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How Much Money Should You Bring to Disney World?

A Disney World vacation doesn’t come cheap and the entire trip can eat up quite a bit of money.

Travel plans, accommodations, park tickets, and spending money during the day can all add up fast. 

The real question is: How much money should you bring to Disney World?

Strictly looking at spending money during the day, you will want to bring at least $200 per person, per day to cover dining, parking, and shopping with some wiggle room built in. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can cut down these per-person costs.

Daily Budget at Disney World

The cost of a day at Disney World can vary significantly, depending on dining choices, savings opportunities, and souvenir purchases. 

The first two categories here will explore park tickets and hotel prices. 

These can be purchased in advance and don’t need to be included in a daily spending money budget, but are important in determining the overall cost of a day at Disney World. 

If your hotel and park tickets are purchased in advance, you’ll only need to bring money for parking, dining, shopping, and unexpected expenses.

Ticket Prices

Disney World theme park tickets typically range from $109 to $159 per person, per day. 

Visiting the parks during peak seasons when Disney expects more visitors makes tickets fall on the higher end of the range while visiting during offseasons brings down the price of tickets. 

Purchasing multi-day tickets lower the price per day. The best value per day is the ten-day ticket, averaging between $58 – $75 per day.

Adding on optional upgrades like the park-hopper brings the price of a single-day ticket up to $174.

Special event tickets are even pricier and are sold in limited quantities. 

A family of four purchasing 4-day park tickets will expect to spend around $130 per person, per day on park tickets alone, totaling out to around $2,080.

Resort Hotel Stays

Disney has over 25 hotels within their resort that offer complimentary shuttle service to the parks and come in various themes. 

These can be great options for a Disney vacation that also keep you from paying to park in theme park lots. 

Resort hotels range from $150 to over $300 per night at Disney World. 

You can also opt to stay at a hotel off the Disney resort that’s within five to ten minutes of the parks. 

These can be had for a nightly rate between $100 and $150. Many of these hotels also offer free shuttle service to the parks. 

For a five-night stay, guests should expect to spend somewhere around $1,000. 

Parking

Whether you park at your hotel or in a theme park lot, parking isn’t free at the Disney World resort. 

General admission parking costs about $22 per day, with a preferred parking option that puts you closer to the entrance for $45 per day. 

Parking at resort hotels varies based on the level of the resort. 

Value hotels cost around $15 per night, moderate hotels cost around $20 per night, and deluxe resort hotels cost around $25 per night.

Over a five-day trip, you will need at least $110 to spend on parking fees. 

Food and Drinks

The most necessary thing to budget for at Disney World is food and drinks. You’ll be walking everywhere and this will make you incredibly hungry and thirsty.

Drinks at Disney World average around $3 for bottled water and around $5 for a large fountain drink.

Popular snacks at Disney World are popcorn, Mickey Ice Cream, and cotton candy. These will cost around $5.50, $5.69, and $5 respectively

Each person will want to budget around $20 for both lunch and dinner inside the parks. Breakfast can be had for around $10 on the way to the parks.

A minimum of $50 per person should be budgeted for meals, with a snack budget of at least $20. This adds up to at least $70 per person, per day to account for food and drinks while visiting Disney World.

Shopping

Shopping will likely take up most of your spending money. 

Disney offers merchandise in the parks that you can’t find anywhere else and it’s almost a guarantee you’re going to find something you just have to buy. 

The famous Mickey-ear headbands cost a minimum of $18 but can get more expensive the more detailed ones you buy. 

T-shirts in the parks start at $25 and go up from there. Jerseys start at $69.99 as well. 

Then you have to consider the plushes, hats, bags, pins, and hundreds of other souvenir options that you might want to pick up.

While you don’t necessarily need a daily budget for shopping, you’re going to want to budget a minimum of $100 per person on your vacation for shopping. 

The most likely outcome is you’ll spend more than this, but it’s a good starting point.

Additional Expenses

Aside from souvenir shopping, you’ll encounter plenty of places to spend extra money or conveniences you can pay for. 

The Disney Genie app gives you access to an itinerary planner and lets you make ride reservations to use the Lightning Lanes that have replaced Fast Passes. 

This costs around $15 per person, per day but will save you a ton of time waiting in lines. 

Most guests will also want to have cash on hand for tipping at restaurants. Tips aren’t included in meal plans, so think $50 or more each day for tips. 

If you forget something at your hotel or home, you’ll have to purchase it at the resort. It can be anything from ponchos and umbrellas to chapstick or bandaids. 

For these kinds of things, you’ll likely want a budget of $200 for the duration of your trip. 

Total Costs

Leaving out tickets and hotel stays, you’re going to want to bring at least $200 per person, per day for your Disney World trip. 

This includes food, drinks, tips, parking, and a bit of money to shop.

For families that can cut out parking expenses and don’t need a daily shopping budget, $100 per person, per day is a good baseline.

Including daily park tickets and a night at a hotel, most families will be looking at a cost of around $500 per person, per day for a Disney World vacation.

Ways To Save a Little Money

If the daily budget in prior sections seems a bit daunting, never fear. There are plenty of ways to save money and lower your cost per day at Disney World. 

Surprisingly, Disney allows guests to bring snacks and water bottles into the parks. 

You can erase a big chunk of your tempting snack budget and all of your drink budget just by bringing what you need in with you. 

Quick-service food stalls are around half the price of sit-down restaurants at Disney World as well. 

Grabbing something quick can typically save on your meal plan if you’re choosing lower-priced items. 

Parking costs can be eliminated from your Disney vacation as well. Staying at a resort hotel with a shuttle service and taking a cab to the resort can mean you won’t need a vehicle. 

This can save upwards of $200 for longer vacations.

When it comes to souvenirs, everything is going to be expensive and you’ll find little to nothing on sale. 

Set a firm budget for the trip and look for lower-priced items while shopping to help save money.

The longer you stay at Disney World, the more money you save. 

It may sound counterintuitive, but staying at Disney longer and not visiting other theme parks is cheaper because multiday tickets for Disney cost less per day. 

Do your best to visit the parks in the offseason or look for deals on certain dates. You can knock ticket prices down significantly just by visiting the parks on different dates. 

Is Disney World Free on Your Birthday?

Guess can not get free admission to parks on their birthday. You can however wear a birthday pin to celebrate your birthday while in the resort. 

There’s no guarantee that you’ll get anything, but you’ll likely get a free snack at meals, special interactions with characters, and some warm wishes during your trip.

What Should I Pack in my Disney Backpack?

Since Disney allows backpacks and a variety of items into the parks, your day can be made by what you bring inside. Here are some common and incredibly smart things to bring with you:

  • Ponchos
  • Umbrellas
  • Water bottles
  • Sunscreen
  • Change of clothes
  • Battery-powered fan
  • Hats
  • Snacks

How Many Days Should I go to Disney World for the First Time?

Disney World is massive and it will most likely take multiple trips to get close to seeing everything at least once. 

Most visitors will want to spend at least a full day in each of the four main theme parks and have a couple of extra days to revisit places they loved or things they missed. 

For a first-time visitor, six to eight days is usually the best trip length.

Conclusion

If you’re going to visit Disney World, you’ll most likely want to bring at least $100 per person, per day of your vacation. 

This should be the bare minimum that covers your food and drinks throughout the day and can include parking if your group carpools.
A Disney World vacation for a family of four averages around $5,000 for a five-day trip. This includes transportation, park tickets, and expense money while inside the parks.

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