The Biggest Disney World Costs and How to SAVE!

It’s no secret that a Disney World vacation can be pretty pricey for the average family.


Cinderella Castle

And, between price increases on parking, tickets, food, and more, a Disney World vacation has become even more costly than it was before. So, we’re breaking down the price piece-by-piece for ya and sharing ways that you can still make your trip a bit more affordable the next time you visit!

How Much Does Your Hotel Stay Cost?

One of the first decisions that you’ll make when planning your Disney World vacation is where to stay. And, if you’re choosing to stay at a Disney-owned hotel then you’ll have three pricing ranges to choose fromDisney Value Resorts, which can cost between $150-$300 per night, Disney Moderate Resorts, which tend to cost between $250-$400 per night, and Disney Deluxe Resorts, which often cost between $400-$600+ per night (with some rooms going well above $2,000 per night). Plus, those looking for rooms with more space can opt for a Disney Vacation Club Resort which can cost anywhere from $400 to $5,000 per night.


Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

So, why are people choosing to stay at a Disney-owned hotel? Well, it comes with quite a few perks like complimentary Disney transportation, close proximity to the parks, early access to Individual Lightning Lane selections, and extra time in the parks. And, of course, you’ll be staying in the “Disney bubble” and can expect the standard of service that comes with that.

How to Save

But, you certainly don’t have to shell out the money to stay at a Disney World hotel if you’re hoping to have a great vacation. There are many off-site hotels that are still close to the parks but offer more amenities (with some even offering theme park transportation) and space for the money that you’re paying. And, you can usually find a nearby hotel that is much cheaper than even the Disney Value Resorts.


©Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World

There are also some resorts that are not owned by Disney but are located on Disney property, including the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. This hotel is near Disney’s BoardWalk making it only a short walk or boat ride to both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. So, you’ll have access to Disney Deluxe Resort amenities feel like you’re in the “bubble”, but you won’t be paying the deluxe price or resort fees. Plus, you can use your Marriott Bonvoy Rewards or find discounts for teachers and nurses from time to time.


Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotel

If you’re looking for a place to stay that has more space for a large family (similar to the Disney Vacation Club rooms), you can look into house rentals in the area. You’ll often find more space and sometimes even a private pool for a much cheaper price tag. But, keep in mind that you’ll want to look at reviews and research management companies before committing to the rental.



But, if staying at a Disney World Resort is a must for you, you can often find a variety of hotel discounts throughout the year. Keep an eye out for the best times to book with a discount and be sure that you’ve added any affinity groups to your My Disney Experience account that might score you a discount (like Florida residency, Annual Passholder, Disney Vacation Club, or military).


Disney’s Pop Century Resort

And, for larger groups or those who would like more space in their room, you can always look into renting Disney Vacation Club points, which is the best way we’ve found to save on a DVC resort stay! You can do this through third-party services like David’s Vacation Club Rentals, where you can “rent” points from members who aren’t planning to use them.


Disney’s Riviera Resort

So, there are still a lot of ways to save on your Disney hotel choice, it just may require some flexibility in dates and location!

Click HERE For ALL the Current Disney World Hotel Deals and Discounts!

How Much Do Park Tickets Cost?

Once you know where you’re staying, you’re probably looking to get those coveted Disney Park Tickets next and, of course, they’re going to cost ya a pretty penny, too. Right now, single-day park tickets cost $109 per day, per person at the LEAST, and park hoppers start at $174 per day, per person — so depending on how many parks you want to visit and how many days you’re vacationing, your ticket cost will fluctuate.


Animal Kingdom

And, if you’re hoping to visit the Disney water parks, golf courses, or mini-golfing areas, you may want to upgrade to the Park Hopper Plus ticket option, which starts at $194 per person, per day.


Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Keep in mind that Disney does date-based ticketing, so the time of year that you’re going can really impact the cost of your vacation. You’ll find the cheapest tickets during the off-season and the most expensive tickets during peak times when the parks are more crowded.

How to Save

With date-based ticketing, it can be really beneficial to plan your trip during non-peak times of the year if you’re hoping to save. This would mean that you’re planning your vacation for late August/September, late January/early February, or the end of April/beginning of May.


Main Stree,t U.S.A.

Another great place to look for cheaper Disney tickets is your local Sam’s Club. We’ve occasionally found discounted park tickets for members there.



