A trip to Walt Disney World is full of magic…and expenses. On average, a trip to Disney World for two adults will cost anywhere between $1,900 and $2,800. This quote will vary depending on where you stay, the duration of your trip, meals, snacks, and souvenirs. This price range doesn’t include travel costs and tips for housekeeping, Uber/Lyft, and tips.
Below, I’m answering some of the most common questions regarding planning a trip to Disney World (and how you can save a few bucks and stay on budget).
Is it Cheaper to Stay on Disney Property or Off?
It would stand to reason that staying off Disney property will save you money, but that’s not always true. Granted, you will save a lot of money if you choose to stay at a Ramada Inn as opposed to the Grand Floridian (which is currently around $751 a night). However, there are other factors you have to consider.
Disney ranks their resorts by tier: value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villas. The cheapest resorts are the value resorts, which include the three All-Star Resorts: Sports, Music, and Movies, Pop Century, and Art of Animation. On average, these resorts cost $150-$250 per night depending on the time of year you’re visiting. Rates will be higher during the summer, special occasions like the 50th Anniversary Celebration, and the holiday season.
Read more: The Best Disney Value Resorts Ranked
It’s important to note that the average cost of Art of Animation can go into the $400 range, but this is because these have family suites. You can learn more about these here.
So, let’s say you and your spouse/significant other/friend, want to go to Disney World for 7 days, with admission to one park each day. A week at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, with 7-day tickets for two guests would be approximately $2,109.38.
In comparison, a hotel off-property costs about $600 for a week, excluding your park tickets and the cost of transportation such as rideshare lifts to and from the airport, parks, and your hotel. With tax, a 7-day ticket to each park per day for two people would cost $1,011.80. Add on Uber and Lyft fees, which usually vary between $15-$35 each way. At a minimum, you’re adding $210 to your budget. The lowest you could probably be spending for a week spent off property, assuming you go to the parks each day is $1,821. That’s a difference of about $300 in savings, which is a lot of money!
What About Food?
Regardless of whether or not you stay on Disney property, you can expect to pay around $100 for food per day. If you only eat three quick service meals per day and avoid snacks, you can reduce these costs to around $50 per person per day.
However, the costs will quickly add up the more snacks you try and if you opt for a table service location for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you want to save money we recommend splitting meals.
When is the Cheapest Time to go to Disney World?
The costs can quickly add up, but you may be able to offset these by booking your trip during the off-season. While it seems like the parks rarely have any downtime anymore, the crowds are noticeably lower (and ticket prices are lower) during January and February. The same can also be said for late August and early September, as soon as the kids return to school.
In the past, I also saw lower prices and crowds during the first week of October, but this will not be true for 2021 due to the park’s 50th celebration. Tickets for Magic Kingdom are already sold out for October 1st.
Read more: Celebrate Disney World’s 50th Anniversary!
How to Stay on Budget at Disney World
There are a few ways you can help stay on budget at Disney World. First, you can opt to book your trip during one of the less crowded times of the year as mentioned above. Furthermore, you can bring your own snacks and water bottles into the parks. Food is permitted in the parks, but make sure you’re bringing in items that won’t spoil in the Florida heat. Gummy snacks, crackers, bananas, and granola bars are great options.
While you are allowed to bring in a water bottle, you won’t be allowed to bring in one that’s made of glass. As long as your bottle isn’t glass, you’re good. There are multiple water fountains spread out throughout the parks for free refills. You can also ask for a cup of water at your meal instead of bottled, as water for two people will add another $10 to your bill for every meal.
You can also stay on budget by purchasing Disney gift cards ahead of time for both ticket purchases and souvenirs. These gift cards can be sold at Target and other retailers, and you can use them to stay on track when it comes to shopping at places like the Emporium or World of Disney. We use gift cards when we go down, and it helps us make smarter purchases about what we want and will genuinely use when we return home.
I’m not advocating for or against staying on Disney property or off, as I’ve done both. And truthfully, they each offer their own advantages. Personally, I feel like you get more bang for your buck staying on property, especially since you won’t be paying to park at the resort. However, staying off property can save you a lot of money, especially if you don’t want to spend all your time at Disney. On our last trip, my husband and I visited Epcot for the day and spent time visiting local beaches, collecting shark teeth, drinking Butterbeer at Universal Studios, and enjoying a casual night at Disney Springs, where admission is free. A recent study found that the daily admission price could skyrocket to $250 per person in 2031. So, if you’re planning on taking a trip with you and your friend, relative or significant other, it seems like 2021-2022 is the time to do it!
As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.