How Much Does a Disney World Vacation Cost (With Tips on How to Save Money)

Wondering how much it costs to visit Disney World in Florida? This Disney World blog will show you a breakdown of our recent Disney World trip as well as tips on areas where you can potentially save some money.

It is no secret that a trip to Disney World is expensive for people from outside of Florida. In fact Disney World in Florida is the most expensive Disney theme park in the entire world. A visit to Disneyland Paris or Tokyo cost way less than a trip to Disney World in Orlando.

We just recently spent an entire week at Disney World and experienced firsthand how much Disney World costs, but from our trip, I also learned many ways to save on Disney World without it dampening our vacation.

So in this blog, I will share with you how much our Disney World vacation cost and the different ways you can save money visiting Disney World and learn from our mistakes!

Total Disney World Trip Cost For a Week

Just to give you some context on our total budget calculation, the two of us adults spent 7 nights at Disney World in April and stayed at one of the cheapest Disney Resorts.

The breakdown of our Disney World trip does NOT include flights since that can vary so much depending on the city of departure and dates.

Total cost of 7 night Disney World vacation for two adults: $4600ish without flights

  • Hotel (Pop Century Disney resort): $1764 including tax
  • 4 Day Disney World Park Tickets: $1214 including tax ($607 per person)
  • 4 Day Genie+ Lightning Lanes: $218 including tax ($109 per person)
  • 3 Individual Lightning Lanes: $136 including tax ($68 per person)
  • Disney World Food for 7 nights: $1100ish for two
  • Transportation: $80 for two
  • Disney Merchandise: $100

Clearly there are many factors that make the total Disney World vacation cost vary, such as:

  • How many people you have
  • How many nights you are staying
  • How many parks you vist
  • If you are buying Genie+ lightning lanes (or Individual lightning lanes)
  • What you eat and how much you eat
  • If you are planning to rent a car

Based on our spending, if you have a family of 4 (with both kids older than 3), your cost will be significantly more (probably about $6500 – $7000 for a week), due to more park tickets, lightning passes and more food (hotel will probably stay the same).

In the next few sections, I will go deeper into the different costs associated with your Disney World trip and where (and how) you can save some money to make this trip more budget friendly. But obviously there are things that simply cannot be avoided, like park tickets!

Disney World Park Tickets Cost

% of Our Total Budget: High
Saving Potential: Low to Medium

Disney World Park tickets are easily one of the most expensive items when it comes to your vacation budget. There are four parks at Disney World, and they each require a ticket to visit (unless you do the park hopper option):

  • Magic Kingdom ($129 to $189)
  • Epcot ($119 – $179)
  • Hollywood Studios ($129 – $184)
  • Animal Kingdom ($109 – $164)
  • Park Hopper Option ($187 – $254)

All the costs above are for per ticket per day, before tax. This is if you buy a one day ticket directly from Disney World website, not from any packages or third party sellers. This also does not include annual passes or Florida resident tickets since Florida residents (with valid ID) can get a steep discount on Disney World tickets.

Children’s park tickets (age 3 – 9) are generally $20 cheaper than adult tickets.

As you can see, Magic Kingdom is the most expensive park to visit. If you want to do more than one theme park a day, then you will need to buy the Park Hopper ticket, which is more expensive than individual tickets but less expensive than buying two theme park tickets, which make sense.

How to save money on Disney Theme Park Tickets (If You Are not a Florida Resident)

  • Visit Disney World during “off” season when ticket prices are cheaper
  • Purchase multi-days tickets instead of buying one day at a time
  • Look for special offers on tickets on the Disney World official website
  • Getting Disney World vacation packages from Costco
  • Purchase Disney World theme park tickets from discount sites like Undercover Tourist

Visit Disney World during “off” season when ticket prices are cheaper

The ticket price range above is dependent on WHEN you visit the park.

Since Florida is super hot and humid in the summer, you actually see the lowest ticket cost in the middle of August. In contrast, Christmas to New Years is one of the busiest times at Disney World, so naturally tickets cost the most during that time (and also during spring breaks in April).

Therefore the easiest way to have a “cheaper” Disney World vacation is to avoid visiting during busy times since tickets are naturally cheaper during those days.

Disney World It's a Small World

Purchase multi-days tickets instead of buying one day at a time

If you are only planning to spend a day at the parks, then this would not apply to you. But if you are planning to spend 3 or 4 days at the park (regardless of which park), then buying multi-day tickets would help you save some money.

