How much does it cost to go to Disney World? Example trips from $2,000-10,000.

(Article last updated: August 5, 2015)

Lots of people dream of a trip to Disney World but aren't sure how much money it will take to get there. Asking how much a trip costs is almost like asking how much a house costs - it just depends.

Let's take a look at different budgets and see what you can do with each.

Some assumptions

Let's just assume we're talking about a family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 kids under 10 who live in the middle of the U.S., which is both cliché and a bit narcissistic since that describes our family on our first Disney World trip, but we have to start somewhere.

These are the main expense categories we'll look at:

  • Transportation - road trip expenses, plane tickets, train tickets
    • If driving, check out to help compute road trip costs.
    • If flying, check Hopper's Airline Fee Calculator to help you budget.
    • If flying and staying offsite, be sure to factor in rental car or car service costs.
    • If flying and staying onsite, you can use Magical Express to get from the airport to your WDW resort for free.
  • Lodging - offsite, onsite, hotel, condo
    • The decision to stay onsite vs. offsite should include more than just costs. Be sure to consider all of the benefits of staying onsite before booking your trip.
    • If staying onsite, use Mousesavers charts for 2015 and 2016 to help you figure out nightly rates.
    • If staying offsite, be sure to add in any resort or parking fees (for parking at the resort and at Disney World) when budgeting.
    • If staying offsite, consider using Priceline to bid on lower rates, but check this listing for hotels available through Priceline before you do.
  • Park tickets - different levels of tickets available, and from different sources
  • Food - eating in the parks, cooking some meals in your room
  • Souvenirs and spending money

Below you'll find what each budget will get you. Keep in mind that these are full prices that don't include promotions (except for the Free Dining example). Most people get discounts. You can check the 5 year history of discounts to see what is likely for your trip dates.

Scroll down or jump right to your budget.
$2000 | $3000 | $4000 | $5000 | $6000 | $8000 | $10000

$2000 budget

Going to Disney World at this budget won't be easy, but it could work in some situations.

Example 1: 4 nights at a WDW Value Resort during Value Season

  • Transportation: take a road trip, driving straight there without any overnight stops ($200 for gas)
  • Lodging: 4 nights onsite at Pop Century during Value Season ($111 x 4 = $444)
  • Park tickets: 4-day base tickets through the YES program. Get info on YES here. (around $300/adult and $200/child = $1000 for all 4)
  • Food: get groceries for most meals, maybe eat at an inexpensive restaurant 1-2 times ($200)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: that leaves just over $150 for spending money

Example 2: 5 nights at an offsite hotel booked through Priceline

  • Transportation: take a road trip, driving straight there without any overnight stops ($200 for gas)
  • Lodging: 5 nights at an offsite resort available through Priceline ($50 x 5 = $250)
  • Park tickets: 5-day base tickets through the YES program. Get info on YES here. (around $320/adult and $210/child = $1060 for all 4)
  • Food: get groceries for most meals, maybe eat at a restaurant 2 times ($300)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: that leaves around $200 for spending money (be sure to also factor WDW parking costs)

Example 3: go all out...for 2 nights

  • Transportation: take a road trip, driving straight there without any overnight stops ($200 for gas)
  • Lodging: rent DVC points for a studio at Animal Kingdom Villas ($125/night x 2 = $250)
  • Park tickets: 2-day Park Hopper tickets ($257.73/adult, and $243.89/child = $1003.24 for all)
  • Food: Regular Disney Dining Plan to cover all meals ($61.84/night for adults and $20.96/night for kids = $331.20 for all 4 people for 2 nights)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: that leaves just over $200 for spending money

$3000 budget

This is probably the lowest reasonable budget I'd consider for Disney World trips. In the examples below, notice that transportation and park ticket prices stay the same even when the number of days changes. If you're staying somewhere that's relatively inexpensive and not eating out all the time, you can often extend a trip from 4 to 7 days for very little money.

Example 1: 6 nights at a WDW Value Resort during least busy time

  • Transportation: road trip with a night in a hotel on the way there and back ($200 for gas + $200 hotels = $400)
  • Lodging: 6 nights onsite at Pop Century during Value Season ($111 x 6 = $666)
  • Park tickets: 6-day base park tickets purchased from a third party like AAA or a ticket wholesaler ($320/adult and $300/child = $1240 for all 4)
  • Food: get groceries for breakfasts and packed lunches, eat a few dinners out ($100 groceries + $300 restaurants = $400)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: that leaves almost $300 for spending money

Example 2: 4 nights onsite at a WDW Moderate Resort during Regular Season

  • Transportation: road trip with a night in a hotel on the way there and back ($200 for gas + $200 hotels = $400)
  • Lodging: 4 nights at Port Orleans Riverside in a Garden View room during Regular Season ($236 x 4 = $944)
  • Park tickets: 4-day base park tickets purchased from a third party like AAA or a ticket wholesaler ($320/adult and $300/child = $1240 for all 4)
  • Food: get groceries for breakfasts and packed lunches, eat a few dinners out ($75 groceries + $200 restaurants = $275)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: that leaves around $150 for spending money

Example 3: 7 nights offsite at a WDW Downtown Disney resort during Regular Season

  • Transportation: road trip with a night in a hotel on the way there and back ($200 for gas + $200 hotels = $400)
  • Lodging: 7 nights at Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista during Regular Season ($84 + $15 daily resort fee x 7 = $693)
  • Park tickets: 7-day base park tickets purchased from a third party like AAA or a ticket wholesaler ($320/adult and $300/child = $1240 for all 4)
  • Food: get groceries for breakfasts and packed lunches, eat a few dinners out. Kids under 12 staying at this Holiday Inn get breakfast and dinner free at the Applebee's located at the hotel. ($100 groceries + $300 restaurants = $400)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: that leaves about $270 for spending money (be sure to factor in WDW parking costs)

$4000 budget

At this budget, we can start to have a little more room to eat in restaurants, fly instead of drive, or add a special experience to the trip.

