Are you planning a Disney World vacation and wondering how much spending money you need for Disney World? When planning a trip to the Walt Disney World resort, you will want to be sure to budget for your vacation. After considering your hotel room costs and ticket prices, you should also consider sit-down meals, quick service restaurant meals, snacks, and souvenirs.
In addition to Disney World park tickets, consider any additional fees for Disney Genie+, parking, special events, car rental, or shuttle service costs. At the end of the day, you will have a magical vacation but being prepared and not stressed about your finances will make your Disney World trip even better! Keep reading for my best tips for considering your Disney vacation cost.
What do I need to include in my budget for Disney World? How much spending money do you need for Disney World?
When considering your budget for Disney World, first examine the time of year you will visit and possible travel dates. If you are looking to save the most money on your family vacation, the best way is to visit during non-peak vacation times at a slower time of year. Park tickets, both base tickets and those with the park hopper option, will be at a lower price point during quieter times. It is a good idea to check crowd calendars and check for any special events like Run Disney events or festivals. It will not be the least expensive time to travel during the winter holidays, school breaks, or long weekends.
During non-peak times, you will also most likely save money on flight prices into the Orlando International Airport. If it is your first time visiting the parks (or not!), it is always a good idea to consult a travel agent specializing in Disney World vacations. We can help you select dates, pick a resort and decide on park tickets! Our commission is included in your Disney World vacation, so use our expertise! Travel professionals can also help you apply any special offers that might apply to the total cost of your Disney World vacation.
You will also want to consider staying on or off property during your Disney vacation. If you decide to stay on Disney property and take advantage of the amenities that a Disney hotel provides, you will need to decide on what type of resort. Would you prefer value resorts, moderate resorts, or deluxe resorts?
Just like in real estate, location, location, and location matters in your resort selection. In general, deluxe resorts will offer closer proximity to the parks and more square footage as opposed to value resorts. However, deluxe resorts will also come at an extra cost. If you want to pocket the extra money saved from a value resort’s lower prices, you will still enjoy fantastic amenities at any Disney resort.
Disney resort amenities include transportation service to all of the Disney parks, including Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. They also provide service to the water parks and Disney Springs. When you are considering staying on and off property, take all these factors into account.
How much should I budget for food in Disney World each day?
Budgeting for food at Disney World is a bit tricky since it is subjective to each family. However, you can get a ballpark estimate by checking out the Disney menus online. If you choose to dine at Disney, you have a quick service option or sit-down dining. If you choose to sit down dining, you can begin to secure those reservations 60 days in advance of your trip. Those staying on property can secure their dining for the duration of their trip (up to 10 days), while those staying off property will have to reserve their days one at a time.
Sit-down dining includes both traditional restaurants and character meal dining and can add to your Disney World cost. Character meals will cost more per person. In general, character meals run about $35-$60 per adult and $30-40 per child. If you are considering adding character meals to your budget, check the menus to make sure there are options that your whole family might enjoy, especially younger children. My personal favorites are Topolino’s Terrace breakfast and Tusker House at Animal Kingdom in Disney’s theme parks!
Table service dining average cost will generally run adults between $20-35 per person. Of course, you will have to budget a bit more for alcoholic beverages. Some of my favorite table service restaurants in Disney World are Liberty Tree Tavern and Skipper Canteen in Magic Kingdom, Yak and Yeti in Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Via Napoli in Epcot.
Quick service options in the Disney parks average between $15-20 per person. A good idea is to check out the quick service menus before your trip! You can also ask your travel agent for her best tips. On my next personal Disney trip, I am planning to visit Satuli Canteen in Animal Kingdom and the UK pavilion in Epcot for fish and chips. For our Magic Kingdom day, we love Columbia Harbour House and ABC Commissary in Hollywood Studios.
You should also plan a little bit of your total cost for Disney snacks. Different options like a Mickey ice cream bar, a churro, or a pretzel can be a great pick-me-up in the middle of a Disney day! Budget between $5-10 per person for each snack while you visit Disney World.
How can I save money on food at Disney World?