Here is an example: Assuming you are planning to visit Disney World theme parks 4 times on 4 different days mid October, and you are planning to do:

  • Magic Kingdom twice
  • Epcot once
  • Animal Kingdom once
Buying one day ticket separatelyBuying 4 day tickets together
Magic Kingdom$179
Magic Kingdom$174
Animal Kingdom$159
Total Cost$671 (per adult, before tax)$595.49 (per adult, before tax)

So if you already know how many days and how many parks you want to visit, you should buy multi-day park tickets. The only caveat is that you need to use these tickets within 7 days.

Look for special offers on tickets on the Disney World official website

There are special offers on theme park tickets on the official Disney World website.

At the time of writing, there are two different offers:

  • 4 day 4 park tickets (cannot repeat parks)
  • 3 Day 3 parks (not including Magic Kingdom)

Both of these options are cheaper than buying tickets individually or even the multi-day tickets where you can repeat parks.

Getting Disney World vacation packages from Costco

Our friends bought their Disney World vacation package (flights, rental car, hotel and theme park tickets) through Costco and they were able to save some money.

If you are planning to do all that, you can try to calculate how much a Costco package costs versus what you would pay if you booked everything separately.

Purchase Disney World theme park tickets from discount sites

There are reputable discount Disney World theme park tickets sites like Undercover Tourist that do provide slight savings on park tickets. They also have special deals on tickets (like offering adult tickets at children’s tickets prices).

For a 4 day 4 park ticket, using the same dates as the prices I listed above, Undercover Tourist actually was about $30 cheaper per adult.

Even though you can save a bit on Disney World theme park tickets using the tactics above, the amount you save is low to moderate compared to the original ticket prices. If you really want to save A LOT on tickets, you would need to consider shortening the days you are in the park without missing out by aiming to do two parks a day with a Park Hopper ticket and utilize Early Entry to maximize your day.

Disney World Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Cost

% of Our Total Budget: Low
Saving Potential: Low to Medium

Disney World Genie+ cost

Genie+ is the “fast pass” for Disney World theme parks and Individual Lightning Lanes are additional lightning lanes that you can purchase for a few premium rides at Disney World that are not included in Genie+.

While Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes are completely optional, but we did pay for both because we wanted to minimize waiting in lines (we really do not like waiting in lines). However, the cost of Genie+ and individual lightning lanes for every adult for every park do add up. In our case, we spent about $109 a person on these fast passes (over 4 days).

Since the cost of Genie+ and Individual lightning Lanes change daily, the general range of Genie + costs are as follows:

  • Magic Kingdom Genie+: $18 – $37 a person a day
  • Epcot Genie+: $15 – $34 a person a day
  • Hollywood Studios Genie+: $18 – $35 a person a day
  • Animal Kingdom Genie+: $15 – $32 a person a day

The cost of Individual Lightning Lanes are as follows:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: $10 – $12
  • TRON Lightcycle / Run: $20
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind: $14 – $17
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: $20 – $25
  • Avatar Flight of Passage: $14 – $16

So if you were to get Genie+ for Magic Kingdom and pay for Tron and Seven Dwarfs, then you will be spending $48 – $69 a day on top of your park tickets. This is like 25-30% of your park tickets!

Tips on Saving Money on Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes

  • The “premium” rides have Virtual Queues if you decide not to get Individual Lightning Lanes, you need to get the Virtue Queue right at 7am. When it’s your group’s chance to board, you will wait between 45 min to 1 hour.
  • Visit on a less busy day and avoid buying Genie+. Genie+ is not a necessity when the park is not that busy (it’s a completely different story when you visit during Spring Break though).
  • Utilize “rope drop” strategy and get in as many rides as possible when the park first opens (assuming you have Early Entry privilege).
  • Ride rides during the fireworks show to minimize wait (and not have to get Genie+).

Hotel Cost at Disney World

% of Our Total Budget: High
Saving Potential: High

We opted to stay at Pop Century, one of the cheapest Disney World Resort hotels. For 7 nights we spent $1764 including tax, which is about $252 a night on average (including tax).

Since theme park tickets are pretty much set, the biggest factor that can affect your Disney World vacation cost is hotel cost. You can go really cheap or really expensive, since some of the Disney World Resort hotels cost over $1000 a night.

There are 25 Disney World Resort hotels, and they can range from $200 something a night to over $1000 a night. The main benefits of staying at a Disney World Resort hotel include:

  • Free Disney transportation (not including airport transportation)
  • Convenient locations (for some of the hotels)
  • You can book 7am individual lightning lanes (if you are not a guest, you can only buy Individual lightning lane for those premium rides when the park opens)
  • Extended evening hours for deluxe hotels for certain dates
  • Early entry so you can beat the crowd and do “rope drop” to get on rides

How to Save Money on Accommodations at Disney World

While for us staying at a Disney World resort hotel is definitely convenient, it can be too costly for some families, especially those with a large party. So if you want to save money on accommodations, then I would highly recommend that you stay off-site, either at an AirBnb or a non-Disney hotel.

