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It’s "the most magical place on earth," but trying to plan a trip to Walt Disney World may feel overwhelming — especially when you’ve got to deal with budgeting, traveling and park planning all at once. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Or so expensive.
Here’s a look at how to find cheap flights to Disney World.
Fly from a hub
Even if you don’t live in an airline hub city, it could still be worthwhile to fly from a major airport. Smaller regional airports are usually served by fewer airlines, which means competition will be low and airlines can increase their prices. At bigger airports, more airlines compete — which can drive down fares.
As an example, a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Orlando in mid-August could start as low as $142.
But a flight to Orlando from Santa Ana, California, which has a regional airport about 40 minutes from Los Angeles, starts at $250 (and one stopover) on the same dates.
Flying from Los Angeles, you not only save $108, but you also save time in transit because you can fly nonstop.
Be flexible on dates
We get it: Not everyone can be flexible with the dates they travel. But it’ll pay off if you can avoid peak season. A flight from New York to Orlando during Christmas can start around $384.
But when you shift your date by a single day, you can fly for just $194.
Not everyone wants to travel during Christmas, however, so how about a different date during a shoulder season? In early September, you could find flights between the same cities as low as $106 round-trip.
This can make a huge difference when you’re traveling with family.
Being able to adjust your dates — even a little — can help you score discounts and cheap airfare to Disney World.
Use points or miles
If you already have a rewards credit card, you may want to think about how to fly to Disney World on points. Besides using your card, you can earn points and miles in a number of ways, including frequent flyer programs, shopping portals and more. Miles can be redeemed for deeply discounted flights to just about anywhere — and Disney World is no exception.
For example, Alaska Airlines, which recently joined the Oneworld airline alliance, partners with American Airlines. That means you can redeem Alaska MileagePlan miles for flights to Disney on either Alaska Airlines or American Airlines.
Alaska uses an award chart to price its award flights. Depending on how far you’re traveling, your flight can cost as little as 5,000 miles one way. On a cross-country flight, off-peak awards will cost you 12,500 miles. What's more, welcome bonuses from credit cards like the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card can help you get the whole family to Disney quickly.
Other cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, allow you to redeem your points for travel directly through their own travel portals, which can be a good idea if you don’t have a lot of airline miles saved up. By booking travel through a card issuer’s website, you can pick whichever flight you like and use your points to pay, regardless of airline.
No matter how you book, when flight prices are in the hundreds of dollars, a reward flight can save you big bucks.
» Learn more: How to maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Explore hotel and air packages
If you’re looking to bundle and save money, consider cheap flight and hotel packages to Disney World. Online travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline and Kayak, as well as airline websites, sell packages to simplify your travel bookings even more.
Some airlines even allow you to redeem miles to pay for these packages when you book through their website.
Combining flights and hotels into one package can save you money, especially when you’re staying multiple nights. Here’s an example of a trip booked on Delta’s vacation package website.
Two travelers flying main cabin on Delta and staying for six nights at a nearby hotel would pay $1,045.95 on this itinerary. You can use Delta SkyMiles to pay for some, or all, of the trip at a rate of 1 cent each.
When booked separately, the cost for the same flights and the same hotel will run you $489.60 and $713.25. The total jumps to $1,202.85. In this case, booking with a hotel and air package will save you $156.90. Not bad!
» Learn more: Best Disney World hotels on points
Book at the right time
It's not uncommon to check an airfare one day, procrastinate on booking and then suddenly see the same flight go up $100 or more a day later. Airlines change flight prices all the time. The trick is knowing when to book.
There are some ways to track flight prices and predict whether they’ll rise or fall. Google Flights is particularly good for this. It will tell you how much your flight has cost recently and whether the current price is a good deal.
You can even set a tracker on Google Flights to alert you when the price for your trip has dropped so you can jump on fare discounts the minute they happen.
If you’re looking to save on travel to Disney World
Booking a trip to Disney World can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Use these tips to maximize your savings on flights to Disney World, no matter when you travel.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card