There will never be a cheaper time to visit Disney!
A 6 day Disney vacation costs a family of four $141 more than last year!
Amidst a raft of price increases over the last 12 months, Orlando theme park fans have felt a little bewildered by the regular rises in cost to visit our most favorite places on earth.
We thought we’d try and cut through the hype, negative press, and devoted fans who claim that a few dollars are just worth it, to try and calculate just how much extra it costs to visit the parks each year.
We initially wanted to create a very accurate figure for guests, based upon very factual data, until we realised that every vacationer has a different pattern to their Orlando vacations. Brits stay for 14 days, State residents for 2 or 3 and USA visitors for a week.
Calculating an exact ticket price is not an easy task!
Instead, we’ve decided upon some reasonable averages and we’ve laid out our assumptions below. If however you feel that our assumptions are incorrect, please feel free to comment.
Assumptions made in our calculations
- We are basing our stay on 6 days on Disney property
- Staying in June
- We are staying in a moderate Disney Hotel
- We are buying meals as needed (no dining plan)
- We are mixing meals between resort and area restaurants
- We are a family of 2 adults and two kids
- We have a rental car
- We are going to visit a few non Disney parks
Disney Accommodation Cost Increases in a year = +$0
The good news is, that Disney resorts have not typically increased over the course of 2014 and 2015.
Add to that the fact that discounts can even be obtained, depending upon your ability to be flexible, you could in theory receive a discount over the course of a year.
It is very difficult to predict whether rates for Disney accommodation will increase or not, but stiff competition form independent hotels and of course additional offerings from Universal Studios with their huge new Cabana Bay Beach Resort, could further keep costs stable.
Some additional factors that may affect costs are the additional new Diagon Alley area at Universal Studios and the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom.
As occupancies settle, it could be possible that demand rises, and so triggering higher prices for rooms. For now, we think that Disney and Universal will continue to offer flat pricing over the coming year.
During June, the parks are busy, but hotel rooms still aren’t full, so expect also to find prices slightly discounted or bundled with small incentives from time to time.
Theme Park Ticket Increases since 2014 = +$60
This category did change over the year and to howls of protest from Disney fans.
For the sake of ease, we’ve assumed that our guests are staying in the Disney parks, but, the increases across both Disney and Universal tend to tie together similarly, so please forgive us for trying to make this a little easier by using Disney as our example!
|Ticket Type||Jan 2014||Apr 2015||Difference/person|
|Adult 6 Day Park Hopper With Water Park||$400||$415||$15|
|Child 6 Day Park Hopper With Water Park||$380||$395||$15|
For our family of 2 adults and 2 children, the 6 day Disney tickets with park hoppers and water park access will cost a not insignificant $168 than the previous year.
The additional cost of parking for a week at WDW went up = +$12
Assuming 4 days of free parking at theme parks and 2 days at non Disney parks, parking stole the headlines in 2014 by rocketing from $14/day to $17/day.
In our example vacation however, the overall effect of $6, made less impact than the headlines appeared to make!
Since 2014 average Meals, Snacks and Drinks went up = +$49.84
Food and drink at the parks are much easier to increase without too much of a fanfare.
Menu items rarely get increased and typically rise at around 3% a year.
What is harder for a family to budget for is that guests can choose a theme park standard burger at reasonable rates, but, are often always tempted to try the occasional upscale restaurant. This is where we think Disney play quite fairly by not targeting increases on lower priced items, but instead giving better upscale options for guests if they want to splurge.
To make things really simple, we have assumed that our family have opted for the standard Disney Dining Plan throughout their stay at a cost of $58.66 per adult and $20 per child. (Up from $56.94 and $18.16 in 2013).
Over 7 days, that cost increase between 2013 and 2014 amounts to $49.84.
Rental Car Increased from 2014 to 2015 by = +$25
Generally, a full sized rental car’s rate increased a whopping 10% over 2014 and 2015.
A standard non discount rate for a full sized car from Orlando International Airport worked out at $260 for the week. In the previous year, the same car would typically be around $235.
Please note however, that we have used ‘rack rates’ here and we would never advise using those standard rates. Always shop around for partner deals or discounts through your flight carrier for example.
|Expense||Increase Per Family|
|Disney Accommodation in a Moderate Hotel||$0|
|2 Adult & 2 Children’s Disney Park Passes||$60|
|Parking at non Disney theme parks for 2 days||$6|
|Food & Drink||$49.84|
|Total Increase per family over the previous year||$140.84|
The cost of waiting another year to visit Orlando will cost you an extra $250
Although the parking costs increases hit the headlines this week, the reality is, that the extra couple of bucks per day, don’t really make as much of an effect as the headlines suggest.
Those Park tickets however are significant and along with food costs and rental car costs, make ‘now’ the best time ever to head to Orlando and that definitely isn’t a commercial!
The good news, is that by careful planning, choosing the right accommodation, following the right reputable ticket advice, you can beat those big increases!
We do offer some great advice to help you try & offset that $250 annual on cost.
- Read our cheap ticket guide for ticket advice
- Take a vacation home instead of a hotel and save on food costs!
- Use our cheap places to eat near Disney article and save on Disney prices.
- How much to budget each day for Orlando dining
- Buy tickets this year, as they last forever until 14 days from your first use!
Buying them now is a fairly safe investment. They have risen annually by around 4% and there’s no sign of that letting up. Once you’ve bought them, keep them safe for as many years as you need. They only expire 14 days after you first use them in a theme park!