Disney World is a dream destination for many families, but most people have no idea about how much does it cost to go to Disney World. As you’ve likely guessed, it’s not cheap which is why you want to prepare yourself.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to suggest a 4-day 4-night itinerary as it’ll give you access to four of Disney’s major theme parks. I’m also going to assume that you’re travelling as a family of four. Most people will spend additional time in Orlando, but this article is focused just on Disney World.
Note that due to COVID-19, Disney has implemented changes that will affect the experience. FAST PASS is not an option, there are no character meets, and many hotels are temporarily closed.
My how much does it cost to go to Disney World guide will include many tips on how you can save so there’s no need to freak out if you think some of estimates seem high.
- Car rental
- Disney World tickets
- Food and drink
- Random spending
- Cost to go to Disney World
- Is it possible to see Disney World on a budget?
- Are park hopper tickets worth it?
- What is the best Disney World park?
- Should I stay at a Disney hotel?
Disney World Cost for a family of four
|Car rental, gas & parking||$365|
|Disney World tickets||$1,648|
|Food and drink||$688|
The above estimate is based on US dollars. If you want to know what it costs in your local currency, use XE.com for the conversion.
Again, the above is just an estimate of costs for a family visit. There are plenty of different ways to save money in Orlando which I’ll highlight below.
I should also mention that the time of year you visit can make a difference in costs. Hotels are a bit cheaper during the low season and that’s also when Disney ticket prices are the cheapest. The following times are when you can expect to see less foot traffic.
- Late April / early May
- After the U.S. Spring Break
- Late August / early September
- Before Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party begins and after it ends
- Early November before Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
When figuring out how much does it cost to go to Disney World, flights can be a bit tricky since prices fluctuate based on where you live and what season you’re travelling.
I typically recommend estimating $300 a person for flights if you’re travelling within the U.S. which works out to $1,200 for a family of 4 That said, it wouldn’t be hard to find a flight in the $200 range if you’re flying from the east coast.
It is possible to save money on airfare. Within the U.S., there are multiple discount airlines such as JetBlue that typically have great prices. Canadians could take advantage of the WestJet companion voucher that comes with the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard or the Buddy Pass that Aeroplan has when flying on Air Canada.
If you’re travelling with kids, many families will opt to drive to Orlando as the savings on airfare and car rental can be a fair amount. Driving 15 hours+ each way may sound crazy, but if it can save $1,000+, it might be worth it. That said, think about your time since it’s valuable. Although you’ll save a lot of money, you’d probably spend 3-4 days travelling to/from Orlando.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a signup bonus of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $600 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees and it comes with airport lounge access.
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. It wouldn’t be that hard to find a hotel in the $110 a night range and they may even include free breakfast.
Disney World hotels – If you’re staying at one of the Disney World hotels on-site, you can expect to pay up to $300 a night. This is one of the most expensive options, but it’ll put you closest to the action. Besides the easy access to parks, many people choose Disney World hotels for the themes. Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the coolest hotels I’ve ever been in. The new Star Wars hotel is something I’m excited for.
Hotels near Disney World – The are many hotels near Disney World just a 5-10 minute drive away in the $100-$150 a night range. One popular spot is near the intersection of S. Apopka Vineland Rd. and Winter Garden Vineland Rd. as there are many restaurants and shops nearby.
Hotels near Disney World with a shuttle – Hotels near Disney World with a shuttle are 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 including Universal Studios. Check out my list of the best hotels near Disney World with a shuttle for some of my top picks.
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.
International Drive hotels – 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 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.
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.
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $200 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus (must apply by May 15, 2021).
Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®* since it typically has a sign up bonus worth more than $200 and the annual fee is normally waived for the first year. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy when using a referral link. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $700.
Getting a car rental in Orlando is reasonable If you get a compact car, it’ll cost you about $35 a day. If you need a mid-size car, SUV or mini-van, you’re looking at about $45-$55 a day.
Luggage space may be an issue so don’t go for a compact car just because it’s the cheapest option. Renting a car seat is about $10 per day, per seat. If you need two, that’s an additional $80 you need to factor in.
I strongly recommend booking with a car rental agency that has a location at the Orlando International Airport (MCO). Every major car rental agency has a location there, but the cheapest ones are usually off-site.
You can save a little money by picking a vehicle that’s good on gas. For example, I once rented a Toyota Prius and only spent $4 on gas. Another time I rented a Nissan Rogue and ended up spending closer to $45. Both trips were 3 days in length.
When booking your flights, check the prices of adding a car rental when you book your airfare. One time I booked my flights on Expedia and it gave me the option to rent a car for only $20 a day. That was half the price compared to had I booked the car rental separately.
You can reduce Disney trip cost by not getting a rental car at all, but then you need to stat at a hotel that offers a free shuttle and their hours of operation may not be ideal.
Disney World parking cost
All Disney World theme parks charge a standard parking fee of $25 per day. Preferred parking is available for $45-$50 a day which gives you access to the closest parking lot.
What’s nice about your Disney World parking cost is that it includes and out privileges at all the theme parks. That means if you’re visiting multiple parks in a day, you’re only paying to park once. There is no fee to park at Disney Springs.
Overall, you should estimated $365 for the cost of your car rental, gas and parking.
Disney World tickets
The cost of Disney World tickets will depend on the time of year you’re visiting and which theme park you’re headed to. The following is a quick breakdown of the various options so you get an idea of how much you’ll need to spend.
