Budgeting is a huge part of planning a Walt Disney World Trip. With so many options and add-ons, knowing how much you have to spend is a crucial component to your pre-planning. What’s as important as how much you have to spend, though, is prioritizing what you really want to do on your trip. Do you want more days in the parks, or a nicer hotel? Do you want to snack around the parks, or enjoy fine dining?

These are all trade offs that are crucial to understand as you allocate your budget. Below is a list of the things you should consider (and estimated price ranges where it makes sense) while you try and hash out the perfect trip around a reasonable budget:

  • Hotels
    • Onsite
      • Prevents you from having to rent a car (bus transport to/from airport, and between hotel and parks)
      • Three options: Deluxe ($300+/night), Moderate ($125-$300/night), Value ($125 or less/night)
    • Offsite
      • You’ll pay less in almost every category, but you’ll spend money on taxis, uber, or rental car.
  • Transportation
    • Airfare
      • Use Expedia to get an idea for what flights will cost for your party.
      • If you’re staying offsite, consider cost of a rental and/or taxi/Uber.
    • Car
      • If you’re going to drive, figure out roughly what gas will cost to get to and from.
  • Length
    • Tickets get cheaper and cheaper for every day you add, but of course you still have to pay for lodging and food (at a minimum) for each extra day. Use Disney’s site to price out the ideal ticket for you.
    • Ticket Add-ons
      • Do you want to see multiple parks per day?
      • Do you want to check out the water parks?
      • Special ticketing options, like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
  • Food
    • You’ll pick from snacking ($5/snack), counter-service meals ($10-$15/person), or table service ($30+/person) while you’re at the parks.
    • Would you rather eat your own snacks? Disney allows you to bring food and water into the parks.
    • Would you enjoy character dining? That’ll cost a bit more than standard table service dining.
  • Souvenirs
    • Are you going to buy stuff from the gift shops? It’s easy to rack up a souvenir bill quickly.
  • Extras
    • Do you want to do any of the special tours or excursions Disney offers? Things like swimming with Dolphins ($200/person) or special Animal Safaris at Animal Kingdom ($75+/person).

The good news is that there is a lot of mix and matching you can do, too, based on what is important to you. So, ideally, you know roughly what you’d like to spend, and then if you know what is a priority to your family it’s easy to make the right selections. Let me provide some examples for two different families of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) who both have $3,000 to spend:

Family 1 wants to have as many days of fun as possible, but aren’t as into luxury or fine dining.

  • Driving to the parks ($200 in gas)
  • 6 nights in a value resort ($700)
  • 6-day ticket (no park hopper) ($1,800)
  • They’ll bring in their own food and water, and enjoy some quick service meals and snacks in the parks ($300)

Family 2, on the other hand, loves good food and likes to relax at a nice hotel a bit more.

  • Driving to the parks ($200 in gas)
  • 5 nights in a moderate resort w/ cool pool ($900)
  • 3 day ticket (no park hopper) ($1,200)
  • 2 nice table-service dinners in the parks ($400)
  • snacks and quick service in parks for rest of trip ($300)

As you can see, both these trips are vastly different but still work within the $3,000 budget. That is why knowing your budget is key, but so is knowing what your top priorities are. Is it park time? relaxation time at the pool? eating? shopping? etc.

This has been a part of our Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World Planning series


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