Example 1: 5 nights at a Value Resort during Regular Season

  • Transportation: fly to WDW ($250 x 4 = $1000)
  • Lodging: Preferred Room at All-Star Music (average of $160/night x 5 - $800)
  • Park tickets: 5-day base tickets from a ticket wholesaler ($321/adult and $300/child = $1242)
  • Food: breakfast in the room, mostly Quick Service lunches, and 2-3 other Table Service restaurants (around $700)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: just over $250 for spending money

Example 2: 7 nights at WDW during Free Dining at a Moderate Resort

  • Transportation: road trip with a night in a hotel on the way there and back ($200 for gas + $200 hotels = $400)
  • Lodging: standard room at Caribbean Beach ($215 x 7 = $1505)
  • Park tickets: 7-day Park Hopper tickets - a required ticket upgrade for Free Dining ($424.94/adult, $403.64/child = $1657.16)
  • Food: free
  • Souvenirs/spending money: around $450 for spending money

Example 3: rent a house offsite for 7 nights in the summer

  • Transportation: road trip with a night in a hotel on the way there and back ($200 for gas + $200 hotels = $400)
  • Lodging: rent a house or condo offsite using a site like (big price range, but we'll use $150/night. $150 x 7 = $1050)
  • Park tickets: 7-day Park Hopper tickets from a ticket wholesaler ($406.95/adult, $385.95/child = $1585.80)
  • Food: eat in house/condo sometimes, eat in restaurants for most dinners ($600)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: just under $400 for spending money and other expenses, including parking at WDW daily

$5000 budget

At this budget, you start to get into more of a Deluxe-level trip with better hotels and special touches.

Example 1: 7 nights at WDW in a DVC Resort during Regular Season

  • Transportation: fly to WDW ($250 x 4 = $1000)
  • Lodging: rent DVC points for an Old Key West studio ($202/night x 7 = $1414)
  • Park tickets: 7-day Park Hopper tickets from a ticket wholesaler ($406.95/adult, $385.95/child = $1585.80)
  • Food: have some snacks, drinks, and breakfast items on hand, eat remaining meals in restaurants (~$700)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: $300 left over to spend

Example 2: 10 nights at WDW Value Resort during Regular Season

  • Transportation: road trip with a night in a hotel on the way there and back ($200 for gas + $200 hotels = $400)
  • Lodging: Little Mermaid standard room at Art of Animation (~$175/night x 10 = $1750)
  • Park tickets: 10-day Park Hopper tickets ($435.95/adult, $414.95/child = $1701.80 for all 4)
  • Food: $900
  • Souvenirs/spending money: around $250 for spending

Example 3: 5 nights at the Swan hotel during spring break

  • Transportation: fly to WDW ($250 x 4 = $1000)
  • Lodging: standard room at the Swan (~$300/night x 5 = $1500)
  • Park tickets: 5-day Park Hopper tickets ($403.64/adult, $382.34/child = $1571.96)
  • Food: $600
  • Souvenirs/spending money: Just over $300 left for spending money and miscellaneous expenses, including parking

$6000 budget

At this level, Deluxe and longer trips are even easier. Throw in some magical touches for an extra special trip.

Example 1: 7 nights at a WDW Deluxe Resort during Regular Season

  • Transportation: road trip with a night in a hotel on the way there and back ($200 for gas + $200 hotels = $400)
  • Lodging: Garden Wing room at The Contemporary (~$470/night x 7 = $3290)
  • Park tickets: 7-day base park tickets purchased from a third party like AAA or a ticket wholesaler ($320/adult and $300/child = $1240 for all 4)
  • Food: $800
  • Souvenirs/spending money: just over $200 for spending/extra expenses

Example 2: 6 nights at WDW in a Value Resort suite during a peak time

  • Transportation: fly to WDW ($250 x 4 = $1000)
  • Lodging: Finding Nemo suite at Art of Animation (~$460/night x 6 = $2760)
  • Park tickets: 6-day base park tickets purchased from a third party like AAA or a ticket wholesaler ($320/adult and $300/child = $1240 for all 4)
  • Food: $700
  • Souvenirs/spending money: $300

Example 3: 10 nights offsite during Regular Season

  • Transportation: fly to WDW ($250 x 4 = $1000)
  • Lodging: 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo at Wyndham Bonnet Creek booked through (~$1500)
  • Park tickets: 10-day Park Hopper tickets ($435.95/adult, $414.95/child = $1701.80 for all 4)
  • Food: $1000
  • Souvenirs/spending money: $800 for spending money and other expenses (like a rental car, parking fees, etc.)

$8000 budget

Example 1: 5 nights at WDW in a club level room at a Deluxe Resort during summer

  • Transportation: fly to WDW ($250 x 4 = $1000)
  • Lodging: Garden View Club Level room at The Polynesian ($802/night x 5 = $4010)
  • Park tickets: 5-day Park Hopper tickets from a ticket wholesaler ($379.95/adult, $358.95/child = $1477.80)
  • Food: $800
  • Souvenirs/spending money: $800 (enough to allow for special experiences like fireworks cruises, gift deliveries to the room, etc.)

