Sophie from Most Magical Guides
How To Budget For Your Disney World Trip
Updated: Jun 8, 2021
The excitement is building as you are beginning to plan your ultimate trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth!
You've started looking into your accommodation, travel plans and what you want to do. But how much money do you need to budget for your entire trip? What do you need to consider budgeting for?
Today I will tell you all the things you need to budget for when visiting Disney World and how to create a budget!
The main elements that you need to factor into your budget are:
Car Hire or Transportation
Souvenirs / Spending Money
ESTA / Visa
One of the biggest expenses will be for your hotel, villa or resort.
As well as the upfront cost of your lodgings the other things to consider that may need budgeting for are:
Does your hotel have resort fees that need to be paid on top?
Are local taxes included or do you need to pay when at your resort?
Do they charge extra for a cot or extra beds? Late check-in or check-out?
Do they charge for parking?
Staying on-site at Disney World doesn't incur any resort fees or additional taxes. The only thing to consider is parking costs if you are bringing a car.
To find out whether it is worth splashing the cash to stay at a Disney World Resort check out my blog post all about it here!
When booking your accommodation it is always wise to shop around. Price comparison sites can help you get the best deal on your accommodation so it is always a good idea to try a few different sites, such as directly with the company, online booking sites like Expedia or Booking.com and price comparison sites.
Another big cost to factor in is flights. This is another area where it is good to shop around. Websites such as Skyscanner can help you find the cheapest prices for your flights and you can even set up price alerts to receive emails when there has been a change in the prices. This can be a great way of keeping up to date with price drops.
Things to consider when buying your tickets are:
Do you need to pay extra for baggage?
Do you need to pay to pick your seats?
Would you like to pay extra to upgrade your seats?
Do you need extras such as airport parking? An airport hotel stay the night before? Access to an airport lounge?
If you will be hiring a car to get you around Orlando as well as the initial cost to hire the car here are some things to consider that may cost extra.
Do we need to hire a GPS?
Do we need to hire car seats?
Do we need to buy top up insurances to cover the hire car
Some companies will give you the option to add all of these at the time of booking. You may be able to get some elements cheaper if booking with a separate company. Top up insurances can be purchased with specialist companies whose prices are often much cheaper than buying directly with the car hire company.
If you are booking a package with a travel agent that includes your flights and hotel, and other extras such as park tickets or car hire, be sure to check what is included in your price. Some things to ask your travel agent include:
Are the resort fees and taxes included?
Do you need to pay more to add bags to your flight?
If you are hiring a car do you need additional insurance? Car seats? GPS?
If you aren't hiring a car there are lots of other forms of transportation available to you at Disney World and in Orlando.
If staying at a Disney World Resort you can use the complimentary transport between your resort and the Disney Parks and Disney Springs. You can also use the free Magical Express that will take you to and from the airport and your Disney Resort. The Magical Express will be ending on 1st January 2022 but Mears, the company that operates the service, will continue the route, it will just become a paid for service.
If staying off-site your hotel may offer a shuttle to the Orlando theme parks. This may be complementary or paid for. It is good to include this cost into your budget so you know how much it will cost you to travel to the parks each day.
You can also use taxi companies such as Mears or car ride services such as Uber or Lyft. These can help you get from the airport to your resort and to the Orlando theme parks.
Your resort or hotel may be able to give you estimated prices for a taxi or ride share service to the parks. This can help you calculate a rough cost of how much transportation will be for you throughout your trip.
If you do have a car to use during your trip factoring in parking costs is something that can easily be overlooked but can quickly add up.
It currently costs $25 a day to park at Disney World. It is also $25 at Universal Studios for standard park (you can pay more to upgrade).
If you are staying at a Disney Resort you may actually save on parking costs as you get free park parking. A value resort overnight parking is $15 a night, a moderate resort is $20 a night and a deluxe resort is $25 a night. Parking at the parks costs $25 a day so you can save money on parking if you are staying at a value or moderate resort.
Park tickets will be a big chunk of your budget. You are able to purchase tickets directly from Disney or from agencies such as Attraction Tickets.
For US guests there are lots of different options and ticket types. You can have standard tickets, park hopper tickets, add water park tickets. There are lots of options available so you can purchase the right type of tickets that suit your trip! To see all the different ticket types and prices visit the Disney World Site.
