The only real downside to Disney vacations is their cost.

The average Disney World vacation for a family of 4 will cost $4,200. This calculation is based on a 4-night hotel stay at a Disney Value Resort, 4-days worth of theme park tickets, and food expenses for 4 people over the course of the trip.

In this article, we’ll break down all of the major expenses of a Disney World trip. These estimates should help you determine how to budget for your next Walt Disney World Resort vacation.

The Emporium on Main Street USA

Factors that will determine how much money will your Disney World trip will cost

A Walt Disney World family vacation is almost always a magical and memorable experience. But it can also be a significant expense.

How much it will cost depends on many factors, but it comes down to your particular situation and the decisions and compromises you make. Most families spend anywhere between $3,000 to $6,000 on a Disney World vacation, but how much costs will depend on how long you stay, where you stay, what dining plan you choose, car rentals, theme park tickets, souvenirs, and other such factors. 

This Disney World vacation expense guide will cover the bases for you. So let’s get started…

All ticket prices mentioned below are accurate for Disney vacations in June 2020. This is subject to change.

How much will Disney World Tickets cost?

Walt Disney World has four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. As much as people enjoy the hotels, pools, shopping at Disney Springs, riding the monorail, etc., most people come to Disney for the theme parks. That said, theme park tickets are of utmost importance.

In years past,  single-day tickets to Magic Kingdom were more expensive than tickets to the other three parks. That isn’t necessarily the case today.

These days, the price of Disney World tickets are tiered and park admission is based on which day you visit. Generally speaking, Disney ticket prices are more expensive during the times when tickets are in demand the most (i.e., school vacations, holidays, special events, weekends) and less expensive during slower times. The Summer 2020 cost of a one-day ticket to any Disney World theme park ranges from $109 to $159. If you take the average of these figures, then you can expect to pay roughly $130 per person, per day at Disney World.

Disney structures its ticket prices in a way that rewards you for longer stays. In other words, the more days you add to your Disney pass, the more the ticket price per day goes down. For example, a 1-day ticket starts at $109, while a 5-day ticket starts at $88 per ticket, per day.

Disney occasionally runs special offers, which usually entail a discount package that includes your hotel stay, dining, and tickets. The current special is a 4-Park Magic Ticket, which is currently around $356 (about $89 per day).

Disney 4 Park Magic Ticket

In early 2020, Disney announced its new “4 Park Magic” ticket. This special ticket allows you admission to one theme park of choice per day for 4 days. This is a great way to experience all 4 Disney World theme parks for tickets as low as $85 per day.  Ticket upgrades include admission to all 4 theme parks (one park each day), plus admission to either Disney’s Blizzard Beach or Disney Typhoon Lagoon water park, and one admission to Disney’s NBA Experience (an additional $40 per ticket).

Read more about Disney’s 4 Park Magic Ticket.

Disney Park Pass System

Because of COVID-19, Disney has introduced a new reservation-based ticketing system.  The goal here is to reduce crowds and make it easier for Disney to enforce their social distancing guidelines.

The new Disney Park Pass System requires guests to make their reservations in advance for each theme park. Those who are planning to visit Disney can make reservations for the theme parks through Sept. 26, 2021.

The Park Hopper option is no longer an option at this time.

Confused? A Disney travel agent can help you find the best options and prices for your family vacation. Consider The Vacationeer, the best commission-free Disney travel planners in the business.

How much will Disney World hotels cost?

Unless you live nearby or get an Airbnb rental, you will need to stay at a hotel in or around Disney World.

The question then becomes, should you stay on-property at a Disney-owned hotel or should you save a few bucks and stay off-property?

One thing you should know is that non-Disney, off-property hotels are usually cheaper, but staying at one doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll save money by so.

When you factor in the extra money you’ll spend on transportation, the extra time traveling to and from the theme parks every day, and missing out on Extra Magic Hours, free airport transportation, and the other perks Disney hotel guests receive, is it really worth it? We would argue “no.”

Walt Disney World has three tiers of on-property hotels: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe.  As you may have guessed, Disney Value Resorts are the least expensive (starting around $120/per night as of June 2020), Deluxe Resorts are the most expensive (from $456/night as of June 2020), and Disney World’s Moderate Resorts are somewhere in the middle.

Disney Deluxe Resorts tend to be closer to the theme parks and have bigger rooms, and better pools and restaurants.

The rooms of Disney Value Resorts are smaller, transportation is mostly via bus (no monorail or boat), and the restaurants are more like food courts. That said, Value Resorts are great for families and budget-conscious travelers because they are affordable and situation you inside Disney World.

If you want an upgrade from Value but don’t want to drop an arm and a leg, check out the Disney Moderate Resorts. They are really nice!

If camping is more of your thing, check out the campground sites at Fort Wilderness Resort (average is about $120 per night)

See our Disney World Resort Comparison page.

How much does it cost to get from the airport to Disney World?

Orlando International airport is about 15 miles from Walt Disney World Resort. The good news is that it’s easy to get to your hotel, especially if you’re staying on Disney property.

If you’re flying into Orlando and staying at one of the Disney-owned hotels, then you are eligible for the complimentary shuttle transportation to and from the airport and Disney World. Simply add the complimentary Disney Magical Express bus service to your package and you will receive free shuttle transportation directly to your hotel.

