Ways to Save Money on a Disney Cruise
Let’s be real. Disney cruises are expensive. Are they worth it? Absolutely. But I am a bargain hunter, and I want the best deal possible. These are ways that I save money on my Disney cruise:
- Book EARLY. Disney cruises can be booked up to a year and a half in advance. When rates are first released, this is the best pricing you’ll get. As rooms sell out, the price goes up. Not to mention, it gives you plenty of time to make payments.
- Book with a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations. Disney specialists often earn higher commission from Disney (since they sell mostly Disney) and therefore can offer better incentives than other travel agents. (Shameless plug and Full Disclaimer – I am a travel agent and I offer generous on-board credits to my clients for booking a cruise with me, as well as a five page tip sheet with everything you need to know before you cruise). Keep in mind, this is based on each individual agent, and not all Disney specific agents will offer incentives. It is free to use a travel agent, and you are still able to do your own online check-in, book excursions and activities if you want. The only requirement is that payments be made through the agent, as well as any changes/cancellations (but who wants to sit on hold with Disney anyway when someone will do that for you!). Check out Why You Should Use a Travel Agent.
- Disney Visa. When you use your Disney visa card, you get 0% financing for six months and also some discounts on merchandise, photo packages, excursions and spa services, not to mention the rewards you earn from everyday purchases that can be used to make payments on your cruise. *Discounts only on specific packages – check your card member benefits before sailing.
- Discounted Gift Cards. There are several ways to obtain discounted gift cards that can be used to make payments on your cruise. I buy my gift cards from Sam’s Club ($500 for $485). BJ’s wholesale club also offers discounted gift cards ($100 for $95) and you can buy these online with no membership. Also if you have a Target RedCard you can buy Disney gift cards in store for 5% off. This may seem small, but it definitely adds up!
- Book your cruise in the off-season. Summers and holidays are very expensive on a Disney cruise, so if you can pull your kids out of school, that’s definitely when you’ll get the best pricing on a Disney cruise.
- Book your next cruise while on-board. This is basically the only time you are guaranteed to get a discount on a Disney cruise. When you book a cruise (or just book a placeholder) on-board, you will get 10% off your next cruise, as well as an on-board credit ($100 for up to 6 nights, or $200 for 7+nights). This is in addition to any on-board credits you receive from your travel agent. When you book a placeholder, you do not have to have a set date, you just pay $250 to reserve your discount, and then must book a cruise within the next two years. If you do not book a cruise, then your money is refunded.
- Money Saving Apps. Use money-saving apps on your phone to save money for your Disney cruise such as Ebates and Ibotta.
- Last Minute Deals For Florida Residents & Military. Disney occasionally offers special rates for cruises that aren’t selling out. There is never a guarantee and you must be able to get vacation time off at the “last minute.” If you are not a planner and can go on vacation with a few weeks notice, this may be the route for you. Usually only certain room types are available for these rates and only a certain amount of rooms are allocated, but the discount is generally pretty good. Proof of residency/military status is required within 48 hours of booking or will be cancelled.
- Book an Interior Room. Oceanview and Verandah rooms can be right much more expensive than an Interior room. Any room on a Disney ship is a great thing, so if the budget is tight – going with an interior room is a great way to save some money. Interior rooms on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy also have a “magic porthole” window which offers real time views, not to mention cute characters swimming by to say hello.
10. Book 2 Connecting Rooms. As mentioned in my “Disney Cruise for Large Families” post, families of 5 or more can sometimes save money by booking two connecting rooms (interior or oceanview) instead of a higher category Deluxe Family room that sleeps 5. To me this is a win-win as you are not only getting a lower price – but also much more space!
As an Independent Travel Agent with Mouse Counselors, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I offer concierge travel planning for Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland® Resort, Adventures by Disney®, Aulani and all other destinations at no cost to you. Message me today if I can help book a magical vacation for you.