Let’s be honest: a trip to Disney World can be magical, amazing, it can change lives, etc., but it can also be CAR.
Between staying at the hotel, park tickets, and food, you could end up spending thousands of dollars, especially if you’re traveling with a large group. But at what point does Disney World become too expensive? We have deleted some numbers to find out.
Average household income
Before we talk about Disney World prices, we need to put them in context. That’s why we want to take a look at the average household income to see what part of a year’s income a family could spend in the most magical place on Earth.
According to US census data, the median income for a household in 2019 was $ 68,703. In fact, this was an increase of 6.8% over the median income of households in 2018, which was $ 64,324. We are still waiting for the 2020 figures, so we will use the 2019 figures for now. Also, keep in mind that this is the average figure, so some families will have a lower or higher income than this.
All right, now that we have our median family income, let’s take a look at some of the costs the family would have to face during a trip to Disney World.
Tickets to the park
Just 6 years ago, ticket prices were quite different than they are now! In 2015, a ticket to Magic Kingdom would return you $ 105, while the rest of the parks were $ 97. Things have changed substantially since then, as ticket prices now vary by date, making the most “in demand” days more expensive.
Right now, there are a few different options when it comes to theme park tickets, including annual passes.
In 2021, 1-day-1-park tickets start at just $ 109, but increase in price depending on the day. Tickets go up to $ 159 in 2021 for 1 day at 1 park. As a reminder, tickets to the Disney World theme park vary in price for each day of the calendar year.
For 2022, ticket prices did not go up. But, several days of the 2022 ticket calendar are now within a higher level, which makes tickets more expensive these days. Therefore, your average trip in 2022 could (and probably will be) MORE expensive than a trip during the same days in 2021.
Click here for more information on 2022 ticket prices.
Hotel packages and tickets
Over the years, hotel prices have also risen. For the purposes of our experiment on when Disney World becomes “too” expensive, we will be pricing a trip for a family of 4 – 2 adults and 2 children (both under 9) for February 2022.
We’ll look at three different lengths for your trip to see how this affects things. Specifically, we will see one 3-night trip from February 17 to 20, 2022; a 5-night trip from February 15 to 20, 2022; and a 7-night trip from Feb. 13-20.
For our hotel, we will analyze the least expensive option (except the actual campsites of Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground) and the more expensive option. The more expensive options will only be based on what we see on Disney’s main search screen, but if you click on each hotel, you may find suites and other more expensive options, so you just need to know that the most expensive option face could be MUCH more than what we show below. And we will see the ticket packages that have been added to the hotel stay.
3-night trip (February 17-20, 2022)
First, we set the price of our 3-night trip. Here are the numbers we found:
Cheapest hotel: Disney’s All-Star Music Resort: $ 198.33 per night in a standard room
- Package with tickets for 3 days (1 park a day): $ 2,305.96
- Package with 3-day tickets (park hoppers): $ 2,625.46
- Package with tickets for 4 days (1 park a day): $ 2,700.12
- Package with 4-day tickets (park hoppers): $ 3,062.22
Without food, air tickets, merchandise or anything like that, you only get 3 nights at the hotel plus a 4 day ticket with tremors in the park. $ 3,062.22.That’s all 4.46% of median household income for the full year (based on 2019 numbers). This may not sound like much, but keep in mind that it still doesn’t take into account travel expenses, food, and other costs.
Most expensive hotel: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: $ 3,531 per night for a 2-bedroom suite with club-level access
- Package with tickets for 3 days (1 park a day): $ 13,550
- Package with 3-day tickets (park hoppers): $ 13,869.50
- Package with tickets for 4 days (1 park a day): $ 13,944.16
- Package with 4-day tickets (park hoppers): $ 14,306.26
Getting a stay at the Grand plus, just the 4 day shopping in the park, would almost make up 21% of median household income for the year – that’s a lot.
Of course, keep in mind that the options we examined were the less expensive and less expensive Disney options with hopper tickets at the park for 4 days. You can make this trip MUCH less expensive choosing cheaper hotels outside of Disney, not getting tickets for so many days, not getting hopper tickets in the park or doing many other things.
