How Much Does a Disney Vacation Really Cost: 2016

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Hey Mousketeers, we heard you! Last year when we debuted our Disneyland v. Disney World vacay price smackdown, many of our readers asked for more details, such as alternative airports and how a departing airport affects cost.  

So this year we broke our Disney vacation price estimate down even further, considering whether a family is visiting either park from the East Coast, the South, the Midwest, or the West Coast. Additionally, we also factored in LAX as an alternative airport to Orange County’s John Wayne airport (SNA) for Disneyland vacation. (We looked at alternative airports to Orlando for Disney World, but they were all more expensive, farther away, and frankly, not worth the hassle.)

Across the board, flight prices from the top 30 DMAs are down; with average airfare to LAX down 22 percent YoY, John Wayne down 16 percent YoY, and Orlando down 21 percent YoY.

Earlier this year, Disneyland made waves when it announced surge pricing as part of Disney’s latest attempt at crowd management. However, these pricings don’t affect longer vacays, and the more days one stays at a park, the more the cost per day decreases.

Finally, just as last year, we defined our hypothetical family as consisting of two adults and two children from the ages of 3-9 (children 10 and older are full price), staying for four nights, without a Hopper pass. Included in our pricing estimate: a four-night stay at either a Disney property or a regular hotel and airfare from the top 30 DMAs, broken down by region. Not included: transportation costs or food. And for an even more detailed breakdown (by departing airport and hotel property), scroll down after the jump!

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Last year we estimated that a four-night vacation for our family of four at Disneyland, flying into SNA and staying at a Disney property would cost $4,762 or $3,279 at a non-Disney property (minus the cost of Tiki Bar snacks last year.)

Applying those same parameters this year, it would cost our family an average of $4,426 at a Disney property and $3,110 at a non-Disney property, a 7 and 5 percent decrease, respectively. However, we found visitors can make their vacation cost drop even more by flying into LAX rather than SNA, at an average of $81 (Note: A rental car is about $100 for four days, while a shared shuttle van service is $32 per person roundtrip, plus tip, so be sure to factor in that cost.)

Here’s how the Disneyland pricing breaks down, according to departing airport location and accommodation choice:

DISNEYLAND

Airfare

FLYING FROM: EAST COAST

Airport Code

LAX Avg. 2016 Airfare

SNA Avg. 2016 Airfare

CLT (Charlotte, NC)

$402

$404

PHL (Philadelphia, PA)

$376

$425

PIT (Pittsburgh, PA)

$415

$451

EWR (Newark, NJ)

$360

$587

DCA (Arlington, VA)

$385

$446

JFK (New York, NY)

$375

$363

BOS (Boston, MA)

$384

$427

BWI (Baltimore, MD)

$271

$443

IAD (Dulles, VA)

$324

$419

LGA (New York, NY)

$301

$404

Overall Avg.

$359

$437

FLYING FROM: SOUTH

Airport Code

LAX Avg. 2016 Airfare

SNA Avg. 2016 Airfare

TPA (Tampa, FL)

$374

$438

MIA (Miami, FL)

$315

$440

FLL (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

$303

$404

MCO (Orlando, FL)

$248

$359

ATL (Atlanta, GA)

$305

$420

IAH (Houston, TX)

$240

$312

DFW (Dallas/ Ft. Worth, TX)

$200

$317

Overall Avg.

$284

$384

FLYING FROM: MIDWEST

Airport Code

LAX Avg. 2016 Airfare

SNA Avg. 2016 Airfare

IND (Indianapolis, IN)

$351

$395

STL (St. Louis, MO)

$338

$413

DTW (Detroit, MI)

$310

$448

CLE (Cleveland, OH)

$252

$451

MSP (Minneapolis, MN)

$258

$291

ORD (Chicago, IL)

$240

$318

Overall Avg.

$292

$386

FLYING FROM: WEST COAST

Airport Code

LAX Avg. 2016 Airfare

SNA Avg. 2016 Airfare

SMF (Sacramento, CA)

$206

$263

PDX (Portland, OR)

$185

$235

SEA (Seattle, WA)

$181

$248

SFO (San Francisco, CA)

$187

$259

PHX (Phoenix, AZ)

$125

$254

DEN (Denver, CO)

$173

$204

SAN (San Diego, CA)

$109

$55

Overall Avg.

$167

$217

Lodging

Accommodation booking prices near Disneyland are down overall since last year, at an average of 8 percent for an Anaheim hotel and 10 percent for a Disney property.

