Walt Disney World is a truly Magical place that everyone should experience at least once in their life. There are some people that are lucky enough to be able to go every year, or even every other year like my family, but that can add up to be quite pricey. There are, also, some families that are only able to visit once after saving up for years. So, how much does it really cost to go to Disney World? Well, there are a lot of factors that come into play and no total cost is the same for any two groups.
Let’s talk about what all of those factors, mentioned above, are and maybe help to give you an idea of what is right for you and your family.
First, how many people are traveling? It will obviously cost more for a party of five, or even more, to visit that for a party of two. While the cost per person will be less for the room portion of the package with more people, the overall cost of the room does increase with each person age 18 or older. Most rooms on property can accommodate 4-5 adults, though, so if you have a larger traveling party you may end up having to reserve more than one room.
How many days and nights are you going to spend at Disney World? The number of nights is important because the hotel portion of your package is charged by nights. Also, if you choose to purchase the dining plan it is also by night. How many days do you want to spend at the parks? There are four theme parks and you need at least one day for each park to be able to experience it all. Therefore, you need at least four days.
When you go also plays a big part in the overall cost. Although there aren’t really times of the year when the parks are less crowded anymore, there are times when the costs for a room skyrocket. It is exponentially cheaper to visit during the “off-season” which is September, January, February. The most expensive time to go is by far December, especially around Christmas. The day of the week also influences the cost. It will cost slightly less per night during the week and slightly more for weekend nights.
Where you stay is another HUGE factor. There at over 20 different resorts on Disney property – each has its only style, and there are different price levels. Value Resorts are budget friendly – averaging about $100 a night – and have colorful kid friendly themes. Also in this category is the Art of Animation Resort which boasts family suites that sleep up to 6, these are about $200 a night. Moderate Resorts offer a quiet place to relax when compared to the value resorts. The rooms at these resorts are also slightly bigger and can sleep up to 5 – they average about $200 a night. Deluxe Resorts offer a signature restaurant. Three of these resorts are on the monorail loop. These resorts are for those that wish to splurge on their vacation and can range from around $300 (Wilderness Lodge) to almost $600 a night (Grand Floridian) during the off season. There are also suites and villas which can sleep more people, but will also cost you more per night. Lastly, there is the Fort Wilderness Resort with cabins and campgrounds. The Cabins can sleep up to 6 adults and offer a full kitchen, they average about $300 per night. The campgrounds are available for those with RVs, but also for tent camping. The tent campgrounds average about $50 per night. There is also the option of staying offsite, but the cost will be about the same as staying onsite.
Park tickets are incredibly important and making the decision on which type of ticket is right for you requires some consideration. How many days of park tickets do you want? You do not have to go to the parks every day, you can spent the day at Downtown Disney or your resort – you can relax and take a rest day. You do not have to purchase a park ticket for everyday of your trip. However, the more days you have tickets for the cheaper it is per day. A 4 day park ticket is $326.23 per person. If you add one more day it will only cost you $10.50 more per person. So, don’t hesitate to add another day! Another question to ask yourself is whether you want the ability to go to more than one park on any given day. To be able to “Park Hop” you need a park hopper ticket. To add this option will cost between $53.25 for a 2-3 day park ticket and $68.16 for 4-10 days per ticket/person. If you want to be able to go to the water parks you will need the Water Parks Fun & More Ticket – with this ticket you can visit the two Disney Water Parks, but not park hop. This ticket will cost you $68.16 for 2-10 days per ticket/person. To be able to Park Hop and visit the water parks you will need a Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun & More Option which will cost $95.85 per ticket/person.
