How Much Does it Cost to go to Disney World?

My brother and I recently went to Orlando, and we were asked the same two questions before and after our trip. First people wanted to know why Orlando? Second, how much does it cost to go to Disney World?

The answer to the first question is easy, why not? Orlando is an awesome destination. I find most people who are anti-Orlando or Disney have never actually been. Some just assume that Orlando is just for kids, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Orlando and the theme parks have done a tremendous job over the years appealing to the older crowd.

Answering your second question about how much does it cost to go to Disney World is a little trickier. There are so many variables that can determine your costs, so I’ll try to go over all of them below. I believe the following breakdown is a good estimate of what a family of four should expect to spend during a week in Orlando in U.S. Dollars

One week Disney World budget for a family of four

 Estimated costNotes
TOTAL$5,726 USD
Airfare$1,000$250 X 4 (Canadians should budget more)
Car rental & gas$160Car rental $100, Gas $60
Accommodations$1,050$150 X 7 nights
Disney World Tickets$1,576$394 X 4 (Park hopper)
Other attraction tickets$700This varies depending on the attraction
Food$840$120 X 7 (just an estimate)
Additional costs$400This depends on the family

Typically I would have listed the prices in Canadian dollars, but I think it’s easier to explain costs in USD since I can reference what I actually paid or saw. That being said, the above estimates works out to $7,444 Canadian dollars (based on a 1.3 exchange). If you live outside of Canada or the U.S., use XE.com for the amount in your home currency.

Understand that the above table is an estimate of costs for an average family during a regular time of visit. There are plenty of different ways to save money in Orlando which I’ll highlight below, so let’s look at how much does it cost to go to Disney World by category.

How Much Does it Cost to go to Disney World

Flights

Flights can be a bit tricky since prices fluctuate based on where you live and what season you’re travelling. I used $250 per person as it seemed to be the average price for flights to Orlando within the U.S. while Canadians should expect to pay closer to about US$300 – $325. Those prices can increase quite a bit for no real reason, but you can obviously save by going during low season.

Some of the tips I share in my guide on how to find cheap flights applies to flights to Orlando. If you’re completely flexible with your dates, and you’re willing to fly from a different airport; you can save a decent amount.

Even though $250 is pretty reasonable per person, that’s still $1,000 for a family of four ($1,300 for Canadians). Many people would prefer to drive to Orlando to save money. For example, the drive to Orlando from Toronto is 20 hours. It’ll require about $250 gas and probably another $200 in hotels, but a Canadian family will still save close US$850 (CAD$1,100).

Car Rental

With car rentals, I’m assuming you’re booking it with your flight at the same time. Booking them together will save you an incredible amount of money. I booked mine through Expedia and ended up paying just $20 for a 3-day car rental! Had I booked my car rental separately, I would have been looking at about $120 so I ended up saving $100. You probably won’t spend more than $60 on gas unless you plan on driving off-site a lot. I rented a Prius and only spent $3.63 on gas while driving about 150 KM’s.

I should also note that it’s possible to see Disney World without a rental car. Many hotels offer free airport pickup and have a free shuttle to the various Disney properties. Do take a look at what your hotel offers before booking your rental car. However, the times may be limited, so having a car is much more convenient. 

If you do end up getting a rental car, find out what insurance you have before you depart. In most situations, your regular auto insurance policy or credit card insurance will cover your rental car, so there’s no need to purchase additional insurance. Keep in mind that since everything on the ground will be paid in US dollars, you should use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees if you’re not American.

Accommodations

The cost of hotels greatly varies on where you stay and the time you visit. I personally break down costs based on location. Cheap Disney vacations are possible, it just depends on what you’re willing to do to save money.

On-site – If you’re staying at an on-site property, you can expect to pay up to $300 a night. This is the most expensive option, but it’ll put you closest to the action. Some on-site properties also allow you entry into the parks early which appeals to many people. Keep in mind that many people choose to stay at a Disney owned property for the full Disney experience. That may be worth paying the premium for some people.

Off-site but close enough – Just a five-minute drive from Disney, you can find hotels for just $150 a night. There are plenty of hotels and villas near the intersection of S. Apopka Vineland Rd. and Winter Garden Vineland Rd. including the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort where I stayed.

Recommendations: SpringHill Suites by MarriottCourtyard by MarriottClarion Inn Lake Buena VistaHawthorn Suites by Wyndham

Off-site and with a shuttle – Many hotels nearby Disney World offer a shuttle service which is incredibly convenient if you don’t want to bother with a rental car. These hotels have multiple departure times and often go to more places than just Disney, so you have quite a few options. Check out my list of the best hotels near Disney World with a shuttle.

