Disney Princess

Can 3 year olds get in free at Disney? – Surprisingly …

I was shocked as we were planning our trip to Disney world this year with the costs were mounting up. I was looking at where we could save some money so we could enjoy it while we were there worry free. Then it struck me, surely the twin girls at 3 years old would be young enough to enter the parks for free and this would save us some much needed cash?

Surprisingly no, 3 year old’s can’t get in free at Disney. The age at which children have to pay to enter the Disney worlds theme parks is 3 years old. So if your child is 3 then you have just missed the boat. If your child turns 3 while they are visiting the park then you’re in luck as they will qualify for free entry during their stay!

I was slightly bewildered myself to realize that this wasn’t the case. At 3 years old they didn’t seem old enough to fully enjoy all the parks fun attractions to justify the $100+ park ticket. I know that Disney can be expensive and that’s why if you read on you’ll find some surprisingly easy ways you can save money when visiting Disney.

Although one of the biggest expenses, the park ticket isn’t the only large cost when visiting Disney. There are other ways you can be smart and save money on things that won’t impact the joy of your 3 year old while visiting Disney World.

1. Reconsider your hotel choice

Do you really need to stay in that Deluxe standard resort? There are plenty of Disney operated on-site resorts that have less eye-watering fees. It may seem tempting to splash out on these beautiful hotels, but if you are worried about ticket prices for your 3 year old then looking at one of the biggest expenses might be a good choice. Let’s face facts, the hotel room will probably only get used for sleeping as you will all be so exhausted from the amazing fun you’ll be having all day! I have researched which resorts are the best (and highest rated) in the moderate/value categories.

Top 5 moderate resorts by visitor satisfaction.

  • Caribbean Beach
  • Coronado Springs
  • The Cabins at Fort Wilderness
  • Port Orleans – French Quarter
  • Port Orleans – Riverside

Top 5 Value resorts by visitor satisfaction.

  • All-star sports resort
  • All-star music resort
  • All-star movie resort
  • Pop century
  • Art of animation

2. Stay off-site

You can save even more money on the biggest expense of your holiday by staying outside of the Disney World resort. There is plenty of great value accommodation in Orlando. Although you will miss out on some perks of being in a Disney resort, you will be left with more cash in your pocket and a greater variety of shops and restaurants to choose from. The transport links are excellent into the Disney resorts, so you don’t have to worry about missing out. Just make sure you are organized in the mornings with the little ones as the journey times will obviously be longer.

3. Bring your own food into the parks

Disney is famous for its high food and drinks prices in its resorts and you are their captive audience. It doesn’t have to be this way. Why not bring your own food to the parks? You could bring lunch and then have some dinner in the resort so you aren’t missing out on the atmosphere of the restaurants too much. This has the added benefit of speeding up lunchtime so you can get around and do more. It also lets you make sure your little ones are getting good nutritious food inside them.

4. Plan a relaxing park-free day

Not every day has to involve a theme park at Disney, the resorts are packed full of things to do and they often will cost much less than a park entrance fee or in same cases even be free! Everyone can have too much of a good thing, and packing in the park days can take its toll on the whole family, it is a holiday after all, isn’t it? A relaxing park-free day gives everyone chance to unwind and power up for the next day. Why not take the kids swimming and you can enjoy a relaxing drink by the pool?

5. Limit the souvenirs

Before arriving at the park, talk to your 3 year old and tell them that they will be allowed to have a takeaway souvenir but only one for their stay. Being dragged through every gift shop in the park isn’t a pleasant experience, especially when you have attractions to visit. Little eyes zero in on the cute cuddly toys, pens, key rings and who knows what else that the people at DIsney dream up to stuff their gift shops with. All I know is that our 3 year olds can’t resist. If they know they are only allowed one souvenir, then they tend to choose wisely and make it a larger one. They might think they have got the better deal but I know it saves the same tantrum in multiple shops over countless little items which all add up to more than the larger toy in the end.

6. Ditch the soda and opt for water

Ice cold soda can be tempting in the heat and the seemingly small $3 purchases can mount up during the days and weeks. This can end up in a nasty surprise of how empty your wallet might be at the end of your trip. Soda isn’t the best option for us or our 3 year olds to start off with, but I know its tempting when visiting Disney as everything gets labelled as a “treat”. I’m not saying never let them have it, but I am saying for your wallet, waistline and their health’s sake, make it a rare occurrence.

7. Try discount ticketing sites

This one needs a bit of caution. I have done this one myself to great success. Although we did have to sit through a sales pitch for a new build resort! After 30mins of a boring talk and a little bit of soft selling we walked away with heavily discounted tickets. Luckily, you don’t have to go to such extremes. There are legitimate discount Disney ticket websites for you to try and save a few dollars on entrance fees.  Why not try Undercover Tourist as a reputable option to save some money on park fees.

8. Try and visit in the off-season

Very few months at Disney are classed as off-season so it can be hard to find the best deals. There are a few times during the year when you may see the ticket prices and prices in the surrounding area fall slightly, giving you and your family a welcome break from the over spending. The months to try and plan a cheaper visit are:

  • September (Obviously after Labor Day).
  • Late January.
  • Late February.

Make sure you avoid the high season prices, so unless you have to (or want to visit during) avoid the holiday periods. Any holiday that people can turn into a three day weekend sees a definite unwelcome spike in prices.

9. Do you really need the park hopper pass?

Consider this one carefully, as what seems like a few extra dollars at the time can easily mount up over tickets for the whole family. Will you actually use the pass and move from park to park. That might be especially difficult with a 3 year old in tow. You may save around $60-70 per person on the ticket prices, which is no small amount. Don’t get carried away in the magic too much and end up counting the cost when you get back. You will have the time of your life without hopping from park to park.

10. Use mousesavers.com

Mousesavers.com is a website dedicated to saving you money at Disney. They list Disney deals, coupons and discounts. The website is well established and has an email newsletter which is well worth signing up for because it has exclusive deals and discounts for your stay at Disney. There’s absolutely loads of information on the website so make sure to take your time and discover all the discounts and freebies that might apply to your trip!

11. Bring your stroller from home

Disney charges $15 per day to hire a stroller, so it makes perfect sense to bring your own from home. Your 3 year old will feel much more comfortable in their own stroller too. It might not always be possible due to transportation issues to bring your stroller, if that’s the case, then look elsewhere for stroller hire than Disney as $15 per day can add up for the little one’s buggy.

12. Do your own grocery shop

If you are staying at a Disney resort on site, it can get expensive eating the the various restaurants every night. Why not give the Disney food a rest for a few nights and either order in groceries or pick them up for yourself. This will save you money on the Disney park prices for food and it means that you can eat some food that you’re used to at home. You will have to think of dishes that you can whip up in your hotel room. There are plenty of options and it also means that you can make your own lunches to save even more cash and time in the day. This will help you fit even more time in for attractions.


Even though you’ve found out that you have to pay for your 3 year old. I hope I have given you enough ideas to save money without impacting the enjoyment of your holiday to more than make up for the price of their ticket. A visit to Disney is a magical experience for any 3 year old, ours included. Just don’t make it a nightmare for yourselves by over spending. You want to be worry free as you watch the delight on their little faces. Enjoy your holiday.