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How Much Does it Cost to Go to Disney World?

How Much Does it Cost to Go to Disney World?

On average, it will cost a family of four approximately $5,000 to go on a Walt Disney World vacation in 2021-2022. This is in contrast to when the park opened back in 1971 and only costs adults $3.50 a ticket (oh, what a time that would have been, right?) As of 2022, the price for single-day tickets will be increasing to a minimum of $134 per person – a significant price hike from $109 daily tickets, which are pretty hard to come by. In fact, the next availability for a $ 109-day ticket isn’t until August 2022. Granted, the price of your Disney vacation will be dependent on lots of factors including the time of year you visit, where you stay, and if you add on any additional extras like Boo Bash or Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours. 

Here’s everything you need to know about pricing out your family’s Walt Disney World vacation: 

Average Room Rate for Disney World Resort Hotels

Disney World splits its resorts into three categories: deluxe, moderate, and value. Technically, I guess you could throw in deluxe villas and campgrounds, but they’re so minimal that they can be tossed in with value resorts and deluxe hotels. 

Disney’s Deluxe Resorts & Villas

Disney’s deluxe resorts include: 

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Riveria Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs

Disney’s Beach Club, Polynesian Village, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, BoardWalk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Riveria Resort, and Wilderness Lodge all have accompanying villas guests can stay at. These can cost anywhere between $546 and $1,600 a night depending on the time of year you visit if not higher rates during popular times of the year. 

Disney’s deluxe resorts usually cost between $500-$800 a night, however, Grand Floridian can go upwards of $1,600 a night. Disney does run deals during the year that can help offset this cost, though. I was able to score a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for approximately $350 a night during one of their sales in September. 

Read more: Disney World Deluxe Resorts Ranked

Benefits of Staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort & Villa

The deluxe resorts are the nicest ones on property, both in regards to experience, convenience, and appearance. If you’re staying at a resort on the monorail loop like Disney’s Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian, you’ll be able to catch the monorail to and from Magic Kingdom and Epcot so you’re not solely reliant on bus transportation. Furthermore, you can walk to various parks depending on where you’re staying. 

You can walk to Magic Kingdom from both the Grand Floridian and Contemporary. You can walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios from Disney’s Yacht and Beach Clubs, BoardWalk Inn, and Swan and Dolphin hotels (though they’re not technically Disney-owned hotels, more about that later). Likewise, guests staying at these resorts can take watercraft transportation to these parks, as well. 

If you are taking the buses, the bus stops are usually closer than let’s say the value resorts. This is a big deal for me because I’m usually dead on my feet by the end of the night, so I consider this a huge benefit of the deluxe resorts. 

Disney’s Moderate Resorts

Disney’s moderate resorts offer quality appearance and experience but for less money than the deluxe resorts. Personally, I feel like the deluxe resorts are good for special occasions like honeymoons and anniversaries, but have always gotten similar convenience from a moderate hotel. 

Disney’s moderate resorts include: 

  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness

On average, these resorts cost $300-$500 a night depending on the time of year you visit. Prices can dip below that or be a little higher. 

Benefits of Staying at Disney’s Moderate Resorts

As mentioned above, moderate resorts offer the same luxury feeling but on a budget. The interior of Coronado Springs, for example, is gorgeous and has one of the largest hot tubs on property. However, Coronado Springs is used for a lot of business conventions, so you’ll be more likely to see businessmen and women with briefcases than you will a smiling family of four with Mickey Mouse luggage. 

A lot of the moderate resorts, with the exclusion of the Cabins at Fort Wilderness, are impeccably themed and offer more amenities than the value resorts. For example, you and your child can feel like royalty in the Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans, which is one of the most beautifully decorated rooms on property. 

Except for watercraft transportation to and from Port Orleans to Disney Springs, guests’ only option to get to and from the parks will be the bus. The main problem with the moderate resorts is that they usually have multiple bus stops, so depending on where you are located on property, you may have to pick up or drop off other guests before returning to the parks or your room. 

Read more: Disney’s Moderate Resorts Ranked

Disney’s Value Resorts

Disney’s Value resorts are the more inexpensive option and are usually the preferred resort for senior trips and other team trips. Disney’s value resorts include: 

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort

These resorts, on average, cost between $200-$300 a night. 

Benefits of Staying at Disney’s Value Resorts

The value resorts at Disney are designed for kids. They usually feature large statues of different Disney characters like Ariel, Ursula, Simba, and Lightning McQueen, as well as giant footballs, yo-yos, and other appropriately-themed items that coincide with the hotel’s theme. 

Most people would agree that the All-Star resorts could benefit from a design update, as a lot of the rooms and characters are out-of-date. However, I personally, really like the campiness of these resorts. Even though they’re not as posh as other Disney resorts, they still blow regular resorts out of the water. They have great themed pools, convenient pool bars, and quick-service restaurants that usually offer plentiful seating regardless of the time you visit. 

The big drawback with these resorts is the location, as the All-Stars are located relatively far from Magic Kingdom. Furthermore, the buses at the All-Stars share one bus route so you’ll be stopping and picking up guests at each resort every time you load (unless you’re the last stop, of course). 

