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How to Find Out What a Disney World Vacation Will Cost

How to Find Out What a Disney World Vacation Will Cost

A lot of people assume that taking a Disney World vacation is just too expensive for them but that may not be true! There are a lot of ways you can save money and still have a fabulous trip. So let’s break down how to calculate the cost of a Disney World vacation for your family. Remember this is just a run through so you can calculate what your own trip will cost. There are so many variables that go into planning how to find out what a Disney World vacation will cost, it can range widely depending on the specifics. Don’t forget that things like the time of year you travel will have an impact on price as well.

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Calculating Disney World Transportation Costs

Driving to Disney World

If you are planning on driving to Disney World you should definitely map out your drive and plan expenses. Will it take you more than one day? Do you need to factor in a hotel somewhere along the way? Whenever my husband and I embark on a long road trip he is always pouring over to figure out his gas stops. They have a fantastic trip cost calculator that will give you an idea of what you should expect to spend on your travels. Don’t forget those tolls!

Flying to Disney World

I have one website for you on airfare, Kayak! They are my best friend when planning out big trips, like to Disneyland and beyond. They run a comparison through all the airlines to let you pick which one works best for you. However, if you are a Southwest fan you have to check these prices separately. When I lived in New Hampshire it was a hub and THE cheapest way to get to Orlando without driving and parking in Boston. You can check Southwest pricing here. Don’t forget to add the cost of parking at the airport or transportation to and from the airport.

Rental Cars at Disney World

If you are staying at a Disney resort and have no need to go off property I highly recommend skipping the hassle and expense of rental and just using Magical Express. For everyone else head back to Kayak and price shop deals there.

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Picking your Place to Stay at Disney World

Staying at an Official Disney World Resort

There is nothing that puts you in the Disney mode more than doing 100% Disney. If you stay at a Disney hotel and never leave Disney property you are in for a magical experience. Disney has thought of everything when it comes to their guests. They will pick up your luggage at the airport and even check it in for you when you leave. Plus there are even more benefits that you can read about here, Benefits of Staying on Disney Property. If you don’t know where to stay don’t worry we have you covered just read our Pros and Cons of Every Disney World Resort.

Booking an Offsite Hotel near Disney World

There are many, many hotels here in Orlando there isn’t time to cover them all there is just that many. A good place to start when looking at outside hotels are the ones just outside of Disney on Hotel Boulevard by Disney Springs. This can be a great way to save some money in the vacation budget. Just this year Disney allowed these hotels to gain the once exclusive Extra Magic Hours! There are still some things that you can still only get by staying at a Disney Resort. Make sure to compare their pricing with Disney, we have used these hotels when we couldn’t get a last minute Disney reservation during busy season, and the pricing can be just as high if not higher, depending on the hotel you choose.

Renting a House near Disney World

This is another lodging option. If you have a large family or are going with friends and family renting can often be the better options. There are loads of vacation rentals that surround Disney World mainly in Kissimmee and Davenport. While the amenities vary from house to house the pluses tend to be you have more room to spread out and can get your own private pool. We recommend websites like or to find your perfect vacation getaway spot.

Disney World Theme Park Tickets

You can buy tickets on their own or bundle them into your Disney World hotel room as a package. If you just want to get them on their own we have a great guide to help you save money, Discount Disney World Tickets.

Mickey Shaped Waffle

Mickey Shaped Waffle

Dining Expense at Disney World

You have two ways to go here, you can pay out-of-pocket or utilize the Disney Dining Plan. If you go the route of using the Disney Dining Plan I highly recommend you do your research to make sure you get your money’s worth out of it.

To get into the nitty-gritty of what to expect on food there is an amazing food calculator out on the web. The Dis Trip Planner lets you enter the details of your trip, dining preferences, and then select where you’d like to eat in Disney World. As you choose each restaurant, the cost is dynamically calculated! They break down your estimated out-of-pocket costs if you did not use a dining plan as well as, the additional cost or potential savings for the three most popular dining plans. These plans are the Quick Service Plan, the Disney Dining Plan, and the Deluxe Dining Plan. If you expand the details for each dining plan estimate, you’ll see exactly which restaurants to pay for out-of-pocket and which restaurants to pay for with the Disney Dining Plan.

Free Disney World Budget Planner

Now that you are armed with all the specifics on how to plan out the cost of your Disney World vacation it’s time to get planning the expense of your own. Otherwise, if you are feeling way too overwhelmed I highly recommend reaching out to an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, like Magical Travel. Just a reminder that using Magical Travel is 100% FREE to you!


Saturday 17th of November 2018

Always remember that if you use a dining calculator, the results will be very random. For example, if you dine at Morimoto Asia, it will be one dining credit for lunch but two at dinner. This MIGHT be a good option or dinner if you're going to order the most expensive thing on the menu. It's not a good idea if you don't. The calculator has no way of knowing what you'll be ordering.

A good rule of thumb regarding the DDP is what meals you're interested in. If you like to eat a lot of steak, then you may not want to pay out of pocket. If you want to hit all the character meals, you definitely don't want to pay out of pocket! Those meals will go over $100 for two adults and one child!

Also remember when factoring the cost of meals that tips (and often tax) is not included in the DDP, so you have to pay out of pocket for that. Even with a character meal paid by the plan, you'll still be responsible for about $25-35 in tax and tips (based on 2 adults & 1 child).

If you like a glass of alcohol with your meal, then the DDP makes sense since cocktails are usually over $10 for one, and you get one with your meal. If you don't drink alcohol, or have children 10 and over, it's not as great a deal. You'll have to pay the adult charge for 10 and over kids, but they aren't old enough to drink. They can get smoothies or shakes instead, so that 'might' be a good trade-off if they'll want one at every meal.

If you're thinking about renting a car, it is wise to use the Disney transportation system instead unless you need a car. We like to go to SeaWorld while in Orlando, so we rent a car from the Disney Car Center on property. They'll pick you up at your resort and drop you off at your resort or a park when you return the car, so you don't have to worry about how to get there. And then you can rent a car for the day without paying too much. They only have Alamo and National, so become a member to get an even lower rate.