If you don’t want to spend too much money on dining at Disney World, your best option is to bring some of your own snacks! The best way that our family plans to cut down on costs is either to schedule a grocery pickup in the Orlando area (if we have a rental car). If we are using Disney transportation on Disney property, we opt for a grocery delivery service like InstaCart or Amazon Fresh.
Can you pack snacks for Disney World?
Shopping for snacks and breakfast items at a local grocery store is a great way to save the most money on your dining budget. I also love being able to grab a breakfast bar with my coffee on the way to the Skyliner or the Disney Bus for early entry hours. You can really get your best value out of this on a family trip, when you are paying for food for multiple people.
Here is a pro tip! If you calculate costs for your dining on a five-night stay, consider purchasing cereal and milk, fruit, and granola bars for breakfast. Then, compare that to spending $10 per person on breakfast at the food court. For a family of four, you can save almost $200 on breakfast costs alone!
Is Genie+ worth the added purchase?
Genie+ is Disney’s newest skip-the-line service. You can add Genie+ to your ticket on the day of your visit, as long as you have a valid ticket and a park pass reservation. You can begin to make your first selection at 7 AM. Most of the most popular attractions are included in Genie+ in each park. After your first ride, you can make a second selection or you can make another selection two hours after park opening.
In addition, you can purchase an individual lightning lane for the most popular ride in each park. This is a separate purchase from Genie+. This can also be purchased in the app. Guests staying at a Disney park can make their selections at 7 AM. All other park guests can make their ILL selections at park opening.
Genie+ offerings include rides like Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Peter Pan’s Flight in Magic Kingdom. In Animal Kingdom, you can visit Kilimanjaro Safari, Dinosaur, and Navi River Journey in Pandora. Hollywood Studios features rides like Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Smugglers Run in Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Mania and Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land. In Epcot, the offerings include Frozen Ever After, Test Track, Mission Space and Soarin’.
Individual Lightning Lanes include Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Flight of Passage in Avatar, Rise of Resistance in Hollywood Studios and Guardians of the Galaxy in Epcot.
If you are visiting during peak crowd times, Genie+ is definitely worth the purchase. If you are visiting during less crowded times, consider getting to the parks early and rope drop the most popular rides. Ride lines also tend to go down later in the evening and during nighttime shows.
Should I bring a water bottle to Disney?
Yes! Definitely bring a water bottle to Disney! You will save a lot of money on your next Disney vacation and stay hydrated! Remember, you can always add some free cups of ice water at no additional cost at Disney World quick service locations. Save that money for the gift shop or set it aside for your next family vacation!
How much extra money should I bring to Walt Disney World?
Determining how much extra money you should bring to Disney World is a personal question. How much spending money you need for Disney World will depend on your spending preferences. If you want to stay within budget, consider putting aside a set amount for your Disney souvenirs and snacks. Once you have paid for your hotel and Disney World tickets, a lot of your costs have been accounted for except for meals.
To give you an average cost for souvenirs, a set of Mickey ears will run you around $40. Christmas ornaments and Disney tumblers and mugs will average between $20-30 each. Disney pins and magnets fall between $5-10 apiece. Want a t-shirt? Consider about $30 for adult sizes and $20 for children. Plushes of your favorite characters run around $20-30 while more expensive items like Pandora charms, Alex and Ani bracelets, and spirit jerseys will price out around $70-100.
Can I use Disney gift cards in the parks?
A great way to budget for these additional items is to purchase Disney gift cards ahead of your trip. Purchasing them with your Target Red Card will save you 5% and retailers like Sam’s also offer gift cards. If your kids have a birthday coming up, have them request these as presents to purchase their own souvenirs and keep them within budget.
How can I save money on Disney souvenirs?
You can save money on Disney souvenirs by shopping at the Disney discount stores in the Orlando area. Disney’s Character Warehouse locations on Vineland and International Drive both have great Disney merchandise at greatly discounted prices. Shoppers may discover discounted designer Disney purses, waist bags, shirts, toys and more. On my last trip, I purchased an adorable Dapper Dans Loungefly for only $19.99!
You can also find cute Disney-themed t-shirts, mugs, keychains, and magnets at the local Target and Walmart locations. I would warn that there are several stores in the Orlando area that promise “Disney souvenirs”. If the location looks questionable, use your best judgment to determine if it is a quality option for your family.