Recommendations: Hilton Orlando Lake Buena VistaWalt Disney World SwanFloridays Resort Orlando

Vacation homes – You should also consider vacation homes in nearby Celebration and Kissimmee. Vacation homes are great since they come with fully equipped kitchens and come in different sizes/price ranges which will appeal to families. Celebration is less than a 10-minute drive from Disney so be afraid to expand your hotel search.

Recommendations: Meliá Orlando, Holiday Inn SWGaylord Palms Resort

International Drive – If you’re looking for something that will cost you less than $100 a night, you should easily be able to find something on International Drive. There are plenty of motels and budget friendly hotels (as well as fancier hotels) in this area to help you keep your costs down. International Drive is just 15-minutes by car to Disney and has many shopping, dining, and attractions nearby to keep you entertained.

Recommendations: Holiday Inn ExpressClarion Inn & Suites, Rosen Inn

Luxury hotels – Don’t worry, if you like to stay in style, you’ll have more than enough choice when it comes to luxury hotels. Just keep in mind that your daily price will easily cost you $200 – $400 more a day.

Recommendations: Four Seasons Resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Walt Disney World Dolphin

My preferred booking site is booking.com since it lists hotels, apartments, B&B’s, vacation homes and inns. In addition, they price match and you’re not required to pay until after your stay for almost all accommodations. After five bookings, you become a member of their Genius program which gets you an extra 10% off on selected properties. If you haven’t tried booking.com, use my affiliate link now to get $25 CAD off your first stay (this applies after you complete your stay).

How Much Does it Cost to go to Disney World Shearton

Disney Ticket Deals

Disney recently changed their fee structure. Depending on the season and which parks you go to, the prices will vary, but it breaks down into the following categories:

Value

  • 1-Day Regular Ticket for Magic Kingdom – $105
  • 1-Day Regular Ticket for Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom – $97
  • 1-Day Regular Ticket with Park Hopper Option – $155

Regular

  • 1-Day Regular Ticket for Magic Kingdom – $110
  • 1-Day Regular Ticket for Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom – $102
  • 1-Day Regular Ticket with Park Hopper Option – $160

Peak

  • 1-Day Regular Ticket for Magic Kingdom – $124
  • 1-Day Regular Ticket for Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom – $114
  • 1-Day Regular Ticket with Park Hopper Option – $164

Multi-day tickets – This will always be the best value since Disney heavily discounts tickets when buying multiple days. A 4-Day ticket with admission to one park is $325 ($81.25 per day), while a 4-Day park hopper ticket is $394 ($98.50 per day).

Prices drop even more with each additional day you add, but it caps at 10 days ($400 with admission to one park, $469 for the park hopper option). If you plan on visiting all 4 parks separately, buying a 4-Day ticket makes the most sense. My brother and I went with two 2-Day regular tickets with park hopper option since we went during the low season and it was pretty easy to do two parks in a single day. Your Disney World trip cost drops depending on how many days you spend a the park.

I should also note that Canadians sometimes get a cheaper rate for multi-day tickets. A 4-Day ticket with admission to one park is $243.75 ($60.94 per day), while a 4-Day park hopper ticket is $295.50 ($73.88 per day).

Now if you’re limited for time, then you don’t have much of a choice in terms of pricing. If you can, travel during “value” or “regular” dates when prices are 18% and 12% cheaper compared to the “peak” times. Travelling during this time will also benefit you since flights and hotels will be cheaper too.

Not everyone will go to Disney for four days, so it depends on preference when people ask how much does it cost to go to Disney.

If you’re Canadian,  applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada may help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard gives you $250 WestJet dollars as a signup bonus and it comes with an annual companion voucher starting at $99. You could also apply for the CIBC Aventura Infinite Visa which gives you $200 in points as a welcome bonus. If you call into CIBC’s full-service travel agent, you can use those points towards tickets to Disney World.

Additional Attractions

Unless you plan on spending a week in Disney, you’re going to have to entertain yourself (and your family) in other ways. Unfortunately, the other theme parks aren’t much cheaper. Universal Studios costs $105 for a single park admission ($155 for park-to-park), while SeaWorld is $75 a day.

Orlando does have attractions under $20 including the Orlando Museum of Art, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium. Alternatively, you could spend a day shopping at one of the outlets, but that could cost even more than attraction tickets.

If you’re thinking about heading to the Kennedy Space Center; it’s $50 for adults $40 for children.

Food

Disney has some incredible restaurants, but what I noticed is that they also have some reasonably priced places to grab food for families. There’s also “snacks” that you can get that is pretty much a meal (possibly for two) like the roast turkey drumsticks.

