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Disney Vacation Planner  >  Walt Disney World  >  Holiday Costs
Last revised Mon, 26-Nov-2007 15:08
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Holiday Costs

[ Disney Vacation Planner ]

At A Glance

One aspect of our Floridian holiday that always seems to suprise people that ask me, is the question How much did it all cost ? Whether or not you have had good value from a holiday is a very personal matter, as is whether it was a cheap or an expensive holiday. I speak to friends in the UK that have had a two week holiday in a small Bed & Breakfast hotel on the UK coast, and I'm staggered to find that they have spent almost as much as me for the same duration holiday in Florida, or that they've been to Spain for a fortnight and spent just as much.

When looking through the various holiday brochures, Florida and WDW in particular never struck me as a particularly cheap place to visit, however when you take into account the relatively inexpensive cost of hotel rooms in Florida compared to the UK, and the correspondingly low cost of living, again compared to the UK, a two or three week holiday in Florida can start to look much more inviting.

The cost of the holiday also depends on if a complete package is booked in advance, or if a flight only is booked with hotel accommodation being arranged on arrival, and of course on the time of year the holiday is taken.

One thing that has really suprised me this year (1998), is that I'm currently looking to book a fully inclusive 3-week trip, going through a UK travel agent rather than doing it all myself this year. The holiday will include a 21-night stay in one of the All-Star Resorts, or possibly in one of the moderate resorts instead, and will include full insurance on the car. Finally everything will be prepaid before leaving the UK.

Checking out the standard brochure prices, Unijet (love the free video) and Virgin were within a few quid of each other (I expected Virgin to be quite a bit more). Also, if I booked the hotel myself at standard Disney-quoted prices, it would cost exactly the same.

The advantage of doing everything through the agent is of course peace of mind, with the main disadvantage being the price since I wouldn't be getting a last-minute deal price.

A hidden disadvantage however, is that there's less flexibility to alter the hotel booking, hence I'm going to be booking the fully inclusive fly-drive through Virgin, but will continue my preferred practise of booking the hotel directly through Disney CRO, which will leave me free to take advantage of any upgrade openings, or any MKC discounts that become available.

Getting to Florida

The first expense is the cost of getting to Florida in the first place. My experience over the last two years is that a considerable saving can be had if the flight and car are booked together through a suitable tour operator, but hotel accommodation is booked directly. It should be possible to get a flight for two adults, including airport taxes, a hire car, and travel insurance for under 700 pounds, depending on the time of year. Additionaly if an option exists to pay for "CDW" or "LDW" insurance in the UK this will also save money over the cost of the same in Florida.

Don't forget though, that on top of the basic "getting there" price of the flight and car, youre also probably going to have to pay out for suitable travel insurance, and also the "free" hire car will almost certainly turn out to cost somewhat more than you'd expect for something that's free.

Rule 1: There's no such thing as a "free" car.


The cost of a hotel room varies considerably, and many guides recommend allowing between $55 and $75 per person per day for accommodation, however I believe this to be excessive. My own experience is that a good clean room with air conditioning, two king-size beds, and a private en-suite bathroom should cost no more than 30-35 pounds per night during the low season. It is inevitably more expensive to stay in a Disney hotel than in a hotel outside of WDW, however staying "On Property" has a number of very real benefits, so should be considered. A t stay at the All Star Sports resort for example should cost approximately 50 - 65 pounds per night for the room (sleeping up to 4 people) depending on the time of year and the exchange rate.

Access to the parks

Another expence that must be considered is the cost of getting into the theme parks themselves. Park admission can make a considerable dent in the budget if it's not allowed for. Generally, around $40 per adult per day should be allowed for each day of admission to the major theme parks in Florida. This holds good for both the Disney operated parks, and the other surrounding parks such a SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens.

When buying tickets, make sure you know how long you intend to spend in each park, and which parks you intend to visit. Bonus and Hopper passes offer several days access to Disney parks, whereas combination passes are available for access to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Universal Studios and Splendid China, both offering considerable savings over buying single day passes.

For 5-day entry into the main Disney parks, with access to the minor Disney parks included as well, the 5-Day All-In-One Pass is a good option to consider, or better value still, the 7-day All-In-One pass. These can also be purchased in advance of the trip, at any Disney Store if you'd rather stretch the expence out over a few months.

When comparing hotel prices, remember that many all inclusive packages (particularly those booked through Virgin) may include an Unlimited Magic Passport, which provides full access to all Disney parks for the full duration of your stay. This alone can easily be worth 250 pounds per (adult) person providing you intend to make good use of it.


Food is far cheaper in Florida than in the UK, and a family of four can get a good meal at many of the roadside restaurants such as Dennys, Wendys, The IHOP, etc, for under 50 dollars, including drinks, tips and sales tax. Most restaurants also offer free drinks refils once the initial drink has been purchased, so you don't need to buy two or three cokes each during your meal - refills are free. Food within the Disney parks themselves is obviously more expensive than food outside the parks, where there's no captive audience, however if you assume that a trip to one of the in-park eateries will cost roughly the same as visiting a McDonalds or Burger King in the UK you won't be far wrong.


I haven't mentioned the hidden costs in the hire car agreement in this section because I've devoted a separate page to information you need to know about hire cars, however it is worth mentioning fuel costs. Inevitably, if you have a hire car for two weeks, you're going to need fuel for it, unless you stay in Disney all the time. If you're a UK resident, you're going to find fuel costs suprisingly low, at under a pound per US gallon. Generally petrol prices are around a third of the UK price, so fuel costs at least aren't likely to break the bank!

Miscellaneous Expences

Don't forget that you'll also need to make allowances for spending money and for souvinirs etc, while at WDW. I can't really give too much guidance here, because it depends on how much you like to spend, and what sorts of souvinirs and presents you like to buy. I can however say that souvinir prices, aren't as high in Disney as you might expect, and strangely are considerably cheaper than at the Disney stores in the UK.


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