How Much Does a Disney World Vacation Cost in 2022?

This breaks down 2022 Walt Disney World vacation prices for park tickets, hotels, dining, transportation & more. It answers the question of how much visiting WDW costs to help you avoid sticker shock & plan within your budget. It also explains why prices have increased by thousands of dollars in the last two years.

This is a tough topic to tackle. Even with hypotheticals it’s impossible to pin down the actual cost for every set of circumstances. Beyond the basics covered in our breakdown, there are a lot of variables that are beyond the scope of this post: Lightning Lanes & Genie+ v. standby only? Rental car & paid parking v. Mears Connect airport shuttle? Travel insurance v. discounted non-refundable reservations?

Instead of tackling every possible scenario and ending up with a War & Peace length treatise, we’ll look at price ranges for key aspects of visiting Walt Disney World, come up with totals based on those, and let you extrapolate for your own conclusions based upon that information. Given that the thing most readers report surprise over to us via comments and emails is cost, this is a topic worth addressing, even if we can’t give any hard numbers for every possible scenario…

As a blunt preface: a Walt Disney World vacation is an expensive proposition. It’s undeniable that Walt Disney World vacation costs have skyrocketed in the last decade, and that trend doesn’t seem likely to reverse itself anytime soon. To the contrary, pent-up demand, staffing shortages, inflation, and a lack of discounts mean visiting Walt Disney World in 2022 is more expensive than ever.

Visiting Walt Disney World costs a lot of money and it’s undeniably priced as a premium vacation destination. Of course, travel costs are all relative. You could travel to one of the U.S. National Parks and pay a $20 entry fee for your entire vehicle for a week, camp on-site for $35/night, and cook food by campfire for $40/day for a party of 4.

As avid National Park enthusiasts, we’ve done exactly that many times and highly recommend it–one of the best vacations you can take that’s incredibly relaxing and allows you to disconnect, recharge, and see America’s Best Idea. It’s also very different–also incomparable–to Walt Disney World.

You could also travel to New York and spend more than the cost of theme park tickets seeing shows and visiting points of interest, pay $250/night for adequate accommodations, $75/night for parking, and an exorbitant amount eating at some of America’s best restaurants.

Although equally chaotic, that too would be very different from a Walt Disney World vacation. Not necessarily better or worse–different. The point is that great trips can be had at a variety of price points; even though it’s easy to compare them quantitatively, doing so on a qualitative basis is a different story entirely. Even trips to other theme parks aren’t apples to apples comparisons with Walt Disney World.

This post assumes a 5-night Walt Disney World vacation for a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids) that is not within driving distance to Walt Disney World, with no rental car unless otherwise specified. Airfare is not included. Unfortunately, flight prices vary so widely based upon origin city that there’s really nothing meaningful to say–just know that it’s another cost that’ll probably add another $250-600 per person to your trip.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the range of costs you should expect to incur for each element of your Walt Disney World vacation…

Park Tickets

After precipitous increases for several years that have seen the cost of a 1-day Walt Disney World ticket for the Magic Kingdom nearly triple in price since 2004, expectations v. reality for park ticket prices can differ dramatically. This is no surprise, especially among infrequent visitors who last went when tickets were more affordable. Note that all groups are following our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets, so we aren’t going by gate prices.

Frugal: For this tier (we’ll call it ‘frugal’ since that has a more positive connotation than ‘budget’), we’re opting for 3-day base tickets without the Park Hopper option. The other 2 days of the vacation, the family will enjoy some of the free offerings around Walt Disney World, such as Disney Springs and visiting the Boardwalk, among other things. Total cost: $1,436.62.

Value: At this tier, we are getting base tickets for all 5 days, meaning the family can spend every day in the parks. Note that the difference here isn’t as large as you might have expected because the incremental cost of park tickets decrease for longer duration visits. Total cost: $1,999.24.

Moderate: This steps up to 5-day Park Hopper tickets, so the family can leverage park operating hours to their advantage (for example, heading to Magic Kingdom and staying until park closing on a day started out at Animal Kingdom when that park closes early). Total cost: $2,293.80.

