You’ve probably heard all the buzz about taking a Disney vacation but the main question always ends up being, “How much does it cost to go to Disney World?” This is certainly a question worth asking up front because there are many costs with a Walt Disney World vacation.
Between buying tickets, where you’re sleeping, what you’ll be eating, and nailing down your activity list, you’ll soon find out that the cost can be more than you expected.
Don’t let that deter you, though. This comprehensive guide will help you take everything into consideration so you can put together your dream Disney World vacation budget.
And if you’re heading to California you might want to know How Much Does it Cost to Go to Disneyland?
How Much Does It Cost For A Family Of 4 To Go To Disney World?
Keep in mind that currently some attractions, hotels, restaurants, and other offerings may be modified or unavailable. Some establishments are limited in capacity and subject to limited availability or closure, and park admission and offerings are not guaranteed.
Also, to enter a park, both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date are required for guests ages 3 and up. Read more about these important updates here. With this in mind, let’s look at some other important things to consider for your Disney World vacation.
Do I Need A Disney Vacation Specialist To Help
I’ll admit that planning a Disney World vacation is a lot of work. There are SO many details to understand and keep in mind. From what kind of ticket you need, to making dining reservations, and understanding how and when to book Fastpass, it’s a lot to juggle.
Disney vacation specialists (i.e. travel agents) live and breathe Disney vacations. They know all the resorts, restaurants, and important dates. If you don’t want to spend hours planning and setting reminders to book, a Disney travel agent could really help. You essentially give them dates and they’ll give you options.
I highly recommend my partners at Get Away Today if you’d like to use a Disney travel agent. They’ll help you find the best resort, tickets, and dining options for your budget. AND, if you book a Disney World resort package (hotel and tickets) they’ll provide concierge service and will make all your reservation bookings for you when they become available. Plus they have automatic price monitoring and will rebook your package if a better deal or offer comes around.
How Much Do Disney Travel Agents Charge?
The best thing about using a Disney travel agent is that often it doesn’t cost you anything! They earn a commission through the bookings from the parks and resorts, so they might provide their services are free for you. Many times they can find deals or specials that you might not know about which can save you money.
The biggest benefit to using a travel agent is that it can save you time at no extra cost. It’s ideal for families who want to just show up and enjoy their vacation.
How Much Does The Average Disney Vacation Cost In 2021?
Let’s look at all the costs that you need to budget for a Disney World vacation.
Getting Around Orlando and Disney World: Rental Car, Disney Shuttle Bus, Rideshare
Disney’s Magical Express / Mears Connect
For years many have relied on Disney’s Magical Express bus service to get from Orlando Airport to their Disney World resort hotel. This service is still operating but will end in January 2022. It is complimentary for guests staying at a Disney World resort and is booked with your Disney hotel stay.
The good news is that Mears, the company that has been running Magical Express, will be debuting their own service. The Mears Connect bus service will be a great option for families staying at Disney World and other “off-site” hotels. The price is not yet known.
If you’re not using the bus service you have a few options: taxi, rideshare (Uber/Lyft), private car service, or renting a car.
Taxi to Disney World
A taxi ride from the airport to Disney World will cost you about $70. The pros are they are easily and quickly available when you exit the airport. The cons are the high price and that it’s not ideal for families with car seats or lots of luggage.
Uber/Lyft Rideshare to WDW
Rideshare will save you money as you’ll pay about $35 for a car and about $50 for a larger SUV or minivan – the larger size might be needed for families with lots of luggage. And keep in mind that rideshare prices can increase during peak times.
Booking a Private Car Service
A private car service could be a great option for families that want a luxury car service. You can book a private SUV or Van service with Mears from the airport to WDW for about $127. Mears will also provide car seats.
If you need car seats and would rather book your transportation in advance versus ordering an XL ride at the airport, the Mears luxury service could be the right option for your family.
Renting a Car for Disney World
A final option is to rent a car for your trip. The price will of course vary based on availability and what options you choose. But one important consideration to keep in mind when planning your Disney World budget is that you’ll likely need to pay for parking with your rental car.
Parking at Disney World is $15-$25 at the resorts ($15 for Value, $20 for Moderate, $25 for Deluxe) and $25 at the theme parks. This is in addition to the cost of the rental car. This option might be preferred for families that are bringing their own car seats and planning to drive around to other attractions.
Where Are We Sleeping? Disney Hotel Costs
When you’re planning a Disney World vacation, hotel costs are going to be one of the big expenses. The nice thing about Disney World is that you’ll find a lot of hotel options.
