Vacationing these days can certainly be challenging because rates seem to constantly be changing. Disney World can be especially difficult to budget for because there are so many different things to consider. From Genie+ to park hoppers, there are various options that you may want to purchase, adding to the complexity.
While the cost of a Disney World vacation can vary based on a number of factors, you can definitely get a good estimate of what to expect. This guide should help you understand the costs, the different factors, and what to expect for the approximate cost of a Disney World vacation so you can budget appropriately for your next family theme park vacation.
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Understand the Average Cost of a Disney World Vacation in 2024
Factors that Go Into Price
Just like most vacations, there are several factors that go into the cost of your Walt Disney World vacation – regardless of what you book. For instance, the time of year will affect the price. In general, you’ll find that things tend to be more expensive during school vacations (including the holiday season and spring break) and when the demand is higher. Fall can be a great time to visit if you are trying to save money, and there are often deals offered at this time.
The number of days you visit will also affect the price, but not in a linear way. While you will pay more for each night in a hotel, the cost per day of a Walt Disney World ticket decreases as you add more days. So you’ll want to make sure that book your trip and your tickets for the exact amount of days you want to visit.
For purposes of this post, we’ll be looking at the costs of a 5-day vacation for a family of four – two adults and two children in March 2024 and September 2024. Keep in mind that prices are always subject to change, so these are just illustrative.
Tickets to Walt Disney World are available for adults and children. Anyone 10+ years old is considered an adult.
Walt Disney World Tickets
Base tickets for Walt Disney World include admission into any one park for the day. There are four theme parks – the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s hard to see the whole park in one day, so you’ll need to choose what attractions and shows are the most important for you to experience during your vacation.
To book your Walt Disney World tickets, you’ll first need to decide how many days you want to visit. You should also check park availability, especially if booking at the last minute.
Next, you’ll have to choose the ticket type. Options include the following:
- A single park-per-day ticket
- A park hopper ticket, where you can visit multiple parks per day. Right now, you can enter a second park after 2 pm, and only need a reservation for the first park. Park reservations are going away in January 2024 for dated tickets.
- A single park per day which also includes visits to the water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports, miniature golf courses (before 4 pm), and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course including footgolf (keep in mind that some of these may be unavailable)
- A park hopper which also includes visits to the water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports, miniature golf courses (before 4 pm), and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course including footgolf (keep in mind that some of these may be unavailable)
Then you’ll choose a date to start. Once you pick that, you’ll be presented with a calendar showing you specific dates of the time range when your tickets have to be used. You’ll typically be able to go to the parks on non-sequential days so you can spend some downtime at your hotel or doing other activities. Then you can select the number of people you are purchasing tickets for.
When choosing a ticket with extra visits to the water parks, etc, you’ll receive the same number of entrances as the number of days on your ticket. For instance, on a five-day ticket, you’ll get 5 admissions to use at these other attractions.
Currently, you will need a park reservation for each day you are visiting. It’s a good idea to make those reservations as soon as possible – right after purchasing your tickets.
For March 2024, the price for a 5-day ticket is around $2,860 for a family of two adults and two kids. This is for a one-park-per-day base ticket. In September, the price is $2,226 for the same tickets.
If you are purchasing a single-day ticket, you’ll find some price variation depending on the park and date you choose to visit. You’ll need to know those things before buying your ticket.
Disney Hotel Options and Prices
Staying on property at Walt Disney World can be very convenient, and the hotels are so much fun with family-friendly amenities and themes. There are three classes of hotels – Disney deluxe resorts, Disney moderate resorts, and Disney value resorts.
The Deluxe hotels, in general, have larger rooms, more deluxe amenities, and more dining options. However, the Value resorts are still a lot of fun and can be a great way to save money on your Walt Disney World vacation, especially if you are on a tight budget. Moderate hotels are a great compromise between cost and amenities.
Once you’ve chosen your hotel, you’ll have some additional things to decide. There are various types of hotel rooms available, including water views, theme park views (if available), and club-level rooms. In general, I don’t recommend getting a specific view unless you think you’ll spend enough time in the room to enjoy the view. It’s typically not worth the extra money.
For the March 2024 trip, a value standard room is around $1,400, and a moderate room is about $1,700 for the five days. The prices of deluxe resorts vary greatly, but on average are about $700 – $900 per night for this time period.
