How to Budget for a Walt Disney World Vacation

The rides, Cinderella’s Castle, the parades, and seeing your favorite animated stars come to life make a trip to Walt Disney World one of the most beautiful things you can do. So, the next question is, How much to budget for your Walt Disney World vacation?

We’ve spent a wide range of money when visiting Disney World over the years. Just keep in mind, no matter how much money you have to spend, the best part is being in the World’s Most Magical Place with your family.

 We have travelled on a minimal budget and enjoyed the less expensive activities. We’ve also went to Disney World with more money to spend and took advantage of some of the more expensive and exclusive things they had to offer.

Walt Disney World Planning Spreadsheet
Walt Disney World Budget Planning Spreadsheet

No matter what the budget, you’ll run out of money before you run out of things to do at Walt Disney World. Your budget will assist you in cutting expenses where necessary and focus on the activities you really want to do while on vacation. So before booking anything, setting a budget is the first step in preparing for a Walt Disney World Resort vacation.

I’ll walk you through each step in our Disney World vacation planning guide so you can accurately estimate your trip’s costs. You’ll never capture everything that will be spent but this will give you a close estimate of what to expect.

To build an estimate of the trip, we’re assuming a 7 day / 6 night vacation with 2 adults and 2 children. So please adjust as needed and keep in mind if you are travelling with 5 or more, your options for rooms may change.

Disney World Resorts and Surrounding Accommodations

There are about five options to consider while selecting a hotel:

  • Disney Value Resorts
  • Disney Moderate Resorts
  • Disney Deluxe Resorts
  • Off-property Resorts
  • Disney Deluxe Villas

Although another choice, Airbnb’s prices vary too much even to include it in this section. However, you must budget $100 or so each night for a house or condo close to Disney World.

Here is the price breakdown for the accommodation for a 6-night stay. These are estimates at the time but will provide a general expectation of price per night.

Disney Value Resort

The most affordable lodging options at Disney World are Disney Value Resorts. Although they feature external corridors, they are themed in the most original, enjoyable, and family-friendly ways imaginable.

The Disney Value Resorts (along with their typical nightly accommodation rates) are:

  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort = $140/night
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort = $140/night
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort$191/night
  • Disney’s All-Start Movies Resort = $140/night
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort = $179/night

As a result of the large year-round fluctuations in room rates, the prices shown here are merely typical ones that I have come across. In February 2023, during the off-season, I’ve seen them go for as little as $111.

Disney Moderate Resort

This is the next step up in Disney World Resorts and will provide more amenities when compared to the Value Resorts. While having a higher level of luxury than Value Resorts, Disney Moderate Resorts still feature outside corridors. Furthermore, compared to Value Resorts, they are typically calmer and less chaotic.

The following are the Disney Moderate Resorts, along with their typical nightly room rates:

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter = $279/night
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort = $285/night
  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort = $450/night
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside = $279/night
  • Disney’s Colorado Springs Resort = $226/night

As a result of the large year-round fluctuations in room rates, the prices shown here are merely typical ones that I have come across.

Disney Deluxe Resort

The best and by far the most amenity filled properties at Walt Disney World are Disney Deluxe Resorts. Follow the link for in depth review of staying at a Deluxe Resort. However, higher lodging costs go hand in hand with that added luxury and amenities.

These are resorts that WDW visitor will visit even when they aren’t staying there. We always make it a point to visit the monorail resorts each trip just due to the restaurants available. And of course, what character dining option is more popular than Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary?

Following are the names of Disney Deluxe Resorts and their average nightly room rates:

  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn = $531/night
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort = $588/night
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort = $495/night
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge = $526/night
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort = $706/night
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort = $590/night
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge = $407/night
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort = $501/night

The prices shown here are only the average ones I have seen because of the significant year-round changes in accommodation rates. Deluxe Resorts have by far the most considerable price variety when compared to other categories of resorts, with costs fluctuating by hundreds of dollars according to the season.

These also book up very quickly, so we encourage to book 6+ months in advance to get the best rate.

View of Cinderella's Castle from the end of Main Street
Walking down Main Street to Cinderella’s Castle

Disney Deluxe Villa

Disney Deluxe Villas, which include a few extra room amenities including a full kitchen and more bedrooms, are available at Deluxe Resorts.

These are great options for large families that are travelling with more than 5 people.

Disney Deluxe Villas’ regular nightly accommodation rates are:

  • Disney’s Polynesian Village and Bungalow = $588/night
  • Animal Kingdom Villas Jumbo House = $683/night
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – $707/night
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Villas = $530/night
  • Boulder Ridge Villas = $473/night
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort = $605/night
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Resort = $581/night
  • Animal Kingdom Villas Kidani Village = $526/night
  • Copper Creek Villas and Cabins Lodge = $473/night
  • Disney’s’ Saratoga Springs = $485/night
  • Disney’s’ Beach Club Vilas = $732/night
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort = $407/night

As a result of the large year-round fluctuations in room rates, the prices shown here are merely typical ones that I have come across.

