We all know a trip to Disney World is costly! Even with the biggest of discounts and savings, you’re still shelling out some serious cash to take a vacation to the Most Magical Place on Earth.
We can all list the “known costs” that go into a Disney World trip: park admission, hotels, food…but what about those HIDDEN costs? The ones no one tells you about but THEY TOTALLY SHOULD! We have EIGHT Disney World expenses that no one told us about!
Parking Fees at the Resorts
If you plan on driving to Disney World or you rent a car at the airport, be prepared to pay for some hefty parking fees! Parking overnight at your Disney World resort costs $15 per night at a Value Resort, $20 per night at a Moderate resort, and $25 per night at a Deluxe resort! If you’re staying at your resort for a week, that could easily top an extra $100 you need to budget for your trip.
Note that if you are a registered guest at a Disney World resort hotel, your theme park parking is included.
Tipping on the Disney Dining Plan
One of the benefits of purchasing the Disney Dining Plan is that you “pre-pay” for all of your meals when you visit Disney World. However, one major line item that is NOT included in the Dining Plan is tips! This will be an out-of-pocket expense you will have to budget for every time you dine at a Table Service restaurant.
This expense can be pretty significant if there are more people in your party and you’re on the Deluxe Dining Plan. With table service restaurant tabs easily climbing into the hundreds of dollars range, those tips can get pricey as well!
Other Tips & Gratuities
Speaking of tips, you will need extra cash on hand when dealing with things such as luggage handlers, housekeeping, valet, or certain transportation options. It is customary in the United States to tip in these situations.
In general, here are some guidelines when tipping:
Luggage handlers: $2-3 per bag
Housekeeping: $1 per person per night
Transportation (such as Minnie Vans, taxis, Uber, etc.): 15-20% per trip
These tips are by no means expected or required but are certainly appreciated by the folks on the receiving end.
Interested in utilizing the Minnie Van service next time you’re in Disney World? Read all about them here!
Memory Maker can be a really convenient option for some parties that want to invest in photos taken during their trip. It’s not the cheapest add-on, but you could save a good amount of money if you really take advantage of it and you want a ton of PhotoPass pictures.
What you might NOT know, however, is that Memory Maker costs MORE if you don’t buy ahead of time! Prior to your trip, Memory Maker costs $169. If you purchase Memory Maker AFTER you arrive, however, the price goes up to $199!
Keep in mind, you may not think you’ll want all those pics before your trip, but once you see all the cute photos of you and your kids in the parks, you might change your mind after!
Peak Season & Flexible Date Admission
Back in the day, your park admission to Disney World was the same price, regardless of where and when you visited. Things have changed in recent years and Disney has adopted more of a demand-based, tiered pricing structure when it comes to their park tickets.
Now, as of this writing, a one-day standard theme park ticket could range anywhere from $109-$159, depending on if you visit on a “Value“, “Regular“, or “Peak” day. Of course, the price can fluctuate even more if you add on a Park Hopper, a multi-day ticket, or a ‘Flexible Date‘ ticket, which allows you to choose the date you want to start your tickets later. There are a LOT of variables that go into determining the price of your park admission so be sure to read the fine print when purchasing!
Upgraded Room Views and Locations
Have you considered wanting a pool view at your resort? Do you want to be closer to a bus stop or the main building where you can eat breakfast in the morning? That will all cost extra!
Upgrading your resort hotel room to a preferred room, whether that includes a water view (or a savanna room at Animal Kingdom Lodge), a king-sized bed, or a preferred location, will all be an additional cost when you make your hotel reservation.
If you travel with little ones or you have extra belongings in tow, you may realize that you need the extra storage and assistance to get your party around the parks with ease. Disney offers both stroller rentals as well as locker rentals in each of the four parks.
Be aware that this could add up quickly if you need strollers and lockers daily. Here are the current rental rates for strollers:
Day rate: $15
Multi-day (Length of Stay): $13
Day rate: $31
Multi-day (Length of Stay): $27
If you choose Length of Stay, you can pre-pay the total cost of the stroller rental for less per day and save.
For lockers, Disney charges a flat fee of $10 per day for a small locker, $12 per day for a large locker, and $15 per day for a jumbo locker (available only at Magic Kingdom and Epcot).
Cancellation and No-Show Fees
The final surprise expense you don’t want to encounter on your Disney World trip is one that can be completely avoided if you stay on top of your reservations! We know that there’s a lot to keep track of between dining reservations, rides, characters, and shows, but if you accidentally miss a reservation or choose to change your plans without informing Disney, it could cost you!
The typical no-show or cancellation fee for Disney dining is $10 per person. So if you travel with a larger party, that could be a costly fee! You can easily cancel your reservations online or by calling (407) 824-1391 without any fee if it is done before the restaurant’s designated cancellation period. Each restaurant has their own policy so be sure to double-check before you make your reservation.
Other experiences carry cancellation and no-show fees to be aware of. The popular Savi’s Workshop experience in Galaxy’s Edge has a hefty $199 per builder fee if you cancel less than 24 hours prior to your reservation or are a no-show.
Oga’s Cantina in Galaxy’s Edge, though not quite like other dining locations in Disney World, also charges $10 per person for last-minute canceled reservations (within 24 hours) and no-shows.
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What’s a Disney World expense that took YOU by surprise? Let us know in the comments!