How much does it cost to go to Disney World?
By Helen Wright
It’s the question I get asked the most and the one that is hardest to answer. How much does it cost to go to Disney World? How much do you need to take your family to Orlando and how much does a Disney World trip cost per day? Going to Florida is a trip of a lifetime for most people and with the cost of flights, hotels and theme park passes adding up, planning your first trip to Orlando can be overwhelming. It’s a great idea to plan in advance and budget for your holiday, but if you’ve never been before, how do you know what you’ll spend?
Since everyone’s needs and budget vary so much, I have tried to break down how much you can expect to spend on a two-week trip to Orlando and in some cases have divided my advice into peak and off-peak to allow for extra expenses in the school holidays. I have also calculated an average spend for a family of four (two adults, two kids) as well as for a couple (two adults). Below is a breakdown of the different elements to consider for a holiday in Orlando and at the end of the post I have calculated the average costs.
How much does it cost to go to Disney World?
How much for a family of four to fly to Orlando in the school holidays?
It’s one of parenting’s most frustrating realities, but travelling during the school holidays will be more costly. Popular, family friendly destinations like Orlando, often see flight prices double or, sometimes, go up by two-thirds of the price to fly in term time. If you can’t, or don’t want to take your children out of school, there isn’t really much you can do about the extra spend.
Orlando has a less-humid, more moderate climate in spring, meaning Easter is the most expensive time to go. Flights around the Easter school holidays average on £1000 per seat on Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, usually £700 on low-cost carrier, Norwrgian Air*. During the summer holidays (July to September), flights average on £850 return on Virgin and BA and £650 on Norwegian. Christmas prices come in slightly lower than Summer, but it’s worth noting that hotel prices in Orlando surge around the festive period so what you save on flights, you might end up spending on accommodation (and then some).
*Due to COVID-19, Norwegian Air have announced they are not flying commercially again until 2021.
My favourite time to go to Orlando is in the later, ‘shoulder season’, which is mid-September-November. After the kids go back to school, the period between summer and America’s Thanksgiving celebrations is a great time to visit Orlando. Temperatures average in the mid-30s, there are less crowds and some great package deals from the UK. There are also a lot of extra events on at this time, such as Halloween Horror Nights and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, meaning even more fun to be had. I have seen flights during this period as low as £154 each way on Virgin Atlantic and £119 each way on Norwegian.
Since the autumn holiday in most schools is only for one week, it does mean that visiting at this time is out of the question if you don’t want your kids to miss any school days. If you have read my Ultimate Guide To Orlando, you’ll know that I don’t think seven days is long enough for a holiday to Orlando. I recommend ten days minimum to get the most from your trip.
Average flight price for a family of four (two adults and two kids) in the school holidays: £3600
Average flight price for a couple (two adults) during the school holidays: £1800
Average flight price for a family of four travelling off-peak: £1300
Average flight price for a couple travelling off-peak: £620
For anyone worried that autumn in Orlando means rainy season or hurricane season, be aware that it rains pretty much all year round in Orlando but usually just for quick, no problem showers. Since my preferred month to visit Orlando is September, I have been in Orlando for many a hurricane and tropical storm. Read about our most recent hurricane experience, staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Some of the advice in this guide contains affiliate links. If you were to book your hotels, tickets or tours by returning to my site and clicking through on these links, I may receive a small monetary benefit at no cost to yourself. I was not paid to write this feature and, like all my posts on passportstamps.uk, this article is based on my true and honest experience.
Ground transport (car hire or taxis)
In reality, getting around Orlando is not practical on public transport. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort hotel, you can make use of the free transportation within the resort you are staying in. For example, if you are staying at Walt Disney World and you only plan to visit Disney, this will be fine as the whole resort is served by buses (likewise with Universal). But these buses do not serve other resorts, so to visit other theme parks, shops, off-resort restaurants and attractions, you will need to take a taxi.
Fortunately, UBER and LYFT in Orlando are very reasonably-priced (download the apps before you leave the UK), so if you only plan to leave your chosen resort a handful of times, taking a taxi is the cheapest option. For reference, a 20 minute drive from Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel to Universal Citywalk is $26 (£21) plus tip of $4, totalling around £25. From Orlando Airport (MCO) to Universal’s Cabana Bay Resort, it’s $36 plus tip, which should be slightly more with suitcases (approximately £35 in total).
