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How Much Does it Cost to Go to Disney World For a Family of 4? 

How Much Does it Cost to Go to Disney World For a Family of 4? 

On average, it will cost a family of four approximately $6,300 for a five-night stay at Disney World in 2023. With the price of a Disney World vacation continually increasing, thanks to Disney Genie+ and Mears Connect (to name a few), guests are paying more than ever to enjoy the experiences that were once included in the price of their admission. 

Here’s everything you need to know about how much a trip to Walt Disney World costs in 2023 so you can start budgeting:

Cost of Disney Tickets in 2023

The average cost of Disney tickets in 2023 is about $139 per person (aged 10 and up) per day. The more park days you book, the cheaper the cost of per-day admission becomes. 

Depending on the time of year, tickets can be as low as $109 per day and as high as $159 during peak periods. 

How Much Money Should a Family of 4 Take to Disney World? 

Many estimates state that the average adult guest spends about $50 a day in Disney World, but I would argue this figure is, at minimum closer to $100, if not more. As such, I’d recommend a family of four bringing at least an additional $2,000 – $3,000 in cash for expenses during their five-day trip. 

However, this figure is just an estimate. There are many factors, including the cost of food, souvenirs, and experiences that can drive these costs up. 

Cost of Food at Disney

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How much money you bring for food will depend on your itinerary. If you’re planning on eating at fancy restaurants, like California Grill, Be Our Guest, or Yachtsman Steakhouse, then, yes, you’re going to want to budget ahead of time. I’d recommend bringing at least an additional $500 for one of those meals for a family of four. 

That being said, you can probably get away with spending anywhere from $150-$200 on food per day for a family of four, and this is probably being generous. If you bring your own breakfast and snacks, then you can cut down on your expenses dramatically. The average cost for quick service meals and snacks is around $10-$15, if not less. 

Read more: Disney Food Challenge to Try on Your Next Vacation

Costs of Mears Connect From MCO to Disney World

Though I could write an entire blog about everything I thoroughly dislike about Mears Connect (let me know in the comments if I should), the reality is that it’s one of your only options to get to Walt Disney World outside of taking a Lyft or an Uber, which not everyone may feel comfortable with. 

Mears Connect replaced Disney’s Magical Express (dear, Bob Iger, please bring this back). Like its predecessor, Mears Connect is a 24/7 shuttle service that picks you up at either the Main Terminal or Terminal C at Orlando International Airport (or MCO as we cool kids call it). 

They offer two services: standard and express. The standard service ($16 per adult/$13.50 per child one way) works exactly like Disney’s Magical Express. You share the bus with other passengers, making stops at different resorts along the way. 

Unlike Disney’s Magical Express though, Mears Connect makes stops at hotels that aren’t on Disney property, extending the time it takes you to get to your resort. The last time I took Mears Connect, it took me over an hour and a half to reach Port Orleans: Riverside, so fair warning if you’re using this and planning on making a late lunch or dinner reservation on the day of your arrival. 

The second option is to take their express transportation, which takes you directly to and from your resort with little to no wait. It can only be booked as a round-trip service and will set you back $250 for four passengers (and $55 for every additional person in your party).

Costs of Taking an Uber or Lyft to Your Disney Hotel 

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If Mears Connect isn’t for you, then your other option is to take either a Lyft or an Uber to your Walt Disney World hotel. 

The cost of these rideshare services varies based on the time of year and the day you’re booking them. Known as peak periods, rideshare rates tend to be highest on the weekend, during the summer, at and night. However, they can be a lot more affordable than booking a round-trip ride through Mears Connect. 

The average cost of taking a Lyft from MCO to Walt Disney World is between $35 – 42, not including peak periods. An Uber costs around the same, clocking in at about $35 for one-way service. When you compare this to the roundtrip service offered through Mears Connect for both standard and express service, you’re saving a big chunk of change. 

Of course, other facts may affect your rideshare costs including whether or not you want an XL vehicle or need a car seat, but generally speaking, a family of four will be able to spend around $100 for roundtrip transportation to and from Walt Disney World. 

Cost of Your Disney Resort

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If you’re staying on Disney property, you’ll also have to factor in the cost of your Disney resort stay. On average, your resort stay can cost you anywhere from around $170 a night to $779 a night, depending on where you stay and the time of year in which you visit. 

Keep in mind that the price of your Walt Disney World resort will also vary depending on the demand. Think of things like newly remodeled rooms, new experiences (like the Starcruiser), transportation additions like Disney’s Skyliner, etc. All of these will affect the average room rate. 

Disney Resort Categories

The resorts at Disney World are broken down into five main categories: 

  • Value Resorts
  • Moderate Resorts
  • Deluxe Resorts
  • Deluxe Villas
  • Campgrounds

The campsites and value resorts are the cheapest on property, with the moderate resorts coming in anywhere from $100-200 above them, while the deluxe resorts (and their associated villas) are the most expensive. 

