An Annual Passholder's Guide to a $15 Disney Day

After my fifth trip to Magic Kingdom within the first two months I lived in Orlando, it seemed like these magical days would soon become the leading factor of my student debt. Between buying drink after drink to beat the heat, binging on every cute snack that caught my eye and too many meals to survive the final stretch until the fireworks show, I was easily spending close to $50 in a single day.

Here are my four best tips for any annual passholder holder to help you cut your expenses in half!

  1. 1. Don’t! Buy! Water!

    With the scalding temperatures in Florida, the most important thing to survive a day in Disney World is to stay hydrated. Disney parks will charge you nearly $4 per water bottle—which is the opposite of magical—​so tip number one is easy: bring a reusable bottle! The biggest perk is that it’s easy to fill up with the many water fountains all over the parks. But doesn't free ice water sound better? Yes, free. If you visit any of the snack kiosks around the parks with a soda machine, they will provide you with a cup of ice water, free of charge! Just ask for water each time you walk past one, fill up your bottle and you’ll be good to go for the whole day.

  2. 2. Make a Publix Run

    Nothing is worse than trying to enjoy your day at Disney while you’re hangry— especially when the most mediocre meals are at least $15. An easy fix is to stop at your nearest Publix on your way! Splitting a whole sub with your Disney buddy or getting a half for yourself will be under $7! You'll have a hassle-free meal that you can enjoy anytime and anywhere throughout the park.

    Bonus tip: pack your favorite towel and have a cute picnic in the grass facing Cinderella Castle!

  3. 3. Dole Whip is Your Best Friend

    Disney parks have many affordable (and adorable) snacks that you can get throughout the day. Between long lines and long walks, you’re gonna be craving an afternoon pick-me-up to cool you down. The soft-serve cones throughout the park are festive and delicious at the same time. Right now you can choose from the Lost Princess, Tinker Bell, and Emergency! 2319 themed cones for only $5.29, which come in delicious flavors like key lime, mango-vanilla swirl and lemon.

  4. 4. Underrated Disney Snacks

    We’ve all seen the iconic Mickey pretzels and popcorn buckets, but there are a bunch of Disney snacks for under $10 that don’t get the recognition they deserve. Throughout Magic Kingdom you can find the Mickey waffle at Sleepy Hollow ($5.29), cinnamon glazed almonds at Storybook Circus ($5.75), hummus and chips at Gaston’s Tavern ($4.39), egg rolls at the Adventureland wagon ($7.50 for 2) and many, many more. You can find a full list of snacks and prices throughout Disney World here

It's always important that your days in Disney World be fully enjoyable without a single worry for your budget. If you follow these tips, your day could cost you as little as $15! Make the most of your time at the Happiest Place on Earth, filled with big smiles and endless memories—not worries about your bank account.

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