And, if you’re planning on traveling for an extended period of time, it can be beneficial to look into Disney World Annual Passes (though Disney is only selling one specific Florida Resident annual pass right now for new passholders). This membership gives you access to discounts on hotel rooms, merchandise, and PhotoPass downloads, depending on what level ticket you purchase, and the savings can add up to be pretty significant. Plus, only one member of the whole party needs to have a pass to get the discount. 

Check Out Our Ultimate Disney World Packing List!

How Much Does Food Cost?

Once you’re at Disney World, you’ll be eating all of your meals there and, if there’s one thing for sure, it’s costly. Disney has over 400 restaurants to choose from and there’s a pretty big variety of options and costs.


Tusker House

For the average family planning to dine at a Table Service restaurant and a Quick Service restaurant, plus tack on some snacks and drinks throughout the day, you’re looking at roughly $85 per day PER PERSON for just the food. So, meals are definitely something to plan ahead for in the budget.

How to Save

One thing that a lot of park-goers forget is that you can actually bring your own food into the parks — it’s true! So, if you’re staying at a hotel with a kitchen, you can make your meals there are bring them into the park with you. Plus, you don’t even have to leave your room to do the grocery shopping — Disney allows guests to order groceries to be delivered to the resort.


Dry Foods, Grocery Items, and Souvenir Mugs

And, if you’re planning on eating in the parks, you can often save some cash by choosing to split your Quick Service meals. The portions are pretty large (even for some snacks) making them easy to share between at least two people. Just keep in mind that this may not be an option if you’re dining at a Table Service restaurant.


Many Quick Service meals can be shared!

For those who want a meal all to themselves, adults usually can order off the kids’ menu at Quick Service restaurants, which gives you a slightly smaller portion for a much cheaper cost. Again, though, at Table Service restaurants this likely won’t be an option.


Regal Eagle Kids’ Meal at EPCOT

Of course, when Disney brings it back, you can always opt to add the Disney Dining Plan to your trip, though it won’t necessarily save you money on food. Instead, it can help you budget for your meals in advance.


Breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

And, if you’re still looking for ways to add the cost of food into your Disney travel budget, we’ve got a tool to help you out! We include a Disney Food Budgeting Worksheet in our DFB Guide, along with other travel tips and tricks. So, you can weigh the cost of meals for your stay with or without the Dining Plan.

Get Your Copy of the 2022 DFB Guide HERE!

What Are the Additional Costs?

Other costs to consider when planning your Disney World trip are things like special ticketed events, extra activities (like mini-golf), dining experiences, Disney Genie+, and VIP tours.


Some holiday parades ONLY take place a special ticketed events!

These things can give you more time in the parks with lower crowds, add some variety to your trip, and help you tackle more rides, but they will certainly cost ya. In fact, tickets for special events and special dining experiences or tours can be over $100 per person, with holiday events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (which gives guests an extra 3 hours in Magic Kingdom) priced at $109-$199, depending on the date you go.


Halloween in Magic Kingdom

And, even if you’re just planning to hit up the parks during regular hours and pass on any extra experiences, you’ll likely be considering whether or not you should purchase Disney Genie+ or Individual Attraction Selections. These are Disney World’s new ways to “skip the line” at some of the most popular attractions but, unlike the former FastPass+ service, you’re going to have to cough up some cash for the perk.


Disney Genie

Genie+ costs $15 per person, per day, and Individual Attraction Selections range from anywhere between $7-$15 per person, per ride depending on when you’re visiting and what rides you’re looking to skip the line at. Multiply that by 4 people over a 5-day vacation and you could find yourself seriously eating into your Disney World budget.

How to Save

Now, if you’re really looking to save money and cut down on the budget, it may be best to skip these extras. You can still have a great time in Disney World without adding on special events and activities, plus, the standby line is still available at every attraction so you don’t need to purchase Genie+ to ride. Or, you can always cut costs elsewhere on your trip and build them into the budget ahead of time.


EPCOT Frozen Ever After Dessert Party

Of course, some affinity groups do get discounts on the ticketed events and activities, so be sure you’ve got your Annual Pass, Disney Vacation Club, or other discount groups linked to your My Disney Experience account before purchasing tickets.


Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Consider if these things make sense for your family. For example, things like After Hours events can be preferable for groups that are visiting for a short time, because you get access to the parks with limited crowds enabling you to ride the popular attractions quickly. Plus, you’ll get select free snacks and beverages during the event. And, with Genie+, you can opt to purchase the service for only select days of your trip when you know that you’ll be visiting a busier park or if you have a ton of rides that you want to tackle in a short period of time in one day (just keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase it the day of in that case).

