Disney World is a once in a family lifetime trip. It’s that trip the kids dream about and that us as parents want to give them. There is just one little problem. The cost. How much does a Disney world trip cost? The answer will depend on your situation but I will break out the costs involved in staying at a Disney World resort. I previously budgeted $10,000 for a family of 4 but you could do it for less. It all depends on how you want to do your trip. If you are looking for ways to save up money for your Disney trip you can check out my post here.
Related Post: Key Dates for your Disney Trip
The first cost is going to be transportation. How do you plan on getting to Disney? Will you be flying? Doing the family road trip like Clark Griswold? There’s a few different ways to get there. We use Hotwire for booking our flights. It’s usually the best way to find competing flights. I’ve also used Cheap Flights for some of my flights and had some good success there too.
Average flight per person $400-$600. This can vary wildly depending on how quickly you want to go, so plan early.
If you aren’t driving to Disney, you will need to figure out how you are getting around. If you are staying at a Disney World Resort there isn’t much to worry abou. Disney makes it very easy to get around. From picking you up at the airport to going to and from the theme parks and Disney Springs, they are your chauffeurs for the week.
If you are flying and renting a car I would recommend using Hotwire. You don’t know what specifically you are renting, but you know the main parts (shuttle to the airport, cost, transmission, unlimited mileage etc…). We have used this for all our car rentals and have always been impressed. The savings can be over 50% from renting directly from the car rental agency. It’s definitely worth checking out. We got our car insurance before leaving and it was very cheap compared to what was offered by the rental car company.
Daily car package (including parking, rental, insurance, tolls and gas) $50/day and up
The next part will be where you are staying. This will tie into your Disney transportation as well. If you are staying on resort you can usually find something to fit your budget. The other option is staying at a close by hotel or renting a home. We did the home rental thing in our second week. It was nice to have the extra space after being in a hotel room for a week.
If you are looking for a hotel off site there are plenty. The key is to find something that offers good shuttle service to the parks.
Normally when we book hotels we use Hotwire. They give you great hotels and discounted prices. For this trip you would need to make sure that they are in the right area and offer the services you need. The reason for the deep discounts with Hotwire is that you don’t know the hotel name you are booking until you pay.
Using Hotwire in the past we have gotten some great deals, 4 star hotels for the price of a 2 star. There are some great deals and you will know most details about the hotel (except the name) before you book. Amenties, services and reviews from recently stayed guest are all provided to help you decide if it’s the right hotel for you.
Value resorts start at $97/night though sometimes you can get a better deal through Undercover Tourist
With Disney there are two options, buy a meal plan or pay as you go. We did the meal plan and though we may not have maximized the value (my son decided to have a marathon Mac and Cheese series of meals on the trip) it is nicer to have your food paid for up front rather than digging into your wallet every day for money.
If you are staying off resort the food will be cheaper. The type of trip is a different kind but you are able to have more variety and freedom than what Disney offers. Having done both I would do the meal plan again. The second tier one (2 snacks, 1 quick service and 1 table service) was great for our first time. We booked all our character meals 180 days out and were able to avoid wanting in long lines to meet characters throughout our days in the park. To me this was a huge value of the meal plan. Otherwise we would have spent a couple of hours every day meeting different characters that we saw included in our meal plan.
Plus you get to eat at some pretty cool places. Dining in the Magic Kingdom castle was super cool. Getting to dine with Beast at Be Our Guest restaurant is a memory none of us will forget. (Psst… try the grey stuff, it’s delicious!)
Disney also offers discounts on their meal plans through out the year so keep an eye out for them, or check out Undercover Tourst. We used them a lot on our trip and they are super helpful and a great resource.
The dining plan for an adult starts at around $48/day for the quick service package and goes up from there.
Attractions (Theme Park Tickets)
The next cost is your theme park tickets. There are a few different ways to get your tickets online. We used Disney because we were going through their package. A couple of things to note, kids 10 and older are considered adults. The price of the park goes down greatly the longer you stay. We just did the basic 7 day package then increased it to 10 days once we were there. They offer a park hopper pass but if you are there for 7 days then I would focus on making the most of one park every day, rather than spending more time commuting between the two parks.
Disney Hack: If you want to save money you could get the 10 day 1 park per day pass for $440, that would give you an extra 3 days (if you are staying 7 days) to go to a separate park as opposed to using the park hopper option which for 7 days is $485. Just a thought.
Average ticket price for a 7 day pass $58.58
This is completely up in the air. If it’s your first time at Disney you are likely going to want some souvenirs. There is no shortage of places to get them at the resorts and hotels. You will be likely want to include some spending in your budget.
Personally I budgeted $50 a day and came nowhere near that some days.
Memory Maker Photo Package
This was one of the things that I wasn’t too sure about the first time, but it turned out to be the best thing to buy. My phone acted up on our trip so these photos were priceless. From magic photos, to amazing professionally taken photos in front of some of Disney’s greatest landmarks, the photo pass is a must for first time Disney visitors. Another bonus is that you get all your pictures from the rides. So you can capture all the fun you are having on the rollercoasters like this…
See! Doesn’t…..doesn’t that look like fun?!? See all the fun I’m having. Ugh.. my stomach turns when I think about some of those drops. But at the same time I want to go back and do it all again.
If you book it at least 3 days in advance you can get some good savings on the package ($30). Well worth it in my opinion.
The Memory Maker is $169 if you buy it in advance or $199 if you buy it at the last minute. We got about 200 pictures and videos from it.
You aren’t allowed to bring selfie sticks into the parks so you may want to factor that into your decision.
Other than that Disney has a bunch of extras you can buy, from private tours to excursions, they aim to give you a trip of a lifetime and that is exactly what you will get. We didn’t do any of the extras but it’s a good idea to budget for whatever you want to do.
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Looking for some other resources for your Disney trip? Some great books to check out are:
- The Unofficial Guide To Walt Disney World
- The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Frommer’s EasyGuide to Disney World, Universal and Orlando 2017 (Easy Guides)