Your budget will help determine which hotel you can stay at. There are definitely perks to staying at Disney World Resorts, including complimentary transportation to the theme parks. There are three levels of resorts you can book. Value resorts are the most affordable, followed by Moderate resorts, and the most expensive options are Deluxe resorts.
The costs for a Disney resort hotel room also varies based on the season you’re visiting. Disney World rooms will cost more during peak seasons and holidays.
Deluxe Disney Resort Hotel Costs
Resorts along the monorail are some of the most popular and sought-after places to stay because of their convenience to Magic Kingdom. The three resorts you’ll find on the monorail are Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. All are deluxe resort hotels.
If you enjoy extra amenities and plan to spend most of your time at Magic Kingdom, then one of these places might your best option. You can even walk to Magic Kingdom from the Contemporary Resort.
Other Deluxe Disney Resorts are the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Many of these offer additional transportation options to the parks, such as a boat or our favorite, Disney Skyliner.
Most of the Deluxe Resorts are also part of the Disney Vacation Club Villas. You can stay at these villas as a paying guest, but to save money you can rent DVC points from DVCrentals and get a big discount on a deluxe villa room.
If you’d like to splurge on your vacation, a Deluxe Resort is definitely a great place to splurge. Prices vary greatly based on the resort and type of room. I’d say you can estimate paying $650-$1100 per night for a deluxe hotel at Disney World. The time of year of your Disney World trip can really affect your hotel costs.
Disney World has five moderate resorts, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans – French Quarter, Port Orleans – Riverside, and The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. These hotels offer some additional amenities like pools with water slides but are quite a bit less expensive than deluxe resorts.
You can expect to pay approximately $300-$450 per night for a Disney moderate resort.
If you’re visiting Disney World on a limited budget, Value resorts are great options. There are five hotels and a camping option for value resorts. All-Star Movies Resort. All-Star Music Resort, All-Star Sports Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Pop Century Resort, and The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
These resorts all still offer the perks of having an on-site restaurant in addition to complimentary transportation. You can expect to pay about $120-$300 per night. The Art of Animation Resort is a bit higher and offers family suites for large families that cost approximately $500-$700 per night.
If you’re looking for other hotel amenities like free breakfast or free parking, you might want to consider staying at an offsite hotel.
Disney Offsite Hotels & Other Options
Even if you don’t stay in one of the iconic Disney hotels, it may surprise you to know there are some “off-site” hotels that are still technically within Disney World. Of course, you’ll have to decide what your budget will allow and how important staying on-site versus off is to you and your family. Overall, there are some good options all the way around.
Here are a few locations that you might enjoy:
- Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin
- Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- Floridays Resort Orlando
- Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort
- B Resort & Spa
Many of the offsite hotels will offer you more amenities at a comparable price of the value resorts at Disney World. So if you’re looking to have a more premium hotel experience at a lower cost, staying off-site could be an option. While you won’t have the complimentary Disney transportation, many of the offsite hotels offer their own shuttle service.
I’m Starving! Disney World Food Budget
One of the perks to visiting Disney is knowing they’ve taken care of everything you can imagine by means of a plan or pass. When it comes to food, Disney World offers a Disney Dining Pass. These plans give you the ability to enjoy pre-paid meals, mobile ordering, and specialty beverages.
One of the benefits of buying a Disney Dining Plan is that you already will have paid for your meals. This might help you enjoy your trip more since you won’t be stressing about each food bill. But, Disney Dining plans are only available as part of a Disney Hotel package. So if you’re staying offsite it’s not an option.
Another tip is to buy Disney gift cards before your trip and use those for your food. If you have a Target RedCard you can even get 5% off your Disney gift cards!
If you’re not buying a Dining Pass, you can expect to spend about $10-$15 per person on breakfast, $15-$20 for lunch, and $20-$30 for dinner. Kids’ meals will save you some money. And of course, some of the premium table service restaurants (check out the best restaurants at Magic Kingdom) and character meals will cost more. And don’t forget to add beverages and snacks to your budget.
To Eat or Not To Eat, What a Question! Disney Dining Plans
While most will think about visiting Disney World for the rides or the characters, the food at Disney World is quite popular as well. You’re going to want to enjoy all the dining options during your trip.
Dining plans are a popular option, especially if you’re new to the visiting Disney scene. Families might also find the dining plans useful with young kids. As I mentioned above the Dining Plans are only available with Disney resort packages. However, the prices of a dining plan can help you with budgeting for your own food costs even if you’re not buying a dining plan.
