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A family vacation to Disney World is on many people’s bucket list. I bet it’s on yours, too. But, you have always heard how expensive it is. So, how much does a Disney trip REALLY cost? Today, I’m going to help you answer that question for your family. Because, let’s be honest, it’s hard to save for something if you don’t know how much you need to save. I’ll walk you through every aspect of a Disney World trip and show you all of the expenses involved so you will know exactly how much it costs for your family. We’ll talk about the hidden and the not-so-hidden costs of the trip so you can budget appropriately.
And you can keep track of it all with our FREE printable Disney World Budget Planner. This budget planner lets you put all the numbers in one place in an organized fashion so you can make sense of it all. And to compare the price of various options, print off a few copies to see the differences side by side. (See the box at the bottom of the page for details on how to get it.) So, let’s get started!
The first big costs you need to factor into the price of your trip are those associated with transportation. And the first question you have to ask yourself is: Am I going to fly or drive to Disney World? If you are flying, your transportation costs will, of course, include the price of your flights. But, you also need to add into your total Disney trip cost baggage fees, parking fees at your home airport, and the price of a rental car if you will be getting one.
If, on the other hand, you will be driving, you need to include the price of gas, any hotels you stay in on the way to and from Florida, tolls, and any meals or snacks you anticipate eating during the drive. Whether you drive your own car or rent one once you arrive in Florida, you will have to pay parking fees at Disney World. So, this also needs to be added in to your total cost. Additionally, many people use Lyft or Uber while visiting Disney World. If you are one of them, figure these costs into your transportation total. Of course, if you are staying on property, you can use Disney transportation to get to and from the parks for free.
Next, look at the costs associated with lodging during your trip. Will you be staying on property or off? (Read our post on whether staying on property is worth the extra money to decide.) Are you going to stay in a hotel or rent a vacation home? After you choose where to stay, multiply the nightly rate by the number of nights you are staying. Then, add in any taxes and fees (such as resort and parking fees) associated with your stay to find your total lodging cost. Don’t forget to include any shuttle fees if you are staying off property and will be using your hotel’s shuttle to get to the parks.
The next step is to figure out the cost of your park tickets. There are a few things to remember when deciding on your tickets. First, keep in mind that tickets at Disney World vary in price depending on when you go. To find the exact price for the dates of your trip, please visit Disney’s website. Also, remember that the daily price of tickets goes down as you add more days. So, a 5 day ticket is cheaper than five 1-day tickets would be. And, a six day ticket is only a few dollars more than a five day ticket.
You also need to decide whether you want base tickets, which allow you entry into one park per day, or park hoppers. The park hopper tickets give you entry into multiple parks per day, while the park hopper plus tickets also entitle you to visit the water parks, miniature gold, and the Wide World of Sports.
Lastly, remember that everyone 10 years of age and older must pay adult prices at Disney. Children between the ages of 3 and 9 pay child prices. Children under the age of 3 get in free.
Once you have determined your transportation, lodging, and ticket costs, the next piece of your Disney trip cost to determine is your dining. This category starts with deciding whether to get the dining plan. Now, you can only get the dining plan if you are staying on property. (Read this to determine if the dining plan is right for your family.) So, if you are staying off property, this is a nonissue. If you will not have the dining plan, then you need to figure out the average cost of meals for your family. To help you with this, look at the menus of all Disney World restaurants at allears.net. And don’t forget to include the cost of tips, tax, and any snacks you will be eating too!
The last area you need to think about is all of the miscellaneous costs that are usually overlooked. These include travel insurance, souvenirs, the Memory Maker, any special events you want to do, and anything you will buy for your trip such as matching shirts or mouse ears. Try to be as specific as possible here so you can accurately account for your true Disney trip cost.
Once you have thought through each category and calculated all of the expenses within each one, then simply add them all up to get a final total of what your trip will cost. As mentioned above, to easily determine what options are best for you, use our FREE Disney Budget Planner to compare different choices side-by-side. After you have decided on the perfect trip components for your budget, then you are ready to book that trip!
Taking the family to Disney World can be the trip of a lifetime, but it is expensive. The last thing you want to happen is to save for years for this trip and then find out that you don’t have enough money for it. This process (along with our Disney Budget Planner) will help you know exactly how much your Disney trip cost so you can plan and save exactly what you need to make it a reality. For tips to save money on your trip, read Disney on a dime, and how to save money on food, and souvenirs. Happy travels!
P.S. Don’t forget to get your Disney Budget Planner now! You will find it (and lots of other Disney trip planning tools) in our Travel Resource Library. Check out the box below to find out how to get access to the library.