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How to budget for Disney world

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How to budget for Disney
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Hello, sunshine!
It’s no secret I love going to Disney. Above all, it’s also no secret that whenever you start planning for the dreams city, you get down the rabbit hole and as a result, the final amount can increase pretty quickly.  So, how to budget for Disney world, getting the most fun out of it and yet not having to take an additional mortgage on the house?

Worry not, cancel your appointment with your financial advisor, I’ve got you covered! In fact, this post will highlight my way of budgeting for the most magical place on earth while keeping my assets safe!

Disney Budget priority
Hawaiian dolls of it’s a small world


Firstly, if you want to budget for your trip while making sure your family has a blast, you must set your priorities first.  For example, your sister-in-law’s plan and budget might not be the most appropriate for your crew. Therefore, I highly suggest that you take the needed time to carefully plan your visit.

Here are the priorities you are the most likely to evaluate:

Throughout the next blog posts covering those priorities, you will find the pros and cons of different possibilities from the very low cost to the high luxury choices.  In addition to Disney magic, the beauty of Disney vacations is that you are very free of combining cheap and high-end options for each expenditure item.


Firstly, let’s talk about what is, in my opinion, the biggest expenditure item, lodging.  That is to say when staying in Orlando to visit Disney Parks, multiple options are available, from offsite locations to high-end Disney hotels.  In order to have the most organized presentation, all priorities will be presented from the lower cost option to the most expensive.

River of lights
Animal Kingdom river of lights nighttime show

Offsite locations

If you plan to stay offsite, consider making a reservation at a hotel located on Buena Vista Lake, which will be the closest you can get from Disney, without staying at a Disney hotel, so less transportation time. In the same vein, try to find a hotel close to your favorite park.



  • Very flexible
  • Likely no parking fees
  • Cheaper


  • Might not have transportation to and from the parks (some of the offsite hotels offer transportation though)
  • No access to the meal plans
  • No tickets package available
  • No Disney Magic

To sum up, the most compelling reason why I would choose to stay offsite would be if I drive to Disney and want to avoid the parking fees. Most importantly, if I am interested in visiting Universal Studios as well as Disney World, it might be a good option to stay in between.

Value Disney-Hotel

Likewise, the cheapest Disney option, the value hotels are still packed with all the Disney Magic one can expect. Certainly, the best way to start a vacation!



  • Chance to stay onsite at a lowcost
  • Disney transportation available
  • Disney themed décor
  • Packages and dining plan available
  • Disney clean


  • Further than the moderate and the deluxe, plan close to 30min transportation to get in the parks
  • Not very flexible if you plan to visit Universal Studio
  • Old and outdated, feel like a more or less cheap motel
  • Rooms are accessible from outside only
  • Can be noisy during championships

To sum up, the value hotels are a great option if you don’t plan to spend too much time at the hotel.

Moderate Disney-hotel

The moderate Disney resorts are likely the most interesting magic+perks/money ratio. As a result, if you visit Disney on a special occasion such as honeymoon or anniversary and you want to splurge a little while keeping it reasonable, moderate resorts might be a good option. In addition, if you are aiming for a gym, the Coronado is to my knowledge, the only option below deluxe hotels.



  • Possibility to stay onsite
  • Free transportation available
  • Disney+ themed décor
  • Packages and dining plan available
  • Disney clean
  • Better restaurants on-site


  • Expensive
  • Parking fees

Luxury Disney-resorts

Finally, Luxury Disney resorts are where Disney magic operates the most, at a premium price.  Like we say, everything comes with a price!  On the other hand, if you plan to spend quite a bit of time at the hotel, these might be a good option.



  • Stay onsite
  • Transportation available and typically very close to Disney parks
  • Disney+ premium luxury décor
  • Packages and dining plan available
  • Disney clean
  • Excellent restaurants on-site
  • All possible amenities


  • Super Expensive
  • Parking fees

In addition, if you are willing to pay an additional premium fee while staying at a deluxe resort, you can book a club-level-room type, which will give you access to an additional 3 fast-pass per person you can book 60 days in advance. To clarify, those 3 additional fast-passes come with a hefty price of 50$/person/day and you must take those fast-passes for at least 3 days, which will cost you at the bare minimum a 150$ per person, on top of what your room already costs. After that, the budget for Disney world is highly undertaken.

Budget for Disney vacation
Ariel ship in the Magic Kingdom

Take home message

In conclusion, when you budget for Disney world, really consider the use you will have out of every perk. For instance, since we don’t spend much time in the hotel, we don’t mind choosing the cheapest one.  On the other hand, if you want to leave the park early and have a nice dinner at the hotel, then a more premium choice is might worth considering.

Nevertheless, you need to keep in mind that wherever you stay, your Disney vacation will surely be unforgettable.

Good luck planning your next Disney vacation, meanwhile, have a drink, stay for a while!

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