Everyone knows that a vacation to Walt Disney World isn’t cheap. However, with our most recent trip to Disney World (February 2019) we found that it is possible to find ways to save a LOT of money to make more frequent Disney vacations within reach.
The major expense categories for a Disney vacation are: lodging, transportation, park tickets, food, and miscellaneous. In this post, I’m going to share with you our exact spending for each category.
- Lodging – We paid $1,031.74 (tax included) to stay 5 nights at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Disney Springs. We definitely could have opted of a less expensive hotel at Disney Springs (or even a value resort on property, for that matter) but we’ve stayed at this DoubleTree before and really enjoyed the amount of space it offers, as well as the convenience of having a kitchenette in the suite. It was worth the splurge for us!
- Transportation – We live in north Texas, so it’s not really feasible for us to drive 2 days each way to get to Orlando, so we always opt to fly there. We’ve been able to score relatively decent prices on Southwest flights in the past, but the transportation does definitely add up quickly. If you know me in real life, you know that I’ve advocated against credit cards for my entire adult life. However, Aaron and I discussed getting a travel rewards credit card last year to earn points to help offset the cost of our travel. We pay the credit card IN FULL every single month, and have never paid interest. We are debt free (except for our mortgage), and manage our finances closely. We feel as though we have the discipline to handle a credit card responsibly, but I do NOT recommend credit cards for everyone. We’ve used the reward points that we’ve earned to cover our flights in full (not only for this trip, but for multiple other flights!) A full breakdown of our transportation costs:
- Airfare- A fee of $5.60 each way is charged by the airlines anytime you use points, so the total for our 3 round trip tickets was $33.60.
- Airport parking – $9/day for a total of $54
- Ride Sharing- We typically take Uber or Lyft from the airport to the hotel and vice-versa. Even though our hotel had complimentary transportation to and from the Disney theme parks, we still used Lyft on several occasions to save time when we were trying to make it to the parks in the mornings. We splurged on this trip and took a “Minnie Van” to the Magic Kingdom on our last day, which is operated by Lyft, but is considerably more expensive than a typical Lyft. Prior to this trip, I had only used Uber, not Lyft, so Aaron sent me a referral code and we each received $20 credit to our accounts, saving us $40 total in ride sharing. Total Lyft = $212.03
- TOTAL Transportation = $299.63
- Park tickets – We opted for 6 day park hopper tickets, so the cost of admission was $1,512.30 for our family of 3.
- Food – We did not purchase the Disney Dining Plan during this trip. We packed a few simple breakfast foods to eat in our hotel room, and we also took advantage of our hotel’s continental breakfast for cereal/muffins for Turner. We ate snacks and quick service meals in the parks for lunch most days. During our last Disney trip, we learned that the portion sizes are HUGE, so we saved money by sharing some meals. Since our hotel was at Disney Springs, we ate a few of our dinners at the causal dining restaurants there. Before our trip, we accumulated around $250 in Disney gift cards, so we applied that toward our food on the first several days of our trip. Our total out of pocket cost for food $111.17.
- Miscellaneous – We purchased the Memory Maker photo package for $169. We also had an Amazon Prime Now delivery of some miscellaneous items that we needed delivered to our hotel for a total of $46.64. The cost to board our dog for the week was $284.66. This brings our miscellaneous spending total to $500.30.
There you have it! Our total out of pocket cost was $3,455.14 total for 5 nights/6 days at Walt Disney World for our family of 3. We had an excellent time on our trip and don’t feel like we missed out on anything. If you’re planning a Disney vacation (or any vacation for that matter), we recommend contacting Heather Tate: Whimsical Destinations. You can find her on Facebook or Instagram. She’s a great travel planner who can help you work out all the details of your trip…for free!