If you are thinking of heading to Disney World then you might be wondering just how much a holiday there will set you back. This question is similar to “how long is a piece of string?”, but here I've written my guidelines for how much a holiday to Disney World will cost.
Before you go
Before you go, you will need to arrange travel insurance and an ESTA. The ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is what you will need to complete if you are traveling to America under the Visa Waiver Program. It costs $14 and lasts for two years. Applying is easy, although I would recommend applying more than 30 days before your trip. You can apply online.
Travel insurance should cover you worldwide, and your level of cover will depend on your needs. For a couple with no pre-existing medical conditions, you can expect to pay around £35 per year by using Quidco's insurance comparison tool.
Cost per couple: £53
Cost for 2 adults and 2 children: £88
Your flights can cost anything from under £500 to over £1,000. I make it a rule to never fly for over £500. In the past it has meant flying indirectly or waiting for British Airways or Virgin Atlantic to have a sale. If you need to travel in school holidays then the prices can be double or more.
Cost per couple: From £1,000
Cost for 2 adults and 2 children (school holidays): From £3,800
There are plenty of places to stay in Orlando and you definitely won't be short of choices.
You can either stay “on-site” with Disney or Universal. Disney offers budget hotels, moderate hotels or deluxe hotels. Based on two weeks, you can expect to pay:
Budget: £1,691 with Disney directly, £1,399 on Hotels.com
Moderate: £2,685 with Disney directly, £2,272 on Hotels.com
Deluxe: £9,220 with Disney directly, £5,037 on Hotels.com
Disney accommodation is much cheaper on hotels.com. If you go via Quidco then you can also get between 8 – 10% cashback and get the hotels for much less than the cost of going directly with Disney. You can still get your booking confirmation number for Disney, although this requires getting in contact with hotels.com.
Other hotels can cost anything from £36 per night too much, much more. If you are looking for a personal recommendation then I can strongly recommend Legacy Vacation Club in Kissimmee.
We stayed in a mini-suite with a fridge and microwave which provided enough room for two of us. Larger suites will also suit families. It was clean, there were four pools to choose from (sometimes we even had the pool to ourselves) and we really enjoyed staying there.
Another alternative to a hotel is staying in a private villa. You can pay anything from £400 plus per week. The closer to Disney, the higher the cost. The great thing about villas is that they can usually sleep 8 people or more, which reduces the cost per person significantly.
Cost per couple: Two weeks villa from £800, two weeks offsite from £500 and two weeks at Disney from £1,399.
Cost for 2 adults and 2 children (school holidays): Two weeks villa from £800, two weeks offsite from £500 and two weeks at Disney from £1,399.
The easiest way to get around Orlando is to hire a car. You can hire a car for two weeks for around £400, and this should accommodate either just two adults on their own or two adults with two children.
Alternatively, if you are staying on site (with Disney or Universal), some hotels or International Drive, you will find a range of travel options available to you, including free hotel shuttles or the Lynx.
Taxi prices are pretty steep in Orlando, but you can book these online (and save 10%) with Mears. To give you a guide, you would be paying:
- $90 (plus tip) from the airport to Magic Kingdom
$141 (plus tip) from a Kissimmee villa to Magic Kingdom
- $47 (plus tip) from Disney's Coronado Springs to Universal Studios
The above costs are for one-way journeys, and you will be expected to leave a tip for your driver on top of the fee.
Cost per couple: Two-week car hire from £400
Cost for 2 adults and 2 children (school holidays): Two-week car hire from £400. This doesn't include child seats as required.
Theme park tickets
I have previously blogged about saving money on your theme park tickets, which also includes a short description of each of the different theme parks.
Tickets for two weeks at each of the three theme park companies are:
- Seaworld (with Busch Gardens and Aquatica) £93 per person (£90 per child)
- Universal and Islands of Adventure £126 per person (£117 per child)
- Disney (including The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT and two water parks) £282 per person (£267 per child)
Cost per couple: Between £186 – £1,002 depending on the theme parks chosen.
Cost for 2 adults and 2 children (school holidays): Between £366 – £1,950 depending on the theme parks chosen
How long is a piece of string? If you ask two different people, you will get two different answers, depending on their experiences and expectations.
I personally struggle to eat three meals whilst in Florida – the heat and humidity, along with eating richer food than I am used to means that I hardly feel hungry and I have to actively remember meal times.
I would suggest that you budget for two meals a day plus some snacks. If you are able to get to a supermarket to bulk buy drinks, snacks, and cereal then you will save money.
If you are driving, you will also need to consider that, unless you are staying on site or you have an annual pass, you will need to pay to park at the theme parks, which is around the £10 mark.
Remember that you will be expected to tip in many situations, including dining out and hotel housekeeping. This is because the service industry in America pays significantly less than minimum wage, on the basis of it being topped up by tips. Unsure when or how much you will be expected to tip? Trip Advisor have you covered.
I would suggest an absolute minimum budget of $100 (roughly £65-£70) per person, per day, to cover eating, drinks and parking. If you are planning to hit the outlets or bring back souvenirs then you will need to budget more.
Cost per couple: From £1,820 for two weeks.
Cost for 2 adults and 2 children (school holidays): From £3,640 for two weeks.
I have never been on a package holiday to Disney World, as I have always found cheaper offers elsewhere. If you are able to wait it out then you can get some good last minute deals.
If you are booking with Virgin Holidays, or any other company who offer a “free” car rental, be warned that you will still be required to pay certain insurance. This can often work out to be around the same price as hiring a car yourself (approximately £400 for two weeks), so it isn't free at all.
With all of that taken on board, for a two week holiday you are looking at a minimum of £3,959 per couple and £8,794 for a family with two children. This takes into account the cheapest theme parks to visit – the Seaworld theme parks. If you are planning on heading to Disney then this will increase by between £250-£300 per person. There are some savings to be made along the way, so whilst it is possible to trim this down a bit, a trip to Disney World is an expensive one!
There are some savings to be made along the way, so whilst it is possible to trim this down a bit, a trip to Disney World is an expensive one!