I always recommend renting a car in Orlando. The freedom of having your own vehicle means you can experience all the best things to do in Orlando without any restrictions. Some of the less famous attractions in Orlando end up being the most memorable parts of your holiday. We have a detailed post about renting a car, with lots of tips about car hire and driving in the USA, which you should definitely check out before your trip.
How much does it cost to hire a car in Orlando?
We usually book with Hertz through car rental booking site holidayautos.com . We have always been really happy with Hertz in Florida. The rental booth is inside the terminal when you arrive at Orlando International Airport and the cars are parked right across the road from the desk. The prices are reasonable and we have never had any problems with extra charges or hidden costs, which makes the experience much more relaxing. At the desk, the staff will probably urge you to upgrade or buy some add-ons, but it is much better to decide what you want in advance. Not that some charges are always made at the destination, such a the cost for extra drivers, GPS Sat Nav or child car seats. For more about this, we explain everything on our Renting a Car in the USA post.
We use the car a lot (as I like to explore) and so for comfort, a little extra space inside and to sit higher up on the road, we often opt for a mid-size SUV. Roads in the USA are wide, with some really big vehicles alongside you, so I always feel happier if I am slightly higher up in the car, as you are in a 4X4 SUV. If budget is more of a priority, or if you only want to use the car for short journeys, a smaller option would be perfectly fine.
Two-week car rental for a couple: £310 (Two-door economy. Size comparable to a Ford Fiesta).
Two-week car rental for a family of four: £364 (Four-door intermediate. Size comparable to a Ford Focus)
Two week car rental for a mid-size SUV: £434 (Size comparable to a Nissan Qashqai)
TOP TIP: Always have some coins available when you rent a car at Orlando Airport and drive to your hotel. Some toll roads in Florida operate with a coin-only toll and in the past, I’ve had no choice but to go through without paying, ending up with a $50 fine.
How much do hotels cost in Orlando?
‘How much do hotels cost in Orlando?’ is another tricky one as it really depends on where you want to stay, your budget and the type and grade of accommodation you are looking for. The main options in Orlando are: On-site hotel (which is on one of the main theme park resorts at Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando), partner hotels (hotels that are on Disney property but are not Disney hotels – this is explained here), off-site hotels (elsewhere in Orlando) and holiday villas. For a look at the different types of accommodation on offer, take a look at some of the reviews below:
DID YOU KNOW: You can book Universal Orlando hotels through Booking.com, meaning you can take advantage of the free cancellation fee if you change your mind.
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando. Price for a family of four in October 2020. (Includes Early Park Admission): £1,649.
Standard room for 14 nights. (The price is the same for a couple, based on two adults sharing).
LUXURY (5-STAR) ON-SITE HOTEL:
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando. P;Price for a family off four in October 2020. Garden view room, two queen beds (Includes Early Park Admission and Universal Unlimited Express passes): £3551
LUXURY HOLIDAY APARTMENT VILLA:
Holiday villa-style apartments: Magic Village Yards. Price for a four-bedroom luxury villa in October 2020: £2475
BUDGET HOLIDAY HOME WITH POOL:
A villa home with a pool in Kissimmee (25 minutes from Disney) averages around £85 per night including tax. Average price for two weeks: £1200
Theme parks and attractions
We have a really detailed post that explains the different Orlando theme park tickets available and how to get the best deal for your trip. There you will find a breakdown of all the different ticket packages and bundles available to buy in the UK.
How much does it cost to go to Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios?
For an average cost of Disney World, Universal and Sea World (based on the recommendations in our two-week Orlando itinerary), we suggest the 14-day Orlando Freedom Ticket. This allows unlimited access to all six Disney parks, Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay, Sea World and Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. The 2021 price per adult is £868 and per child, £837.
Price for all the main Orlando theme parks for a family of four (two adults, two children): £3,210
Price for all the main Orlando theme parks for a couple (two adults): £1736
Average cost of Disney World and Universal Orlando
Taking SeaWorld and Busch Gardens out of the equation, the Disney and Universal Combo ticket (which covers all the parks at Walt Disney World and at Universal Orlando) is £752 per adult and £727 per child.
How much does it cost to go to Disney World and Universal Orlando for a family of four (two adults, two children): £2958
How much does it cost to go to Disney World and Universal Orlando for a couple (two adults): £1,504
How much does it cost to go to Disney World without any of the other parks?
Disney’s 14-day Ultimate Ticket for 2021 is £469 (adult) and £449 (child)
How much does it cost to go to Disney World for a family of four for 2 week (two adults, two children) in 2021: £1836
How much does it cost to go to Disney World for 2 weeks for a couple (two adults) in 2021: £938
How much does it cost just to go to Universal?
