Are you in sticker shock after booking your first Disney Cruise? Here are some simple ways to save money on Disney Cruise Line without sacrificing the magic. Scroll for all my top tips!
This post about how to save money on Disney Cruise Line was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
If you are looking at Disney Cruise Line for a vacation, you may see the premium price and wonder how to save money.
I know I had a minor panic attack when I saw how much our Star Wars cruise was going to cost. I’m used to scoring pretty good travel deals, so the price tag was a lot to take it.
Thankfully, I’m an expert researcher and was able to figure out several ways to slash our budget before we even booked.
There are a number of things you can do to keep the cost down, so get ready for a magical cruise, because you can afford it.
10 Ways to Save Money on Disney Cruise Line
Budget Before You Book your Disney Cruise Line Vacation
Booking a Disney Cruise is easy. It’s too easy. The process is a smooth but detailed one that puts a lot of power in your hands as you decide what type of room you will have and where it is on the ship.
You’d be surprised how many choices you have and how those decisions can run up your tab.
For this reason, the best way to save money is to decide on a budget before you get started. Otherwise, you will spend more than you intend to.
Be straightforward about how much you can afford for your cruise to cost. Don’t lowball yourself, there is no negotiation with another party.
Just cut to the chase, but stick with that amount. It will save you from spending more than what you are comfortable with.
Save Money with Points
Here are the best credit card offers for families who travel and want to use points to pay for airfare and hotels.
Book your Disney Cruise Line Vacation Early
There are two methods how to save money by booking your trip based on timing. The first way is to book early and save on the cost. The alternative is to book late and take advantage of last-minute discounts.
The most prudent way to save money on a Disney Cruise is to book early.
Late bookings are a benefit if you are a more impulsive traveler, but booking early not only guarantees you a spot on the cruise, but it also affords you the opportunity to make specific plans.
You can even book a cruise while you are on another cruise to save money on your next Disney Cruise Line experience.
Choose a Cheaper Season for Your Disney Cruise Line Vacation
If you have some flexibility about when you can cruise, consider picking an off-season for the cruise you want to take. Just like other Disney vacations, there are peak seasons and off-seasons and those times determine the price.
Look at the cheapest times of the year to travel to the destination you’ve chosen. Even though the prices change seasonally, it doesn’t automatically mean a drastic change in the season itself.
That means you don’t necessarily have to worry about a downgrade in the quality of the experience due to seasonal climates.
Book a Cheaper Destination
Another easy way to save depends on how important your destination is. Your cruise route, your port, and all of that can make a big difference in your budget.
If you have to take a Caribbean cruise, you can still pick the cheapest one by looking at the number of nights and all of the ports the ship will dock at.
If you are not locked into the Caribbean or the Bahamas, you have plenty of other potential options to choose from based on price alone.
You can even save money by taking cruises that don’t return home. These cruises switch ports with the changing seasons, so you can get a cheaper cruise if you don’t mind going one way.
Just make sure you weigh the savings against the cost of your return home.
After booking your cruise, it’s time to consider how to save money during the cruise. One of the ways to keep your spending down is to bring your own drinks. That means bottles and cans of any kind, not just alcohol.
Canned and bottled beverages will cost extra on the ship. If you have a preference on soda, you may want to bring it along with you.
The alcohol policy is very lenient. Each passenger is allowed one six-pack, or two bottles of wine in their carry-on bag every time they board. As long as you stay away from the cocktails that can really save you money on drinks.
Don’t Buy Extras on your Disney Cruise Line Vacation
There are countless opportunities to spend more during your Disney cruise. There is a place for these enhancements and if you budget for them, they can really make your trip.
However, that’s not how to save money. They are not necessary for the enjoyment of the cruise.
A Disney cruise includes so much in the experience already. You really don’t need to pile on more, especially if you are looking to save.
Instead, focus on the experiences that are included in the price of your cruise. stick to the free food and entertainment and your dollars will go a long way.
Exchange Currency on Board Disney Cruise Line
This is a simple tip that won’t dramatically cut costs, but it is how to save money when you spend money abroad.
You can exchange your currency on the Disney Cruise Line and benefit from the best rates. If you keep your receipt, you can get the cheaper of the two exchange rates when you convert your money back.
It’s a tried and true travel hack that still works on the Disney Cruise Line. There is so much free food on the ship, you probably won’t need snacks. There are also some irresistible treat shops onboard that will really tempt you.
However, there is a time and a place for snacks from home and I recommend coming prepared. For example, if you go to take in a movie at the Buena Vista theater, the concessions are not included in the price of your cruise.
Rather than pay extra, it pays to have your favorite movie snack with you.
Insider tip: Bring your favorite ice cream toppings and turn the free soft serve into a fancy ice cream sundae!
Bring a Water Bottle
It’s important to stay hydrated and that means drinking plenty of water. Bottled water on the ship costs extra, but you can save so much money by bringing an empty water bottle to refill throughout the cruise.
We really like our Hydro Flasks because they keep the water COLD all day long (especially if you add some ice.)