Deluxe: This levels up to the Cadillac of park tickets: the 5-Day Park Hopper Plus with Genie+ service. This is a good ticket option for a 7-10 day trip, but for a 5-day visit, there’s more than enough to do in the 4 theme parks and other areas of Walt Disney World without adding the “Plus” option. Moreover, we do not recommend Genie+ for every park, or every day. Nevertheless, for those who like to make it rain, Disney-style, this is an option for a 5-day trip. Total cost: $2,533.08.

Many of you were probably a bit taken aback when you saw the cost of the ‘frugal’ option, shocked that it was so high. Perhaps you were also surprised that the longer duration tickets were comparatively lower in price per day. That’s the thing about Walt Disney World tickets: the per day cost decreases the longer you stay. (Of course, accommodations, dining, transportation and overall costs increase with a longer trip, so they get you one way or another!)

For example, the total cost of a 10-day base ticket for this family would be $2,337.56, which is right on par with the moderate option and less than the deluxe option above. The cost of tickets will probably be the most surprising aspect of your vacation, especially if you’re going for only a few days. This makes the relative ‘value’ of a 7-10 day Walt Disney World vacation better than a 3 day trip.

Hotel

The cost of your hotel is the single biggest variable in a Walt Disney World vacation, with prices ranging from $30/night for an off-site hotel on I-Drive to over $1,000 for luxury accommodations that are on-site and near the Walt Disney World theme parks. Let’s take a look at the different options…

Frugal: Staying off-site is the only true budget option, and fortunately, the Orlando area has a surplus of hotels, which drives down cost. In reviewing Hotwire’s Hot Rate option for a variety of dates, there are often 3.5 star and above hotels in the Lake Buena Vista or Disney Springs areas for around $75/night.

There are cheaper hotels elsewhere with lower ratings or farther from the parks, but I think this is a good compromise in quality and location. There are some shady hotels in the Orlando area–Florida Project is more reality than it is fiction–so unless you want experiencing the mean streets of O-Town as part of your vacation experience, splurge a bit. Total cost: $459.03 after taxes & fees.

The caveat with the frugal option here is that only some third party or off-site hotels offer free shuttles to the parks. This means staying in the frugal option will almost certainly incur additional transportation costs above and beyond the higher tiers, whether that be for a rental car and parking, or for twice-daily Uber or Lyft expenses. This is not insignificant, and could add $40 to $100 on top of accommodations costs, depending upon when you visit. The only reason we’re not accounting for it here is because it’s highly variable.

Value: For anyone looking to get the true “resort” experience at Walt Disney World, this is your lowest entry-point. Depending upon when you travel, rack rates for the Value Resorts at Walt Disney World range from $118 to $307 per night for most of the year (excluding peak season dates). The more popular your travel time, the more expensive the rates. Total cost: $1,084.50 after taxes and fees.

Moderate: Same idea as the Value Resorts above, except for the middle tier of on-site Disney hotels. Rack rates for these hotels will range from around $248 to $324 per night for most of the year (excluding peak season dates). Again, the more popular your travel time, the more expensive the rates. Total cost: $1,437.75 after taxes and fees.

Deluxe: The on-site Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts are the hotel tier where there’s the most variance, with it costing $425/night just to get you in the door, and prices quickly going upward from there. At Wilderness Lodge, regular season rack rates start at $555/night. By contrast, regular season rates at the Grand Floridian start at $857/night. Prices can go up from there. Total cost: $3,233.25 after taxes and fees.

Ultimately, effective on-site hotel pricing amounts to a significant increase for a couple reasons. First, many off-season dates are already sold out at Walt Disney World hotels, forcing us to choose regular travel dates. We searched several sets of dates before finding a 5-night stretch in mid-May 2022 during which Pop Century, Coronado Springs, and Contemporary Resort all had availability for standard rooms. (Caribbean Beach was our first choice for a Moderate Resort, but we had no luck with it.)

Second, Walt Disney World is not offering general public discounts in 2022 thus far because…see first point about hotels being sold out. In a normal year, there would be room-only deals for the general public of up to 30% off or, during some times of the year, the Free Disney Dining Plan promotion.