Accommodation

2016 Avg. Booking Price

Anaheim Hotel

$149

Accommodation

2016 Avg. Booking Price

Paradise Pier

$379

Disneyland Hotel

$467

Grand Californian

$589

Overall Avg.

$478

DISNEY WORLD

On the opposite coast, Disney World is still the less expensive option for travelers, costing on average $3,826 at a Disney property and $3,006 for a non-Disney hotel in Lake Buena Vista, despite the fact that, unlike its West Coast cousin, prices at both Lake Buena Vista and Disney hotels slightly are up this year–as are park ticket prices. (Last year’s costs, minus Tiki Bar snacks, came in at $3,848 for a Disney property and $3,023 for a non-Disney hotel, both with less than one percent change YoY )

Again, like last year since there are more than 30 Disney properties at Disney World, we concentrated on the 10 most-booked to negate any outliers.

Here’s the breakdown:

Airfare

FLYING FROM: EAST COAST

Airport Code

MCO Avg. 2016 Airfare

CLT (Charlotte, NC)

$220

PHL (Philadelphia, PA)

$227

PIT (Pittsburgh, PA)

$243

EWR (Newark, NJ)

$252

DCA (Arlington, VA)

$226

JFK (New York, NY)

$279

BOS (Boston, MA)

$319

BWI (Baltimore, MD)

$171

IAD (Dulles, VA)

$184

LGA (New York, NY)

$288

Overall Avg.

$241

FLYING FROM: SOUTH

Airport Code

MCO Avg. 2016 Airfare

TPA (Tampa, FL)

$310

MIA (Miami, FL)

$241

FLL (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

$84

ATL (Atlanta, GA)

$127

IAH (Houston, TX)

$209

DFW (Dallas/ Ft. Worth, TX)

$229

Overall Avg

$200

FLYING FROM: MIDWEST

Airport Code

MCO Avg. 2016 Airfare

IND (Indianapolis, IN)

$200

STL (St. Louis, MO)

$218

DTW (Detroit, MI)

$189

CLE (Cleveland, OH)

$183

MSP (Minneapolis, MN)

$216

ORD (Chicago, IL)

$199

Overall Avg.

$201

FLYING FROM: WEST COAST

Airport Code

MCO Avg. 2016 Airfare

LAX (Los Angeles, CA)

$315

SMF (Sacramento, CA)

$471

PDX (Portland, OR)

$307

SEA (Seattle, WA)

$420

SFO (San Francisco, CA)

$434

PHX (Phoenix, AZ)

$414

DEN (Denver, CO)

$255

SAN (San Diego, CA)

$363

Overall Avg.

$372

Lodging

Accommodation

2016 Avg. Booking Price

LBV Hotel

$183

Accommodation

2016 Avg. Booking Price

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort

$141

Disney’s All-Star Music Resort

$173

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

$220

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter

$239

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

$271

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas

$397

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

$442

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

$595

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

$685

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

$712

Overall Avg.

$388

So what’s the overall takeaway? If you want to cut costs, stick to the closest coast as a general rule, unless you live in the Midwest– then choose Disney World. If you’re deadset on Disneyland, look at flying into LAX. Consider non-Disney hotel properties.

What are your family’s tried-and-true Disney cost-cutting tips and tricks? Sound off in the comments below!

Methodology: Hipmunk analyzed its 2016 (Jan-May) flight bookings from the top 30 DMAs to LAX, SNA, and ORD, in addition to its 2016 hotel bookings in Anaheim, Lake Buena Vista, Disneyland, and Disney World. Disney park prices were supplied via Disney’s website.

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Kelly Soderlund
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Kelly Soderlund

Kelly analyzes Hipmunk flight and hotel data to help make travel planning less agonizing. She provides data-driven insights on airfare and accommodation trends, and her analyses are frequently featured in outlets such as New York Times, LA Times, USA Today, TIME, and more.
Kelly Soderlund
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8 thoughts

  1. What you didn’t factor into the cost of WDW Disney vs non-Disney is the fact that airport transfers to a Disney hotel are free, no rental car required, and you don’t have to pay to park at the parks ($22/day, or $88 for the planned stay). Plus staying on a Disney property gets you bonus hours in the park, free to the room purchase delivery for the first two days, and a bunch of other perks. And no, I don’t work for Disney.

  2. When flying to Disneyland we use Long Beach Airport. It is a straight shot into Disney. Small airport and less hassle.