To understand the different dining plans you’ll need to know the different dining options. There are quick service, table service, snack carts, and specialty/character dining. Here’s a short breakdown of the dining plans:
Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan
Dine at one of the 100+ Quick-Service locations where you can stop and enjoy 2 casual meals per day. No dining reservations are required so this is perfect for guests who are on the go or don’t want to commit to a dining time or location.
For each night of your stay, you’ll receive 2 Quick-Service Meals (can be used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner), 2 Snacks or Nonalcoholic Drinks (guest 21+ can substitute some alcoholic drinks), and a Resort-Refillable Drink Mug.
The cost for the Quick Service Dining Plan is $55 for ages 10+ and $26 for children 3-9 years old per night of your stay.
Disney Dining Plan
Enjoy a variety of dining options with the Disney Dining Plan which includes 1 Quick-Service Meal, 1 Table-Service Meal, and 2 Snacks or Drinks per night of your stay, plus a Resort-Refillable Drink Mug.
The cost of the Disney Dining Plan is $78.01 per night for adults (10+) and $30.51 for kids 3-9.
Keep in mind that reservations at Table-Service restaurants are subject to availability. And some Signature Dining experiences and some Character Dining locations require 2 Table-Service credits per meal.
Disney Dining Plan Plus
If you’re looking for flexibility, the Disney Dining Plan Plus allows you to splurge on Table-Service experiences or keep on-the-go with convenient Quick-Service meals.
This plan offers 2 Meals Per Night of Stay at any combination of Table-Service and Quick-Service Meals. Plus you’ll get 2 Snacks or Nonalcoholic Beverages Per Night of Stay, and 1 Resort Refillable Mug.
Disney Dining Plan Plus costs $94.60 per adult (10+) and $35 per child (3-9) for each night of your stay.
Disney Deluxe Dining Plan
Take advantage of dining for every meal and the ultimate flexibility with the Deluxe Dining plan. You’ll get 3 daily meal credits to enjoy any combination of Quick-Service, Table-Service, Signature Dining locations, and Dinner Shows. Plus you still get 2 Snacks/Nonalcoholic Drinks (per night of stay) and a Resort-Refillable Drink Mug.
Signature Dining experiences and some Character Dining locations require 2 meal credits. So you could eat lunch and a character meal for each night of your stay.
You’ll pay $119 per adult (10+) and $47.50 per child for each night of your stay for the Deluxe Dining Plan.
Don’t Forget the Best Souvenirs from Disney, Cha-Ching!
What better way to remember a trip than with some great souvenirs, right? When visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, you’ll have a lot of opportunities to spend your money on Disney merch. One rule of thumb is to grab it when you see it because it may not be there next time! Here are a few of the best souvenirs to consider snagging on your Disney World vacation:
- Disney Sweatshirts & Shirts
- “You Are Here” Starbucks mugs
- Disney Jewelry (necklaces)
- Home Goods (towels, cooking supplies)
- Mickey Ears
- Lego Sets
- Disney Parks Merchandise
- Disney Pin Trading
Pressed pennies are also a popular souvenir. And you can always take your own photos for memories. Another option is to pay for the Disney PhotoPass service which will give you family photos at popular spots and ride photos.
I’d recommend budgeting $100 per person for souvenirs if you like to shop and buy. Sweatshirts will cost around $70 and shirts are about $30. If you plan to do a lot of shopping then you’ll want to budget more. Disney PhotoPass (Memory Maker) costs $69 for one day or $169 for your trip if you purchase at least 3 days in advance.
And if you like to shop, Disney Springs is filled with fabulous shops and restaurants. If you’re planning to spend time at Disney Springs, you’ll definitely want to up you food and shopping budget!
“Are We There Yet?” Disney World Park Tickets
Disney World Tickets, Online or At The Gate
Some people might tell you that there isn’t a difference between buying the Disney World tickets online or at the gate, but this isn’t true. It’s better to buy your Disney World tickets online in advance to save money plus you’ll save time and avoid the ticket booth lines.
When you buy online, you can add the ticket numbers to your My Disney Experience account. Having your tickets added to your Disney account will allow you to book Fastpasses in advance. And your tickets will become digital tickets that you scan at the turnstiles for entry into the parks.
The current 2021 ticket prices for Walt Disney World vary based on the date your visiting. A base ticket will start at $109 for an adult 1-park one-day ticket and can be up to $197 for a one-day park hopper ticket. An adult 4-day park hopper ticket will cost you $552. The price per day will actually go down a bit for the additional number of days.