In the past and before we had kids, when we returned to Orlando for a holiday it was unlikely we’d visit Walt Disney World again. The parks are amazing but the resort is so big and doing them all properly takes up a lot of time and requires a lot of energy. Plus, once you start buying passes for Walt Disney World, your spending money for Orlando really takes a hit. We would, without doubt, always pay a visit to Universal Orlando though. The parks are smaller, more manageable and have brilliant rides and attractions, especially for adults. The price for two weeks’ unlimited entry into Universal Orlando is a much more manageable £289 for adults and £284 children.
Universal Orlando 3-park Explorer ticket for a family of four (two adults, two children) for 14 days in 2021: £1,146
Universal Orlando 3-park Explorer ticket for a couple (two adults) for 14 days in 2021: £578
How much are the other tourist attractions in Orlando?
Most visitors from the UK will usually do at least two or three non-theme park attractions on their Orlando trip. To average how much spending money for Florida, we have chosen three other attractions and calculated the entry cost.
We took two-year-old Finn to Gatorland and he loved it! It was really nice to wander around the park, which is beautifully laid out and peaceful. There are lots of educational elements for kids, a range of animals (not just alligators and crocodiles), a water splash zone and other attractions like a swamp buggy and zipline* too. The park has been in operation since 1949, making it one of the oldest tourist attractions in Orlando. Tickets are really reasonably-priced for a fun day out: £23 adult and £16 kids.
Price for a family of four to go to Gatorland: £78
Price for a couple to go to Gatorland: £46
THE WHEEL AT ICON PARK
You can see the Orlando Wheel from all over Orlando, so it’s really nice to head to Icon Park and ride it for yourself. There are iPads in each pod so you can get info on the sights you can see (which on a clear day is all the way to the coast) or you can just relax and enjoy the view with a glass of Champagne. The area around the wheel is made up with bars, restaiants and shops and always has a buzzing atmosphere. £19 Adult, £15 child
Price for a family of four to do the Orlando wheel: £68
Price for a couple to do the Orlando wheel: £38
These iconic Florida everglades boats are so much fun, especially for UK tourists. We have done a few different Airboat tours in and around Orlando and Boggy Creek was our favourite. The setting is beautiful and the guides are fun and passionate about the surroundings. They also have a policy not to artificially attract wildlife (so no throwing treats into the water to attract aligators), but due to the natural setting and because the space is so vast, you will see plenty of swamp creatures during your tour. Hold on tight for some bits because these boats can pick up speed. Adults £22, child £19
Florida airboats price for a family of four: £82
Florida airboats price for a couple: £44
Eating and drinking:
How much does food and drink cost in Orlando
How much money you will spend on food and drink in Orlando is another impossible to predict amount. The good news in that, generally, I find eating and drinking relatively cheap in Orlando, with lots of options in the main tourist areas. For this section, I have created an average and broken it down into visitors who rent a villa or apartment, and those who opt for a hotel. If you are staying in a villa with your own kitchen, it is likely you will cook at home for some meals, therefore saving a bit of cash on food and drink.
To calculate an estimate spend for the holiday overall, I have selected five restaurants that generally represent each price bracket (as best I could). Below, I have broken down how often an average Orlando tourist might visit each type of restaurant each day. Obviously you will know more accurately about your family’s tastes and habits, so adjust accordingly.
EXAMPLE OF AN AVERAGE PRICE RESTAURANT IN ORLANDO:
Family-friendly diner-style restaurant found near tourist areas such as I-drive and Lake Buena Vista.
Guide prices: Chicken wings $11 (appetizer), Steak fajitas $19, Wine $20
Total bill for a family of four with drinks and tip: $112 (£72)
Total bill for a couple with drinks and tip: $75 (£60)
EXAMPLE OF A CHEAP RESTAURANT IN ORLANDO:
Golden Corral goldencorral.com
Eat-all-you-want buffet restaurant with freshly cooked steak and seafood.
Guide prices: $12 steak buffet, $7 kids under 14, under-3s (free)
Total bill for a family of four with (non-alcoholic) drinks and tip: $63 (£50)
Total bill for a couple with (non-alcoholic) drinks and tip: $35 (£28)
EXAMPLE OF A HIGHER-END RESTAURANT IN ORLANDO:
Bahama Breeze bahamabreeze.com
Island-style restaurant smart casual eatery with an outdoor terrace and live music.
