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IMG_0472-224x300 By Southern Belle Diva

College students are quite unique clientele.  While restricted budgets might limit the amount they have to spend at Walt Disney World, there are tons of advantages to vacationing at Disney World as a college student.  Splitting travel and hotel costs among a student group automatically makes the vacation much more fun and affordable.  Most importantly, students are young and energetic squeezing fun out of every second on Disney property and will make memories that will last a lifetime.  With the help of this top ten list, and a fantastic group of travel partners, your Disney vacation is sure to be awesome.

       1.  Even numbered travel groups are perfect for rides and Disney hotel rooms

Even numbered groups are ideal for Disney travel; this ensures a riding buddy for everyone in your party and a simple breakdown for hotel rooms.


       2. Opt for park hopper tickets

High energy college students spend every waking moment in the Disney parks.  Purchasing park hopper tickets enables early admission and extended park hour attendance to both parks offering extra magic hours each day.  The few extra dollars spent on park hopper tickets are totally worth the price when you are walking straight on the most popular attractions during extra magic hours.


  3. Stay on Disney property

As a thrifty college student your instinct is naturally going to be to look for a chain hotel off the Disney property to save a few dollars.  In reality, staying at a Disney Resort Hotel is actually much cheaper in the long run and will make the whole experience more magical.  Disney Resort Hotels vary in price but become much more affordable when a group is splitting the cost.  Daily activities are scheduled at each resort to make your time out of the parks just as fun.  From pool volleyball and trivia to dance-a-thons and movies on the beach Disney Resorts are worth the splurge.

Disney Resort Hotel Perks

– Free transportation to Disney parks.

– No vacation time spent stressing about or paying for parking.

– A safe way back to your hotel after a night spent partying at downtown Disney, no designated driver necessary!

– More bang for your buck during Extra Magic Hours.

– Fantastic Disney atmosphere, pools and activities.


       4.      Spend a day at Downtown Disney

A day at Downtown Disney is an ideal start to any college Disney vacation.  Downtown Disney boasts street performers, concerts and tons of food and shopping.  Best of all, no park tickets are required.  An afternoon eating ice cream at Ghirardelli after a long flight to Orlando is the perfect way to unwind before hitting the parks early the next day.

Downtown Disney Favorites

– Ghirardelli ice cream parlor and gift shop is a sweet stop; sundaes are large enough for sharing!

– The World of Disney store is the ultimate one stop shop for all things Disney!

– Goofy’s Candy Company is the perfect place to purchase sugary treats.  Watching cast members pull taffy, dip caramel apples and twirl cotton candy is interesting and appetizing.


          5.      Bring food to eat in the park instead of purchasing snacks.

Purchasing snacks in the parks can get really expensive.  Bringing along a sandwich and drinks in your backpack is a great way to save money.  This does not mean that you should not indulge in classic Disney snacks you crave like delicious Mickey ice cream bars and of course those juicy turkey legs in Frontier Land.  Packing a few snacks helps cut food costs and allows more money to be budgeted toward a fantastic Disney Character Dinner

Park Perfect Food to Pack

– Crackers

-Canned Beverages

– Fruit Snacks



6.      Budget plenty of money for souvenirs.

Between the shops at Downtown Disney, Resort shopping and souvenirs unique to each park you have probably discovered that Walt Disney World is indeed a shopaholic’s dream!  All the fantastic merchandise and gifts make it easy to go overboard with purchasing.  My advice is to budget plenty of souvenir money for each day of your vacation.  I would recommend setting aside around $50.00 per day for souvenir purchases.  Having a set budget will make you less likely to whip out your credit card and make impulse buys.

Savvy Souvenir Shopping

-Disney Days of Christmas Store at Downtown Disney- Personalized Christmas ornaments are the perfect memento to remember your Disney vacation for years to come.

-Mickey’s Mart at Downtown Disney- Specializing in gifts that are ten dollars and under; this shop is ideal for grabbing affordable souvenirs for family and friends.

– Mouse Gear at Epcot – Mouse Gear is perfect for taking a break from the heat during a long day at EPCOT.  Their vintage Disney shirts are my favorite souvenirs!

-The Emporium Store at Magic Kingdom- This Magic Kingdom favorite offers every Mickey clad item you could ever imagine and spans almost the entire length of Main Street U.S.A.


      7.      Choose a runner (keeps all tickets and obtains all fast passes for the group)

After entering the park choose a runner to keep all the tickets.  Ideally, the runner is a veteran Disney visitor that knows their way around the park.  The runner keeps watch on fast pass times and runs to get the group fast passes for the next attraction as soon as fast pass timing will allow.  This system decreases the walking and waiting time of the whole group.  The runner rejoins the group in line after obtaining new fast passes and the group boards the next attraction together.

Runner Rules

– Ideally a Disney veteran

– Remember to hold the runner’s bags while they are making the fast pass dash.

– Ensure that your runner is responsible enough to keep the group’s park tickets and keep a close watch on time.


        8.      Budget money for at least one sit down meal

Disney restaurants have amazing menus, chefs and themes.  Dining in World Showcase at Epcot is a tasty cultural experience; you are sure to discover a new favorite food from across the globe.  Character meals are delicious and give you a chance to catch up with your favorite characters over dinner without waiting in line to meet them.  Even Disney guests on a strict spending plan should budget enough money for at least one meal out at a Disney restaurant.












Delectable Disney Dinners

– ‘Ohana is a delicious family style restaurant at the Polynesian Resort that provides a taste of the South Seas in a relaxed environment. This all you can eat restaurant features a variety of meats cooked on a wood fire grill.

– Chef Mickey’s is the trusted favorite for many seasoned Disney guests.  Celebrate with Mickey and the gang while you enjoy a buffet style meal in the Contemporary Hotel.

-Chefs de France is one of my personal Disney favorites.  The warm baguettes, cheesy French onion soup and juicy roast chicken are impossible to resist!  Portions are large enough to share making this an affordable option for students.


          9.      Utilize the iPhone Disney apps to check attraction waits

Using Disney’s Mobile Magic app will save time and help you make the most of your time in the parks.  Use it to view which rides still have fast passes available and to ensure that attractions are up and running before you set off across the park.


          10.  Drink your way around the world

Epcot’s World Showcase is any college student’s dream.  Different beer, wine and mixed drink selections in every country are sure to have you in high spirits by the time “Off Kilter” rock band starts their evening show.  Expect to pay around $7.00 per drink.

Delicious Drinks

– La Cantina de San Angel in Mexico boasts stellar margaritas.

– Germany’s Sommerfest German beer stand always has a line of eager customers.

– France offers an array of champagne and wine selections.

– Morocco’s frozen drinks with orange blossom water are refreshing and delicious on a hot Orlando day.