If more hotel options open up (Walt Disney World still isn’t even close to 100% occupancy due to housekeeping and other staffing shortages) that will make booking lower cost nights an option, and also increase the likelihood of more discounting later in 2022. However, right now, neither of those things are the case. The end result is a sharp spike in on-site hotel prices for 2022 as compared to averages over the last few years.

On top of that, Walt Disney World is discontinuing its Magical Express airport shuttle in 2022 and now charges for hotel parking (this isn’t a new development for 2022, but it’s newly relevant for those debating rental car v. airport shuttle v. Uber or Lyft). In short, not only are hotel room prices higher for 2022, but they include less–so your net outlay will be even more money for stay on-site at Walt Disney World in 2022.

Dining

If things weren’t already complicated enough, another monkey wrench here is that the Disney Dining Plan is still “temporarily” suspended at Walt Disney World. In When Will the Disney Dining Plan Return? we forecast timing for its comeback, as well as our rationale. It’s a good read that explains why the Dining Plan is integral to Walt Disney World and offers our prediction as to when it’ll return in 2022.

Without question, purchasing the Disney Dining Plan will cost you more than it would cost you to eat at Walt Disney World on a tight budget. What the Disney Dining Plan offers is peace of mind in paying for your food in advance and knowing that you don’t have to worry about it when you arrive. If you can budget money, you are usually better off skipping the Dining Plan and paying out of pocket.

Some people can save money using the Disney Dining Plan, but those are people who like to eat “aggressively,” not those who are trying to be frugal. With that said, those who take advantage of the Free Dining discount are much more likely to come out ahead, especially at our example party size of 2 adults and 2 kids in one room. As noted above, Free Dining is unlikely to be offered in 2022.

With that little cautionary note out of the way, let’s take a look at a few options in terms of eating on a Walt Disney World vacation…

Frugal: Purchase groceries and bring your food to the parks. Many people don’t realize that, unlike sporting events and your local library, you can bring outside food into Walt Disney World. Not only that, but they’re pretty liberal with the rules: you can bring a soft-sided cooler (now don’t get too carried away, you can’t bring in a pony keg to make ‘it’s a small world’ more enjoyable). Figure that the cost here can be as low as what you’d eat at home, plus allowances for occasional snacks. Ballpark cost: $300.

Value: Eat a huge breakfast in your hotel before you leave for the parks each day, then have a counter service meal in the parks in the early afternoon costing around $20/person, bring snacks to get through late afternoon, and have dinner in your hotel each night. Ballpark cost: $600. (Alternatively, the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan, if available, would cost $810 and allow for lunch and dinner inside the park.)

Moderate: For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to assume the average family would be inclined to purchase the regular Disney Dining Plan if it were available, and that its prior list price would be roughly analogous to what they’d spend on doing a counter service meal, table service meal, and snacks each day in 2022. Of course, price increases are likely in the intervening two years, but as we noted above, paying out of pocket is usually cheaper than doing the DDP. In other words, the two countervailing factors should net each other out. Ballpark cost: $1,085.

Deluxe: We’ll stick with the Disney Dining Plan comparison here, and this time do the Deluxe DDP. This is essentially the “all-inclusive” version of the Disney Dining Plan. (Not really, but it ends up being that for most since it’s way more food than the average person can eat on vacation.) This will let you do multiple table service meals, character dining, and even Signature Restaurants if you so desire–and budget the time for it. Ballpark cost: $1,665.

Total Costs

Even within the different tiers of vacations we’ve priced out for the hypothetical family of 4, there’s a pretty substantial range to the price of their Walt Disney World vacation. Still, we thought it worthwhile to give a rough approximation of totals…

Frugal: $2,195.65

Value: $3,683.74

Moderate: $4,816.55

Deluxe: $7,431.33

On-site hotel pricing is based on mid-May 2022, when prices are at their regular rates. If you’re visiting in September 2022, you’ll find lower rack rates and you might luck out with the return of more aggressive discounts (including Free Dining during normal years). Conversely, if you’re visiting during Easter 2022, you will almost certainly be paying considerably more.

Regardless of what your actual costs appear to be when you crunch the numbers, it’s always a good idea to build a 15-20% cushion into the budget for unforeseen expenses–that’s a savvy move with travel in general, regardless of the destination.