  3. You could mention that Disney now offers a savings account that will break down your vacation costs and automatically withdraw it from your bank account. You can get access to it if you need to cancel, but it helps to be able to plan ahead and get the larger costs out of the way. For example, our Disney vaca for a family of 5, non Disney property coming up in December will be around $3600(driving from Phx). Staying 4 days in Disneyland. Through their savings plan I’m paying $160 every two weeks and have socked away about $1200. It’s very convenient for those of us who swear we will save up for it but aren’t as disciplined as we’d like.

  4. Consider driving.
    Consider Priceline for first night. You won’t want to waste A park ticket on a partial day. Or an expensive hotel.
    4 stars and resorts are most always available for less than $100
    Consider purchasing a year round pass if staying more than 6 days :
    1. You get to take advantage of usually great WDW discounts on hotels and
    2. If you return before your “year is up”
    You will not have to buy tickets(if your whole party gets an annual pass)
    3. Stay is a Disney cabin (sleeps 6) and has full kitchen: save money at the very least on quick breakfast (who wants to waste time at the restaurant) and great for beverages and snacks (adult and kid) while you relax after long day at park!

  5. The best prices for accommodations near Disneyworld are consistently going to be vacation villas. For the price of a small hotel room, you get a whole house with 3 to 5 bedrooms and a private pool and spa. Some are only a few minutes drive to the park entrance such as villas in the Windsor Hills resort. There, guests get complimentary access to 5 star amenities along with a beautiful vacation home. The vacation villas also have full kitchens so families can save on the high costs of meals by just having 1 meal a day at the house. So much more comfortable and affordable! But, don’t deal with website’s that charge for bookings — go straight to the homeowner to avoid paying the online website booking fees. Many properties like this can be found on Facebook! And, you can message the owner directly through Facebook to get the best price they offer with no booking fee. Many, many villa owners are using Facebook now to reach out to potential guests who don’t want to pay a website booking fee.

  6. I have a family of 5 and we are going to Disneyland next year. I want to make sure that I have enough saved to go without getting stranded. I know how much it will cost to go to Disneyland but (roughly as it can’t be exact) how much is it for meals for 7 days? How much would it be for gas from Salt Lake City UT? roughly how expensive are souvenirs? Any information will be a big help.

  7. There are some other factors too that you can’t quite put a dollar amount on, and that’s what I’m trying to weigh for my next Disney trip. We have been to WDW twice, and for our third Disney I’m strongly considering DLR.

    Weather and transportation are big considerations.

    I’m aiming for late September this time, and surely the weather will be better at DLR than WDW.

    Transportation, it is a mix. WDW we have the Magical Express as an option, which is fantastic…and if you choose the right resort, you can potentially walk or monorail to a theme park (MK monorail loop hotels; walking to MK from the Contemporary…or staying at an EPCOT area hotel and walking to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios is fantastic). But, buses can be slow and they can be full.

    For people who have not been to WDW, it can’t be overstated — the place is massive and it takes a good bit of time to get around.

    Also, it isn’t uncommon for us to log 20k steps per day on property and in the parks.

    When I look at DLR and see the much smaller footprint, the ability to walk to the two parks in a quick time frame, and walk from a Disney-owned resort or nearby hotel, it seems the people-powered transportation factor at DLR is a huge plus.

    Sure, we’ll have to factor in a shuttle from the airport.

    But, I’m wondering if we can accomplish more in less time at DLR with less walking/waiting than we can at WDW.

    Then, there’s the fact that WDW has different parks and attractions. There are some overlapping attractions at both parks, but only WDW has Animal Kingdom, for instance. Some attractions at EPCOT can be found at DLR, but there is only one World Showcase.

    Last, I’m considering the time change. We are in the midwest on Eastern time, same as WDW. We will move across 3 time zones to get to DLR. Surely that will throw us a little.

  8. Went to Disney world,nov/2016,Disney travel.Stayed at old keywest resort,everything//A1,8 of us1baby,1,five year old.Got complete pkg. deluxe meal pkg.The best I could get,air fare included.BEST TIME WE EVER HAD////14,800,,,WAS WORTH IT/ SORRY FOR THE WAY THIS DONE /NEW ON THIS COMPUTER STUFF,,,,GETTING BETTER your agent RAMONA,THE BEST\\HANDLED ALL MY NOT NOING HOW TO HANDLE THINGS.THANKS AGAIN FOR A GREAT VACATION.

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