If you’re not a fan of change, buckle up! BIG things have changed or will be changing soon in Disney World.
Paid FastPass+ replacement systems (Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selection) have debuted, the parks are celebrating the Resort’s 50th Anniversary, the Magical Express service has ended, and more. And with some of those changes come additional costs that you’ll need to factor into your trip. So, just what could it cost a family to “do” Disney World in 2022 in light of these changes. We’re breaking down what you need to know right here.
First, let’s introduce our family. We’ve got Peter (+18), Agatha (+18), Belle (8), and Flynn (4). Our family of 2 adults and 2 kiddos is planning a trip for the holiday season in 2022. Let’s see what it’ll cost them.
Note: This post was originally published in 2021 with an estimated total trip price of $7,391.22. In May of 2022, we went through and updated all applicable costs. Because we calculated these costs closer to the December 2022 trip, that closeness alone could impact the prices. But, there have also been increases in costs when it comes to Disney World ticket prices so we wanted to update the post to ensure the greatest accuracy at this time. Note that prices can (and likely will) continue to change.
Hotel + Tickets
First, we’ll look at the cost of a hotel and ticket package. Our family’s trip will take place from December 15th through the 19th, 2022. There were a variety of options available, from the least expensive…
…and mid-range options…
…all the way up to the most expensive options available.
For our choice, we stuck near the cheaper side with a stay at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, priced at around $225 per night.
We then added on 4 days of theme park tickets and stuck with 1-park per day tickets (rather than add on the Park Hopper option — note that the Park Hopper option would have made these tickets more expensive). Also, keep in mind that tickets are date-based when it comes to price, so (just like the hotel rooms) they can vary widely depending on when you choose to visit.
We also added on the Disney Genie+ service for our trip. When added ahead of time, Genie+ will be charged for all days of the trip. You could save some money by skipping Genie+ entirely or buying it day-of only for the days you want/need it.
NOTE: Starting June 8th, you will no longer be able to add Genie+ to your ticket ahead of your trip. You will have to purchase Genie+ on the day of you trip, one day at a time, through the My Disney Experience app. Genie+ will still cost $15 per day.
The total for our tickets and hotel stay was $3,460.54.
Transportation to Orlando
Next, we’ll need to figure out the cost of getting to Orlando. This will vary greatly depending on where you’ll be visiting from. Maybe you’ll be traveling to Orlando via your own car. If so, you’ll need to factor in gas costs. If you’re thinking of driving but are going to rent a car, that car rental is another cost to think about.
Perhaps you’ll be taking a bus to Orlando from your home. You’ll want to factor in the cost of that bus to get there.
Or, you may be flying into Orlando from another location. You’ll want to set aside part of your budget to account for your airfare and any associated fees (like checked luggage or fees for seat selection, etc).
Our family lives in Dallas so we got the cost for a round trip from Dallas Fort Worth to Orlando International Airport. We want them to arrive early so they can spend the rest of their arrival day in the parks.
The estimated cost for the roundtrip for all 4 passengers was $1,673 based on the flights we selected.
There were other options available, however, and the price can vary depending on what options you select.
Transportation to/from Disney World and the Airport
Next, since Disney’s Magical Express has been discontinued, the family will need to figure out how to get to and from the airport to their Disney World hotel. There are a variety of options they could use including a rideshare service, a taxi, a private car transfer, and more.
One specific option quite a few families may be interested in is Mears Connect. Mears Connect is a new service offered by Mears. Mears is the company that had been operating the Magical Express on behalf of Disney. Mears Connect is meant to essentially provide “the same reliable, safe, express service” guests are used to, though it does have some key differences compared to Magical Express.
The price for Mears Connect’s Standard Service which is a shared service that includes monitored wait times and limited stops is $32 per adult and $27 per child (round trip).
We took a look at what our trip on Mears Connect would cost (with 4 bags).
The total cost was $118.
Next, we’ll talk a bit about parking. Our family won’t be driving to Disney World, won’t be renting a car, and will be relying on Disney transportation while on property, so parking costs won’t apply to them. But, if you do drive a car (either your own or rented) to Disney and park it at your Disney World hotel, there is an overnight parking fee that you will be charged.
The overnight self-parking rate varies by the type of Disney World hotel you’re staying at. Check out the information below for more details.
Note that special parking rules apply to Disney Vacation Club members.
If you’re not staying at a Disney World hotel and will be using a car to travel to the parks each day, you’ll need to factor in parking costs at the theme parks. Disney World hotel guests get complimentary parking at the theme parks, but guests not staying at Disney World hotels will need to pay to park at the theme parks.
