How to Save on Travel with Disney Membership Programs

by  Christine Dayao | Dec 13, 2016
Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror / Christine Dayao

A trip to a Disney resort can be one of the most fun vacations you'll ever take, but it can also be one of the most expensive. We've already shared tips on how to save money on tickets, hotel stays, and dining, but there's something else that'll help you save at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and beyond: Disney membership programs. Here are five that'll cut down travel costs.

Disney Rewards Visa Card from Chase

Pluto and Minnie Mouse at Epcot / Flickr

Featuring designs emblazoned with Mickey, characters from Star Wars and Frozen, and other iconic Disney images, we can't think of a cuter credit card than this one. The basic-level version of the card has no annual fee and touts benefits like 10 percent off dining and merchandise purchases at select locations at Disney World and Disneyland, 15 percent off guided tours, and 15 percent off spa experiences at some locations at the Florida property. Taking a Disney cruise? Current offers for 2017 voyages include 20 percent off certain treatments at the onboard spas and 10 percent off merchandise. You can even use it at Aulani, Disney's Vero Beach Resort, and Disney's Hilton Head Resort for a shopping discount. Additionally, Disney World and Disneyland each have a spot where cardholders can pose with characters and get a free photo -- just show your card.

Making it more appealing, the card will earn holders 1 percent from every transaction. The Premier version of the card shares the same perks, but has an annual fee of $49; it also lets you earn 2 percent at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and a number of Disney locations. Rewards are converted to Disney Dream Dollars, which can be redeemed at the resorts, on the ships, and with Adventures by Disney.

D23 - The Official Disney Fan Club

Guestroom / B Resort and Spa

Join D23 ($79.99 for a gold membership) and you'll have access to a number of travel offers, including 20 percent off rates at Anabella Hotel in Anaheim, 10 percent on SuperShuttle airport services nationwide, 25 percent off Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, and 20 percent savings at B Resort and Spa in Orlando. Your fan club participation will save you on recreation and dining, too: get 10 percent off at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, 15 percent discounts on food at Patina restaurants near Disneyland, 20 percent off meals at Tangerine Grill in Anaheim, 10 percent off Sammy Duvall water activities at Disney World, and $3 off one-day admission to the Walt Disney Family Museum. As part of your membership, you'll get four annual issues of Disney Twenty-Three magazine, card and certificate, an annual gift, and access to exclusive events.

Walt Disney World Annual Pass

Tree of Life / Christine Dayao

Spending at least ten to twelve days per year at the "Most Magical Place on Earth"? This option might be worth the splurge as it includes no blackout dates, parking at the parks (usually priced from $20), and 20 percent savings on certain merchandise and dining experiences. The platinum pass is $749 and features admission to the four gates; for $829 for the platinum plus pass, it also includes admission to the two water parks, the ESPN Wide World of Sports, and the Oak Trail golf course.

Tables in Wonderland

Be Our Guest Restaurant / Flickr

Available to Sunshine State residents, Disney World annual passholders, and members of the company's timeshare program, Disney Vacation Club, Tables in Wonderland shaves 20 percent off dining at 100-plus participating restaurants at the Florida resort. Make use of it at popular venues like Boma, Whispering Canyon Cafe, Be Our Guest, The Crystal Palace, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Yachtsman Steakhouse, and Capa at the Four Seasons. You'll also receive complimentary resort valet parking or theme park parking when dining; that alone is a savings of $20-$25 per day. Tables in Wonderland is $150 for those with an annual pass or with a Vacation Club membership, and Florida residents can get it for $175.

Disneyland Annual Pass

Mad Tea Party at Disneyland / Flickr

Sold on three different tiers, the Disneyland annual pass is priced from $599 for the deluxe passport, which allows admission to both parks on select days of the year. Depending on the pass you buy, you can save up to 20 percent on merchandise and up to 15 percent towards dining. If you visit the resort at least six to eight times per year, you might want to consider getting the pass. The two highest tiers, the signature and signature plus passports, both include parking privileges.

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