However, certain deluxe resorts are more expensive than the rest (here’s looking at you Grand Floridian). 

Here’s a breakdown of all the Disney resorts and their average cost per night: 

Value Resorts: 
  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort – $199
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort – $172
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort – $172
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort – $218
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – $260 (family suites approx. $569)

Read more: The Best Disney Value Resorts Ranked

Moderate Resorts: 
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – $280
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – $303
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter – $329
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside – $304
  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – $483

Read more: Disney’s Moderate Resorts Ranked

Deluxe Resorts:
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – $740
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – $520
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – $718
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort – $690
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – $649
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort – $779
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – $810
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – $526

Read more: Disney World Deluxe Resorts Ranked

Technically, both the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and Walt Disney World Dolphin hotel (including the Swan Reserve) are also considered to be deluxe resorts, however, they are not technically owned by Disney. 

And, in fact, despite their deluxe ranking, they’re (sometimes) more akin to a moderate resort price point, with some traditional rooms starting at $318 a night. When booking through Disney’s website, usually only packages are available. To book an individual room, you have to call 1-888-828-8850 or visit their website here. 

Deluxe Villas:
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas – $484
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas – $620
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village – $518
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort – $795
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – $1,942
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House – $554
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – $519
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – $730
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – $703
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort – $491
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – $740
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – $645
Campgrounds:
  • The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – $167

Read more: Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Map

Costs of Souvenirs

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Again, this cost is going to vary. On average, you want to budget at least a few hundred dollars for souvenirs, because things are expensive. The price of ears has gone up, nearing $40.00, and Loungefly backpacks are around $85.00. 

Read more: Do You Own These Rare Loungefly Backpacks?

While there are cheaper souvenirs, such as t-shirts, on-ride photos, keychains, and pins, you’ll want to budget for some of these more costly items. 

Costs of Genie+ and Lighting Lane

Disney Genie+ and Lighting Lane replaced the old FastPass+ system. Now, instead of it being included in the price of your admission, you’ll have to pay an additional fee to skip the line on certain attractions. 

Disney Genie+ costs $15 per person per day. So, a family of four is looking to spend an additional $60 per day, excluding tax. This paid service gives you access to the majority of rides at each park. However, if you’re looking to skip the line at certain attractions such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Rise of the Resistance, you’ll have to do so through Lighting Lane. 

Lighting Lane is an ad-hoc paid service. The price is per ride and per person, and the rate can vary depending on peak periods. So, Lighting Lane tickets will cost more during the summer, the holiday season, and when rides are in high demand. Lighting Lane tickets cost about $16 on average but can go as high as $25 per person during peak periods. 

Read more: Is Genie+ Worth It? Do You Need Genie+?

Costs of Experiences

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Though there is so much already included in your Walt Disney World vacation, you may want to take advantage of additional experiences including:

  • Memory Maker – $169
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – $99.95 – to $229.95
  • VIP tours – Starting at $35 per person
  • ParkHopper passes – $219 a ticket
  • Amorette’s Patisserie Cake Decorating Experience – Starting at $199
  • Aerophile – The World Leader in Baloon Flight – Starting at $20 per person
  • Dessert parties – Starting at $114
  • Photo sessions – Starting at $99
  • Private cabanas – Price varies
  • In-room gift deliveries – Price varies

…and this isn’t even an exhaustive list!

Read more: Is Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Worth It

Unexpected Costs of a Disney World Vacation

Of course, when it comes to planning for and going on a Disney World vacation, you’re going to budget for the main expenses like food, travel, your resort, and park tickets. However, there are a few other expenses that can catch you off guard. 

Here are some additional (but often unexpected) costs of a Walt Disney World vacation: 

Mousekeeping

Mousekeeping is Disney’s hospitality service. Though this complimentary housekeeping service was temporarily halted during the pandemic, it has fully returned to all of the Disney World Resort hotels. 

Mousekeeping services vary from resort to resort. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during your stay: 

  • All Value and Moderate resorts will receive housekeeping services once every other day
  • All Deluxe Resorts and Villas will receive daily housekeeping services unless you are utilizing a cash discount or DVC points

If you are a DVC member and utilizing your points on your trip, you’ll receive fresh towels and trash replacement on the fourth day of your stay. If you’re staying for more than eight nights, you’ll receive full Mousekeeping services on this fourth day. 

This service includes making your bed, discarding the trash, removing old towels and replenishing them with new ones, as well as replacing amenities such as soap. 

How Much Should You Tip Your Mousekeeper? 

The general consensus among Disney fans is that you should tip your Mousekeeper $1 a day at the end of your visit. Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Depending on how long I’m staying, my husband and I usually leave anywhere from $10-$20 cash in an envelope on the day of checkout. 

