Last week, in the first installment of my Walt Disney World series, I shared 5 things to do BEFORE you really dig into planning your Walt Disney World Vacation. Today, I’m going to delve a little deeper into one of those tips with this Walt Disney World Vacation budget setting tutorial.
Prices for a Walt Disney World Vacation vary like crazy because there are SO. MANY. MAGICAL. CHOICES. All those options mean that there is really no magic number of what an average trip will set you back. In this post, I’ll go over each element of your trip budget and explain some of the options you have. I’m going to help you estimate what you can expect to spend, and prepare you to choose between the options available to suit what you want to spend.
As a bonus, I’ve included an adorable – and FREE – printable you can use to compare prices and keep track of your choices all in one place! Scroll down to the bottom to snag yours!
Alright, now put on your blinged-out mouse ears and let’s get started! (Am I the only one with blinged-out mouse ears? Please say no…)
Getting to the Magic
The most magical place on Earth is, sadly, not yet open for teleportation. Getting there, and getting around once you arrive, are the first things to consider in planning your Walt Disney World vacation.
It’s time to decide whether you will fly or drive. D.J., take me to the break down:
– If by air:
- Total cost of flights, both ways, for all family members
- Transportation between the airport and the resort (Disney’s Magical Express is a free shuttle service between the resort and the airport for people staying on site at Walt Disney World whose flights are between certain hours, and you should totally take advantage of this if you can!)
- Rental Car – this is absolutely not necessary if you’re staying on site at Walt Disney World, but if you want to explore the area a bit more, you may find you enjoy the added freedom.
– If by land:
- Estimated gas cost (here’s a super helpful estimator tool!)
- Any additional nights you may need to stay in a hotel en route
- Meals on the road, or snacks for the car
The decision between staying onsite and offsite can be one of the hardest to make! For starters, there are more than 25 places to stay on the Walt Disney World resort property, and countless others in the surrounding area. Plus, staying offsite can be significantly less expensive, but the trade off is less Disney Magic, longer commutes to the parks, no Extra Magic Hours… and did I mention less Disney magic?
As a Disney nerd, I may be a little biased… But I absolutely don’t expect you to be. To help you decide, choose your favorite onsite hotel and your favorite offsite hotel, then enter the price per night, total number of nights, and grand total for each in the spaces provided on the Walt Disney World Vacation Budget Worksheet.
Time to Play
Theme park tickets at Walt Disney World get less expensive the more days you stay. There are also websites where you can find ticket discounts, but for the sake of determining how much you can expect to spend, I recommend starting with the basic pricing on the Walt Disney World Website.
There are three different kinds of tickets available:
- Single Park
– Admission to one park per day
- Park Hopper
– Admission to all 4 theme parks with the ability to visit multiple parks each day
- Park Hopper Plus
– Includes Park Hopper
– Adds admission to 2 water parks
On your Walt Disney World Vacation Budget Worksheet, I’ve included a spot where you can enter the total cost for your family using each of these options so you can easily compare!
Feeding Your Inner Child
The food at Walt Disney World checks all the boxes, on every list, everywhere – it’s amazing and versatile and… kinda on the pricey side. You want to make sure you are budgeting enough for the duration of your trip.
If you’re staying onsite and purchasing a Magic Your Way package, you will have the option of adding a Disney Dining Plan.
There are three different types (pricing shown includes tax and is Adult/Child):
- Quick Service Dining Plan
– 2 Quick Service Meals per person per day
– 2 Snacks per person per day
– 1 Refillable Mug
2017 – $48.19/$20.88
2018 – $52.50/$21.74
- Disney Dining Plan
– 1 Quick Service Meal
– 1 Table Service Meal
– 2 Snacks
– 1 Refillable Mug
2017 – $69.35/$24.95
2018 – $75.49/$25.75
- Deluxe Dining Plan
– 3 Meals (Mix & Match Table Service & Quick Service)
– 2 Snacks
– 1 Refillable Mug
2017 – $106.68/$38.75
2018 – $116.25/$39.99
Fill in the total price for each Disney Dining Plan option by adding up your total daily price for adults and kids (adults are anyone over 10!) and multiplying that by the total number of nights you’re staying. In the “A la Carte” section, enter what you would like to spend for food without using a Disney Dining Plan – OR – the amount you are budgeting for food and beverages outside of the DDP allowances.
Memory Maker is a wonderful tool Walt Disney World offers to help you ALL get in the picture. You will find Photo Pass Photographers all over the parks. They will take your picture for free and link it to your My Disney Experience account using your Magic Band. You can view these photos and pay to download them individually, unless you purchase Memory Maker.
With Memory Maker, you can download all your Photo Pass photos for free for 45 days, with a print release. It also includes some other fun perks, like discounted prints, extra magic shots, and fun borders and characters you can add to your photos before you download.
If you purchase Memory Maker at least 3 days in advance of having any Photo Pass pictures taken, it’s only $169 – but if your need your Memory Maker purchase to be active immediately, the price jumps $30 to $199. I HIGHLY recommend this purchase. It’s so worth it to have those memories with everyone included!!!
On your Walt Disney World Vacation Budget Worksheet, enter your Memory Maker selection in the box provided. If Memory Maker is not for you, simply enter 0.
Rewarding Magic Makers
You’ll definitely want to include money for tips in your vacation budget! I’ve made the mistake of forgetting this in the past, and I think that’s the only time I’ve ever hoped for terrible service! Anyone else? No… Okay, moving on…
Wherever you stay, you’ll want to tip Mousekeeping/Housekeeping – a general rule of thumb is $1 per person per night.
Planning some Table Service meals? You’ll want to set aside at least $10 per meal to tip your servers.
Unexpected magic pops up all over the parks, so you’ll want to have some extra tip money just in case!
Enter these in the alotted fields on your Walt Disney World Vacation Budget Worksheet and take a deep breath – we’re almost finished!
The last two fields on your Walt Disney World Vacation Budget Worksheet are for souvenirs and extra experiences.
Souvenirs at Walt Disney World can add up fast, so whatever you budget here – stick to it!
Extra Magic could be things like a trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, VIP tours, holiday parties, or any number of special events that pop up throughout the year. These can be expensive, so you definitely want to budget for them – and book them – well in advance!
Hot Diggity Dog!
You made it!!! Now all that’s left is to choose your favorite option from each category, and enter that into category total field. Then add those up for your Grand Total and you have officially completed your Walt Disney World Budget Worksheet!!! Join me here next week for How to Save for Your Walt Disney World Vacation!
Download the Walt Disney World Vacation Budget Worksheet
What do you think of the Walt Disney World Vacation Budget Worksheet? Is there anything you would add? Let me know in the comments!