A Disney vacation can easily set you back thousands of dollars. But if you’re set on visiting the Magic Kingdom or a resort, there are ways to save on the cost — or otherwise make it a little more affordable in the short term.
There are several ways you can finance your Disney vacation both from Disney and private companies.
Best for: Short-term financing for a one-time Disney vacation.
A credit card can be a great choice to pay for a Disney vacation, especially if you’ll pay off your balance within a few months. Many card providers classify Disney tickets and vacation packages as travel — in which case you could earn attractive bonus rewards.
You could save a lot on interest with a 0% intro APR card. Most cards of this type offer intro periods up to 9 months or more. If you pay off your balance before your intro APR expires, you could enjoy an interest-free Disney trip.
Be careful with intro APRs
With an intro APR, you might be tempted to make a big purchase now and pay it off much later. But this is usually a mistake. Once your intro APR expires, your balance could accumulate interest at a double-digit ongoing APR.
Have a blast during your Disney vacation, but make sure it doesn’t stress you out later. Consider making a plan to consistently pay off your Disney debt each month. When the sun sets on your intro APR, you can reminisce about your amazing trip instead of worrying about interest payments.
Disney Vacation Club
Best for: Financing an annual Disney vacation for years to come.
If you’re no stranger to Disney vacations — or see several on the horizon — it might be worth investing in a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) membership. Becoming a member can potentially save you up to 50% on some package deals, but it might not be worth the investment if you only plan on going once or twice. Members typically will see savings 6 to 12 years after signing up.
The DVC is a timeshare on a Disney Vacation Club Resort. As a member, you can can buy or earn points, which you can use to book a room at any Disney resort. You also get access to membership perks like exclusive events and shorter lines at some Disney parks.
How much does the Disney Vacation Club cost?
There are several costs to consider when signing up for a DVC membership:
Purchase price. It costs $188 (USD) per point, though you’ll have to fork over at least $18,800 (USD) for 100 points when you sign up — or finance this cost.
Closing costs. Closing your membership starts at $454 (USD), depending on your home resort and how many vacation points you own.
Annual dues. Members pay an annual fee that breaks down to at least $62 (USD) per month.
Financing the purchasing price
If you’re short the $18,800, Disney offers loans to its customers. Typically, you’ll have to make a down payment and then pay it off plus interest and fees over several years. On a 10-year loan for the minimum 100 points, you can expect to pay at least $265 (USD) per month.
Several third-party companies also offer financing specifically for the DVC, though you might get a better deal with a standard personal loan.
Another popular way to take advantage of the DVC program is to rent points from a DVC owner. If you don’t already know someone directly, you can pay for a service to connect you with an owner. Or you can find an owner on an online forum — potentially less expensive, but more of a risk since there’s less security.
Best for: Long-term financing for the occasional Disney vacation.
If you need more than 6 months to pay off your vacation, a personal loan could help you cover the cost. Personal loan rates typically start lower than what you’d pay on a credit card, and terms typically run from 3 to 5 years.
How much it costs depends on the type of vacation package you sign up for, how many people are going and the length of the stay.
Here’s an example of what you might expect for two popular six-night, seven-day vacation packages at select All-Star Disney Resorts with tickets to visit all four theme parks (all prices quoted in USD):
Price per person, per day
Total cost for a family of 4
Room and ticket
Room, ticket and quick-service dining
Other factors that can affect your price include the type of room, time of year and which resort you choose.
You should also consider the cost of getting to Disney. For example, round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Orlando may cost anywhere from $200 to $400 per person during the summer months. Flights from New York are a little cheaper, topping out at around $350, but you may still want to consider an airline rewards credit card program to help reduce the overall expense.
Alternative ways to pay for a Disney vacation
Financing can make an already-expensive trip even more costly. Planning ahead or taking advantage of discounts can help you comfortably afford the price tag.
Disney vacation savings account
Setting up a dedicated savings account can make it easy to budget for your Disney vacation. There are lots of great savings options for a Disney trip, but make sure the one you choose has features that allow you to easily and consistently put aside money in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly contributions, as well as an interest rate that will grow your Disney savings or a signup bonus that can jumpstart your savings.
Magical Extras Savings Card and vouchers
The Magical Extras Savings Card and vouchers are available to visitors who book through the Walt Disney Travel Company. The card can get you discounts at Disney bars, restaurants and retail stores. And the vouchers give families of four access to free activities like miniature golf.
Your card is valid for the duration of your trip, while vouchers are often only available at certain times of the day.
4 tips to save on a Disney vacation
Ready to plan your trip to the Magic Kingdom? Keep these tips in mind to save even more.
Go during the off-season. Flights, rooms and everything else are typically less expensive during the off-season. While pulling your kids out of school for a week in October might not be feasible, traveling during the less-popular mid-winter break might help you save on the overall cost.
Use a travel agent. It’s a travel agent’s job to know about deals. Hiring one might more than pay for itself in savings, especially if you’re too busy to do the research yourself.
Be flexible about accommodations. Staying off-site or at the value resort hotel can reduce the cost of your vacation, especially if you cook your own meals.
Go when your child is under three. Thinking of putting off your Disney vacation until your youngest is older? You might want to reconsider. Children under three can visit any of the parks for free.
Disney vacations are expensive — even with a discount. But there are ways to make the cost more manageable, including taking out a rewards credit card, making a savings plan well in advance or taking out a personal loan when plans are more short-term.
It depends on where you get your financing — through Disney or another lender. Most reputable lenders require good credit for the lowest rates.
However, it’s possible to find a lender that doesn’t run a credit check. Bad-credit borrowers typically can expect higher rates and a larger down payment for any type of financing.
It depends on when you make your reservation. If you reserve at least 31 days in advance, the deposit is $200 (USD), due within three days of the booking. You’re required to make the payment in full at least 30 days before your vacation — or when you book if you have less than 30 days before the trip.
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 950 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
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