The price for parking at the theme parks is $25 per day for standard cars and $30 per day for oversized vehicles.
Once you pay for parking at one of the theme parks on any particular day, your parking will be valid for all of the theme parks for that specific day.
MagicBands & MagicBand+
Next, we get to MagicBands! MagicBands used to be free for Disney World hotel guests, but in 2021, Disney stopped providing hotel guests with complimentary bands. If you want to use a MagicBand throughout your trip because you find them stylish, convenient, or for any other reason, you could utilize a MagicBand from home (i.e. one you already have from a past visit). If you don’t have one from a previous visit or you want a new one, you’ll have to purchase it.
Disney World hotel guests do, however, often get access to discounted rates for select MagicBands, so that might be a good way to grab one while still saving money.
Assuming our family doesn’t want any of the discounted MagicBands, but instead wants to buy some new ones of their own, the cost of the MagicBands can vary depending on the style of the band. The most basic style of MagicBand is now typically priced at $19.99, while others with more elaborate designs or those that are limited-edition designs are more expensive.
For our example, we’ll assume that our family buys 1 MagicBand for each member of the group but sticks with the cheapest options available in the park (not the discounted ones available to hotel guests). That would make the total cost of MagicBands about $79.96 (without tax).
Keep in mind that you do not have to use a MagicBand at all if you don’t want to. Guests can ask for a Key to the World card to use during their stay. They can also use MagicMobile and the My Disney Experience app together to do many things MagicBands can do, like unlock their hotel room door and scan their ticket to enter the theme parks.
It’s also important to note that Disney World will be launching MagicBand+ before our trip, which will provide more interactive and immersive park experiences! While we could still use the classic MagicBands around the parks, our family may want to use MagicBand+ to have more fun around Disney World.
When the item was accidentally released in World of Disney, they were $29.99. So, for our family of 4, that would cost $119.96.
Then, our family will have to factor in food. There can be a LOT of variation here. Some families will eat exclusively at quick service restaurants. Others will make heavy use of table service spots. Some skip breakfast and just drink coffee in the room. Others like to eat 3 full meals. What we’re saying is pricing here will vary a LOT depending on your family’s own eating habits and how much you’re looking to spend.
And keep in mind that food costs can change. In early 2022, we saw HUNDREDS (literally, hundreds!!) of price increases impact food items across property, including Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars, DOLE Whips, and more. So you’ll want to set aside extra money in the budget for further increases.
Also note that the Disney Dining Plan is not being offered at the moment, but it is set to return to Disney World at some point in the future (Disney has not yet announced a date). It’s possible the Dining Plan could be available again once our family’s imaginary trip takes place.
But, for now, we’ll just estimate food costs without the Dining Plan. For our example, we’ll estimate the cost of 2 quick service meals and 1 table service meal per main day of their visit (16th, 17th, and 18th). We’ll include 2 quick service meals for the day of their arrival (15th) and 1 quick service meal for the day of their departure (19th).
We used Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe as an example for quick service meals and estimated each adult meal (without drinks) would cost around $13, while kids meals would cost around $8. That’s about $42 for a quick service meal for the group of 4.
For table service, we used Jungle Cruise Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen‘s lunch menu as an example. The average cost was about $29 or so for an adult entree (again, no drink), and about $12 for a kids entree. That’s about $82 for a table service meal (without a tip included). A tip would add on about $16.40 (20% tip) to the table service meal, bringing the total to $98.40.
So, in our example, that’s about $182.40 per day on the full days ($547.20 for 3 days) (2 quick service, 1 table service per day), $84 for their arrival day (2 quick service), and $42 for their departure day (1 quick service). That’s a total of $673.20 for their trip.
Again, keep in mind these are just estimates and examples. You could potentially eat items for slightly less or (more realistically) MUCH more in Disney World depending on how you arrange things.
Remember these estimates only included entrees, did not include drinks, and there was no allotment for snacks. So, likely the food costs would be higher. For purposes of our example, we’ll push it up a bit to $775.
We already mentioned Genie+ above in terms of adding it into our tickets, but we just wanted to discuss it again briefly here. FastPass+ has ended in Disney World. In its place are 2 paid FastPass-like systems, the main one of which is called Disney Genie+. With Genie+, guests pay $15 per ticket per day to select the next available time to ride an attraction using that ride’s “Lightning Lane” (a.k.a. the old FastPass lane).
Attraction selections can be made one at a time throughout the day, and over 40 attractions are included in Genie+ at Disney World.
Paying for and using Genie+ is entirely optional. That means our family can continue to just use the standby lines already included in the price of their Disney World tickets if they want to.
