How Do People Afford Disney Vacations?

How Do People Afford Disney Vacations

Are you sitting there thinking “This is crazy! How do people afford Disney Vacations?” Well, you aren’t alone! Every year millions of people go to Disney World, but not all of them are rich! Hang in there and we’ll tell you all about the best ways to afford a Disney World vacation.

There was a time when we always wanted to go to Disney World, but couldn’t afford it. So I’ll tell you in this article how we have afforded Disney vacations over the years and how we are able to go to Disney World as often as we do now.

The best way to afford a Disney vacation without actually affecting your regular monthly budget is to find a side gig like Uber, Instacart or Blogging and save that money specifically toward your Disney vacations.

Average Income Of Disney World Visitors

According to the Washington Post back in 2015, the average income for Orlando tourists is $93,000. That’s more than $20,000 higher than the average.

However, there is a huge gap comparison that we saw from another article put out by Streetlight Data which suggests that the largest income group to visit Disney World annually makes between $35,000 and $50,000 household income.

So it would appear according to the data that we have to look at right now that Disney World is becoming more affordable for families. Either that or people are just budgeting better than they used to.

How Do People Afford Disney Vacations? Planning 1

What Does The Average Trip To Disney World Cost?

The average cost of a Disney World vacation varies depending on how many people are going and for how many days. But typically you can figure between $2,000 and $10,000.

However, Shannon over at WDW Prep School has broken this down better than I can for the purposes of this article. There are a lot of variables when planning your trip and it would be best if you read her article to understand all the different things that should be taken into consideration.

How Do People Afford Disney World Hotels?

Disney World resorts are some of the most well-kept hotels in the world. Disney puts a very high bar on the level of expectation when you are staying on property and they continually live up to it.

So, if value is what you are looking for the Disney World resorts are the place you want to stay. The problem I continually keep hearing from people preemptively is that they have looked at the prices online and they want to know how people can afford to stay there.

A lot of things go into those room rack rates though. If you are staying on property there are three types of resorts you can stay with.

  • Value
  • Moderate
  • Deluxe

If you are concerned about price, or you want to know how people can afford to stay at a Disney World Resort hotel, let’s first recognize that typically the best-priced resorts are the Value resorts. The value resorts include the following places to stay.

  • All-Star Movies Resort
  • All-Star Music Resort
  • All-Star Sports Resort
  • Art of Animation Resort
  • Pop Century Resort

We have typically found that out of these the least expensive are typically the All-Star resorts. No matter which theme you pick they are all still Disney World resorts and all are great options.

When you factor in that the typical rack rate at any of the All-Star resorts is $100 – $170 per night from January into February and that sometimes you can get deals and discounts off that price it just makes sense. Top that off with the fact that you get free transportation all around Disney World and you’ll quickly start to see why it makes more financial sense to just stay on Disney World property.

How Do People Afford Disney Vacations? Planning 2

Is There A Disney World Vacation Payment Plan?

Technically no, but all you have to do to book a Disney vacation is put a $200 deposit down with Disney when you book your trip. Then you can make any dollar amount payments as often as you want up until 30 days before you travel. So, consider it more of a layaway plan than an actual “payment plan”.

We are finding this is a great way for us to ensure that we get a Disney trip in at least once a year. You can even move the date you have booked your trip for if you find that you are cutting it a little too close for your pocketbook.

Afford A Disney World Vacation With A Side Gig

Side gigs have changed the game for us. It’s one of the best ways in our household that we have found to ensure that we can stay on budget and afford Disney vacations every year.

If you work just a few extra hours a week it can make the difference between going to the most magical place on earth and not going at all.

Find a side gig, like Uber, Instacart of Blogging. All of these different avenues of making money can get you to Disney World very easily. You just have to be willing to put in the extra hours to make it happen.

How Do People Afford Disney Vacations? Planning 3

What Is The Cheapest Way To Book A Disney World Vacation?

The trick is, there are no tricks. So, at the end of the day, if you want to know the absolute cheapest way to book a Disney World vacation you really have to take a hard look at your budget and decide what you are willing to give up to make it happen.

You may have pick only one theme park for your trip and stick to that park for a couple of days. If you’ve never been to Disney World before then I strongly suggest you make it a shorter trip and plan your days around a park like the Magic Kingdom.

Also, make sure that you pick a less expensive time of year to go. For example, January and February seem to always be the cheapest airfares and resort prices. The crowds are also lower so that makes it more enjoyable as well.

I actually wrote an entire article about how to do Disney World on the cheap and I would suggest you check that out as well before you leave.


Let’s face it, lot of people want to go to Disney World, but can’t afford it. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles, but I firmly believe that with some willpower, hard work, and restraint that any family can make a Disney vacation happen.


Heather Noyes, the visionary behind this website and a former Disney travel agent, has woven her lifelong passion for Disney into the fabric of her daily life. Nestled just 3 miles away through the enchanting trees lies Cinderella's Castle, a magical neighbor to Heather's everyday adventures. From her earliest days, Disney has captured her heart, and this enduring love has translated into the meticulous planning of numerous trips for her family, friends, and cherished clients, all destined for the enchanting realm of Walt Disney World.

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