Example 2: 7 nights at an offsite deluxe resort during Regular Season

  • Transportation: fly to WDW ($250 x 4 = $1000)
  • Lodging: Golden Oak view room at the Four Seasons (~$600/night x 7 = $4200)
  • Park tickets: 7-day Park Hopper tickets from a ticket wholesaler ($406.95/adult, $385.95/child = $1585.80)
  • Food: $800
  • Souvenirs/spending money: $400 spending and extra expenses (like parking at Disney World)

Example 3: 8 nights in a 1-bedroom suite at a DVC resort at Easter

  • Transportation: road trip with a night in a hotel on the way there and back ($200 for gas + $200 hotels = $400)
  • Lodging: 1-bedroom at Saratoga Springs using rented points ($5068)
  • Park tickets: 8-day Park Hopper tickets ($416.95/adult, $395.95/child = $1625.80 for all 4)
  • Food: buy groceries to make some meals in the villa, eat several meals in restaurants as well ($600)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: $300

$10000 budget

Example 1: 7 nights at a WDW Deluxe Resort during Regular Season

  • Transportation: fly to WDW ($250 x 4 = $1000)
  • Lodging: Garden View Beach Club room (~$560/night x 7 = $3920)
  • Park tickets: 7-day Park Hopper tickets - ($424.94/adult, $403.64/child = $1657.16)
  • Food: Deluxe Dining Plan ($111.73/adult per night, $32.56/child per night = $2443.34 total)
  • Souvenirs/spending money: $1000 for extras

Example 2: 5 nights at a deluxe offsite resort during Regular Season

  • Transportation: fly to WDW ($250 x 4 = $1000)
  • Lodging: Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes (~$900/night x 5 = $4500)
  • Park tickets: 5-day Park Hopper tickets ($403.64/adult, $382.34/child = $1571.96)
  • Food: $1000
  • Souvenirs/spending money: $2000 for extras like VIP tours, fireworks cruises, spending money, etc.

Example 3: 4 nights in a bungalow at the Polynesian during Regular Season

  • Transportation: fly to WDW ($250 x 4 = $1000)
  • Lodging: Polynesian bungalow using rented points ($6480)
  • Park tickets: 5-day Park Hopper tickets ($392.99/adult, $371.69/child = $1529.36)
  • Food: $500
  • Souvenirs/spending money: $500 for spending money


Again, these prices don't include any discounts so it's possible to fit even more into your budget if a promotion pops up.

Want to share a trip budget you've come up with? Copy the format below into the comment form and fill in the fields so we can see even more ways to put together a trip.

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Thanks for this guide! My family always has about a $2000 budget and we do a combo of your example 1 and example 3. We drive, then spend four nights at a value resort with a two-day ticket package. On our “off day” we hang out at the pool and arcade, explore other resort hotels, and go to Downtown Disney. We eat breakfast in our room and stick to mostly counter service meals. Our kids save up for their own souvenirs. By going the value route we can go to Disney more often, so I’m all for it! (Although I’m daydreaming about the $7,000 budget …)


We are doing the same thing you describe (2 day park, one day at resort Art of Animation). Any tips for this being our first visit with an 8 and 3 yr old? Anything to hit, anything to miss?
Thanks for your time!


My husband and I and our 3 children are driving from Michigan to WDW for my daughters 6th birthday November 2015. We are staying at the Polynisian Resort on the Monorail with the deluxe dining plan along with 5 day park hopper passes. Our bill to WDW is 4800 dollars. Flying right now is not possible with our peanut allergy child (accidental reaction 5,000 miles in the sky is bad news) and even if we did fly, tickets 5 people could eaisly cost us 1800-2000. We would rather spend that on vacation.

I should add that if you have a child with a life threatening food allergy, Disney is one of the few places that welcomes and accomdates families. (Chefs come to the table and take your order, they prepare your food seperate from everyone else, Disney Allergy Menues and careful cleaning of hotel rooms prior to your arrival) We have an AWESOME Disney Agent who is also part of the allergy community who is making a Dream Come true trip for our family.

Renee Eshnaur

Hello wdwprepschool!! I have a few quest hoping you can answer.. I’m flying Into Orlando Sunday morning July 23 @ 4:45 am with two adults and two kids ten and two years old. I’ve booked a room for 5 nights at Wyndham garden lake Buena vista Disney springs resort for $356 is this a smart move compared to staying onsite and spending twice as much? What do we do at 5 am to get to our hotel with a 4pm check in time? Rent a car and wander, eat breakfast lol? Other ride alternatives with suitcases and car seat? So sorry it’s so long hope someone has suggestions one week to date I’m so excited!


Doing Disney in July! We’re staying 5 nights/6days. Here’s our breakdown so far…

2 adults, 2 kids:

park tickets: 1120
memory maker:150
vrbo house (for 13) our portion:500
plane tickets: 1200
Dining reservations: 250…that’s a rough estimate..3 restaurants.
Rental car for 6 days: 260

Extra stuff so far such as BB Boutique, universal studios tickets, groceries, etc.-1500

All in all, we will probably be in about 5k after it is all said and done.

Thank you so much for all of the wonderful tips! You have made planning this trip so much easier.