But, maybe our family really wants to skip those standby lines and they figure they won’t be back to Disney World for a while, so they really want to make the most of this trip. In that case, they may opt to buy Genie+ for each day of their trip. They could also just buy it (day-of) for 1 or 2 days of their trip if they’d prefer.
For our example, we’ll propose that they buy Genie for each day they have park tickets — that’s 4 days at $15 per person per day, which comes out to $240 for their trip. Again, for this example, we included Genie+ in the cost of our hotel and ticket package, but we did want to point it out here as well.
Individual Attraction Selection
Another thing the family might want to pay for is Disney’s NEW Individual Attraction Selection service (what we often call pay-per-ride).
With Individual Attraction Selection, guests will be able to schedule a time to arrive at and use a popular attraction’s Lightning Lane entrance. Guests can only make up to 2 Individual Attraction Selections per day. Individual Attraction Selection will be available for some of those super popular rides in Disney World like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
The rides that you can buy an Individual Attraction Selection for will NOT be included in Genie+ (that means you won’t be able to make a Lightning Lane selection for a ride like Rise of the Resistance through standard Genie+, you’ll have to specifically pay for it individually through the Individual Attraction Selection service).
Again, using this service is optional. Guests can continue to use the standby line which is included in their ticket.
But, let’s say our family wants to purchase 1 Individual Attraction Selection per day for all of the members in their group. That’s a cost they’ll have to plan ahead for. But there’s a little wrinkle here. Pricing for Individual Attraction Selection can vary by date, attraction, and park. From what we’ve seen, pricing can be as low as $7 or as high as $15. Since part of their trip takes place over a weekend and it also is near the holiday season, they could see some surge pricing.
So, for purposes of our estimate we’ll go with the $15 cost per Pay-Per-Ride selection per day just to be extra safe and (hopefully) leave some wiggle room in the budget at the end of the day. If you factor in the cost of 1 Individual Attraction Selection per member of their group per day that would be $240.
Click here to see our step-by-step guide on how to book and pay for Individual Attraction Selections.
On top of the costs already discussed, our family will need to consider whether they want to pay for additional things for their trip. For example, does our family want to purchase any souvenirs during their trip? If so, they’ll need to think about that cost. For our trip, we’ll set a $100 merchandise limit.
Since they’ll be visiting during the holiday season, they may want to also add on the cost of a holiday party. During these special ticketed events, generally, families get to experience special entertainment, holiday-themed treats, and more.
In 2021, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was canceled, and Disney Very Merriest After Hours essentially replaced the event. The event began in the evening, but guests could enter Magic Kingdom as early as 7PM on the day of their event. For our example, we’ll assume that our family would like to attend Very Merriest After Hours if offered in 2022 (or a similar holiday-themed event is offered with similar pricing).
The cost for a date during a similar weekend in December of 2021 was about $975.56 for the entire family.
Keep in mind that our family could lower their overall costs by simply not going to this event OR by purchasing a ticket to this event instead of a park ticket. For example, on the day they fly into Orlando, they could hang out at their resort, use the pool, visit Disney Springs, etc. (for free), and then go to Magic Kingdom for this holiday event (rather than buy a park ticket for that day).
The family may also want to consider the cost of purchasing Memory Maker or buying select PhotoPass photos. With Memory Maker, the family will be able to download photos either from one day or from their entire trip, depending on what they choose to buy.
Or, our family could save money by simply taking photos with their own phones or cameras.
In total, the trip is priced as follows:
- Hotel and Tickets: $3,460.54
- Airfare: $1,673
- Mears connect: $118
- Parking: N/A
- MagicBand+: $119.96
- Food: $775
- Genie+: Already built into the ticket price
- Individual Attraction Selection: $240
- Merchandise: $100
- Very Merriest After Hours: $975.56
- Memory Maker: $169
Again, some of these costs may not be the best in terms of planning. For example, our family could easily skip on a park ticket for one day and just rely on the Very Merriest ticket for that day, which could help them cut costs. They could also share meals, or do other things that could either make their trip less expensive or potentially more expensive.
And that’s a basic look at how much it would cost our family to go on a trip to Disney World. Of course, prices can change and vary often and will be different depending on how many people are in your party, what their ages are, what time you’ll be visiting Disney World, etc. But, we hope this snapshot gave you a general idea of where to start your budgets for future trips.
We’ll keep looking for Disney news and working on posts that can help you with all of your future trip planning, so be sure to check back with us for more.
Are you planning a trip to Disney World in the next year? Tell us in the comments.