Tour the free areas
To save on a day's worth of park passes, spend a day walking through the resort hotels and Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). "It's almost like being in one of the parks," says Ford. He suggests taking the free boat ride across the main lake, then spending time strolling through the marquee hotels like the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary. During the holidays, all of those joints go big on Christmas: lights, giant trees, and Christmas shows (the one at Disney Springs enlists 300 drones). "It's all a great distraction," Ford says, "and a wonderful way to disengage."
The words "Sunshine State" are misleading when describing summers in the great state of Florida. But then, "The Two-Hour Daily Monsoon State" doesn't travel so well on license plates. Disney takes some pity on folks who don’t know this, selling bright-yellow Mickey Mouse ponchos for only about $8. However, they're closer to ONE dollar at Walmart, and if you have a large family it can represent a decent savings.
Nothing groundbreaking here, but staying at one of the hotels that surrounds the park can save literally thousands of dollars on a longer trip. And while these hotels all offer shuttles, Ford suggests renting a car, since the shuttles are often painfully crowded and stop at multiple parks and hotels en route. The added expense, even with parking, is still less than staying at an on-property hotel. And still allows you to make the most of your visit.
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