How to Do Disney World for Free in 2021

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NOTE: Prices mentioned in this article were based on research done in July 2020.


Disney World is a dream destination for many people. It’s also a very expensive destination for many people.

It doesn’t have to be though.

In this comprehensive guide, I will share with you a method to:

  • Get free flights to Orlando
  • Get free hotel stays near Disney World
  • Get free Disney World tickets

These money-saving techniques are not the usual penny-pincher ideas, such as packing sandwiches into the park or driving 14 hours to Florida.

Instead, I will show you how to use credit card perks to get free rewards that will make a trip to Disney World absolutely free. 


Table of Contents


The Basics of Credit Card Rewards

A lot of people will get thrown off by the concept of using credit card rewards in order to travel for less. 

Some friends assume I pay for my trips on credit cards and then just never pay them off. Others fear this will impact their credit negatively or that they will need to go into debt to accomplish this.

Please know this is not what I mean when I say you can travel for free using credit cards.

The Unbreakable Rule

Let’s be clear: you should NEVER spend more on a credit card than you can afford to pay off in full that month. 

Instead, you should use everyday expenses like taxes, rent, car payments, home repairs, college tuition, etc, to help you earn maximum rewards and points.


The Trip: Family of Four to Disney World

For illustration purposes, this article is written as a plan for a family of 4 visiting Disney World from December 25th-January 2nd

The Trip:

  • Accommodations: Waldorf Astoria Orlando
  • Flights: Southwest Airlines
  • Park Tickets: 7 days

How to Get Disney World Hotel for Free

The Waldorf Astoria Orlando is the definitive deluxe “good neighbor hotel”.

For a family who is looking to experience luxury and the nicest amenities possible, no hotel off Disney property can come close to this one.

However, it comes with a hefty price tag.

For a family of four to stay at the Waldorf Astoria from December 25th-January 2nd (8 nights) will cost $6,696. 

Instead of cash, we can use Hilton Points. A room with two queen beds will cost 80,000 Hilton Honors points. 

To turn this expensive experience into a free stay, we will need 480,000 Hilton Honors points and a free weekend night certificate from Hilton. 

With these points and the free weekend night, Hilton will give you one free night after using points for four nights. Let’s break it down further:

480,000 Hilton Honors points = 6 nights free

  • 1 night free when you pay the full award rate for 4 nights
  • 1 free weekend night

HOW TO GET 8 FREE WALDORF ASTORIA ORLANDO NIGHTS

We will get this done through applying for 3 credit cards: 

  • Hilton Aspire for you
  • Hilton Surpass for you
  • Hilton Surpass for your spouse

With the benefits from these cards, we will earn enough points to cover our entire stay and then some.

Here’s how: 

Hilton Aspire

The Hilton Aspire is my all-time favorite credit card I have. 

It comes with a HUGE welcome offer of 150,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. It features a TON of other great benefits as well.

With this card’s $450 annual fee you get:

  • Hilton Diamond status (free breakfast, lounge access, and room upgrades at any Hilton property you stay at)
  • $250 flight credit through American Express (good for baggage, taxes, and fees when booking flights, lounge access, seat upgrade fees, etc.)
  • $250 resort credit at any Hilton resort (good for any charge you pay for at the resort such as food, room rate, souvenirs, etc.)
  • Free weekend night each year at any Hilton property
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • These perks will renew each year you renew the card!

You will also earn at least 3 points per dollar spent on everyday purchases. 

⭐️ After you meet the minimum spend with the card, you’ll have 162,000 Hilton Honors points.

Hilton Surpass (x2) 

The Hilton Surpass is a great everyday use card for anyone who stays at Hilton Hotels often or is saving up points for a big trip since it earns points VERY quickly.

Not only does it have a great welcome offer of 150,000 points after you spend $3,000, but you also earn 6 points per dollar spent at grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants.

This card also gives you 20,000 points after you refer a friend to sign up for the card. Have your spouse sign up for this card using your referral link.

Additionally, these perks of the card renew every year you have it:

  • Earn 12X Points on Hilton Purchases
  • Earn 6X Points on Groceries & Dining
  • Earn 6X Points on Gas
  • Earn 3X Points on Other Purchases
  • Complimentary Gold Status
  • Weekend Night Reward

⭐️ When you have achieved the spending requirements ($3000 x 2), you will have 338,000 Hilton Points. 

480,000 Hilton Honors Points = 8 Nights Free (plus Free Breakfast)

After successfully applying for these three cards, you will have 500,000 Hilton Honors Points and a free weekend night certificate. That gives you the needed 480,000 Hilton points to get your 8 nights free (value $6690). 

