Disney Vacation on a Budget
Are you thinking about packing up your family and heading for a Disney vacation anytime soon? Do it. It’s worth it. But, it can be pricey, so let me break down what it cost a family of five to spend a week in Disney. You will have a few big decisions to make along the way.
Drive or Fly to Disney?
The first decision you will have to make is whether you want to fly or drive. Obviously, this depends on your location to begin with. We are about 15 hours away and chose to drive to Disney. It sounds like a crazy idea, but the key is to pack little gifts for the kids to unwrap that will keep them entertained for hours! A BIG thanks to my wife for this idea. I will make a separate post at a later time on that!
- Gas: $335.57
- Hotels: $503.33
- Tolls: $45.86
Total spent on travel for the week: $884.76
Booking Your Disney Vacation Resort
We opted to not stay at a Disney Resort and found a fantastic resort still on Disney property, but without the shuttle service, sky-liner and meal plans. For our Disney vacation, we chose to stay at Club Wyndham Bonnet Creek.
Honestly, I think my children (two six year olds and a one year old) would have been content spending all week strictly at the resort. We had four different restaurants on the property, five pools to choose from, two lazy rivers, mini golf, ice cream, an arcade and of course, Starbucks. Wow! Did I mention that all rooms are equipped with a full kitchen?! If you haven’t been to Disney before, schedule rest days and soak up your resort amenities!
- Resort Cost: $1,097.70
- VRBO Fee: $135.00
- Travel Insurance: $75.81
Total spent at the resort for five nights: $1308.51
Booking Your Disney Vacation Park Tickets
There are so many directions you can take when it comes to booking your Disney park tickets. First, decide what parks you want to visit. I personally recommend setting aside one day at Magic Kingdom. This park truly allows you to feel the “Disney Magic.” If you have little kids, this is a must. As a dad, I will admit, I got a little teary eyed watching my kids just smile ear to ear at every turn. Priceless. Also, our son was one year old and any child under three years old gets into any of the parks for FREE. WIN-WIN.
For our first visit to Disney World with our children, we decided on three park days and two rest days. We went to Hollywood Studios one day and chose to go to Magic Kingdom for two days. If you’re fans of Toy Story and/or Star Wars, then Hollywood Studios is a MUST!
Total spent on Disney park tickets (Two adults and two children/3 days): $1,478.92 — This comes out to about $123 per person, per park day.
Disney Vacation Meals
Be careful with this one. Disney will charge an arm and a leg so you can eat an average meal and get a picture taken with Mickey Mouse. But don’t worry! You can also stand in line and see Mickey Mouse without being charged hundreds for a dinner. Since we decided to stay off of a Disney Resort, we were able to buy groceries when we got to Orlando, because our room was a condo and had a full kitchen. This is where we were able to save a lot of money since we bought our own snacks and made some of our meals, especially for lunch.
Total spent on food for the week including on the road: $297.36
For me, the real fun in being at Disney World is the actual experience. Walking around, taking in the sights, meeting characters, screaming on the rides and watching my kids smile and laugh together. But of course, then there are the souvenirs. Every storefront you pass, every ride you enter, there are kids (and adults) just salivating at the idea of bringing home a giant stuffed Mickey Mouse. True story. My son has one.
However, this is simple for us. In the months leading up to our Disney vacation, we teach our children how to be responsible with their money earned. So when they receive $10 from their grandma for their birthday, they put it away and save it and use their saved money for a souvenir on vacation. We do our best to limit souvenirs and teach our children that it’s about the family experience and not material possessions.
All in all, we spent a grand total of $3,969.55 for a family of five and a total of seven days and six nights (Including travel time and expenses).
Is it expensive? Yes, absolutely. Was it worth it? Yes, absolutely. If you set aside $83 a week for one year, you would have $4,000 in a years time and you too could take your family to Disney World! Why wait?