If you are staying at a non-Disney hotel, then you will need to rent a car or use a rideshare or taxi service. Check with your hotel before you arrive.

Once in the park, all Disney transportation is completely free for everyone.

Annual pass holders get free parking, but if you arrive at a Disney theme park in your own car, then you will have to pay for parking.  And if you are staying at a Disney resort but have your own vehicle, then you can expect to pay the following for parking:

  • Disney Value resorts: $15 per night
  • Disney’s Moderate resorts: $20 per night
  • Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts: $25 per night

Should you bring your own car, rent a car, or just use Disney Transportation?

If you value your time and your money, then the clear answer is to leave your car at home, book your stay at an on-property Disney resort in a convenient location, and just use Disney’s own transportation to get around. There are plenty of taxis and Ubers at Disney World, but using those services can add up. And why rent a car when there is so much to do and see at Disney? No need to check out the surrounding areas when you have the most magical place on Earth at your fingertips!

Here’s a helpful map of Disney World transportation.

Food Costs at Disney World

How much will food cost at Disney World?

Eating is a huge part of every vacation.   At Disney World, food isn’t exactly cheap but you can make it work to fit your budget. Guests can either pay-as-they-go or choose a Disney Dining Plan.

Which makes more sense depends on your appetite, priorities, and how much you are willing to spend.

If you are a light eater or wish to bring your own food (yes, you can bring food into the parks), then you may just want to go it alone without a Disney Dining Plance. However, most guests do in fact opt for one of the four dining plans.

Every single Disney Dining Plan now comes with the option that includes non-alcoholic specialty beverages  (adults age 21 or older). One beer, wine, or cocktail comes with each meal. This is very welcome news to many adults and not as exciting to others.

There are currently 4 different tiers of Disney Dining Plans.  In 2020, the Disney Dining Plan cost from $55 – $119 per adult, per day, and $26 -$47.50 per child, per day. 

Below we detail how much each Disney Dining Plan costs and what they offer.

Quick Service Disney Dining Plan (QSDDP)

This is the lowest tier of Disney Dining Plans. QSDDP is usually included with the Free Dining promotion at the Disney Value and Moderate Resorts.

Each person on the room reservation is eligible to receive:

  • two counter-service meals (per night)
  • two snacks (per night)
  • a refillable drink mug (per stay)

The cost of the Quick Service Plan is $55 per adult, $26 per child ages 3-9 (per night)

Standard Disney Dining Plan

This plan is usually included with Free Dining at the Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts.

Each person on the room reservation is eligible to receive:

  • one counter-service meal (per night)
  • one sit-down meal (per night)
  • two snacks (per night)
  • a refillable drink mug (per stay)

The cost of the Standard Disney Dining Plan is $78.01 per adult, $30.51 per child (per night)

Disney Dining Plan Plus

Each person on the room reservation is eligible to receive:

  • two meals at your choice of table service or counter service restaurants (per night)
  • two snacks (per night)
  • a refillable drink mug (per stay)

The cost of the Disney Dining Plan Plus is $94.61 per adult, $35 per child (per night)

Deluxe Disney Dining Plan (DxDDP)

Each person on the room reservation is eligible to receive:

  • three meals at your choice of counter service restaurants or table service restaurants (per night)
  • two snacks (per night)
  • one refillable drink mug (per stay)

The cost of the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan is $119 per adult, $47.50 per child during the normal season, and more during peak season (per night)

Will the Disney Dining Plan save you money?

The amount you spend on dining at Disney World will depend on the level of dining plan you choose, the time of year you visit Disney,  and package deals.

Disney typically offers a short-term promotion that includes free dining when families book their hotel packages. The promotion is wildly popular and does sell out quickly, so you might want to speak with your Disney travel agent about if and when the promotion will be offered.

If you plan on eating at a lot of Table Services restaurants, then one of the more inclusive (expensive) Disney Dining Plans will probably be your best bet, especially if you do plan on ordering an alcoholic beverage with your meal.  One of the less expensive dining plan options should be more than sufficient for a typical family (most of the Quick Service restaurants are crowd-pleasing and delicious). And if you are a light eater or don’t drink alcohol, then paying out-of-pocket may work out to be the cheapest option. It just really depends on what you plan on ordering and which restaurants you wish to go to.

See our Disney World Dining Plan Calculator, How Much Does Food Cost at Disney World? and Can You Bring Food to Disney World? for more options.

Extra Spending at Disney World

Disney guests should also budget for “extra” purchases. How much discretionary spending you do is your own call to make.

These extra costs can be anything from Disney World souvenirs (like clothing and merchandise) to a trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a PhotoPass+ plan, Disney World stroller rental,  in-room babysitting, food outside of your dining plan, etc.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to have fun – and spend money – inside and outside of the theme parks! However, nothing compares to the magic of Walt Disney World Resort so it’s worth it!

Enjoy your Trip!

If you need help planning and booking your Walt Disney World vacation, please call the The Vacationeer! Their services are 100%-commission-free and their advice, expertise, and dedication will prove invaluable!

Have a magical day!