In September 2024, the prices are similar with the value hotel running at about $1,300 and the moderate hotel at $1800. The average deluxe resort price is about $600 a night.
When booking your room, you also have the option of making it a vacation package by adding your tickets right on with the hotel room. Check for special offers which may be available for certain times of the year.
Cost of Food at Walt Disney World
With so many different restaurants and food options at Walt Disney World, it can be tough to come up with an overall price for food. The Disney Dining Plan was a great way to budget for a good amount of your meals, however, that has been temporarily suspended.
To prepare your budget, it’s best to look at the restaurants that you want to dine in and get a general idea of the costs. Quick-service meals are a great way to save money, so consider eating at those twice a day. You can even save money by sharing meals if you aren’t hungry.
My family doesn’t generally eat a big breakfast in the morning, so we bring granola bars from home. That way, we can all eat on our own schedule, and we save money. You are also able to bring your own food into the parks, with some restrictions.
If you do want to eat at one or more table service restaurants, I’d recommend making a reservation whenever you can. The most popular restaurants fill up early.
The average breakfast and lunch quick service entree are about $15 plus taxes and beverages. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets are about $35-$62 before taxes and tips.
Once you are on Walt Disney World property, you can save money by using Disney transportation. Buses, boats, the monorail, and the new Skyliner are all complimentary and can get you everywhere that you need to go.
If you are flying into Orlando International Airport, you’ll need to get from the airport to the theme parks. Disney’s Magical Express, which used to be offered as an included service, is no longer available. Rental cars are also an option but come not only at an added cost for the rental, but also for gas and tolls. Parking at the theme parks is free for resort guests, but costs extra for those staying off-property.
We always skip the rental car. It’s a great way to save money, and you can avoid the stress of driving. Cabs and rideshares are easily found at the airport, and there are also third-party shuttles available.
If you do choose to book a rental car, you can compare rates here:
Extras at Walt Disney World
In addition to theme park tickets, resort hotels, and restaurants, there are some extras that you are able to purchase to enhance your vacation.
Genie+ is the newest service available at the Walt Disney World Resort. While guests can always enter the standby lines of any attraction at the theme parks, Genie+ allows you to enter the “Lightning Lane” at a specific time that you book on the app. This service is available at an additional fee, but can be a great way to experience more attractions on your theme park days.
In addition, there’s a separate Individual Lightning Lane offered. This isn’t included in Genie+, and is an additional cost for access to the Lightning Lane of the most popular rides.
This is a new service at Walt Disney World resort, but you can get many more details in this article.
Memory Maker is a completely optional add-on that you can include as part of your Walt Disney World vacation package. With Memory Maker, you will get downloads of all of the photos taken by the PhotoPass photographers, in addition to the attraction photos. You are able to purchase Memory Maker for just one day or for your entire vacation. It’s $75 for one day and $185-$210 for your full vacation.
Visiting Walt Disney World with young kids? Although you are always able to bring your own stroller (with some size restrictions), you can also rent strollers at the entrances of each theme park. These are hard-molded plastic strollers and are offered as either single or double strollers.
If your kids are especially young, you’ll probably want to have your own stroller with you at the resort and at the airport. Rental strollers from the parks have to be turned in at the exit of the parks, so you won’t be able to have them with you in other locations.
There are also third-party companies offering stroller rentals. These strollers are something you’ll keep with you for your entire vacation, so you’ll have them at your hotel and any off property places you visit.
Although MagicBands used to be provided at no cost to all Disney resort guests, that is no longer the case. They can, however, be purchased through the parks, and can even be bought on shopDisney before your trip.
MagicBands can be used to make purchases (if you are staying on property), as theme park admission, and for opening your Disney resort hotel door. They are very convenient, so it may be worth buying them.
Water Parks and Mini Golf
Even if you don’t choose the water parks and more option on your theme park tickets, you can always purchase an individual visit if you want. There is so much to do even just in the four theme parks, so these aren’t essential. But it may be something your family chooses to do.
If you don’t live within driving distance of Walt Disney World, you’ll also need to purchase flights. These prices can vary greatly based on the origin airport, flight demand, and time of year. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, you may want to check flights for a few different dates to see what the best options are.
Flight prices have been high in recent years. So this can become a big factor in your vacation budget. It’s a good idea to look at a variety of options before purchasing a flight.