Planning our 3rd trip to Disney. First was super cheap, stayed at an off site hotel. Whole trip was about $2k. Second time was more like $3500, stayed at a moderate Disney hotel. This third time will now exceed that, mostly because since the 1st trip we’ve added another child and they are all getting older (and more expensive for tickets and lodging). Will probably be about $4500. And I think we are doing it while being budget conscious, we drive down (12 hours), don’t get the dining plan and stay at modest hotels (less then $300/night). I googled Disney vacation costs because I’m having a hard time wrapping my around the fact that families stay at much nicer hotels, for longer, fly in, do all the character dinners AND do it yearly! I’m wondering if I’m not in on some secret Disney savings or if average families really drop $5k+ on a yearly Disney vacation. We are an upper middle class family, have an expendable income and have a healthy appreciation for Disney but I still have a hard time understanding the more “luxurious” Disney vacations/resorts. At some point the benefits don’t outweigh the costs and that right around $700/night for a hotel you’ll mostly just sleep in. 😉


Driving to Orlando; 2 adults with 2 days at the parks over Thanksgiving 2016.

gas and food for 7 hr drive there and back; 300
hotel was a steal four nights; 250
base tickets for two adults x 2 days; 430
uber 1 day and parking 1 day; 40
food and drinks; 450
souvenirs; 50
total 1,510

I did pay about 60 bucks for memory pics after the fact. We didn’t get the memory maker. Probably worth it for a longer trip.

this was our first trip in years and we wanted to see how cheap we could do it…. we did eat two nice meals at the parks and some other nice dinners including one at Disney springs. We also had mucho drinks at Epcot. Cutting out food and drinks could bring things down.

David Felix

I was just wondering how much will it cost to go to Disney world for a family of 30? 14 kids 16 adult.


Planned my own WDW trip 8 weeks in advance for my mom, me and my daughters first time in late October 2016. I really wanted to stay under $3000 and I was able to hit my goal. My daughter was 2 at the time (she didnt turn 3 until after we got back from our trip) so she didnt factor into theme/party tickets and meals.

Trans: Flights for me and daughter including luggage fees&taxes: $400
(my mom flew in from another part of the country to meet us)

Hotel: Pop Century Preferred Pool View 4 nights including tax: $615

Park tickets: 2-day base tickets for 2 adults (daughter was 2 yrs old): $430
Mickey’s Halloween Party for 2 adults: $203×2= $406
(so nice we went to the party twice!)total for park/party tickets: $836

Food: Opted out of the dining plan (next time we visit will defintely book a Free Dining Promo). We enjoyed 5 table meals (Boatwrights, Cinderellas Royal table, Disney Jr Play n Dine, Minnies Seasonal Dine at H&V and Chef Mickey’s) various QS meals/snacks.Used Prime Now for water/snacks delivery to room: $600

Souvenirs/Spending Money/Tips: $500

Total for a 2 adults and a child under 3 for 4 nights: $2,951

After writing it all out I see places where I can save even more money (taking my own food into the parks/buying costumes, ears etc before coming to Disney/only going to the Halloween party once lol) but was the MOST amazing time I could ask for and this site made my planning soo much easier! Thank you Shannon!

PS: we LOVED the halloween at WDW and weather so much we are making it a yearly trip during this time!


Going with my husband in May 2017 for 6 nights! It’s his first trip so I’m spending more than I probably would if it weren’t.

Non-stop Airline tix from NYC area – $200×2
DVC Studio rental at Animal Kingdom – $1120
5 Day Park Hopper Tix through work program – $807
Budget for Food/Souvenirs – $1000
Memory Maker – $149

Total $3,476

Amanda L

Family of 4, 2 adults 2 kids (one under 3) going in November 2016 for 5 nights. We lucked into an extremely affordable trip, but I’ll share how much it would have cost as well.

Transportation: Flying from Washington, DC, 4 tickets – $750 (used credit card rewards point for cost of flights)

Lodging: 5 nights at Boardwalk Villas DVC – $2420 (No cost to us, a sweet relative is letting us use her points)

Park tickets: 5 day base tickets – 2 adult and 1 child – $1065

Food: $600 (two character breakfasts, otherwise eating quick service and grocery delivery)

Souvenirs/spending money: $400 (including $150 for Memory Maker)

Total: $5235


Hubby and I September 2016

Transportation: nonstop spirit flight from Detroit $306 total with luggage (sharing one checked bag)

Lodging: 4 nights at Boardwalk (can’t wait to walk to parks) $1300

Tickets: 2 day, one park per day $400
Arrive evening Fri, Sat HS, Sun relax and DS, Mon Epcot food and wine

Food: Budget $500 (high because, food and wine!)

Misc: $300
Total: $2800


2 adults and 2 children at the Animal Kingdom Lodge
(Savanna view room)
November 26- December 2nd (6 nights)
Deluxe Dining Package (free promotion)
Memory Maker
Transportation to and from the airport

Flights are “free” & booked due to airline miles. bags are free due to having a united credit card.

I am thinking we probably need $1,000.00 cash for “Extras”

What am I missing? Is $1,000.00 enough? My kids are 2 & 3.


Forgot to mention 6 days of park hopper tickets included in the $4110!


I found this to be off for us personally. We had to include costs of driving 3 hours to the airport (and driving home from the airport) with gas and tolls(luckily my m is driving our van home and back up so we don’t have to spend hundreds on a rental plus carseats rentals), a 3 hr flight for four both ways, 6 nights at coranado springs with park tickets for 5 days, and the deluxe dining plan. What I would encourage anyone to do though is factor in tips and taxes on everything. We planned many table service meals that require tips, plus mousekeeping, checking luggage, tipping for luggage, etc.

Dana Hobbs

I guess maybe I find these to be way off. We have spent 4,230 with trip insurance for an 8 night stay in pop century Oct 20-28th of 2016. this includes park hooper+water park, the disney dining plan with table service and quick service and memory maker. When we add in the flights i have found for 1000.00 we are only looking at 5,230. For all 3 of us to go. So i feel like these are a bit off. i mean why not show the value resorts. We would rather do value and have more money to spend on things in the park.