Disney World Off-Property Resorts

Due to the sheer number of resorts outside the boundaries of Disney World, it is nearly difficult to give an accurate price.

However, location and hotel type are the two main aspects you must consider while looking at off-property resorts. On Disney property, Bonnet Creek is home to a few premium resorts, with rates comparable to those of the Deluxe resorts.

Their costs are comparable to moderate resorts when looking at Disney Springs neighborhood homes. Truthfully, there is a fantastic hotel nearby for any hotel budget you have in mind.

For certain off-property resorts, including some in Disney Springs, below are a few sample room rates for February 2023. The dolphin, Swan, and Swan Reserve were also included.

  • Walt Disney World Swan Reserve = $414/night
  • Wyndham Lake Buena Vista = $144/night
  • Walt Disney World Swan = $431/night
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton = $127/night
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin = $281/night
  • JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek = $440/night

Other fantastic areas are as follows if you are planning on driving to Disney World, or renting a car on your trip:

International Drive

Unquestionably the busiest tourist destination, with many lodging options, resorts, dining options, and entertainment options, including Top Golf. It’s here where Universal Studios is most accessible.

Flamingo Crossing

Near the Disney College Program housing complex, a new shopping and food area has opened near 429.

Lake Buena Vista

The neighborhood behind Disney Springs is populated by many large restaurant brands and more modestly priced, smaller hotels. Additionally, the Premium Outlets on Vineland are only a 5-minute drive away once you pass I-4.


Numerous eateries and motels, like the Margaritaville Resort and its nearby budget water park, can be found along the U.S. 192 stretch that runs behind Animal Kingdom. A great Target and a few mini-golf courses are also nearby.


There are a few resorts and hotels strewn about as this is where both Sea World and Aquatica are situated. However, Disney Springs and the outlets are only 7 minutes away because of its proximity to I-4 and International Drive. I wouldn’t prioritize this neighborhood unless you must be close to Sea World.

How much to budget for Disney World Tickets

There’s no way around it, Disney World Theme Park tickets are pricey. To be quite honest, there many practical ways to save money here unless you go to a retailer who is allowed to sell Disney tickets, like Undercover Tourist. Even in those situations, don’t expect to save a significant amount of money.

The best way to save money on tickets is planning to go during a lower traffic period. Admission rates vary according to the season, holidays, and weekends, your best bet is to visit on a less expensive day.

Here is an illustration of how much a specific date’s tickets cost within a month. And as you can guess, the highest priced period is a holiday 3 day weekend where kids are out of school.

Ticket prices by day for February
Ticket Prices for February 2023

Also keep in mind, the ticket price is the same for all four Disney World theme parks.

On Disney’s official website, some nice discounts are available for Florida residents or veterans, but don’t expect a huge percentage off. For a breakdown of more ways to save on Disney World Tickets, we have an in depth review at this link.

Park Ticket Options

Four Day Park Hopper Ticket

  • Visit multiple parks per day = $511.40

1 Day Base Ticket

  • Choose one park per day with no Park-Hopping = $109

Four Day Base Ticket

  • Choose one park with no park-hopping = $426.40

1 Day Park Hopper Ticket

  • Visit multiple parks in one day = $174

In conclusion, a family of four will pay $1,705.60 (or $426.60 per person) for base park tickets, which include 1 park per day.

Park Hopper tickets will cost you $2,045.60 (or $511.40 per person), and allow you to visit multiple parks per day.


A new addition to Walt Disney World is Genie+. This service will run you $15 per day per ticket if you want to use the new Lightning Lane to access one of the 40 attractions across all four parks. This is a new feature at Disney World, and you’ll want to get acquainted with it before visiting.

Taking a Photo on Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom
Main Street USA

Here’s a quick overview of Genie+ and the typical price of the well-liked Individual Lightning Lane attractions:

  • Each ticket for a Genie+ costs $15 per day.
  • The price of a single Lightning Lane attraction can range from $9 to $17.

Therefore, adding Genie+ to your trip will cost an additional $60 per day and $240 for the entire trip.

Lastly, you can purchase your Disney World park tickets through Undercover Tourist to save anywhere from $6 to $72.

Tip: Check the operating hours on the official Disney World website before making a reservation at Magic Kingdom. It helps to confirm if there is a holiday party or other special event scheduled for that day. Nothing is worse than paying $139 for a ticket to leave the park by 4 PM.