Dining is another big and important part of the trip. After all, need energy to be able to spend all day getting from ride to ride. Disney World also has TONS of amazing food that is hard to deny. There are a few different options here. You can have food delivered to your resort hotel room from a local grocery store and prepare your own food and bring it into the parks. You can pay for all of your meals and snacks, there are so many delicious treats, out of pocket. This option gives you the ability to budget exactly how much you will spend, but it also may limit your dining locations if you are looking to save money. How much you are going to spend depends on a lot of factors like dining location, number of people, and your appetite. It will most likely cost at least $60 per adult per day. Lastly, Disney offers three different dining plans. These plans allow you to pre-pay for all of your meals beforehand, so you don’t have to worry when you are at the parks. Each dining plans has its own rules. The Quick Service Dining Plan (2 quick service meals, 1 snack per person per day) will cost you $42.84 per adult and $17.47 per child (3-9) per day. The Regular or Plus Dining Plan (1 table service meal, 1 quick service meal, 1 snack per person per day) with cost you $61.84 per adult and $20.96 per child per day. The Deluxe Dining Plan, which is what my family gets (3 meals of any combination of table service and quick service and two snacks per person per day) will cost you $111.79 per adult and $32.56 per child per day. Each per person will also receive a refillable mug on all three dining plans.
Souvenirs, which can include anything from pins to Mickey hats, to toys and print outs of ride photos can really set you back if you’re not careful. I personally think that $100 per person is a good amount for the total time of your vacation. A great way to limit your souvenir spending is to use Disney gift cards for this purpose, especially for kids. You can get anything you want as long as you have the money for it, but once they gift card is empty, that’s all you have. Your family’s personal budget for souvenirs is up to you, though, you may want to spend more or less.
Tips are highly encouraged for Mousekeeping (the resort hotel housekeeping) and servers at table service restaurants. The recommended amount for Mousekeeping is $2-5 per day. This ensures that the person cleaning your room on each, it could change each day, is receiving the tip. As for tipping at table service restaurants I truly believe that the amount you tip should be based on the service that you receive. If you are on the dining plan, and have less than 6 people, gratuity is not included and a tip is expected. When the receipt is brought to your table a suggested tip will be printed on it. You do not have to tip the 18-20% if you did not receive service that deserves it. But if you got exceptional service you can always tip more than what is listed. The total amount spent in tips will vary from party to party.
Extras can also be added to your trip. These could be travel insurance which will run you $77.50 per adult. Memory Maker, which allows you to download all of your PhotoPass photos, is great it you love to take photos with characters. This extra costs $199 is purchased at the parks. However, if you add memory maker to your package at least 3 days before your trip you will save $30.
Transportation is the last factor and it is hard to get a firm number for this one because circumstances differ for each traveling party. Will you be driving – if so will you need to stop for a night or more along the way? If so an extra hotel costs needs to be factored in as well as the price of gas to get your car there. Will you be flying? The cost for a flight can change countless times. So the price you will pay for a flight will depend where you’re flying from, how many people are flying, and when you book the flight. A short domestic flight (3 hours or less) will cost at its lowest probably around $100 per person one way, but a cross country flight, round trip, could cost you $300. If you’re flying internationally the price could be exponentially higher.
Keep in mind that throughout the year there are discounts that include free dining or up 30% of rooms – these could impact your cost in a good way if your trip falls during the time that they are taking place.
I just gave you a ton of information, I know… but what does it all actually equate to? For a couple to spend 5 nights at the All-Star Movies Resort in January with a 5-day 1 park per day ticket, $200 total for souvenirs, no extras, $100 in tips, flights totaling $300, and paying for dining out of pocket it would cost $1816.12. If that same couple spent those 5 nights at the Wilderness Lodge in January with a 5-day Park Hopper, Deluxe Dining Plan, $200 total for souvenirs, $200 in tips, Memory Maker, and flights totaling $300 it would cost $4493.98. These same trips for a family of four (2 adults, 2 children one under 10 and one over 10) would cost $4018.58 for the cheaper option and $6504.21 for the second, more expensive option. (Obviously the amount spent on souvenirs would increase to $400 and flights would increase to $600 because there is now double the amount of people.) Prices could be higher or low based on personal preferences and available discounts.
No two vacation packages are exactly the same, and the only way to get a firm number on what your family’s dream vacation will cost is to contact your favorite travel professional to get a FREE quote and to start planning your trip to Walt Disney World. I’d be happy to help you start planning, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or for that FREE quote.
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