When it comes to planning a trip to Disney World, budgeting for everything can be a little tricky because there are a lot of variables to consider.
First, there’s transportation, whether you’re flying or driving to get to Disney World. Then there are other fees to consider — are you checking baggage on your flight and is there a fee for that? Do you have to pay for airport parking? How much will you spend on food while traveling? The list can go on and on before you ever even get to Orlando!
Then when you GET to Disney World, you’ll have a few other expenses to consider, such as tipping and gratuities, souvenirs, Memory Maker, and more. THOSE, though, you’re likely to plan for. But what about those hidden fees you don’t really think about? We’re here to help you break them down!
If you’ll be driving to Disney World or renting a car, you’ll need to know this — Disney World resorts charge some pretty hefty parking fees. Parking at Value Resorts is $15 per night. You’ll pay $20 per night at Moderate Resorts and $25 per night at Deluxe Resorts. This could add up to well over $100 if you’re staying at Disney World for a week!
However, Disney World guests get free parking at the theme parks, so there’s that. And parking is free for everyone at Disney Springs.
During the pandemic, Disney has had a flexible cancellation policy that waives select Disney-imposed cancellation and modification fees for guests who choose to cancel or change their vacation details. However, this flexible cancellation policy will be ending soon.
Last fall, Disney extended the flexible cancellation policy to last through April 30th, 2021. Unless Disney decides to extend the policy again, you’ll be responsible for cancellation fees as of May 1st, 2021 if you have to cancel or change parts of your trip.
Cancellation Fees for Dining Reservations
If you have to cancel any Advance Dining Reservations you have, do so as early as possible. If you don’t turn up for a dining reservation, you could be charged $10 per person. If you’ve got a whole group with you, that could add up!
Please note that each restaurant has its own cancellation policy, so you can cancel without a fee if you do so within its designated cancellation period. But most of the time, you should be able to cancel within 24 hours of your set reservation time without a fee. And it’s simple to cancel — you can even do it online. although some restaurants may require you call this number: (407) 934-7639. If you don’t want to cancel, you can always try modifying your reservation for a different day or time if available.
And although it’s not a restaurant, if you have a reservation booked at Savi’s Workshop for the lightsaber-building experience, you can pay $219.99 per builder if you cancel less than 24 hours before your reservation or you’re a no-show.
Sure, you might have budgeted for snacks, but what about snack upgrades? First, don’t buy a bottle of water with that snack — ask for a FREE WATER instead. Many counter service restaurants offer a free cup of iced water and all you have to do is ask for it! Or bring your own water bottle from home and use one of Disney’s refillable bottle stations.
And that plastic cheese we love so much? Boy, have we got a money-saving tip for you! Did you know that it sometimes costs more to order something that includes plastic cheese than to order that item separately with a side of plastic cheese? Well, it is! We noticed this at Friar’s Nook at Magic Kingdom where the Kids Tots come with cheese and cost $7.19 (it does come with bottled water, but don’t forget you can still get FREE water). But if you get the tots and cheese separately, you only pay $5.29.
So take a few extra seconds and look carefully at the menus — that extra topping or side just might make for a cheaper snack if you buy it separately.
Price Increases For Tickets and Rooms On Certain Days
Depending on what day you’re buying Disney World tickets for, you’ll pay a different price if your trip happens during “peak season.” You could pay $50 more per ticket per day if you go to Disney World on a holiday or during a peak season. If you’re buying 4 tickets, that’s an additional $200 PER DAY for each ticket! You’ll find your cheapest tickets in late January and early fall, with the most expensive during the Christmas holiday season, as well as near holidays and weekends.
Also, note that this is the case with the cost of resort rooms — peak season rooms will be more expensive than they would be during the low season. Also, weekend room rates are almost always more than weekday room rates. So plan accordingly to save money!
Food Price Increases
So you’ve done your research and you’ve checked menu prices at restaurants you want to dine in, but then you get to Disney World, and BAM! The price for those items has gone up! And this happens a lot! And sometimes you might pay several dollars more for an item than previously (Spring Roll Cart in Magic Kingdom, we’re looking at you).
We recently saw some hefty price jumps for EPCOT’s Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie. So always add a little cushion to your food budget to be prepared for these inevitable increases. And keep your eyes on DFB. We do a WEEKLY post where we gather ALL the menu changes in Disney World so you can see new menu items, menu removals, and price increases!!
Ride Share Services
Although Disney transportation is convenient and reliable, if you’re running late to a reservation or for something else, you’re going to want to get there a lot faster. And this is especially true now with Disney transportation running with limited capacities.
So, you may want to factor an Uber or Lyft trip into the budget. Just in case you’re running late for that reservation and the line for the bus, Skyliner, or monorail is insane (it happens more than you think). We know that sometimes, no matter how much you plan, things go wrong and you end up running late. Rideshare seriously might be your best option in those situations. Do note: Disney World’s Minnie Van service remains unavailable at this time.
So there are some of the hidden fees you might find lurking in secret that will hit you by surprise at Disney World. Hopefully, this will keep you from being so surprised and help you prepare!
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Have you run across any surprise fees while at Disney World? Let us know in the comments!