How much to Budget for Meals

The food at Disney World is relatively expensive compared to dining at any other location. Even if you’ve visited before, It may surprise you how much more you’ll pay for food at Disney than on past vacations. Inflation has hit everywhere and that includes the most Magical Place on Earth. Also the dining plan is no longer offered, so you’ll have to set aside this money for while you’re in the parks and resorts.

Based on my analysis, you’ll spend around $1300 for meals, snacks, and drinks for 7 days. Now this is always assuming you’ll eat and drink only at Disney World for that period. An option to save money, is to use Walmart+, Amazon Prime, or Uber Delivery to get groceries for the hotel room. We always order our own snacks and bottled water to take in to the parks.

The average price for each Walt Disney World meal, including drinks and appetizers, is as follows:

Quick Service

  • Lunch and dinner for kids cost about $7.99
    • Breakfast for adults costs approximately $14.99
    • Lunch and dinner for adults cost approximately $14.99
    • Breakfast for kids costs about $7.49

Table Service

  • Dessert at are around $8 to $9 on average
  • The average meal cost for kids is $13 
  • The average meal cost for adults is $27 


  • Lunch and diner buffets for kids cost $25.67
  • Breakfast buffets for adults cost $27
  • Lunch and dinner buffets cost $43.33
  • Breakfast buffets for kids cost $15.50


  • Lunch and dinner for kids cost $36
  • Family-style breakfast for adults costs $42
  • Lunch and dinner for adults cost $55
  • Family-style breakfast for kids costs $27

Character Dining

  • Lunch and dinner for kids cost $35
  • Character breakfast for adults costs $42
  • Lunch and dinner for adults cost $48 
  • Character breakfast for kids costs $27


  • Snacks cost about $6 


  • Beer is about $10
  • Cocktails average around $11 to $14
  • Wine is about $11.50 to $14

Extra Add-Ons (Holiday Parties, Mini-Golf, Water Parks, etc.)

You may add on a few extras to your Disney World vacation, including going to one or both water parks, playing mini or real golf, or going to a holiday party.

Here is a breakdown of the typical prices for each additional add-on.

Disney Water Parks

Disneyworld has two water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon one-day tickets cost $69 for adults (10 and older) and $63 for youngsters (ages 3 to 9).

Disney’s Blizzard Beach is now closed; thus, prices are unavailable.

Disney World Holiday Parties

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are the two main holiday events for which tickets can be purchased.

Ticket prices for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party range from $99 to $189 for kids and $109 to $199 for adults at the beginning of the 2022 season (ages 3 to 9).

The price of the tickets increases as Halloween approaches. The cheapest month, excluding the first party date, in August, followed by the first week of September.

We’ve been multiple times are Halloween and Magic Kingdom dressed up for the season is really something to see. Lots of fun and the weather is almost perfect with mid 80’s for the high.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Returns

After a two-year break, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will officially return in 2022. Adult tickets cost between $149 and $199, while kid tickets cost between $139 and $189. (ages 3 to 9).

The cost of the gatherings increases as Christmas approaches, especially in the final week before Christmas. Additionally, during the first week of December, you may save $10 on each ticket if you hold a Disney World Annual Pass.

Disney World After Hour Events

WDW also hosts “Disney After Hours” events, where guests buy a special event ticket for three more hours in the park and complimentary snacks and drinks.

Disney H2O Glow After Dark at Typhoon Lagoon, which takes place every Weekend from June 25 to August 27, 2022, is the only event currently on sale.

Tickets for H2O Glow After Hours are $75 for adults and $70 for kids aged 3 to 9.

Disney Mini-Golf

Technically, there are two venues with four different Disney mini-golf courses. These are the costs:

  • Winter Summerland Winter = $12 per child (ages 3-9) and $14 per adult
    • Fantasia Gardens = $12 per child (ages 3-9) and $14 per adult
    • Winter Summerland Summer = $12 per child (ages 3-9) and $14 per adult
    • Fairways Miniature Golf = $12 per child (ages 3-9) and $14 per adult

I believe that the best mini-golf course on the property is Fantasia Gardens. Although I may be biased, I think it to be the greatest in Orlando and worth checking it out. But if you want a challenge and a more authentic golfing experience, try Fairways.

Disney World Golf Tee Times

On-site golfing options at Disney include the Oak Trail, Lake Buena Vista, Palm courses, and Magnolia.

Although tee times cost varies greatly, You can play a round of 18 holes with a cart from $31 or up to $98 per person.

According to statistics, Lake Buena Vista is the least expensive course, with summer evening tee times costing just $31.

The nine-hole Oak Trail course costs $28 to $29 per hour.

Disney World Foot Golf

You read that correctly; there is a 9-hole footgolf course at Disney’s Oak Trail that the American FoodGolf League has approved.

At Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, a round of footgolf costs $20 per person.