For example, when we were considering whether we want to stay close to Animal Kingdom, some of the non-Disney hotels were only about $100 something a night and they are very close to Animal Kingdom.

Since hotel prices vary so much for Disney World, it also has the most room to save money.

Orlando Airport to Disney World Cost

% of Our Total Budget: Low
Saving Potential: Low

We spent around $80 dollars for two people for round trip transportation between Orlando Airport and Disney World (Pop Century Resort). We actually used 2 types of transportations for this trip:

  • MEARS Connect Bus ($16 a person one way)
  • Uber (~$40 something one way)

We didn’t rent a car for this trip, since we knew we were going to just be using the Disney World buses to get around.

Your transportation cost could look very different than ours if you decide to rent a car (and if you do, consider using Discover Cars. They are my go-to car rental services). Renting a car would make sense if you are staying off-site, have a large party, or want to go to other places besides the Theme parks and Disney Springs.

In fact our friends (who went with us to Disney) rented a car as part of their Costco Disney World packages and drove us to the outlet malls (so we could save some money on Disney merchandise).

But anyway, if you are not planning to rent a car, there really isn’t that much you can save on when it comes to Disney transportation, which is why I put saving potential for it as “low”.

Disney World Food Cost

% of Our Total Budget: High
Saving Potential: High

Food cost can be either high or low depending on what you eat and how many meals you eat. For us, we spent over 1000 dollars for two adults. Out of these $1000, here is what we actually ate at Disney World:

  • 3 sit down restaurants (Skipper Canteen, Ohana, and Tusker House)
  • Quick service restaurants for the other 1-2 meals of the day (sometimes we skipped breakfast or just grabbed an overnight oats or croissant)
  • Snacks like Dole Whips and fruit bar

Sit down restaurants cost a lot more than quick service restaurants since there’s usually a per-person cost with sit down restaurants. If you are planning to do any character dining, be prepared to pay at least $40 to $50 a person for breakfast (and dinners generally cost more).

Even quick service restaurants can easily set you back $20-$25 per adult, I mean even 5 slices of apple there cost $3, which is pretty ridiculous. But they are certainly the most convenient, especially when you are at the theme parks and when you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel. You can also use mobile order and pick up when you are close to the restaurant, minimizing your wait time.

How to Save Money on Food at Disney World

Many people purchase a Disney dining plan, which covers the entire stay at the Disney World resort. But if you want to save money, the Disney Dining plan is not worth it (unless you drink alcohol). We didn’t get the Disney dining plan because it’s expensive and we didn’t want to have to spend more time planning our meals.

If you want to save money on food at Disney World, you would have to avoid character dining and sit-down restaurants. You can just eat at the quick service restaurants or if you have a car, you should go to non-Disney establishments to pay (I mean there are Olive Gardens and McDonalds around).

If you are staying at an Airbnb with a big family, then you can even try to make some food yourselves. So depending on what you choose to eat, you can spend a lot or little on food at Disney World.

Disney World Merchandise Cost

% of Our Total Budget: Low
Saving Potential (on total budget): Low

We didn’t go crazy and buy up all the cute Disney merchandise we saw (even though I kind of wanted), but we did spend about $100 on merchandise:

  • MagicBand+: $35
  • Mickey Ears: $35
  • Fan & Spray Bottle: $25
  • Disney hair tie: $13

If you are traveling with kids (or if you are a big Disney Fan), you probably will be spending a lot! There are stores in every theme park and Disney World resort hotels and at Disney Springs. There is just so much you can buy and everything is super cute. Some of the things I was tempted to get (but told myself not to include):

  • Bubble Wand: $35
  • Backpacks: $79 – $99
  • Clothings items: $50+
  • Disney branded mugs and other kitchen items: $30+

Disney World Merchandise - backpacks

You can easily spend hundreds on these Disney Merchandise if you are not careful. And if you really want to buy Disney merchandise (and if you have a car), you can actually go to the nearby outlet and shop at Disney’s Character Warehouse to buy last season’s items. At the outlet store, I saw a MagicBand (older version) being sold for $10 and a backpack for $30 instead of $80. Granted things are not as cute as the current selection, but they are only 1/3 of the cost.

Hope our Disney World cost and the breakdown of everything we spent on can give you a good sense of how much a Disney World vacation cost. In our case it was about $4600 (without flights). There is no upper limit on how much you can spend at Disney World, but there is definitely room to spend less, especially if you stay at cheaper accommodation and spend less on food.

Like this post? Pin this Disney World Vacation Cost guide to Pinterest!

how much does a Disney World vacation cost