Yvette D. Jordan

I have 5 adults ,and 4 grandchildren two who will be 5 and two who will be 2 in April of 2018. I have never been to WDW and feel my first experience will be shared greatly with our children and grandchildren. I will be graduating from college in Orlando at that time. What clubs should I join to help my family be able to afford at least a weekend stay off site and still enjoy the theme park for 2-3 days? All Sincere help will be welcomed!
Thanks ~Yvette

Brian Atkinson

In my humble opinion. Nobody does it like disney and their Christmas decorations are nice. Your value sense it going to be mostly taxed by lodging and food. Resort lodging is a categorical rip off and eating on site follows close behind. Minimize those those two things and that will go a long way to help your value sense. Also pay attention to crowd statistics…. that will go a long way to aid your pleasure meter. Crowds are the quintessential buzz kill and watch the weather (temperature stats). I may be one of the few people that put a number on things in terms of “value”. When it’s all said and done…. what number would you like too see vs what you experienced. To some… that number is high…. you can spend over $20,000.00 for a week at Disney… I couldn’t imagine. Is your number $2k, $4k, $6k, more? I’d be hard pressed to say that $2k for two people is worth it. So many people get dreamy…. we had a private tour of Egypt with our own Egyptologist….. that trip was almost $20k…. was it worth it…. nope.


We joined a pretty awesome travel club that has TONS of Disney trips (Disneyland and Disneyworld). We just booked march 14-17th 2016 3 nights 4 days at Disney Paradise Pier Hotel with 2 day park hopper passes for 3 of us, $180 Disney dollars, 2 adults one child = US$1190 + our flights. SO EXCITED!!!


Would you mind sharing the name of the travel club you booked with? That’s a great deal! If I could get a deal like that we could go (we are also a family of 3) in 2017 instead of waiting another year or two.


We went in the off-season- September 2015- for our honeymoon! We spent 5 days and 5 nights. We had the Deluxe Dining Plan and used park hopper tickets- and flew all the way from Idaho! Total cost? $1,569.23!!! We are hoping to go again in May and stay in a DVC rental. We’re currently on a budget of $2,500. I will say though, that there’s only two of us, and that brings the cost waaaaay down.


◾Transportation: We drove from West Virginia. Gas, food, and a hotel on the way back came to $400.00

◾Lodging: Rented DVC points from my sister. Animal Kingdom Lodge for 5 nights was $690.00. 58 points at $12/each.

◾Park tickets: 4-day base tickets for 2 adults, 2 children (used my Target Red card to buy Disney gift cards, saved 5%): $1,194.00

◾Food: Disney Dining Plan, plus one QS meal out of pocket and tips (again, paid with gift cards purchased at a discount): $860.00

◾Souvenirs/spending money: (Gift cards again…) $285.00

Total for a family of 5 (one under 3) for 5 nights, 6 days: $3,429.00

I love this post. I think so many people think you have to have thousands and thousands of dollars to go to Disney World, but it can be done with a very reasonable budget.

Lindsay C

We are spending 6 nights at All-Star sports with free dining and 7 day park-hoppers for $2200. I think I paid about $250 to upgrade our dining from only QS to include 1 TS each day for character meals. We are driving and visiting a friend for a night along the way. We planned everything back at June on a whim to celebrate our daughter’s 7th birthday next month.

Next year I would really like to stay at Wilderness Lodge for 6-7 nights, but we’ll see. We haven’t even been this year and we are already planning for next year.


The Y.E.S. Program prices for 2016 tickets have increased. (Hardly a deal anymore) They actually charge more for the adult attending the program than a regular park ticket. The only way this might still be a good deal is for a group of older children that don’t require adult attendance bc you would save on not buying an “adult” ticket and be getting a discounted yes child ticket.


We are DVC Members and get outstanding value from our membership. In the past my wife would tag along with me when I was on an Orlando business trip (sometimes at Walt Disney World!) to save money. Other times we booked to get the free meal plan f possible and stayed at Deluxe Resorts. It only took a few times to realize that we wanted to continue to go regularly to WDW, but do it cheaper. We investigated the DVC but thought it was expensive. However, after working the numbers we realized if we were going to continue to go to WDW, the costs were adding up– and that is when the DVC made sense.

After more research we decided to purchase after-market DVC. Why? Because it is half the cost of a membership purchased from Disney and it (at the time) had exactly the same perks. Also we didn’t need 40 years of points, only 30. So it made sense to purchase from a family who no longer treasured their membership.

Now our costs are much, much better, and with the points we purchased we can go for 20 or so days a year. DVC provides a discount on annual passes, and instead of purchasing a meal plan we buy a Tables in Wonderland card, the cost with a DVC discount is $100. The Tables in Wonderland card gives us a 20% discount on food and drink, including alcoholic beverages!

So based on annualized costs of our DVC membership, including dues, we can stay at a Deluxe WDW resort for $80 per day. We also usually spend $50 to $100 per day on food for two of us. So add an annual pass it comes to about $55 per day for two of us. Add travel costs (we will go two to three times a year) so we usually try to travel for $500 round trip from North Central Texas (Dallas area) for each trip. In Orlando we always use Magical Express so pickup and local travel is free. So with transportation we spend on average $283 per day. That’s around $5,640 per year for 20 days at WDW during low season! (We seldom buy souvenirs.)