Family enjoying the walk from Tomorrowland
Fun walk to Tomorrowland

Transportation (Flights, Uber, and Rental Cars)

This year, airfare can vary wildly depending on departing airport and carrier. And right now, there isn’t much difference in flight costs in the summer and around the holidays. Any way you look at it, it’s very costly. It’s so pricey that a domestic ticket to Florida costs less than a trip to Europe from the east coast. Before COVID we were able to get round ticket prices for under $100, but I think those days are behind us for a while.

I would anticipate paying about $300 – $500 per person for airfare.

Use Google Flights to Save

In my experience, Google Flights has been the best resource for finding the lowest-priced flights, mainly their price graph function. I can now view each month’s cheapest travel days thanks to this. There is also an option to save the search and have results emailed to you on a regular basis.

Here is an illustration of a price graph From Google Flights for a single economy flight from Los Angeles to Orlando between February and March 2023:

Tracking flights on Google.
Price Graph from Google Flights

Additionally, some families might travel by car, which is often more affordable than flying, especially if ticket costs stabilize. But gas prices always play a factor in that.

Orlando International Airport (MCO) Car Rental

The main car rental options at MCO are as follows:

  •  Thrifty
    • Alamo
    • Sixt
    • Avis
    • Payless
    • Budget
    • National
    • Dollar Car Rental
    • Hertz
    • Enterprise

I suggest using Kayak to compare all the prices simultaneously to save time. However, I like to stick with a few businesses, such as National and Avis, with whom I haven’t had too many problems.

Thanks to the monorail, extensive bus, and Skyliner network, you won’t even require a rental car at Disney World. However, if you want to explore the cities around Disney or go to other attractions like Universal Studios or Sea World, renting a car is a more affordable option than using Uber or Lyft to get around town. The cost of an Uber from Pop Century to Legoland is between $60 and $75.

Note: It costs around $24 one-way in an UberX to get from Disney World property to Universal Studios Orlando.

Walt Disney World Uber and Lyft

Speaking of Uber or Lyft, if you don’t want to rent a car but still want to get to your Disney Resort via Mears Connect (Disney’s Magical Express replacement), using a ride-share service is your best option.

UberX will typically cost around $45 to bring you from the airport to Disney World resort (MCO). Thus, this all relies on the time of day and commuting times. Surge pricing, however, has occurred frequently.

Sometimes I spent $19 to enter Disney World, while other times, a typical ride would have cost far over $60. Additionally, read our comprehensive guide if you want to learn more about utilizing Lyft, Uber, and even Minnie Vans at Disney World.

How much does Disney World parking cost?

Standard parking at Disney World’s theme parks starts at $25 per day, while premium parking costs between $45 and $50 per day.

Visitors to Disney World pay a single price for a valid parking pass throughout the day at all four theme parks.

There are currently three parking options: extensive, preferred, and standard.

At Disney World, Preferred Parking allows you to park in a designated lot that is much closer to the park gates.

  • Standard parking costs $25 per day for a motorcycle or car.
  • Preferred parking costs $45 to $50 daily for a motorcycle or car.
  • Oversized parking costs $30 per day for a limo, Camper trailer, Shuttle, RV, tractor-trailer, or bus.

All guests who have checked into a Disney Resort hotel and some annual pass holders are entitled to free standard parking. For an additional $20$25, these visitors can upgrade to premium parking for the day.

All four theme parks have designated charging stations that you can use if you own a Tesla or any other electric vehicle. To utilize these charging stations, you will require a credit card or ChargePoint card with pre-loaded funds. The price per kilowatt hour is $0.35 with a $1.50 minimum.

The cost of overnight self-parking at Disney Resorts now varies depending on the resort type.

  • Moderate Resort parking costs $20 per night.
  • Value Resort parking costs $15 per night.
  • Valet parking costs $33 per night.
  • Deluxe Resort and Villas parking costs $25 per night.

All visitors have free parking at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach waterparks. Additionally, parking at Disney Springs is free and available in the three parking levels with access to Disney Springs and the surface parking lot. Additionally, valet parking is offered for a flat fee of $20 per day.

Overall Disney World Budget for Family of 4 for 7 days / 6 Nights

An average 6-night Disney World vacation for a family of four will cost roughly $7,500, which covers lodging, transportation, park admission, and meals.

Hopefully, this article has assisted you in accurately estimating how much a trip to Disney World might cost. And you also know where you can make trade offs to decrease the overall price.

I’ve put together a spreadsheet that you can use to start your own budget built around actual dates and hotels you choose. Just download and start to fill in the sheet and it’ll do all the math for you.

It’s also a great option to print off and share with the family to start discussing priorities and where you may want to use money on extras.  What if everyone agreed to only eat quick service and you could put that money towards an extra evening event?

We hope to see you in the parks and would love to hear feedback on how you budget!

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