However, one big benefit of staying at the Art of Animation or Pop Century is that they have the Skyliner, which transports guests to and from Epcot and Hollywood Studios. This has given these hotels a big boost in recent years and remains one of the most popular and highly-sought after transportation methods in the parks. 

I think the biggest benefit of staying at the value resorts is if you’re not going to spend a lot of time at the hotel. If you’re a big pool person or want to soak up the amenities, then a moderate or deluxe resort will be better. But if you’re only using your room to sleep and get ready, then it’s worth it. 

Read more: The Best Disney Value Resorts Ranked

Other Deluxe Resorts

Disney World also offers guests to stay at the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin hotel. These resorts are beautiful and offer transportation to and from the parks, but they’re not technically Disney-owned hotels. This means that you won’t be getting any sort of Disney theming or details in these rooms. Standard room packages at these resorts can cost on average around $3,500. 

Average Cost of Food at Disney World

On average, families can expect to spend around $200 a day on food and beverages. However, that price can vary depending on what kinds of dining experiences you opt for. To keep your food expenses to a minimum, it’s recommended that you dine at Disney’s quick-service locations. This will usually offer menus of classic foods such as hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and chicken nuggets. You can grab snacks throughout the day from various dining carts, as well. You can also keep your beverage costs to a minimum if you bring in your own water bottle, as a water bottle will cost about $4.50 per person. 

How Much Does it Cost to Go to Disney World? 4

You can economize by also bringing in your own snacks such as fruits, nuts, gummy snacks, crackers, and granola bars. I’d avoid bringing in sandwiches or anything else that could get soggy from being out in the heat all day. Furthermore, you can bring your own box of cereal and purchase an individual bottle of milk every morning for breakfast to help save some cash. 

Doing this could save you a few hundred dollars a day. Because I’m not at Disney World every week, I tend to overindulge in snacks that I don’t normally eat at home, even if I’m not really hungry. A lot of snacking at Disney is opportunistic, to be honest. 

Read more: How to Save Money When Eating at Disney

Travel Expenses

Normally, this section of the article wouldn’t exist outside of your flights, but with the news that Disney’s Magical Express will be ending in January 2022, this is going to be a new expense families will have to deal with relatively soon. 

Disney will be replacing the Magical Express with Mears Connect, a traditional bus service that will offer paid-for-service reservations. Mears Connect comes with two options: standard and express. The standard service will either be a bus or van, similar to the kind of rideshare experience you’d have if you took a normal shuttle to and from the airport. This costs $32 per adult round trip and $27.00 for children. If you’re only using this service one way, it will cost $16.00 and $13.50, respectively. 

The express option will take you directly to your Disney resort with no wait time. This premium direct service will cost $200 for a family of four, with each additional guest costing another $55.00. 

If you don’t want to pay these costs (which, honestly, same) you can always opt for an Uber. Uber prices vary depending on the time of day you request one, but you can get them for a lot less money than the Mears Connect option (depending on how large your family is). 

Ubers, on average, cost anywhere from $30-$40 one way, so if you’re traveling with two or three people in your party, you’re already saving money. Again, the size of your Uber will mean a higher price point, so you might be paying as high as $80 for a one-way trip if you need extra room, a car seat, or prefer a certain type of vehicle like the UberXL. 

While I do think people will eventually pay for the Mears Connect option, I think a lot of guests will opt for Uber transportation in the first few months due to how costly Disney’s new transportation service is. Because of this, I wouldn’t be surprised if Uber rates increased slightly due to the increased demand. 

Cost of Disney Souvenirs

Ah, souvenirs. It’s hard to leave Disney World without them, especially if you have children in tow. The average stuffed animal costs between $20-$30, so if you have two children, expect to be paying at least $50-$60 for plush friends they want to bring back home. Mugs, which are one of Disney’s most popular souvenirs cost about $15-$25 on average, with Minnie Ears costing $29.99 – which is a price increase from where they were a few years ago. 

Pins, Disney NuiMOs, Spirit Jerseys, and other miscellaneous toys can definitely eat away at your budget, but it is possible to keep souvenirs for your entire party to $100-$150 if you’re a family of four, with each member buying something that costs around $20-$30. 

Read more: What You Shouldn’t Buy at Disney World

So What’s the Final Cost?

Depending on what time of year you visit, where you stay, and for how long (including food, beverages, souvenirs, and travel expenses) you could be spending as low as $3,680 if you’re paying $109 per ticket per day for five days and staying at a value resort for around $200 per night, keeping your food to a $100 a day and totaling around $100 for both transportation to and from the airport and souvenirs. 

If you’re opting for the high range, you could be spending approximately $7,880 on a five-day ticket at $134 per person, with a five-night hotel stay at a deluxe resort for $800 a night, spending approximately $200 on a food per day and $200 for Mears Connect direct drop-off. 

Disney has been steadily increasing their prices, however, fortunately, popular experiences like Fantasmic and the Festival of Fantasy Parade are returning in 2022, so I think it will make guests feel like they’re getting more for their money than what’s been the case since the parks reopened. 

Do you think Disney is pricing out the average family? What do you think of all the price increases they’ve been doing lately? And will you be opting for Mears Connect or Uber once Disney’s Magical Express is gone? 

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