As I said, for us it’s a good value and was near the cost that we have spent for a single 7 day trip for two of us before. The only downside is that with the DVC you need to use the points regularly, but that’s no problem for us.



I have heard a lot about TiW but am still fuzzy on the details. How exactly does it work — is it like a credit card that you use to pay for meals? We had a DDP on our trip just now, so I am comparing it to that.
Thank you for any insight you can provide! 🙂


So our budget is very different than any of yours. We are a family of 4 from Canada, 1 under 10. We fly $500 each, $2000 total 14 days staying on site at a moderate hotel with free dining package. 10 day park hopper plus water parks and more, Halloween party tickets and La Nouba tickets $7050. Plus the Canadian dollar is only worth $0.73. We also are going to Universal for 2 days with meal plan and spending a day at Clearwater with the dolphins (about $2000) This is a VERY expensive holiday but we probably won’t go back again. Once to Disneyland(2013) and once to Disney World now it will be all inclusive hot holidays because it will be much less expensive to go to a 5star in Mexico!

Mary Boozel

My budget looks quite a bit different that yours – we are a family of 5 (2 kids over 10) and we live in Idaho.

A 40 hour drive each way is not possible, so we have to fly.
Value on-site rooms are too small.
We have to go during summer because of school schedules.

Transportation: 5 airline tickets at $400 each = $2000
Lodging: 7 nights at POR – $1750
Park tickets: 4 adults/1 child – hoppers $2154
Food: $2000 (QS plan / 1 out of pocket character meal / airport meals /breakfast)
Souvenirs/spending money: $500 (includes Memory Maker)

We are looking at $8400 – which feels like a pretty hefty price tag for a week of vacation.

I really don’t want to stay offsite because we would prefer to not rent a car and want EMH. I supposed we could cut food, but again you almost need a car or stay somewhere with a kitchen to be successful at that.

Anything I’m overlooking?

My husband and I are going in mid-September, 2 adults, on-sight Value Hotel, flying from California and we’re coming in at just about $3,000…

Transportation: $710.00 It was a great deal with Jet Blue and a random flight path (Long Beach – JFK – Orlando)

Lodging/park tickets: $1,730 ( booked as a package through Disney online) Includes: 7 nights at All-Star Sports, Free Quick Service Dining Plan deal and 2 adult 7 day park hopper with water park fun and more option.

Food: $200 (ish) We like to eat, so even with free quick service dining we’re budgeting that additional expense

Souvenirs/spending money: $300 (ish)

Our friends think we do such extravagant vacations and then are shocked to hear how little we end up paying… it’s all about planning and being willing to make little sacrifices (like flying to New York from Southern California on the way to Orlando haha)


Probably should have purchased 5-6 day passes since Water Park & More attractions do not count against number of days.

(Your 7 day pass could actually be used for 14 days – 7 days of 4 major parks plus another 7 days of water parks.)


Great post, helps with realistic but creative planning!

Here’s our usual trip budget for reference for others with our circumstances: We are a young couple with no kids, living in SC at NC border. We only sleep and shower in the room so don’t care if it’s cheap. And we eat at signature restaurants a lot of the time, we are foodies. We don’t really buy souvenirs or anything else while on trips, would rather save for next trip!

Transport: $70 – we drive 8-9 hours each way in our hybrid.
Accommodation: $200 – we find somewhere cheap but safe and clean on for around $50-60 per night x 3-4 nights.
Tickets: $250 – we bought annual passes and used them for 5 short trips, so our average cost was about $125 per person per trip.
Food: $400 or so – we order pretty much whatever we want because our other costs are low. Food is by far our biggest expense coz we never have a budget in that area.

TOTAL: under $1000. Annual passes were paid for long ago, so our out-of-pocket expense each time is really only $270 plus whatever we spend on food 🙂

Family and friends are jealous and sometimes bitter that we get to go so often, but its coz it only costs a few hundred dollars each time. If you are willing to cut some corners and make a few sacrifices you can do Disney on a pretty tight budget! Great post of comparisons Shannon, you clearly showed how to choose where to save and where to splurge, according to each family’s priorities and personal taste.


Great article! Also, if you (or a family member) are in the military, there are so many great discounts for members of the armed forces. We have stayed both on and off property at a steep discount. Also, Disney offers great prices on discounted tickets for military families. You can even get discounted pricing for special events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 🙂

As far as the souvenirs, I always check out dollar stores, the dollar section at Target, the Disney Store for clearance items, etc. before we go to Disney. I buy a few little things to give our kids each day of the vacation and then allow each child to pick out one souvenir while we are there. It takes a little self-control (I want to buy everything while there) but saves a lot of money in the end.


Going in the winter time to Disney world is the best No crowds. Me I want the cheap all I want to see is Harry potter and Small world and I will be done. But carry one bag on board the plane, and it will be just me going anyway

Margaret Abel

Dear Shannon,
My adult daughter and I will be visitingDisney World (my 22nd visit) this summer from August 26 to 31. I am a Disney Vacation Club Member. Is there any way to take advantage of the free Dining Plan if it is again offered?


We are planning a trip to Disney World in 2017 with our children and grandchildren. There will be 18 of us altogether, provided there are no new additions between now and then. The group will be made up of 10 adults, 1 teenager and 7 children (ages 5 to 11 at that time). Some may be driving and others flying since we will be coming from 3 different states to meet up. Any suggestions on where we could all stay together? Are there any large condos or houses that would accommodate so many people? We would also appreciate any tips on tickets, dining, activities, etc.


What is wrong with us. Can a family of 4 kids(10,12,12,16) and 2 adults, with a monthly income of $6300, go to Disneyworld? If so, what are we doing wrong with our money? Both house and cars are paid for. Help.

