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The 7 BEST Ways to Get the MOST Bang for Your Buck at Disney

Miniature Golf

Image: DisneyDon’t laugh. Miniature golf at Disney World is some of the best that you’ll ever play. It’s nothing like the junky Putt-Putt courses in your city. Disney Imagineers have constructed these majestic courses, Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens. They’re spectacularly detailed and fun to play. That’s almost assumed when Disney designs anything.

The stunning part is the cost. At the time of publication, a round of miniature golf costs $14 per person. I pay more than that any time that I want to play a round of mini-golf in Pigeon Forge. Admittedly, that place is a tourist trap, but it’s a far cry from Disney.

Disney’s miniature golf pricing is quite reasonable. More importantly, it’s sometimes free. Many Walt Disney World multi-day tickets come with mini-golf admission included! When you get your tickets, read the back of them. It’s a fairly standard benefit for tickets of four or more days.

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Image: DisneyI’m not a fan of the Value Resorts at Walt Disney World. I feel like you get what you pay for at these, by which I mean an oddly impersonal Disney vacation. For only a bit more per night, you can vastly improve your vacation experience.

Port Orleans French Quarter is one of the most intimate resorts at Walt Disney World. It also features some of the finest amenities. You can take a boat directly from the hotel to Disney Springs, and you’re also only a few minutes away from Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Cajun food and beignets for sale at the restaurant here will also enrich your vacations.

The remarkable part is the nightly rate. A standard hotel room at French Quarter is frequently available in the $250 per night range. While that’s certainly at least $75 more than All-Star properties, it’s at least $150 less than Deluxe Tier resorts. In my estimation, French Quarter is the best of the Moderate Tier properties and the closest one to a Deluxe Tier experience. The fact that it costs so much less makes it a tremendous value.

Park Hopper

Image: DisneyEvery day that you spend at Walt Disney World is expensive.

I’m not saying that Disney is a waste of money or anything. To the contrary, I vacation here because I feel that it’s the best tourist attraction on the planet (sorry, Louvre!). But I know when I visit the Orlando campus that I’m burning through money at a Charlie Sheen-ish rate. I hate the thought of sitting on my hands when I could be out doing something.

The problem with a regular theme park admission at Walt Disney World is that you only gain access to one of the four gates. I'm not telling you how to vacation, but I don't want to spend the full day in a single park. I prefer to mix things up, which is why I'm an evangelist for Park Hopper. Over the course of a 7-day, 6-night visit, a Park Hopper pass costs about $15-$20 more per person per day.

Image: DisneyFor that price, you open up your Disney options exponentially. For example, let’s say that you’re at Epcot at a time when both Frozen Ever After and Test Track have broken down. You’re stuck with Soarin’ and a bunch of attractions that rarely have a long wait.

Because of two E-ticket attractions going down, the wait-time for those other rides goes up dramatically. You're now forced to wait for stuff that you shouldn't. Without Park Hopper, you're stuck at Epcot. With it, you can switch parks and have a better time.

Refillable Mugs

Image: DisneyFor approximately $20, guests can receive unlimited refills at Walt Disney World resorts. Now, this value is only applicable to those of you staying onsite at official Disney resorts. When you do, however, you should buy a refillable mug.

Once activated via RFID chip, these mugs don’t need any sort of cast member assistance to work. You simply walk over to the drink fountain at your hotel (all Disney resorts have at least one while many have multiple fountains) and pick your beverage of choice.

Since a lot of these restaurants have Coke Freestyle machines, you'll have a wide range of options each time, too. The variance kicks the value up a notch. Even without it, refillable mugs save you a lot of money. A beverage at Walt Disney World is at least $4. You'll have saved money after your fourth refill!

Circling back to the Disney Dining Plan, you’ll get one free refillable mug for each member of your party as part of the program. So, it’s like two values in one!

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