Disney World Costs

When we plan a Disney World trip, we break the trip into 5 basic components.


This is the cost to get you and your family to Disney World.  Transportation costs vary based upon the way you choose to arrive in Orlando, the distance involved, and the level of luxury you desire.  Driving from three hours away in a small family car is going to cost a lot less than driving 24 hours in a large SUV.  Flying usually costs more than driving, especially if a rental car is involved once you land.  You can, of course, skip the rental car and just use Magical Express if you are staying on Disney property!

As always, there are lots of trade offs.  It might be cheaper to fly if your family is smaller, based on ticket prices and distance you would have to drive.  How much will the hotels, food, and gas cost if you drive?  How much vacation time do you have?  Can you afford to spend two of your vacation days driving instead of 4 hours on an airplane?

I’ll mention here that transportation costs is usually fixed no matter how long you stay.  You have to get there and then get home.  If you stay 5 days or three weeks, this cost won’t change much.


Tickets to the park can be a large portion of your travel budget.  There are valid discount locations to purchase tickets from, but we’ve never explored those options (we are looking at you Undercover Tourist).  We have always considered it easier and safer to purchase tickets directly from Disney.  We usually buy a travel vacation package from Disney in order to stay onsite, unless we have annual passes.  I believe purchasing a package also gives you the ability to make FastPass+ reservations 60 days out versus 30 days out for annual passes.  Since we haven’t purchased tickets from a 3rd party, we haven’t researched making FastPass+ reservations with those tickets.  They should be linkable through My Disney Experience if you are staying onsite and that should give you 60 days out to make your reservation.

The difference in cost between a 4 day ticket and a 10 day ticket doesn’t increase very much.  Since we usually stay in Orlando for more than 4 days, we consider this cost a fixed price. 



There are lots of different types of lodging you can get in Orlando, either on or off Disney property.  Disney tends to cost a bit more than staying offsite, but you can save money by not having to rent a car to get around.  You also receive a few perks for staying on Disney property, including free parking at the parks, access to Extra Magic Hours, room charging privileges, as well as access to FastPass+ and a longer lead time for making dining reservations (180 days).  You can also take advantage of the Dining Plan if it works for your family.

Lodging costs increase as the length of your stay increases.

Food (and Beverages)

Food is a subject near and dear to our hearts.  We LOVE eating at the various dining locations at Disney World.  From Be Our Guest to California Grill, there is always something delicious to eat.  We can’t possibly cover everything involved in Disney dining, but instead will point you to the Disney Food Blog.  They cover everything Disney.

Dining costs increase as the length of your stay increases.


Shopping can take a large chunk out of your budget if you aren’t careful.  This cost can be all over the map depending on how disciplined you are.  However, if you can assign each member of the family a strict shopping budget (and stick to it), this cost can be fixed as well.


So, looking at the above costs, three of them(tickets, transportation, shopping) are relatively fixed, whether you go for 5 days or for 14 days.  The cost of hotel and food go up depending upon length of stay, but can somewhat be controlled depending upon where you stay and where/what you eat.  Given that, we usually try to go for a long period of time (10 – 14 days) versus multiple smaller trips.

In future posts, we will talk about how we try to keep all of the above costs as low as possible so we can enjoy these long trips.

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