How much money did we spend to go to Disney World?

The cost of a Disney World vacation for a family of 6

You know we try to do things as inexpensively as possible. Part of wanting to see the world with a family of 6 means that we can’t spend the farm on each trip. However, Disney isn’t cheap. We quickly learned that no matter how much we tried to cut expenses, the tickets for Disney World weren’t going to change. Here’s how much we spent on our trip to Disney World!

Thanks to a friend for making this hilarious meme with one of our Disney photos!

Flights: $56

Thanks to using Chase and Southwest branded credit cards, we have been able to fly all over the US for pennies. (Read this post for how we save big money on flights with travel hacking). Disney was no exception.

We currently have the Southwest Companion Pass, so we only had to purchase 5 tickets – not six. (Yes, we bought a seat for our baby so she could be in her car seat). When you purchase Southwest flights within the US, the taxes are 11.20 per ticket, so our total cost for flights was only $56.

Car rental: $436

Car rentals for us are usually a budget buster, especially now that we have four children, we HAVE to get a minivan. Our best luck in Florida has been booking through the Southwest Airlines app and checking rates every week as we get closer to our trip. I usually book 6 weeks out, but many times have booked about 2 weeks prior to travel and saved even more money. Most car rental reservations do not hold a credit card, so there is no fee to cancel and rebook.

This total also includes the whopping $16 we spent on gas. We only drove to and from the airport and to and from the resort to Disney.

We could have used more Chase points to pay for our car rental, but in the end we decided to save them for an upcoming international trip. If you are looking for a way to erase the expense of a car rental, check out the Capital One Rewards card.

Hotel/accommodation: $14.73

Yes, thanks to the power of credit card points, we spent 7 nights in a 2-bedroom condo for less than the cost of a trip to Wendy’s! Lol. We stayed at the Sheraton Vistana Resort (<- my review is right there) back in 2018 and loved our time there so much that we decided to stay again.

We spent next to nothing on the Sheraton Vistana resort by using Chase points to book through the travel portal.
One of the many pools at the Sheraton Vistana Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Not only does the Sheraton boast multiple pools, tennis & basketball courts, an arcade, and a general store, it’s also 15-minutes or less from all of the Disney parks.

Here’s the confirmation for our stay at the Sheraton. As you can see, I used 120,000 Chase points to erase $1500.00 of spend. When booking through the Chase travel portal, Chase points are worth 25% more. Paying next to nothing for our accommodation really helped the cost of our Disney World vacation.

A side note: Yes, we could have spent even less points by choosing a more budget-style property, but as you may have heard me say before, Mr. Yoder and I like our space. We are going on a vacation, not to summer camp – and having a baby means we need even more space because her bedtimes are earlier than everyone else. This is why we use credit card points! So we can support our champagne tastes on a beer budget!

Coast of a Disney World Vacation- we stayed at the Sheraton Vistana Resort - using Chase points to pay for resort.  How much we spent to go to Disney World.

We earned these Chase points through a combination of spending on our Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom card. (Currently, you can earn 60,000 Chase points by spending $4,000 in 3 months – ask me for a referral link!)

Disney tickets: $1664.54

Holy ticket prices! There’s really no way to avoid the cost of Disney tickets. However, tickets are priced higher during busier times of the year. Going to Disney during the middle of January saved us money over the busy holiday & Spring Break times.

We chose a 3-day base ticket. After discussing the options, we thought that 2 days in the Magic Kingdom and 1 day at Hollywood Studios would be best for our family. Our kids love Star Wars, so visiting the new Galaxy’s Edge was one of our top priorities.

I know we could have saved a little money by booking through Undercover Tourist or another ticket broker, but we chose to book through a Mouse Counselor. Kerry was a huge help and went above and beyond even though we were only booking tickets through her. She was offered many tips for getting into Hollywood Studios on time so we could get a boarding pass for the Rise of Resistance!

Eating out/restaurants/fast food: $610

Another place, we could have saved a little bit of money, but those Disney World snacks just reeled us in! We tried the pretzels, the Peter Pan shake, the Rapunzel eclair… and more!

Most of this money went towards our dining reservation at Tony’s Town Square and our character meal with the Minions at Universal Orlando. We also tried some very expensive drinks at the Star Wars-themed Oga’s Cantina within Hollywood Studios.

Dining at Disney is a lot of fun, but not cheap!  We spent almost $60 trying drinks at Oga's Cantina in Hollywood Studios.

Groceries: $254

While it may seem like we spent a lot on eating out, I know that for a family of 5 (baby wasn’t eating anything yet), we really didn’t overdo it. We saved money by stopping at ALDI on our way to the resort and buying most of what we would need for the week. We talked ahead of time of what we hoped to pack each day for the parks and I stocked up on snack foods and bread for sandwiches.

Since we were only visiting the parks 3 out of 7 days, we also planned dinners to make at the resort, since we had a large kitchen and access to outdoor gas grills.

I could have spent even less if I would have packed better. Our baby fell ill and I had to purchase some supplies that I had at home, but not in my suitcase.

Parking: $131

We spent $75 on parking at Disney World – $25/day for three days. We spent $56 on parking our van at our home airport while we were away.

Souvenirs: $0

Would you believe we bought nothing to bring home besides memories? Cecilia used her own money to purchase an autograph book, but everything else Disney-themed we bought in Ohio and took with us. It’s easy (and much more affordable) to find character tees at Target, Walmart, Old Navy, and Amazon. I found Star Wars shirts on sale at the end of summer for $4.97 and just held onto them, knowing that we planned to go in the winter. Think ahead when there are sales to save big money!


My tips for cutting the cost of a Disney World vacation:

  1. Travel off-season. The tickets will be less expensive and the parks won’t be so crowded.
  2. Start accumulating credit card points 1-2 years ahead of when you would like to travel. Chase credit cards are your best bet because they can be transferred to other partners (Southwest! Hyatt!), but they can also be used to book through the travel portal (as I did with the Sheraton). If you are eligible to get both the Southwest personal & business cards, you can also earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
  3. Stay somewhere with a kitchen! Dining at Disney gets expensive! Having a full kitchen available to make sandwiches, chill water bottles, and otherwise plan ahead for meals surely saved us a LOT on food. I know we could have stayed on-site and chose the Disney dining plan, but from my research, we would have spent an additional $3000-4000! No way!

I know this is still a lot of money, almost as much as we spent to go to Ireland! Oye! However, from my years as a travel agent, I know that this was a low-cost Disney vacation, and we didn’t feel like we missed out on anything.

Are you surprised at how much we spent to go to Disney World? Tell me below in the comments!!

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The cost of a Disney World vacation. How much does it cost a family to go to Disney?  Here is how we saved big money by using credit card points & traveling in the off-season, but tips for if you go!
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