1 Park Per Day
- From $109
Park Hopper Option
- $65 per ticket for 1-day tickets
- $75 per ticket for 2 to 3-day tickets
- $85 per ticket for 4 to 10-day tickets
Park Hopper Plus Option
- $85 per ticket for 1-day tickets
- $95 per ticket for 2 to 3-day tickets
- $105 per ticket for 4 to 10-day tickets
Multi-day tickets (one park per day)
- 4-day ticket – $412 ($103 per day)
- 10-day ticket – $520 ($52 per day)
Buying multi-day tickets will always be the best value when buying Disney World tickets. As you can clearly see, the price drops quite a bit the longer you stay. This shouldn’t be a surprise as Disney wants you in their parks as long as possible and they know you’ll spend money when you’re there.
Many families spend their holiday at Disney since there are so many rides and shows, but for this article, I’m going to suggest getting a 4-day ticket since that will allow you to spend an entire day at each park. The cost of those tickets for a family of four adds up to $1,616.
Discount Disney tickets
There are discount Disney tickets available but they only come in the form of special offers. Generally speaking, the discounts are usually for multi-day tickets and meal plans. You can reduce your cost to go to Disney World by taking advantage of the promotions.
Since these deals happen once or twice a year and have a long window for you to use your tickets, it’s worth monitoring the Disney World website every so often to see what’s available.
I should mention that you should never buy discount Disney tickets from eBay, Craigslist or any other online store. Even if someone is offering to sell you two days from their 7-day ticket, don’t do it as it’s almost definitely a scam. Disney World tickets are tied to the individual via a fingerprint so it’s impossible to transfer the tickets.
Besides the special offers page I mentioned, finding deep discount Disney tickets just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t matter how legit an online retailer looks or if someone is offering you tickets in person, if the price seems to good to be true, you’re likely being scammed.
Food and drink
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.
I recommend budgeting the following amount for every person.
- Breakfast – $8 (at your hotel or on the way to the parks)
- Lunch – $20
- Dinner – $15
That works out to $43 a person a day. You’ll also likely spend about $25 a day on snacks for the family. All in, you should budget $688 for four days at Disney World for your family. This obviously seems like an insane amount when you’re trying to figure out how much does it cost to go to Disney World, but it’s always better to overestimate when planning a trip.
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. It’s possible to not spend any money at all on food while at Disney but I do recommend at least snacks since theme park can be fun. Be sure to bring in at least one bottle that you can refill at fountains. Otherwise, you’re looking at $3.25 USD for a bottle of water or pop.
There are some Disney meal plans available that can give you some savings, but that option is usually only a good value if you’re getting it as part of a special offer.
Finally, the last thing you need to budget for is your random spending which really comes down to merchandise. This is obviously optional, but 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. If your kids get into Disney pin trading, you could end up spending a small fortune.
There are also a lot of cool things for adults such as cookie cutters, egg moulds, and even decorations for the home. I personally love pulling out my Disney Christmas ornaments every year.
As you can imagine, you can buy merchandise everywhere when you’re inside a Disney theme park. However, the largest Disney Store is located at Disney Springs which is worth checking out since it’s a massive entertainment and dining complex that’s good for all ages. Overall, I would estimate $300 for the entire family when it comes to random spending.
Cost to go to Disney World
So how much does it cost to go to Disney World? I recommend a family of four budget $4,609 USD for a 4-day trip, but obviously, there are plenty of ways to reduce your costs without sacrificing the experience. You also obviously won’t go all the way to Orlando just for four days, so your trip costs will be spread out.
Is it possible to see Disney World on a budget?
If you really wanted to, you could also do Disney World on a budget. That said, it’s not like you’d be savings tons of money. Sure you can cut down on food and hotel costs, but if you’re going all the way to Disney World, you might as well spend. I personally recommend saving money while you’re at home so you can spend it while you’re in Disney. Think about it. Every time you decide not to eat out at home or to not buy something, you can use that money during your Disney World vacation.
Are park hopper tickets worth it?
This is a bit subjective. Park hopper tickets are beneficial if you have a limited amount of time in Disney World but want to see as much as possible. For example, if you’ve only got two days, getting a two day, hopper ticket will allow you to see all the parks. However, it’s impossible to go on every ride during that time. You could spend an entire day at one park and still not get on every ride (mainly due to the long lines). If it’s your first time to Disney World, spending four days (one in each park) is ideal.
What is the best Disney World park?
This is another subjective question. Magic Kingdom has Cinderella’s Castle and some of the most iconic rides and attractions. Hollywood Studios used to be a bit boring but with the addition of Star War’s Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land, it’s now one the better themed parks. I personally love Animal Kingdom for the safari ride and the Avatar Flight of Passage ride. Many Americans love Epcot as it’s sort of a tour of the world without ever having to leave America.
Should I stay at a Disney hotel?
If you’re looking for the full Disney experience, staying at one of the themed hotels can be worth it. Disney puts a lot of effort into the overall feel of the hotels so you can really get fully immersed. One good example is the Star Wars hotel which makes it appear that you’re on a starship. It’s also worth mentioning that some of the best Disney restaurants are located on the properties. That said, staying at a hotel outside of Disney isn’t a bad thing if you’re looking to enjoy more things outside of the parks.