By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Designing Your Walt Disney World Vacation to a Lower Target Budget

By Dave Shute


While doing so will not provide you with the best possible first family visit, of course you can design your trip around a target budget.

For example, if the recommended trip at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort for $6,350 (during the 2018 fall price season) plus transportation is too much, you could follow the steps below instead to design a trip you can afford.


1. Set your target Disney World budget.

2. Look up on the chart above (click to enlarge it) what you can do at Walt Disney World for that.

For example, if your target budget before transportation is $4,000, you’ll note that you could either

  • With no extra funds for souvenirs and special shows and events, stay for 4 nights and be in the parks for 5 days, or
  • With an allowance for extras, stay for 3 nights and have 4 days in the parks

The chart assumes a family of four with one kid younger than ten, and includes hotel, Magic Your Way base park tickets, and the Dining Plan. (See this for more on the Dining Plan.)

The chart above includes the specific numbers, so that you can see, for example, just what the “extra and special” budget amount is for your target budget.

3. Then either modify one of the existing itineraries and To-Do Lists to match what you can afford, or go to this page to build your own.


Follow on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!


1 bobbi { 01.28.13 at 9:13 am }

I am considering a, Walt Disney trip, around, August 1, 2013 for about, 4, nights. I am looking at,myself,46, and one,19 year old and one, 18 year old. I am intrested in, lodgeing and park tickets, I am sure the boys will want to do their own thing and at any time they decide. I do believe that the the dining options will be, fine, becuase the boys will eat anything they get as long as they are on the move at the, Walt Disney, attractions.Do you have any,lodging and ticket, suggestions? I am also trying to do this on, $4,000.00,,,, Is it even possible??? Thanks

2 Dave { 01.28.13 at 12:27 pm }

Hi Bobbi! Sure that’s possible–depending on where you stay. For what you can do for $4k at one of the least expensive hotels, see this: The prices on the page are not for August, but they are close.

My hotel suggestions, by price type, are here: They are aimed at much younger kids, however.

For tickets and kids that age, you probably want the “park hopper” option–this gives them the most freedom. See this for ticket prices and types:

Follow on Facebook!

3 pam { 06.23.14 at 9:02 am }

I am going by myself. Looking to stay at pop century value resort at christmas time (late november..anytime through december). Everything looks to be geared toward families and children. Do you have any tips?

4 Dave { 06.24.14 at 3:58 pm }

Hi Pam, Disney can be a hoot as a single traveler. Most of my visits are solo (I travel too frequently to be able to afford bringing my family always too!) and about all I miss is the table service dining, which I’ll rarely do solo. Your dates, avoid December 20 and later…

5 Michelle { 01.16.15 at 2:50 pm }

Hello! Thank you so much for sharing all this awesome information! I was wondering, since all the prices are geared towards a family with children, if you could help me think of ways to save when it is just 2 adults. We have never been to Disney, but because of both pricing, and our jobs, my husband and I would have to travel there January 2016. I looked at what the best week would be (the one starting with January 31) and I agree the Art of Animation would be the best place for us to stay in, but when is the best time to book? We plan to be there for 5 nights, and would love your tips! Thank you so much!

6 Dave { 01.17.15 at 8:59 am }

Hi Michelle! The basics of saving are the same for everyone.
When you book doesn’t matter, as you can always try to re-book into a deal if one comes out.

Driving is usually cheaper than flying, you won’t save much on tickets anywhere (but try Undercover Tourist

Ticket prices will likely go up soon, so buying them soon will avoid that cost.

The Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation are the most expensive value rooms, and–so far–have been excluded from deals. You might want to do All-Star Music instead. You’ll save $20-30 a night pre-deal, and if a deal comes out, another $15-20 per night as well!

Among the three lowest-priced values, All-Star Music is my top choice for adults. See this for more on Music:

7 Michelle { 01.18.15 at 1:56 pm }

Thank you so much! I am visiting your site everyday for updates! 🙂

8 Scott { 03.07.17 at 9:07 am }

I’m tryin to plan our first trip to Disney and it’ll be between feb. 19-23 2018 planning on stayin on site for 3 nights. Could you give me an idea of how much it’ll be? family of 5 3 kids ages 12 7 3… Thanks

9 Dave { 03.08.17 at 10:30 am }

Scott, see this for tickets and this for rough dining costs. Your hotel could be anywhere from $250 to 900/night…

10 Cooper { 06.12.18 at 11:17 am }

hello! I am going on a Disney vacation with some friends but I only need to pay for myself. how much do you think I would need for roughly a 5 to 6 not stay? if I want to stay off Disneyworld property. would 1000 be enough?

11 Dave { 06.13.18 at 8:12 am }

Cooper, 5 days of tickets will cost around $420 (unless prices go up before you buy them). You may be able to find an off site hotel for <$100/night, but make sure you are adding in taxes, any resort fees and any parking charges--if you are driving. You then have to figure park transport--its $22/a day to park at the parks. Off-site bus transport, if offered, is commonly very weak. This leaves nothing for eating, so you will likely be hard pressed to do it for less than $1,250 or so

Leave a Comment | Ask a Question | Note a Problem

My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2024 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.