Eating out three meals a day can get expensive so I advise picking a hotel with free breakfast or to grab food at a nearby grocery store (off-site). For cheap eats, you can grab sandwiches for under $10, while sit-down restaurants on-site will cost you what you would expect in a theme park.

More importantly, you’re allowed to bring food and drink into Walt Disney World. I saw families who had multiple 2L bottles of water as well as sandwiches packed with them. It’s possible to not spend any money at all on food while in Disney. I did see fountains in Disney, so you want to bring in at least one bottle that you can refill, otherwise, you’re looking at $3.25 USD for a bottle of water or pop.

If you decide to purchase food, I would budget $120 a day (a little less if your kids are young) for a family of four. There are some Disney meal plans available which give you some savings, but that’s only if you’re doing the full Disney experience.

I personally like to over budget for food since I love eating. This Disney guide assumes only 4 days in the parks so you could easily spend a lot less on food the remaining three days. That being said, don’t be afraid to treat yourself if you’ve budgeted the money.

Additional costs

Finally, the last thing you need to budget for is your additional costs. If you’re travelling with kids, they’re naturally going to want souvenirs. Trust me, Disney is genius about their marketing and there will be a ton of things your kids will want to buy. There are also a lot of cool things for adults such as cookie cutters, egg molds, and even decorations for the home.

I also briefly talked about outlet shopping above. Orlando has two outlets: Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets which is 15 minutes from Disney and the Orlando International Premium Outlets that’s across the street from Universal Studios. Both outlets have great deals and are worth checking out.

Final word

So how much does it cost to go to Disney World? I recommend a family of four budget $5,726 dollars for a week in Disney, but obviously, there are plenty of ways to reduce your costs without sacrificing the experience. For those who went to Disney as a child, thank your parents as it probably cost them a small fortune. Thanks mom and dad!



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By |2019-01-13T07:00:59+00:00January 11th, 2019|Budget Travel, Destinations, Travel|

14 Comments

  1. Chonce July 16, 2017 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Great post and I love the cost breakdown! We’re in the process of trying to find something affordable to do on our non-Disney park days while in Florida. I found an attraction that was just like Sea World but a bit cheaper (about $49 tickets) but was wondering if you ever went to Disney Springs which is nearby all the parks and what you thought of it. Is it just shopping and food? Or actual things to do?

  2. Anne August 2, 2017 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you. This really helped 🙂

  3. truth447 March 24, 2018 at 4:44 am - Reply

    You mentioned you went during non peak times, what month did you visit or would you say is the best time to visit

  4. Pam April 15, 2018 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Best site I’ve found so far for information. thanks

  5. Sue Cole April 15, 2018 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Thank you very informative.Answered my question.

  6. Terry November 15, 2018 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    Great information planning a trip for family group of 25

  7. Clint December 5, 2018 at 11:35 am - Reply

    Great info Barry. We visited Disney in early January/17 (family of 5). I wasn’t afraid of doing my research and shopping around. It was a 12 day trip with 7 days at Disney. Our whole trip cost $6200 (CDN). We had airmiles to use for three Disney tickets. Rented a condo with a 15 minute drive. Bought groceries for breakfast and packed lunches for everyday in Disney. Purchased dinners on site in Disney. We even drove to Cocoa Beach for a day to enjoy the ocean.

    It was an amazing trip. The planning sure makes it worth while. It can save you a lot of money and headaches.

    Keep the great information coming.

    • Barry Choi December 5, 2018 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Hey Clint,

      Thanks for sharing. I think you nailed it. Planning is definitely worthwhile and can save you some money.

    • Loku January 11, 2019 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Clint. Is this amount with airfare? and what type of Disney ticket did you purchase?

      • Clint January 11, 2019 at 7:39 pm - Reply

        Hi Loku.

        Yes that includes airfare. We are in Winnipeg and I found cheap fights through Allegiant in Grand Forks. Now Flair Air has lots of cheap flights to Orlando from Winnipeg.

        We purchased 1 park a day tickets. It is so huge there that you need at least a full day per park to see everything you want.

        • Loku January 11, 2019 at 9:02 pm - Reply

          Great infor. Thanks very much!!!

  8. Park December 11, 2018 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Great article! I agree with those families that pack their own food/sandwiches etc. Especially if you’re a family of 4 or more! Thank you for these awesome tips!

  9. Sean December 15, 2018 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    Awesome, AWESOME review! This information is just what I needed, and was looking for! Thank you very much for your meticulous breakdown, I Will be referring to your information regularly

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