The tap water on the ship is so filtered it surpasses the drinking water on land. It’s totally safe and recommended to drink from the tap on a Disney Cruise ship.
Go Through a Travel Agent
Finally, if you really want to save money on your Disney cruise, leave it to an expert. It may seem counter-intuitive to have professional work for you, but they know how to save money on Disney trips and you will benefit from their help.
They can keep an eye out for savings and help you get the best price at no added expense to you.
If you haven’t tried booking your vacation through a travel agent yet, try it out on your next Disney cruise and you’ll never look back.
I’m a huge fan of Get Away Today. They always find the best deals and they can easily combine cruises with a few days at Walt Disney World.
How to Slash Your Disney Cruise Costs with Kids
Book Your Own Shore Excursions
While it might be tempting to just book your excursions through the Disney cruise ship, it can be a lot cheaper to book on your own. This is one of my favorite cruise tips.
Check Viator or Get Your Guide to see their shore excursions. Oftentimes, it’s the same excursion but at a cheaper rate.
Bring Your Own Costumes
While your kids may be tempted to beg you for princess costumes on the ship, it’s SO much cheaper if you bring your own. You can usually stock up at Costco before Halloween or borrow from people before your trip.
Pack Disney Swag
If you like to surprise your kids with a bit of Disney magic, head to Target, Walgreens, or the dollar store to pick up some fun Disney toys, activities, or decorations. It’s sort of like packing your own souvenirs before the trip.
Bring Mickey Dolls from Home
If you don’t already have Mickey dolls, you can usually find them at ShopDisney, Kohl’s Target, or other stores for a fraction of the price.
Best Disney Cruise Promotions
Disney Cruise Line offers a variety of promotions throughout the year. Some of the best Disney cruise promotions include:
- The Best Day Ever Sale: This promotion offers up to 40% off select sailings.
- Military Discount: Disney Cruise Line offers a military discount of up to 25% off select sailings.
- Florida Resident Discount: Disney Cruise Line offers a Florida resident discount of up to 20% off select sailings.
- Disney Vacation Club Member Discount: Disney Vacation Club members receive a 10% discount on select sailings.
- Disney Visa Cardholder Discount: Disney Visa cardholders receive a 5% discount on select sailings.
- Cruise Planners Discount: Cruise Planners is a Disney-authorized travel agency that offers a 5% discount on select sailings.
In addition to these promotions, Disney Cruise Line also offers a variety of other discounts and deals, such as:
- Early Booking Discount: Guests who book their cruise 180 days in advance receive a 5% discount.
- Single Supplement Discount: Guests who book a solo stateroom receive a 20% discount.
- Kids Sail Free: Kids ages 12 and under sail free on select sailings when booked with two full-fare adults.
By taking advantage of these promotions and discounts, you can save a significant amount of money on your next Disney Cruise.
Ways to Save Money on a Disney Cruise FAQs
Disney Cruise Line offers a variety of discounts and promotions throughout the year. You can often find discounts for AAA members, military personnel, and members of certain organizations. You can also find discounts by booking your cruise through a travel agent or by signing up for Disney Cruise Line’s email list.
A Disney Cruise placeholder is an offer that Disney Cruise Line offers to guests who are currently sailing on a Disney Cruise. The offer allows guests to make a reservation for a future cruise without having to commit to a specific date or itinerary. The placeholder reservation is valid for 24 months, and guests can then choose their desired cruise date and itinerary within that time frame.
Disney Cruise Line often offers last-minute deals on its website. You can check the website for deals on specific sailings or sign up for email alerts to be notified of new deals. Travel agents often have access to exclusive deals and discounts on Disney Cruises. If you’re looking for a good deal, it’s worth talking to a travel agent. Disney Cruise Line often promotes last-minute deals on its social media channels. You can follow Disney Cruise Line on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on the latest deals.
The cheapest time to take a Disney Cruise is typically during the off-season, which is from January to April and from September to November. You can also find good deals during the shoulder season, which is from May to August and from December to February.
The best time to book a Disney cruise is generally 6-12 months in advance. This will give you the best chance of getting the stateroom you want and the best price. If you are flexible with your travel dates, you may be able to find a good deal even if you book closer to the date of your cruise.
Yes, Disney Cruise prices can drop. The best time to find deals on Disney Cruises is to book early, be flexible with your travel dates, and consider a last-minute cruise.
How to Save Money on a Disney Cruise Wrap-Up
There are many ways to save money on a Disney Cruise, making this once-in-a-lifetime vacation more affordable for families.
By booking early, being flexible with travel dates, using a Disney-approved travel agent, checking for special offers, and considering refurbished ships, families can find great deals on Disney Cruises.
Additionally, the Disney Cruise Line placeholder program is a great way to lock in a future cruise at a discounted rate, without committing to a specific date or itinerary.
While Disney Cruises can be expensive, with a little research and planning, families can find affordable options and take advantage of Disney Cruise specials to make their dream vacation a reality.
So, start planning your next Disney Cruise and take advantage of the many ways to save money on Disney Cruise costs!