Plus, now you’ll be able to enjoy free breakfast throughout your stay and a $250 credit toward other expenses at the resort!

Total Hotel Savings: ~$6690


How to Get Disney World Flights for Free

Southwest is a great airline to fly with for many reasons. 

  • Top-notch customer service
  • Free bags (up to two)
  • Reasonable base fares

For our family of four to fly round-trip from the upper east coast to Orlando is going to cost $1,005.84 (as of this writing). 

But let’s save that money. How? 

You guessed it, we can make it cheaper using credit card rewards!

HOW TO GET 4 FREE SOUTHWEST AIRLINE FLIGHTS TO ORLANDO

All we will need is 80,000 Southwest points and $44.80 (20,000 points per person + $11.20 taxes)!

We will get this done with two credit cards: 

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus for you
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus for your spouse 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus (x2)

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card comes with a generous welcome offer of 40,000 points and a $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.

After accounting for the $69 annual fee, you are still netting $131 ($200 statement credit – $69 annual fee) and half the points you need to fly your family to Disney.

This card also comes with the ability to refer your friends and you’ll get 10,000 more points per friend who signs up.

If your spouse is in the market for a new credit card, you can refer him or her to that same offer.  By so doing, you’ll get another 10,000 points for the referral and your spouse will receive 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

Additionally, these perks of the card renew every year you have it:

  • 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • All points earned count towards Companion Pass.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.

⭐️ This combined total will equal 90,000 Southwest Points + $262 in statement credits. Enough to cover the points you’ll need for round-trip flights to Orlando for your family.


How to Get Disney World Park Tickets for Free

Park tickets are some of the most expensive parts of visiting Disney. And…every year the price goes up.

Four 7-day park passes (one park per day) during the week of Christmas will cost $2,646.

In order to pay for these park tickets with credit card rewards, we had to be a little bit creative with our planning. 

HOW TO GET FOUR 7-DAY PARK HOPPER TICKETS

We will accomplish this by applying for four credit cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred for you
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred for your spouse
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited for you
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited for your spouse

Chase Sapphire Preferred (x2)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has one of the best cashback sign up bonuses available on any card out there.

It gives you 60,000 Ultimate Reward points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months.

“Pay Yourself Back”

Ultimate Reward points are worth 1.25 cents per point when you cash them out to cover grocery store, gas station, or travel purchases with the “pay yourself back” feature on the card.

This means the welcome offer is worth $750 in cash back. (60,000 UR points x $0.0125)

Refer Your Spouse 

On top of this, you can refer a friend and get an additional 15,000 Ultimate Reward points when they sign up.

If your spouse is looking for a credit card, this might be a good fit. By using your referral link and meeting the minimum spend, together you’ll have 143,000 Ultimate Reward points (worth $1787.50) after spending $8,000 in 3 months.

Additionally, these perks of the card renew every year you have it:

  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited (x2)

The Chase Freedom Unlimited currently offers the best welcome offer in its history with a 20,000 point bonus after you spend $500.

Also, you receive 5x points back on ALL your grocery purchases for the next 12 months.

You Can “Cash Out” These Points at Higher Value

Normally, you would redeem these Freedom Unlimited points for $200 cash back.

However, since you already have the Sapphire Preferred card, you can cash out the points earned with your Freedom Unlimited at a higher value, making the welcome offer worth $250 cash back and the 5x point at grocery stores worth 6.25% cash back.

Refer Your Spouse

If your spouse could use a new credit card, you’ll receive an additional 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points when he or she successfully applies for this card and meets the spending requirements.

After making the minimum spend combined on both Freedom Unlimited cards, you will have earned 51,500 points (worth $643.75) after spending $1,000.

Pro-Tip…Buy Discounted Disney Gift Cards to Save More

Additionally, with the 6.25% cash back you can get at grocery stores, you can load up on Disney gift cards at your local grocery store before your trip to help save additional money on food and souvenirs while you are away. 

For example, each $100 Disney Gift Card you buy with your Freedom Unlimited card will earn you $6.25 cashback.

Additionally, these perks of the card renew every year you have it:

  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. No minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • No annual fee

Adding It All Up

If you include the additional cash back you earned from your previous Southwest sign up bonuses, you now have more than enough cash back to cover the cost of your tickets and can save 6.25% on all purchases you make at the parks using your Disney gift cards.


Conclusion

I love Disney World, but I also know it is an expensive place to visit.

I have been so thankful for the fact my family and I have been able to travel to Disney frequently over the years, thanks to techniques like the ones described above.

I hope these ideas help your family get back to Disney soon enough. 

After all, we don’t need to break the bank to visit the happiest place on earth.

Picture the Magic has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Picture the Magic and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.