T. C.

OK, so you’re saying your cars and house are completely paid for, and you have $6,300 per month, which adds up to $75,000 per year, but you can’t find the money to go to Disney World for $10,000 – $15,000?

To me, this can only mean one thing, and this is assuming you have no other costs except for living costs, saving for kids’ college, retirement, etc., but I’m pretty sure you can max out on all those items, and still do this very comfortably.

As I alluded to, your question probably means one thing, and that one thing is you have no budget, nor do you follow one. Everything you buy is on a whim, you don’t shop sales, there is no accountability financially, and so on.

“You Need a Budget” is budget software that could help you, but you need to stick with it. Dave Ramsey ( has a way to look at finances that blows everything away that I once believed regarding debt, credit, loans, getting on top, and staying there. I would suggest it all. Good luck.


T.C. is spot on. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University saved my marriage! And we are going to Disney now stress free.


We are wanting to go in October to take our 6 yr old son for the first time. we only want to go to the Magic Kingdom for 2 days and Animal Kingdom for 1 day. So, basically staying 3 nights/4 days…what is the most affordable wdw resort to stay at? Where do they offer teacher discounts? and do they have websites for discounted park tickets? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Ginger Carey

What is a Y.E.S class? We always stay on site…but would consider off site if savings were significant


When a road trip is involved in a vacation, that’s part of the fun and family time together. Plan fun activities and stops along the way. I don’t think that that time is a chargeable item.


I have used for savings. It is very neat site. Mobile and computer based. I put X amount in weekly direct deposited. Whenever you need a withdrawal for the WHOLE amount, you can do so but takes a few days to hit your checking account. I opened one for my daughter to direct deposit her allowance and her dog walking money. Very cool graphics to show how close you are to your goal – cute visuals, etc. So this is an option instead of the Disney account that seems to be having problems…


Current upcoming trip plan November 2014- 2 Adults, nonstop airfare, Park hopper, dining plan,Wilderness Lodge standard room, Keys to the Kingdom tour, MVMCP $4000 (Souvenirs not included).

My thoughts about planning-
I have been to WDW 3 times, planning my 4th trip for November 2014. This is the first time I am using a travel agent specializing in Disney-totally the best idea ever. I felt like I had to be knowledgable the other times, and this time I can sit back and enjoy the planning more.

This is also going to be my first trip NOT using the delux dining plan (3 table service, and 2 snack credits), and am using the regular dining plan (1 quick, 1 table, 1 snack). I like the delux plan because you really don’t have to think about anything. If I wanted to plan a meal-I could. My daughter and I had 9 character meals in a 6 day/5 night trip (took each daughter for a mommy and me trip for 2 of my vacations). I know I am going to save money this time-even though I plan on paying for some extra table service meals, but I miss the ease of the delux dining plan-I got spoiled.

ok, I’m replying to my own comment. again. I’ve done some more research as suggested by Shannon… and it turns out that the DVA might not be the greatest thing. It is relatively new and seems like there are A LOT of issues to work out that might actually turn it into a nightmare for some! DOH! Hopefully, the bugs will be worked out soon. I recommend doing some thorough due diligence before signing up. I’m glad I haven’t signed up yet.

I included the website, but didn’t realize it was going to link it to my name- click my name (in red) to go the the Disney Vacation account website. (I’m not a disney travel agent or employee, I don’t get any compensation for referring people. I’m just a single mom trying to find all the ways I can to be able to afford taking a wdw vacation).


Why would lost wages matter? Each family is obviously taking time off, and it’s assuming that their socioeconomic statuses are all the same.

Jamal Thompson

How much would it cost for me and my 2year old to go to Disney world flying,hotel and tickets


Question- we are Marriott Vacation Club owners and were thinking about trading out one of our weeks for one near Disney. Does anyone know which Marriott Vacation Club is closest? Is it even worth it to not stay on property?

barbara steinour

the imperial palms and royal palms are right outside the entrance to the resort property- 1 is all two bedrooms the other 3 bedrooms. you will need a car


hoping to get to Disney World this summer. We have 4 kids ages 6 thru 11. Any recommendations on parks and hotels? My kids are not huge on thrill rides. They love the water – we have a pool at home. They will do one (or 2) and then lose interest. My boys are the oldest and into everything from nemo to star wars. My daughter who is 6 is not a girlie girl. She loves her some toy story! We also want to maybe do a day at lego land. All love animals and any super hero of any kind. Also thinking about driving but not too thrilled about 4 kids asking are we there yet for the trip from nj to fl. Also, any restaurants off the resort like steakhouses or red robin? are there coupons anywhere?



The Texas Roadhouse is a steakhouse just outside of Disney with affordable prices and if you sign up on their website they’ll send you a coupon for a free appetizer:
Hope that helps!


Love this site! Very helpful and informative. We are driving down from GA (w/a toddler, so different scenario vs families where the children expect to visit a park each day) and are saving money by doing a few of the following:
-driving down in a hybrid car=gas savings
-we are a day’s drive from FL but are staying an hour away from WDW in a cheaper hotel the night before so that we can arrive for a full day the next day.
-one day a character breakfast followed by a day at our hotel pool
-another day will be DT disney T Rex cafe and hotel pool
-bringing cereal and PBJ supplies for easy meals and snacks
-one, maybe two days in a park
I feel like in our case these options will be a good pace for our kid and they also happen to lower costs for our family. Just thought I’d share if others have kids of a similar age. I think we are spending $1200 for five days in May, 4 nights @ value resort with spring promo discount. 🙂

Aimee Morrison

Love this! I want to take my family this April! Just don’t know where to start with all this planning and booking!