For UK guests Disney Offer 7 or 14 day tickets which include park hopping and Memory Maker. To buy directly from Disney the costs are:
7 Day Ultimate Ticket £439 Adults, £319 Children
14 Days Ultimate Ticket is £459 Adults, £439 Children
7 Day Ultimate Ticket £449 Adults, £429 Children
14 Day Ultimate Ticket £469 Adults, £449 Children
Another cost to consider is any extra ticketed events you may wish to attend, such as Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, or any tours you would like to enjoy. Currently events and tours are suspended but you can see the range available, and their costs, on the Disney World website. It is super handy to be able to see how much money you need to set aside for these extra activities.
Dining at Disney World is such a big part of the trip! Dining can be one of the biggest costs involved. Meals, snacks and drinks can quickly add up.
If you know which restaurants you would like to dine in whilst at Disney you can visit the Disney World website to look up the menu and prices. This is a great way to be able to roughly budget what each meal will cost you.
To save some money on dining you can:
Split large quick service meals between people or children
Purchase items from supermarkets to eat for breakfast in your accommodation or to buy snacks to eat throughout the day to help keep costs down. It is also a good idea to buy drinks to take with you to the parks, as these can be pricey.
If you are staying off-site then dining outside of Disney World Resort can help lower costs
Take advantage of the free iced water from quick service locations to cut down on cost of bottled water
Check out my dining guides for helpful tips, tons of information, money saving advice and everything you need to know about dining at Disney World!
Dining Guide and Planner for Walt Disney World
Vegan Guide and Planner for Walt Disney World
Tipping is a part of US culture. Below are some of the places you will be expected to tip. It is a good idea to know in advance roughly how much extra money to take with you for tipping.
If you have planned where you will be dining and how much this will cost you in advance you will be able to calculate roughly how much you will need to tip for each of your meals.
$1 -$2 per person, per day.
The general rule of thumb is to tip 15% of the bill for OK service, 20% for good service and above 20% for great service.
You only need to tip at restaurants where you are served such as table service and fine dining restaurants.
There is no need to tip at quick service restaurants. If you are trying to keep dining costs down only eating in quick service restaurants will help with that.
Disney World will put the tip amount of 18%, 20% on the bottom of their receipts to help avoid you having to do the maths yourself.
$1 per drink or 10 - 20% of your total bill.
Taxis / Uber / Lyft
Around 15% of the fare.
Bell Service / Porter
$1-$2 per bag.
One of the best ways to commemorate your trip is with some amazing souvenirs! Disney World merchandise is awesome so how much should you budget for?
This one all comes down to personal choice! Some people like to bring one memento home or, if you are like me, you need a second suitcase for all the unique merchandise you can buy!
If travelling from overseas be sure to check out the allowances you have. In the UK residents can bring back £390 worth of goods without pay tax. Anything over that needs to be declared.
Please check your countries policies to find out the value of goods you are allowed.
It is always wise to purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. If anything was to happen that may impact your trip your travel insurance may be able to help you get your moeny back. It is also great to have travel insurance in case anything were to happen whilst you were away to help cover events such as the cost of medical bills or lost luggage.
This is another aspect of your trip where you can shop around to get the right level of cover for you. Price comparison sites are yet again a fantastic way of getting the right insurance for you whilst getting the best prices!
ESTA / VISAS
If travelling to the US from abroad you may need to apply for and purchases a visa or an ETSA before travelling. Please check with your government to find out the requirements for you and how to apply for a visa or ESTA.
For UK residents, or people from a visa waiver country, an ESTA is needed and can be purchased for $14. Be sure to use the official website as there are many companies that help you apply for the ESTA but charge for this service leaving you with a significantly larger bill!
How To Create A Budget
To easily create your budget be sure to purchase my Budgeting Planner for Walt Disney World!
Trip Budget - to cover every aspect of your trip to help you know how much your trip will cost in total.
Restaurant Budget - Know much much money you will need for all the restaurants you wish to dine in
Daily Budget - Know day to day how much money you will need
Tipping Guide and Planner - easily work out how much money you will need to set aside for tipping during your trip.
This Budgeting Planner is an instant PDF download that is both printable and editable. Fill in all your information in a range of handy fillable templates!
Click here to buy your budgeting planner today!