Regardless of how much you tip your mousekeeper (remember, it’s not mandatory), you’ll want to address the envelope to them, so they don’t miss it. I usually just write “Tip” or “Thank you” on the front of the envelope and leave it on the bedside table next to the phone. 

Read more: Cash Needed for Tipping at Disney World

Can I Turn Down Housekeeping Services at Disney? 

Yes, absolutely. These services are complimentary, but if you prefer not to take advantage of them, just let the Cast Member know at check-in. 

Mears Connect

Just like Disney’s Magical Express, a tip isn’t included in your overall costs of taking Mears Connect. And, unlike taking a Lyft or an Uber, you won’t be able to tip through an app. 

I typically bring $10 in cash with me to tip the driver $5 both dropping me off at my resort, as well as taking me back to the airport. Though, keep in mind this tip isn’t mandatory, so don’t stress if you do end up forgetting. 

Parking

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Since Bob Iger’s return (hi, Bob, we missed you), it’s now completely free to park overnight at any Walt Disney World resort hotel. This new rule came into effect on January 10, 2023, and thankfully, it looks like it’s here to stay. 

Furthermore, complimentary standard self-parking is also available to day guests visiting the Disney World resorts for either a dining reservation or to simply explore and enjoy the ambiance. 

Keep in mind that all complimentary parking only refers to standard self-parking. Valet parking, which is offered at all of the Disney Deluxe Resorts, Villas, and Coronado Springs will cost $33 per night. 

Is it Free to Park at the Disney Theme Parks? 

The answer is that it depends. For guests staying on Disney property, standard theme park parking is included in their overall package. The same goes for Annual Passholders. 

However, for guests visiting Disney but not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, it is not free to park at the actual theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. Guests will have to pay $25 per day for a parking pass. However, this pass is good for all four theme parks on the same day. So if you’re spending the morning at Epcot but want to cap the night watching the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, you don’t have to pay an additional fee when you visit the next park. 

Read more: How to Avoid Paying for Disney World Parking

Baggage Claim

This one may vary on location, but I know at the Philadelphia International Airport, where I typically fly out of, it’s customary to tip the baggage claim employee who tags your bags out front, before even entering the airport. 

Granted, this isn’t necessary, but it’s good to be prepared and have a little cash on you if you feel inclined to do so. 

Cheapest Month to Visit Walt Disney World 

It seems like there’s no such thing as the cheapest month to visit Walt Disney World nowadays. However, despite how busy the parks seem to get throughout the year, January is still the cheapest time to visit. 

Read more: Tips for the Cheapest Disney Trip: How to Save OVER $1,000

Generally, you’ll want to visit starting the second week in January after the kids go back to school and before the President’s Day long weekend. You’d be surprised by just how busy the parks get on long weekends! It’s sometimes as bad as the Christmas season. 

Prices do start to start to increase toward the end of January, leading into February. Mid-September is also a good time to visit because kids elsewhere in the United States are all back to school back then. And, many families, if they didn’t travel over the summer, look to take their vacation over winter break. 

Factors That Affect Prices During the Year

The one thing you want to keep in mind is that the Disney resort you plan to stay at will affect your overall cost. For example, the cost of value resorts like the All Stars tends to spike during the late spring and early summer due to spring break and senior trips. Likewise, these resorts tend to cost more during the summer because they’re more affordable for larger families or may appeal to those with younger children. 

So while value resorts are usually the most affordable hotels on Disney property, you may not be getting the best deal depending on what time of year you visit. 

Read more: Disney World Discounts

Most Expensive Month to Visit Walt Disney World 

By far the most expensive month to visit Walt Disney World is December, especially the week between Christmas and New Year’s. 

Mid-February to mid-April is also pretty expensive, as this is when many people visit for spring break, as well as during the summer months when children are off school. Think of it this way: if you’re off from work or school, then a trip to Walt Disney World is gonna be expensive. 

Benefits of Using a Disney World Crowd Calendar to Plan Your Trip 

Disney crowd calendars can be incredibly useful tools to help you plan your vacation and save a little bit of money in the interim. 

These crowd calendars take data from the year before and analyze it to make predictions for the current year. Examples of the data they analyze include park attendance, ticket prices, yearly resort rates, and discounts. When analyzed together, a crowd calendar can make (almost) exacting predictions that can help you determine when resort rates and park tickets will be the cheapest. 

Read more: Best Disney World Crowd Calendars

Final Thoughts

So even though the average cost of a family of four visiting Disney World is around $6,300, this is ultimately just for the very basics, including a stay at one of the value resorts. 

Though this is a ton of money, don’t panic. There are many ways you can save money. Whether booking through an authorized Disney World travel agent, taking advantage of discounts on room and theme park packages throughout the year, or renting DVC points to stay at one of the deluxe resorts, you can make a Walt Disney World vacation more affordable. 

Read more: How to do Disney World on a Budget

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