Chuck – I stayed at the Orange Lake Resort (Holiday Inn Vacations) in Kissimmee a 2-bedroom villa suite in April/May 2013 and LOVED it! I am going back again with my family this June. We are renting from a timeshare owner via Good luck!

chuck macdonald

great summary , love the different scenarios, Planning a trip in August with 11 year old grandson and 3 adults….Are there vacation Condo’s that you would recommend?


My family and I have stayed at Liki Tiki Village many times.
It is about a 15 minute drive (you will need a car) to Disney. It is a great place and very affordable. They are all little condo’s with full kitchens and laundry in the condo.
The resort is nice too….swimming pools and activities.


What a great resource! For our upcoming trip in June 2014, I already have airfare, rental car, hotel, and park tickets purchased, so these are the “knowns”, but I am struggling with some of “unknowns” — mostly the food budget! I can look at menus all I want and guess where we are going to be at any given time, but the question is: how do I not over-plan every single meal and food decision (we are not staying on site and thus no Disney Dining Plan) but still accurately plan a reasonable budget for food? There are 5 of us – my husband and me, two 13-year olds and an 8-year-old. There are a couple meals I definitely want to “splurge” on and already have ADRs for, but I’m not even sure what is reasonable for the rest of the food budget. Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions would be awesome!


So I have been working on this budget and here’s what I’ve come up with: I have 3 nice table service ADRs planned, we plan on eating breakfast in the room (suite has a full kitchen), and then of the remaining meals, about half will be counter service in the parks and half will be outside of the parks (a combination of fast food and sit down restaurants). Therefore, I am estimating my top-end budget should be around $200 per day for the 5 of us. Does this sound reasonable?


I love your site! So helpful, and well done.

My family of four; 2 adults, and twin girls (6), are going to Disney for the first week of December 2015! It sounds so far away, but in Disney planning time, not really! My husband and I have been to Disney before, but never with our kids. We are super excited, and I’ve been planning like crazy. After running many scenarios of what it would cost to stay in value, moderate, and deluxe thru Disney…discounts included too…I was really shocked by how expensive it can get. Because of my background in timeshare before I became a SAHM, I did some research in those roots. I’m so thankful I did. I was able to nab a great timeshare deal with BlueGreen Vacation Club, and we’re planning to exchange into the DVC thru RCI. We’re hoping to get the Wilderness Lodge, but will be happy being on any Disney property. We needed to join a vacation club anyway, to save money, and this will save us serious Disney money. We will have access to all the perks of being on property, which the DDP was something we really wanted. Plus, because it’s at the DVC, we don’t have to make it a package and buy our tickets thru Disney…I’m leaning toward using the Undercover Tourist for our park tickets. I believe we’re looking at a savings of around $2000 by choosing to go this route, plus we have a vacation ownership that we will use for other trips too.

Amy K.

Great website and incredibly useful. Thank you! I must have about a dozen different tabs open, all with information from your site. 🙂 My family of four moved to Ft. Lauderdale from Ohio back in August. Our extended family and we pooled our holiday gift money to buy four yearly passes! We used gift money as the down payment and the rest we pay monthly so it doesn’t hurt the wallet too much. So far we have only used the passes to go to Epcot as a day trip, but found the 6 hour round-trip drive too much. Also, we went on January 20th, and the crowds were pretty heavy. Now…I am in the midst of planning a trip for Feb. 4-7. I am pulling the kids out of school because of the predicted light crowds. We’re a “Frugal Family”. I am, admittedly, horrified at the prices of Disney hotels! I lucked out and found a good deal on Groupon for a Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotel. That is good enough for me. In addition, I just went grocery shopping to purchase food for the trip. We don’t plan on eating any meals or snacks in restaurants. It’s just not in our budget. I spent about $260 for groceries, and some of that was “convenience” items, like V8 in cans, or tuna and chicken in ready-to-eat pouches. I feel like I’m going camping…but camping in a hotel room. Which is my kind of camping. 🙂 My one huge splurge was going to the Disney outlet store at the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, FL. I bought three Disney t-shirts apiece for my daughters and myself. Matching. My husband refuses to participate in that weirdness. 😉 I am CRAZY excited about the trip. I’d live at Disneyworld if I could.

Meredith Raber

We are planning a trip for our family of 7, kids will be 13,11,8,2, and 1. We want to stay in park and go in the summer…where is the best place to stay with a large family and is the free dining plan available for the summer?


We are a familyof 4. Traveling from Oklahoma. Vacationing December 18-26 (Woohoo… Christmas at Disney World!!!). We checked on several ways to take this vacation on the “cheap” as we, like many Americans, are working class people 🙂 Here is a breakdown of our trip details:
We will be driving to Dallas, TX to fly out of DFW, as this was cheaper than flying direct from OKC. Booked our flight with Spirit Airlines for around $200/pp ROUND TRIP! Bought our hotel off Groupon for around $400 total. We booked a rental car using our airline miles from past vacations and paid $0. Our WDW tickets were purchased through “Undercover Tourist” and that was around $1100 (saved us a little of gate prices). We are planning to only eat at the parks once or twice and nothing requiring reservations. Every other meal will be quick and easy. We are planning to purchase a $50 WDW gift card from Walmart for each child to spend on what they choose and that will be it for gifts. Adding to a total of around $2400 (not including our quick meals daily). Again, this is for a family of 4 for 10 nights and 11 days. Coming to around $55/pp per day!!

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