Guide prices: Coconut shrimp (appetiser) $12, Jerk Chicken Pasta $40, Wine $30 , cocktails $11
Total bill for a family of four with drinks and tip: $230 (£185)
Total bill for a couple with drinks and tip: $140 (£112)
EXAMPLE OF A SIT-DOWN BREAKFAST RESTAURANT IN ORLANDO:
A US coffee pot diner.
Super slam breakfast $6 (pancakes with bacon, eggs and hash browns)
Total bill for a family of four with drinks and tip: $40 (£32)
Total bill for a couple with drinks and tip: $20 (£16)
EXAMPLE OF A QUICK-SERVICE LUNCH AT WALT DISNEY WORLD (FAST FOOD):
An average meal (such as a burger with fries) with a soft drink (Diet Coke) for a family of four: $64 (£51)
Ice cream for a family of four: $27 (£22)
Snacks for a family of four (based on three pretzels shared) with a soft drink each: $38.50 (£31)
Total: $129.50 (£104)
An average meal (such as a burger with fries) with a soft drink (Diet Coke) for a couple: $38 (£30)
Ice cream for a couple: $12 (£9)
Snacks for a couple: One pretzel, one Mickey cupcake and a soft drink each, £20 (£16)
Total: $70 (£57)
Average theme park food prices in Orlando:
Breakfast cheese and ham croissant $5
Mickey Pretzel $7.50
Mickey Ice Cream Bar $6
Hotdog and chips (crisps) $10
Nachos and chilli $14
Coca Cola $4
Bottled water $3.50
Average fast food prices in Orlando:
Big Mac Meal $6
Happy meal $3.25
HOW MUCH WILL A FAMILY OF FOUR SPEND ON FOOD AND DRINK IN TWO WEEKS IN ORLANDO?
HOW MUCH WILL A couple (two adults) SPEND ON FOOD AND DRINK during TWO WEEKS IN ORLANDO?
How much spending money for Orlando, Florida?
Depending on how much you and your family want to spend in Orlando, you can splash out on souvenirs or keep to a tight budget. As this is very much down to personal preference, I have listed the price of some popular merchandise from inside and outside the theme parks. To create an average, I have picked a selection of items that a traditional Orlando tourist might spend on during a two week trip:
Mickey Ears $20
Mickey Balloon $12
Harry Potter Gryffindor cape $120
Star Wars T shirt $30
Star Wars Special Edition Cola bottle $6
Baseball cap from Walt Disney World $25
Swimming pool inflatable from Walmart $6
Souvenir theme park cup $20
Minion Teddy Bear $29
Universal Studios lanyard $12
SeaWorld key ring $9
Mickey Beach Towel from Target $8
Flashing Mickey wand $28
Total: $325 (£261)
I am sure looking at the entire spend for a trip to Orlando, Florida, in one go like this can seem overwhelming but there is no doubt that it will be a holiday of a lifetime. If you budget properly for your Orlando trip, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself with no stress once you finally get to Florida. This post is designed to represent an average budget for a couple and for a family of four, but there are also lots of ways to save money if you want to spend less.
So, how much does it cost to go to Orlando?
Taking in everything we have looked at in this post, including flights, accommodation, attractions and spending money, we can finally answer your question: how much does it cost to go to Disney world, Universal Orlando and the other amazing attractions that are on offer in Orlando? Please remember that these are based on rough averages from over 30 visits to Orlando, both as a couple and as part of a family. The final estimates have been calculated by averaging the amounts detailed above, and including the 14-day Orlando Freedom ticket (admission to all the main theme parks).
Cost for a family in the school holidays: £12,000
Cost for a family travelling off-peak: £9,400
Cost for a couple traveling off-peak: £6,000
We do hope you found our post on how much to go to Disney World helpful. Give us a follow on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for more top tips and advice. Your support on social media helps us to continue creating helpful content for your future trips and supports a small business.
Check out our other top Orlando posts
The perfect two-week Orlando itinerary
What are the best other attractions in Orlando, outside the theme parks?
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A complete guide to buying Orlando theme park tickets
What is the best hotel at Universal Orlando for your group?
Ask the experts – INSIDER GUIDE to Orlando
Orlando Frequently Asked Questions
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25-reasons to go to Orlando in 2021
The best buggy for Walt Disney World and why you need one
Flying with a baby? Read a full guide and advice for travelling with little ones
Disney World outfits – what to buy before you go
Where to take the best pictures at Walt Disney World
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VIDEO: ORLANDO AND MIAMI – The last video from our around the world trip
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