As high as these totals might seem at first blush, we’ll reiterate that these don’t take all costs into account. Airfare, rental cars, parking, shuttles, or other ground transportation will likely add another $1,000 to $2,000 onto each bottom line.

The cost of Genie+ and Lightning Lanes is also not included in most tiers. Same goes for hard ticket events like the After Hours, Halloween, or Christmas parties. Some of these things are totally optional, but some form of transportation–both to Florida and around Walt Disney World–is not.

Nevertheless, these totals might surprise you, especially if you visited a few years ago and paid considerably less. For our 2022 Walt Disney World vacation budget update, the effective cost increased dramatically across the board. As compared to March of last year, the value and moderate tiers have each increased by over $1,000 and the deluxe tier has gone up over $2,000.

It wasn’t long ago when a value vacation total was ~$2,000 and a moderate cost $3,500 with a deluxe costing around $5,000. Base prices have increased every year for the last decade, but the effective increase became more pronounced in mid-2021 when discounts dried up.

This will continue to be the case through at least early 2022, and is exacerbated by the end of Disney’s Magical Express, which also amounts to another indirect increase by virtue of adding new transportation costs. Free MagicBands were also eliminated, and other on-site perks are also gone.

This is to say nothing of the nighttime spectaculars, parades, stage shows, and other entertainment that will still be temporarily suspended, or the shorter park hours. That’s right–not only is a 2022 Walt Disney World vacation thousands of dollars more expensive, but you’re paying more and getting less. Double whammy!

With so many caveats, it might seem like these numbers are rendered meaningless, and this post is just an exercise in futility (like most things I do!). However, the info and numbers here should at least provide a good baseline so that those of you who have never planned a Walt Disney World vacation have a ballpark idea what kind of costs you’ll encounter.

There are numerous (clickbait) blog posts with headlines like “How to do a Walt Disney World Vacation for Less than $1,000.” Those make big promises that are incredibly misleading, disingenuous, and ultimately lead to disappointment or unrealistic expectations. For 95% of guests, $2,000 is the bare minimum needed just to get in the door, and even that’s really pushing it.

Obviously, this isn’t one-size fits advice or vacation budgeting. Frugal traveler-hackers may scoff at the “high” prices here, and luxury travelers may find that they spend significantly more than the amounts set forth here. There are obviously going to be outliers on both ends of the spectrum. We’ve heard of high rollers easily dropping $10,000 to $15,000 for a luxurious Walt Disney World vacation, and that could pretty easily turn into $20,000 for a longer trip and even more upcharge add-ons.

In our case–and likely in the case of many readers of this blog–we can be outliers on the low end of things, as the sunk costs of Annual Passes make our tickets $0* and we can get our on-site hotel costs down to as low as $75/night with via Disney Vacation Club Point Rentals or Priceline Express Deals if we move our dates around a bit and work around deals. However, this is impractical to a lot of people, especially those without flexible schedules or planning their first trips.

Ultimately, this is simply a jumping off point with specific numbers that are only meant to give you a rough idea of 2022 Walt Disney World vacation costs. Hopefully this topic can be an open dialogue about Walt Disney World trip expenses and budgets, as the way we vacation certainly differs for others. There are tons of hacks that can bring the cost down–see our Top 10 Tips for Saving Money at Walt Disney World for ideas on that front.

To that end, Walt Disney World veterans who are willing to present some information about your own budget, such as how many people, duration of trip, hotel, dining, etc., when you visit would be much appreciated. Like I said, this post is only meant to be a rough baseline, and the more actual data points and examples newbies have before starting to plan for their own trips, the better. So thanks in advance if you choose to help.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts…

How much do your average vacations to Walt Disney World cost? Have you noticed a sharp increase when pricing out 2022 Walt Disney World vacation packages? Think Disney is still worth the money, or has it become unreasonably overpriced? Where do you splurge and where do you “trim the fat” from your trip budget? Do you veterans have any data points of your own to help newbies out? If you’re a Walt Disney World first-timer, do you have any questions after reading this? We love to hear from readers, so if you have any thoughts or questions, post them in the comments!

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