We’ve got some tips on when you should (and shouldn’t) spend the cash on Genie+ that you can check out here!

Click HERE for 5 Pay-To-Play Upgrades At Disney World That May Actually Be WORTH The Money

How Much Are Hidden Fees?

So, what other costs are there to a Disney World trip? Well, if you’re planning on driving your car to Disney and staying at a Disney World resort, then you’ll stumble upon a Resort Parking Fee of $15 per night at value resorts, $20 at moderate resorts, and $25 at deluxe resorts. But, keep in mind that will also cover the cost of parking at the theme parks if you choose to take your car.


If you bring a car to Disney World, don’t forget about those overnight parking fees!

Speaking of staying at a Disney World hotel, there are also some extra costs to staying in a room with an upgraded view or location. Some of these upgrades can definitely be worth the cost for a better view and shorter walk to transportation, but it really depends. 


Hotel upgrades can cost ya too!

Tips for your resort staff members and restaurant servers are another thing you should take into account when budgeting. The amount you will need to budget will vary depending on how much table-service dining you plan to do during your trip.


Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant is a popular choice!

And, if you want to have access to all of the on-ride photos and photos taken by Disney PhotoPass Cast Members, you’ll also have to pay for the PhotoPass+ Memory Maker which costs $169 for the trip if you purchase the package in advance.

How to Save

So, how do you avoid some of these up-charges? Well, you can skip the Resort Parking Fee if you opt not to bring a car with you. Of course, if you are flying into Orlando, you will need to pay for airport transportation, so you will have to weigh the cost of that versus the cost of driving and parking.


Mears Connect Bus

When it comes to hotel upgrades, think about how much time you actually plan to spend in your hotel room. If you’ll be in the parks most of the time, it may be worth skipping the extra cost if you don’t mind logging some extra steps to get to and from the bus stop and your room.


Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

And, you can ask your PhotoPass Cast Member to snap a picture on your phone and avoid the cost of the Memory Maker.

13 Disney World Hotel Rooms That Are Actually WORTH the Upgrade $$$!

How Much Does Airfare Cost?

We couldn’t talk about the cost of a Disney vacation without mentioning airfare. Not all Disney-goers will choose to fly in for their trip, but if you do, then you’ll be adding $200-$500+ per person round trip, plus the cost of gas and other travel costs.


Flight from Orlando

How to Save

The Orlando International Airport is pretty big, so you’ll probably have a few options for flights depending on when and where you’re flying from. It can be beneficial to plan ahead for when you’re booking — the prices of airline tickets can really fluctuate depending on how far in advance you’re purchasing. You don’t want to be buying too far in advance, but also not too close to your trip.


Orlando Airport

You’ll also tend to find the better prices on early morning and late-night flights, because — well, they’re just not all that desirable!


Flying to Orlando

And, if you can’t find a flight at the right price, be willing to travel to other airports in your area that might have a flight to Orlando at a better cost.

Check Out The BEST Ways to Get to Disney World from Orlando Airport

So, yes a Disney World vacation is pricey and that’s probably not going to change much anytime soon. But, there are still ways to make it more affordable for your family if you’re hoping to spend some time in the “most magical place on earth.”

How do you save money on your Disney World vacations? Comment below to let us know!

Click HERE to Check Out the Latest Disney World Discounts!


Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!

Don\’t Miss Out on Any Disney Fun!

Order Your Copy of the 2022 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining Today!

\"\" With more than 750 pages, the 2022 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining is full of tips and planning tools developed by Disney World experts over 30+ years of visits. We\’ve done the research for you, so you\’ll know just which spots will uniquely suit your family\’s needs!

With mini-reviews of every single restaurant, bar, lounge, kiosk and more; an entire chapter on the best snacks in Disney World; full Disney Dining Plan analysis (and how to get FREE dining); and a full chapter on discounts and deals; you\’ll have everything you need to plan your best vacation yet.

Click here to order your copy of the 2022 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining E-book with code WDW2022 to save 25% off the cover price today!

Use code WDW2022 at check-out for 25% off the cover price today!

Our guides are backed by a 100% money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose. \"🙂\"

The post The Biggest Disney World Costs and How to SAVE! first appeared on the disney food blog.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.