2 Ways To Do Disney World: Extravagant and On the Cheap

Starting Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-27, Walt Disney World Resort will launch an incredible summer for 2018 with guests being immersed in their favorite Disney films, entering the worlds of their beloved characters and experiencing exciting new attractions and entertainment.
Jacqueline Nell / Disney

A vacation to Disney World can be a magical experience, but just like there are many paths to Space Mountain, the price tag for this trip can vary.

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Today, the average cost for a Disney World vacation for a family of four is $5,190 for seven nights, Magicguides.com reported. But that’s in the middle range. There are plenty of ways to spend big or cut costs on your visit.

GOBankingRates put together tips for two options for your Disney World Trip, whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple or family. Check out some of the ways to go cheap or go all-out.

When To Travel

Remember that Disney World ticket prices are based on what day you visit. Higher-demand times (weekends, holidays, school vacations such as spring break) are generally more expensive.

Make Your Money Work for You

One-day admission tickets range between $109 to $159, and those prices drop with longer stays. A 5-day ticket starts at $91 per day, and a 10-day ticket starts at $55 per day. If you’re trying for thrifty travel, consider a slightly longer stay and plan to visit during off-peak times. Disney occasionally runs special offers, so be sure to look for those.

When cost is no object, you can pick one-day passes at peak times (although you’ll need to worry about crowds). Consider adding the Park Hopper upgrade that allows you to go between different parks after 2PM on the same day. The most expensive upgrade, the Park Hopper Plus, gives guests access to other activities such as the Blizzard Beach water park. A 1-day ticket with the Park Hopper Plus option currently ranges from $194-244 per person.

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Where To Stay

The major question about where to stay on a Disney World trip is whether to stay on property, at a Disney-owned hotel, or off the property.

Hotels on the Disney properties are certainly more convenient for getting to the parks, but they’re generally more expensive. A deluxe resort at Walt Disney World can cost from $411 per night, Magicguides.com reported. They are generally closer to the parks, with bigger rooms and better restaurants.

Make Your Money Work for You

If you want to splurge, consider the Atrium Club Level at the Contemporary Resort, starting at $854 per night. Booking rooms or suites with Club Level Service gives you access to a great hotel, plus a concierge staff and secured key access to the club-level lounge for refreshments.

If you’re a Star Wars fan, consider the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Adventure. Not only are you able to spend 2-nights in a Galactic Starcruiser, but your entire group can enjoy ongoing, immersive and interactive entertainment during the 2-day adventure. This intergalactic stay for four people (three adults, 1 child) costs $749 per guest, per night.

Other options include moderate and value resorts, which are better values. Value resorts can be as low as $150 per night, but they tend to be the furthest resorts from the parks.

You can often book your hotels directly through Disney, and that’s a budget-friendly move if they are offering discounts. There are a number of resort discounts available, including savings of up to $500 on a 5-Night Stay at select Disney Resort Hotels for bookings through July 7th.

Make Your Money Work for You

If you choose not to stay on a Disney property, you can find plenty of other hotels in the area, with varying costs – and don’t forget you’ll need transportation to and from the theme parks. Two other possibilities include AirBnB rentals or even camping. The campground sites at Fort Wilderness Resort can be as low as $66 a night.


Another way you can go all-out or be thrifty is with your food at Disney World. You can bring your own food into the park to save money or splurge on the dining options within the Disney properties.

In-park dining experiences range wildly depending on where you go. Quick-service restaurants will be the most cost-effective at around $20 per meal, per adult, while multi-course character dining experiences will cost you $60+. Kids’ meals are slightly cheaper, running closer to $12 per meal.

Outside of the parks, there are plenty of dining experiences available at Disney’s resort hotels for their guests.

Additional Perks

If you’re not working off a budget, consider adding ticketed events like the “Keys to the Kingdom” or other backstage tours. These can be perfect for an “insider” look at the park. “Keys to the Kingdom” is currently $114 per person.

Buying Souvenirs

Don’t forget money for souvenirs, T-shirts and more. If you’re looking to save money, consider shopping at stores that are off-site. Many of the local stores near the parks will sell authorized merchandise at a fraction of what similar items will cost at the theme park. You can also visit the Disney store in the Premium Outlet mall for discounted merchandise.

If money is no object, the theme parks have plenty of options! And because you’re shopping at Disney, you’ll be able to find items you can’t get anywhere else.

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