The park hopper option will add to your expenses so be sure you consider whether you’ll need to switch parks on a day. You can also buy water park ticket add-ons (Water Parks and Sports for non-park hopping and Park Hopper Plus if you plan to park hop), giving you access to the water parks and sports complexes.
Don’t Forget The WDW Magic Bands
If you’d like to make the experience even more enjoyable and less stressful, you might want to buy WDW Magic Bands for each person in the family. These bands come in various colors, including fun Disney prints that both children and adults love. You can buy them at shopDisney and they cost around $20-$40.
While they’re not required, Magic Bands can make it easy to use fastpasses and pay for purchases. A Magic Band used to come complimentary with your hotel reservation as it can be used as your room key, but now you need to purchase a Magic Band.
When wearing the band on your wrist, you’ll have easy access to using your park ticket, paying for purchases, saving photos to your PhotoPass account, and entering your Disney resort room. However, the My Disney Experience app has all of these capabilities, so if you have a great smartphone and extra battery packs, you can skip getting Magic Bands.
At Your Service: Enchanting Extras Budget?
You can decide if you’d like to take advantage of some of the Enchanting Extras offered at Disney World. While it may depend on your budget, some of the most popular extras include private poolside cabanas, theme park photo sessions, private VIP tours, and access to one of several golf courses.
If you’re traveling during the holidays or during one of the special events at Disney World, you’ll have to budget for those. During the fall, you might want to buy tickets to the Disney World Halloween Boo Bash Event. And during various times of the year, you’ll find festivals at Epcot like Food and Wine, Flower and Garden, and Festival of the Arts which offer unique food kiosks so your food budget will need to be larger for those events.
And if you have little kids that like to dress up, you might want to budget and splurge for a makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbi Boutique. Both of my girls had this experience and they loved it!
You’ll also have the opportunity to book specialty dining experiences. You can book a character meal where you’ll be visited by popular Disney characters while you eat. And you can also book dessert dining packages that come with snacks and a special viewing area for a show.
How Much Does It Cost For A Family Of 4 To Go To Disney World?
After this breakdown of expenses, it can help you figure out what a Disney World vacation will cost for a family of four. I’ll share some estimates below, but be sure to print off and use my Disney World budget worksheet to help you plan and save for vacation. The total cost estimates below are assuming a family of four with 2 adults and 2 kids (3-9 yrs).
“First Class” Average Cost For a Week of Disney Magic
- (4) 5-day Park Hopper Plus Tickets (2 x $607, 2 x $588) = $2,390
- (7) Nights Deluxe Hotel ($600/night + tax) = $4,725
- (7) Deluxe Dining Plan (2 x $119, 2 x $48) = $2,338
- (4) Souvenirs = $400
- PhotoPass Memory Maker = $169
Using these estimates, a deluxe Disney vacation for a family of four for a week will cost about $10,022. Remember, this is just an estimate, your prices may vary based on the season you’re visiting, the type of tickets you buy, and your dining expenses.
“Economy Class” Average Cost For A Family Of Four To WDW
- (4) 4-day Park Hopper Tickets (2 x $552, 2 x $535) = $2,174
- (5) Nights Moderate Hotel ($300/night + tax) = $1,688
- (5) Disney Dining Plan (2 x $78, 2 x $31) = $1,090
- (4) Souvenirs (2 x $100, 2 x $50) = $300
- PhotoPass Memory Maker = $169
A moderate family vacation to Disney World for five nights will cost a family of 4 about $5,421. Keep in mind this estimate for the dining plan is only calculating for two meals and two snacks a day, so you might need to budget more for a third meal.
“Budget Class” For the Happiest Place On Earth
- (4) 3-day 1-Park per Day Tickets (2 x $373, 2 x $359) = $1,464
- (4) Nights Value Resort ($150/night + tax) = $675
- (4) Quick Service Dining Plan (2 x $55, 2 x $26) = $648
- (2) Small Souvenirs (2 x $50) = $100
A family of four can do Disney World on a budget if they’re willing to shorten their trip to less than a week. Four nights with three days in the parks will keep the costs low, averaging about $2,887 for a family of four to visit Disney World on a budget.
Disney World Calculator Cost
If you’re ready to figure out how much it will cost your family to go to Disney World, print off my budget worksheet and use my numbers above to help you calculate.
When you’re planning a trip to Disney, there is quite a bit to consider when determining how much it costs to go to Disney World. Hopefully, this post has helped you consider things you may not have otherwise thought of and be ahead of the Disney vacation planning game!
And if you’re planning to surprise your kids with the trip, check out my Disney Scavenger Hunt!