Also, keep in mind that you can purchase some simple items like glow sticks, Disney washcloths, coloring books, and stickers at your local dollar store. Having these on hand for small “Tinkerbell” gifts throughout your vacation keeps your little ones from constantly asking for items from those fantastic Disney gift shops.
How much money do you need per day in Disney World?
On average, you can budget about $15 per person for breakfast, $20 for lunch, and $25 per person for dinner. Also, include some money for snacks which would be between $6-$10 per snack. I would estimate around $40-50 for souvenirs for each person.
If you plan to purchase Individual Lightning Lanes or Genie+ during your trip, be aware that that is an additional charge to your park tickets. These allow you to bypass the long lines for the most popular rides in the parks and can be well worth the investment during busy seasons. If you are on a tight budget, I would suggest purchasing Genie+ over an abundance of snacks and souvenirs.
Should I bring cash to Disney World ?
Although you can bring cash into Disney World, you do not have to have cash on hand. When considering how much spending money you need for Disney World, there are several ways to make purchases in the parks. You can save your best credit cards to your My Disney Experience app under your profile. Having this pre-loaded enables you to make easy purchases for dining, stores, and Genie+.
If you have a Magic Band, you can set up a pin to simply scan your band in most stores and dining locations. Of course, you can also use credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, and cash in all locations as well.
If you do load your credit card to your app, you can also use Merchandise Mobile Checkout in many of the Disney parks stores. This can save you loads of time in the lines in the gift shops! Merchandise Mobile Checkout is currently available in the Emporium in Magic Kingdom, the Creations Shop and Treasures of Xandar in Epcot, Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, Mickey’s of Hollywood in Hollywood Studios, Discovery Trading and Island Mercantile in Animal Kingdom, and Super Hero Headquarters and World of Disney in Disney Springs.
Can you bring backpacks into Disney World?
Yes! You can bring a backpack to Disney World and Disneyland. Just make sure it is comfortable and you are able to move easily through the parks with it. Feel free to bring snacks, drinks, candy, gum, a change of clothing, and anything else that might make your family more comfortable.
How much is a Coke at Disney World?
Think about snack costs when thinking about how much spending money you need for Disney World. In general, a Coke in Disney World will run you about $4.50. Most quick-service locations feature refillable fountain drinks. If you are staying on the Disney property, you may want to consider purchasing a refillable mug. These plastic mugs are for sale at the resorts and can be refilled for up to 14 days during your visit. They are only allowed to be refilled at the resorts, not at the parks or water parks. However, it may be a good deal if you tend to purchase several drinks during your resort stay.
Does it cost money to park at Disney parks?
When thinking about how much spending money you need for Disney World, consider parking costs. If you are staying on the property, there is no longer a charge to park at the Disney resorts. However, it does cost money to park at Disney theme parks. Current pricing is $25 for standard parking and $45-50 for preferred parking. Disney World annual passholders can park for free at the parks. When you are considering your total cost and debating staying on or off property, be sure to consider the cost of parking at the theme parks.
What can you not bring to Disney World?
There are a few items not allowed in Disney parks. Prohibited items including firearms, ammunition, and fireworks are not allowed in Disney World. Pepper spray and mace are restricted. Strollers bigger than 31″ wide and 52″ in height are also prohibited. Wagon strollers are also not allowed. Check here for a full list of restricted items.
Alcoholic beverages and illegal substances are also not allowed in the parks. Smoking is allowed only in specified areas. No horns or loud noisemakers can be brought in. No drones, skateboards, or inline skates can be at Disney World parks.
Leave your suitcases and wheeled duffels at your resort. No selfie sticks or large tripods are permitted in the parks. No balloons or plastic straws can be found in Animal Kingdom or water parks. Adults also should not be dressed in costumes and masks can not be worn.
I hope this post helps you think through how much spending money for Disney World. It is truly a magical place, but a little planning and budgeting will make your trip even more amazing. Be sure to sign up below for my free Disney World packing list. Also, keep reading for more great travel tips that your whole family will enjoy!
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