discounts in the park. Universal Studios is significantly cheaper than Disney. It really just depends on what you like. As with Disney, it is best to know the rules of the discounts before you go. For example, at Universal, food and beverages are not discounted at carts and kiosks. Inside dining areas typically accept discounts. We always go into Hog’s Head at Three Broomsticks instead of visiting a cart for a our butterbeer fix. By doing so, you’ll save an extra dollar and the line is usually shorter.

Limit Backpacks & Items

Both parks charge for lockers. Disney charges for all of their lockers, sizes and prices vary. The small lockers outside of the attractions are free at Universal (while you’re riding). The time limit for the ‘free’ locker is based on the current wait time. The small lockers can only hold wallets, phones, and small bags…I mean really small. Backpacks and camera bags will not fit!

Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Diagon Alley at Universal Studios

So those are just some of the ways we save at the parks? Do you have any tricks for saving money? Be sure to share them below in the comments. Before I go, I do want to share a few additional tips and thoughts.

Additional Thoughts

  1. You can create customized Magic Bands at Hollywood Studios (and several other locations throughout WDW). Ryan wanted a WALL-E band that he saw online. We searched all of the other parks and Disney Springs for this band. When we began our search for the band at Hollywood Studios, we came across a customization station. It pretty much allows you to create and personalize your own band. They actually had a WALL-E band, thank goodness! The search was over! We did not see this advertised anywhere, so I thought it was worth sharing.
  2. On select nights, you can enjoy an awesome show at Hogwarts (located at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure). It is worth seeing! As far as we can tell, they aren’t really promoting this new show. We only found about it from our ferry driver. Be sure to look it up before you go.
  3. The new Toy Story themed section at Hollywood Studios is really neat. I wish we could have gotten on the new Slinky Dog roller coaster (75 minute wait). It is super busy, and I recommend getting there early.
  4. The My Disney Experience app is a must! We used that app nearly every minute. It’s great for checking wait times, reserving Fast Passes, GPS mapping, and dining reservations. You can also order food from certain places. We didn’t try that, but I’m sure that’s useful.
Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

We had a wonderful trip, and we’re looking forward to revisiting both sets of parks this summer. I hope these tips save you a couple of bucks!

2 thoughts on “Save at Disney & Universal Studios

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