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How to Budget for Disney: transportation, special events and merchandise

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Budget for Disney

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Hello, Sunshine!
I hope you are having a beautiful day so far! I assume if you are reading his that you are interested in how to budget for Disney, and you have already reviewed my tips for food and lodging. Today’s post will focus on transportation (boring!) special events such as the Mickey Christmas party and merchandising.
Just as the last two posts, I guess you start to understand the jazz, it all comes down to your priorities!


How to Budget for Disney: Transportation

First things first, I am a keen adept of all the technologies out there. However, teleportation not being available yet; I have to rely on options used by foolish mortals. When choosing your transportation means to the most magical place on Earth, three criteria need to be evaluated. The cost, speed and luggage you can bring. Obviously, there are not so many ways you can go to Disney.
I will only cover the plane and the car since the vast majority won’t take the bus and train. As a result, let’s start with what appears to be the least expensive option.

Cinderella Castle

Cinderella Castle

Driving to Disney

Driving to Disney might appear as the least expensive option. Evidently, if you leave from Fort Lauderdale, I don’t recommend flying. However, when departing from Buffalo, Montréal or Toronto, one might think driving is a good option. In my opinion, it starts being interesting from the moment you are three.
Again, I am a scientist, check out the calculations that back my assumptions.
Let’s say you drive an Altima with a general gas consumption of 6.5 L/100 (35 mpg) you leave from Montreal, so you have approximately 1450 miles (2320 km), you drive at 60 mph (100 km/h). You drive for 10 hours a day, which will take you two days and a half to reach your destination.


Gas : 41 gal (155l) @ 3,78$ / gal (1$ / L) = 155$ Round-trip : 310$
Restaurant : 3 breakfast (12$/person), 3 lunches (19$/person), 2 dinners (25$/person)
143$/person Roundtrip : 286$/person
Hotel : 2 nights, 100$/night – 200$ Roundtrip : 400$
For two people: 996$
For three people: 1 282$

Now, these calculations are very reasonable and more on the lower hand; also, keep in mind that, roundtrip, you will lose around 5 days driving. FIVE DAYS! It’s the equivalent of a workweek, so unless you have an unlimited amount of vacation days, you will need to take 2 weeks’ vacation for a single week in Disney. On the other hand, you could have flown to Orlando for less than 1500$.

Flying to Disney

Now, let’s talk about the most expensive option. Flying is sometimes the only viable option, namely if you need to cross an ocean or an entire continent. In these situations, you can’t really compromise on the plane. Therefore this section isn’t for you, just skip to the special event and merchandising.
As I mentioned above, flying two people is often worth it, with roundtrip tickets ranging from 500$ to 800$, the time saved flying vs driving is a good choice. When flying more than 2 people, sometimes compromises such as carry-on only or layover can lower the cost enough to be a reasonable option. Keep in mind that the earlier your departure is from your starting point, likely the more expensive your ticket will be. On the other hand, the later your departure is from Orlando, the more expensive the return.

Budget for Disney: Special events (90-120$/person)

Disney Budget Special Event

Mickey’s Christmas Party

Now that we have chosen our hotel, dining plan, if applicable, and we have a transportation mean to Disney, let’s talk about special events. You might have planned your trip during one of the coveted special events such as Mickey’s Christmas or Halloween party. Let’s face it, these are not cheap; nonetheless, they are often sold out. Now, should you splurge? If you can afford to do so, I will say YES!


  • Expensive
  • Park accessible from 16:00 to midnight
  • Hard to enjoy the most of it with little ones (midnight might be late)


  • Less crowded park
  • No need for park ticket (park accessible from 16:00)
  • Exclusive merch
  • Rare characters (jack skeleton and Cruella for instance)
  • Unique parade
  • Free treats (on some events)

Budget for Disney: Merchandising (1$ to infinite)

Finally, this section might be more for the ones with toddlers because, us, adults are so much more reasonable (not!). If you are just half like me, read this, you’ll need it. First, you need to prepare your mantra: “no, I don’t need an Olaf plush…” Seriously, scout Disney’s website prior to your trip, especially if you are the type of person to purchase everything. My two things I can’t leave Disney without are a pair of ears and an exclusive Pandora charm. Also, the fact that we fly to Disney limits the weight and volume we can bring back, so it helps quite a bit, not bringing back a full dishes set. Briefly, I want to give you two pieces of advice: look for parks exclusive and check for bargains at Disney’s outlet (outside Buena Vista Lake).

Choose your merch wisely

If it’s not exclusive to the park, you might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere, and if you don’t mind having the latest shirt or plush, Disney’s outlets in Orlando offer a wide range of merchandise that were or weren’t park exclusive.

Take home message

In conclusion, a trip to Disney doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg, budget for Disney wisely and according to your priorities. Your trip will be fantastic!

In the meantime, have a drink, stay for a while!

Budget for Disney

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