Planning on visiting Disney World? Then you’ll have some decisions to make, and we’re not talking about which rides you’re brave enough to ride. No, we’re talking about accommodation. Have you thought, “is it cheaper to stay at Disney or Airbnb?”

There are plenty of on-site Disney hotels to choose from, but you don’t necessarily have to stay within the Disney World property itself or stay within the “Disney Bubble.” You also have the option of renting an Airbnb in the nearby area.

This will offer a different vacation experience and also impact the amount of money the vacation costs you. On this page, you’ll find all you need to know about choosing an Airbnb over a Disney hotel.

Is it cheaper to stay at a Disney World Hotel or an Airbnb?

There’s no clear-cut, absolute answer to this question. Still, if we’re talking in general terms, you’ll probably find that it’s cheaper to stay at an Airbnb than at Disney Resorts.

There are more Airbnb options than there is a Disney hotel room that would fit your budget. Of course, if the Airbnb you’re looking at is a mansion with its own swimming pool and jacuzzi, then you’ll probably end up spending more than you would at Walt Disney World. But if you’re just looking at simple accommodation, then Airbnb may be cheaper unless you happen to find a great offer at Disney Resort value resorts.

If you’d rather stay onsite but still want vacation home style accommodations, check out the Disney Deluxe Villas.

Additional Costs

The cost per night isn’t the only price you should factor into your decision-making process. Every additional Disney World cost will impact how much your Disney World vacation costs.

For instance, let’s think about food. There’ll probably be a kitchen at your Airbnb home, which will allow you to prepare your own meals, reducing your per-day expenses significantly (some onsite deluxe villas also have kitchens). Of course that only really works for breakfast and maybe dinner — few people will drive all the way back to their Airbnb just for lunch.

On the other hand, if you stay at Disney, then you’ll get to enjoy free transportation to and from Disney parks and other points of interest. Staying offsite also means you’ll have to make your own way with a rental car or other means of transportation to the Disney World parks and pay all the associated Disney trip costs (including theme park parking fees).

And of course, Airbnbs can be notorious for charging extra fees for cleaning (and some even require you to do “chores” before you leave — a real bummer at the end of your trip).

When Does it Make Sense to Stay at an Airbnb?

Staying at an Airbnb away from Disney World isn’t for everyone. But there are certain conditions when it can just make sense. For instance, if you’re traveling in a large group (6 – 10 people), renting a large house for everyone to stay in can be significantly cheaper than renting multiple on-site hotel rooms. Staying off site is also a good idea if you’re visiting the area for more than five days since you can prepare your own and save money on meals. Or perhaps you’re also going to visit Universal and want to stay somewhere between Universal and Disney.

When Does it Make Sense to Stay on the Disney Property?

It makes sense to stay at Disney if you’re only visiting for a couple of days. It’s better to spend slightly more money to be on-site rather than saving some bucks but spending excessive amounts of time traveling to and from the theme parks. It’s also a good idea to stay at Disney World Resorts if you’re looking for the “full Disney experience.” You’ll also get on-site perks including free transportation and extra time in the parks.

Ultimately, it’s about planning what’s right for your and your family. The cost isn’t the only factor when it comes to deciding between Airbnb or Disney. It’s about the Disney vacation experience you’re looking for.

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