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Planning a Disney vacation can be expensive, especially if you’re looking to spend your nights at a Disney resort. Between park tickets, room rates, food and souvenirs, costs can really add up.
Being thoughtful about your approach to budgeting and financing a vacation is a smart money move, and you have options when it comes to paying for your trip. Let’s look at Disney payment plans, how these types of packages work and what’s included in the process.
Walt Disney World vacation packages
Disney World offers the option to bundle much of your vacation costs. In the past, this meant you could neatly purchase, and pay for, your accommodations, park tickets and food in one go.
While Disney Dining isn’t currently available, you can still reserve your room and tickets within a package via Disney.
» Learn more: Big perks of staying at a Disney resort
What’s included with a Disney trip payment plan?
There are plenty of advantages to staying at a Disney resort, including early entry to the theme parks and advance access to restaurant reservations. However, there is an additional advantage to booking these packages directly with Disney.
Unlike third-party websites, which can require you to pay in full upfront (or at the check-in desk), Disney allows customers to book and pay for vacations over time. This is true whether you’re purchasing just a room or a room and theme park tickets.
The best part: There is no interest charged when paying over time.
Unlike a credit card or loan, this plan acts much like a layaway program. Your reservation is confirmed and will need to be paid before your vacation, but there are no additional costs for making multiple small payments over the months.
» Learn more: The best Disney credit card might surprise you
When are Disney World vacation payment plans due?
Disney allows guests to book hotels out to the end of its calendar. Final payments for your package need only be made 30 days before your arrival date.
So let’s say you’ve booked a Disney World package 2023 payment plan for a stay in October 2024. There’s a $200 deposit required when you make your reservation, but then the total balance won’t be due until September 2024.
In the meantime, you can make as many or as few payments as you want without incurring additional fees. You can also cancel for free up until the deadline.
The fee-free layaway program applies only if you’re making advance bookings. If your trip is in 30 days or fewer, the entire balance will be due upon booking.
This may present an issue for those looking to maximize their Disney World payment plan options or those whose schedules require a lot of notice. Guests will only be able to book extended dates when Disney chooses to open its calendar.
» Learn more: The best ways to buy Disney tickets
Can you book Disney tickets on a payment plan?
While it’s possible to package a room and theme park tickets on a payment plan, that isn’t the case when just buying park tickets.
If you’re getting tickets to a Disney park via Disney’s website, you’ll need to buy and pay for them at the same time. There’s no layaway plan option unless a room is included.
Ways to save money at Disney World
Using a Disney payment plan can be a good way to book your vacation without needing to put it on a credit card. However, if you're looking to make your vacation to Disney more affordable, there are a few methods to do so.
Theme park tickets
Disney sells tickets to its parks via its website, of course, but that doesn’t usually feature the best pricing.
Instead, consider buying tickets from a third party. Several sites online sell Disney tickets for a discount; although it’s not a huge difference, the savings can become pretty significant if you’re traveling with multiple people.
Disney offers specially discounted theme park tickets to active-duty members of the military.
As a bustling tourist destination, Orlando, Florida, has a plethora of hotel options. Because of this, nightly rates for hotels can be affordable.
Even in the middle of summer, it’s possible to find properties close to Disney World for less than $60 per night.
While other Disney parks may not have such cheap options, it’s also possible to redeem reward points for your stays.
For example, if you have an eligible Capital One card, such as the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, you can book a Disney hotel and redeem your points against the cost of the stay.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Flight costs will vary based on your departure point, but frequent flyer programs can help take some of the sting out of traveling. You can find service to Orlando with such carriers as:
Delta Air Lines.
Los Angeles is similarly connected. Each of these airlines offers reward programs with which you can redeem miles for free or discounted flights.
» Learn more: 10 ways to save on your Disney vacation
Disney World payment plans, recapped
There’s no denying that a trip to Disney can be as magical as it is costly, especially if you’re looking to stay on property. To help remedy this, Disney offers the ability to make interest-free payments on your vacation packages.
However, if you’re otherwise looking to save money on a vacation destination, you can take advantage of discounted hotels, park tickets and flights to make those Disney dreams come true.
(Top photo courtesy of Walt Disney World)
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 2023, 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