5-night trip: from February 15 to 20, 2022
Here is the price of the 5-day trip:
Cheapest hotel: Disney’s All-Star Music or Movies Resort: $ 178.20 per night in a standard room
- Package with 5-day tickets (1 park a day): $ 3,179.64
- Package with 5-day tickets (sections of the park): $ 3,541.72
- Package with 6-day tickets (1 park a day): $ 3,254.06
- Package with 6-day tickets (park hoppers): $ 3,616.16
For the more expensive option: the hotel with the 6-day hopper tickets in the park, look for a trip that costs 5.26% of median household income for the year, again without taking into account any travel or food expenses.
Most expensive hotel: Disney’s Riviera Resort: $ 1,183.60 per night for a favorite 1 bedroom villa
- Package with 5-day tickets (1 park a day): $ 8,826.10
- Package with 5-day tickets (sections of the park): $ 9,188.18
- Package with 6-day tickets (1 park a day): $ 8,900.52
- Package with 6-day tickets (park hoppers): $ 9,262.62
The room in this example turned out to be cheaper than the one we found for the 3-day trip, but still, the hotel room and the 6-day park hopper tickets come out approximately 13.5% of the median household income for a year. This is not exactly cheap.
7-night trip: from 13 to 20 February 2022
Finally, we will evaluate the price of our 7-night trip:
Cheapest hotel: Disney’s Pop Century Resort: $ 222 per night in a standard room
- Package with tickets for 7 days (1 park a day): $ 4,092.22
- Package with 7-day tickets (sections of the park): $ 4,454.32
- Package with 8-day tickets (1 park a day): $ 4,184.70
- Package with 8-day tickets (hopper parks): $ 4,546.82
The shops of the 8-day park plus the hotel here come out approximately 6.62% of median household income.
Most expensive hotel: Disney’s Riviera Resort: $ 1,178.14 per night for a one-bedroom villa with preferred view
- Package with tickets for 7 days (1 park a day): $ 11,621.84
- Package with 7-day tickets (sections of the park): $ 11,983.94
- Package with 8-day tickets (1 park a day): $ 11,714.32
- Package with 8-day tickets (hopper parks): $ 12,076.44
In this case, the hotel and the 8-day park hopper tickets end up being 17.58% of median household income. And, again, remember that this does not involve food or transportation costs.
Now, let’s talk about food. Food costs can be very high at Disney World. But food costs can also vary greatly depending on how much you eat and where you eat.
Suppose you eat only at fast food places throughout the trip. On average, you look at roughly $ 12-15 per adult portion (sometimes less, sometimes more), and approx $ 7-9 for baby food (again, sometimes more or less, it just depends).
Even if you are left with about € 14 per meal per adult ($ 28 per meal for 2 adults) and $ 8 per meal per child ($ 16 per meal for 2 children), for a family of 4 $ 44 to eat.
Multiply that by 3 meals a day and that’s it $ 132 a day, without including snacks or extras like coffee. Multiply that by several days and you could be looking for serious cash. For the 3-night trip, if you eat at the park for 3 full days, it’s $ 396. For 5 days, it’s $ 660; and for 7 days it is $ 924. And it could be more if you spend an extra day in the parks or the resort.
And remember, this is only limited to fast food meals. If you add meals of any kind, character meals, buffets, etc. to the table service, these expenses will increase.
Of course, there are also ways to reduce food costs. You can bring snacks and even full meals to the parks to help you save food. You can also split items or eat a large meal for one of the meals and then eat a small snack (read: cheaper) instead of receiving another meal. You can also look for discounts, such as Disney visa discounts, at some restaurants. It all depends on your budget and what you want to do.
While our previous travel examples included hotel and ticket costs, and we already talked about food expenses, there are MORE expenses you will need to consider on a trip.
The most important thing is that there is transport: possible flights and / or maybe a rental car. Flights alone can cost you a penny, and even gasoline or car rental costs can increase your budget (but not with the music and sight of the Taj Mahal).
Other costs you will want to think about are merchandise expenses, advices (for food service, but also cleaning and room service), and the cost of tickets for special events or extras that you might consider (like the Very Merriest After Hours event and others).
If you add all this up, the trip could cost a significant percentage of the median household income.
But, things don’t have to be that expensive
Note that the prices obtained were for some travel examples. There are many ways in which a trip to Disney World can be more expensive and many ways to be cheaper.
How could you save money on your trip to Disney World? So you could:
Click here to see different ways to save money on your trip to Disney World.
We are constantly working to find discounts and other tricks that can help you save on your next trip to Disney World to make this magic possible with your budget. Be sure to check back with us for more updates.
How much do you normally budget for your Disney World vacation? Tell us in the comments!
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