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These Are the Best Disney Deals for 2020, According to Experts

It doesn't cost that much money to visit Mickey

It's said that money can't buy you happiness, but to get to The Happiest Place on Earth, you need to spend a pretty penny. Between the expensive park passes, resorts, restaurants, and of course, a pair of those essential Mickey Mouse ears, it's easy to break the bank on a Disney trip. Which is why we've tapped two expert travel agents to get the inside scoop on this year's best discounts (spring break savings, anyone?) to help you budget your next magical vacation. Read on to find out where you can score some sales.

Free dining in the summer

mickey mouse table decorations for dinner

"Free dining is always a no-brainer when you see that promotion pop up," says Shelbi Moore, owner of Jolly Holiday Travel Company, which specializes in Disney travel. This year, Walt Disney World resorts have already announced some of its summer free dining deals.

According to the official Disney website, you can take advantage of the free dining deal when you book a non-discounted five-night and six-day package that includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotel and a ticket with a Park Hopper option. You have until January 16 to book for arrivals on the following 2020 dates: June 27 through 28, July 5 through 7, and August 29 through September 8.

50 percent off the initial deposit of a Disney cruise

Disney cruise ship

If you book a Disney cruise by February 14, 2020 (Happy Valentine's Day, indeed!), you can take advantage of a sale that will let you waive 50 percent off the required initial deposit. The offer is good on any four-night or more Disney cruise between June 20, 2020 and May 31, 2021.

"The 50 percent off the deposit really helps those families who want to get a cruise on the books but may not have enough funds to put down up front," Moore says. "The longer you wait, the more expensive a Disney Cruise gets, so this is a really helpful promotion!"

Disneyland spring break savings

a girl on the swings at an amusement park

If Disneyland is your jam, look to visit over spring break for an affordable trip, cutting up to 25 percent off at one of three Disneyland resorts. Book a room at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the Disneyland Hotel, or Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel by March 16, 2020 to take advantage of the discount, which is valid for stays most Sunday to Thursday nights April 19 through June 18, 2020.

"I love to see my die-hard Disney World families try the west coast and see where the magic first began," says Dawn Wolf, a Disney travel agent with Magical Vacations. "California is a totally different experience."

Disneyland tickets for kids

a family with a young daughter at an amusement park

For a limited time, Disneyland kids ages 3 to 9 can get a three-day park pass for only $67. It's a pretty sweet bargain, and the fine print includes that the tickets will expire 13 days after the first day of use or on May 21, 2020, whichever is first. And for more benefits, read the 15 Secret Disney Theme Park Perks Even Hardcore Disney Fans Don't Know About.

Kids eat for free

Child Eating in a Food Court, bad parenting advice
Shutterstock/Toey Toey

One of the newest Disney specials is the Free Kids' Dining package that's good for almost the entire summer. Disney's website outlines the specifics, which boil down to a free dining plan for all kids ages 3 to 9 with the purchase of a non-discounted four-night and four-day package including a room at a select Disney Resort hotel, theme park tickets, and a dining plan.

The deal is good for any of the three Disney dining plans, but you can't pick and choose among family members—everyone has to be on the same plan to qualify. The package must be purchased by February 26, and it's valid for arrivals between May 25 and August 28, 2020.

Military discount

military mom and daughter

Active or retired members of the military and their spouses can choose between four-, five-, and six-day military promotion passes at Disney World all year long. Sales start as low as $265 (for a four-day ticket with the Park Hopper option), although the best bang for your buck is the five-day pass with the Park Hopper Plus add-on at only $333. Note: There are blackout dates for the holidays, so this special can not be used for admission after December 18, 2020.

Free dining in the fall

a family of four sits around an outdoor table at a restaurant

According to Moore, the Fall Free Dining promotion has been available for the past six years, and it's the most popular Disney dining discount.

"This deal was created to fill rooms that were typically empty during the fall when everyone was back at school and before the holiday rush," she says. "However, with the holiday events, festivals, and new attractions, the fall has now become the most popular time to travel to Walt Disney World, and they aren't seeing the need to fill as many rooms during those dates as they have in the past."

Moore explains that no one ever knows exactly when the fall dining will be released (although in 2019, it was in mid-July), what dates it will include, and what resorts will be excluded from receiving the promotion. "The terms and conditions of this promotion vary each year," she says. "Over the last few years it has gotten harder to grab as the rooms and availability are pretty limited."

For this reason, it is especially helpful to work with a travel planner. "We typically encourage our clients to not wait until this promotion is dropped to book their room," Moore says. "If our clients are flexible with their dates, once the promotion is released, our agents will make any adjustments needed in order to apply the new promotion to their reservation."

Disney World mid-day ticket

cinderella castle at disney world in orlando florida
Scott Smith/Flickr

Last year, Disney debuted mid-day admission for families looking to spend an afternoon at one of the four main Disney World theme parks. Two days cost $176, three cost $252, and four cost $316. Although the promotion ended in 2019 and there's no official word if it will be brought back, it is worth keeping your eyes peeled for another chance at a half-day Disney pass.

Year-round gift cards

close up of people holding a gift card

While it's not a specific Disney deal, you shouldn't overlook the saving power of Disney gift cards, Moore says. You can actually pay for your entire experience with gift cards and purchase anything in the parks or resorts. "An extra 5 percent here and there really adds up," she says.

And if you've already booked your visit and are now kicking yourself for missing out? Don't fret—Moore says that one little-known trick is that you can always apply new discounts to your vacation package even after you have purchased your trip. So, get booking!

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