Book What You Can Afford

Many people book vacations that exceed their budgets, or hope that a promotion will come out between the time of booking and the vacation that makes the vacation fit within their budget.

You need to also consider whether your budget includes transportation, hotel, park tickets, and food. This ultimately will determine what resort level you should be looking at.

Of course, promotions are not guaranteed, so it’s better to know you can afford the vacation without the promotion first. In addition to the popular vacation times, Disney is opening new attractions constantly, and often has special events like the Disney marathon. In other words, it’s hard to tell when a promotion will be applicable, other than when Disney looks to be slower/have a lower demand.

The best way to budget your vacation is by seeing the grand total and dividing up to how many months you have to pay off your vacation. Disney releases their availability in June to book for the following year, allowing you to have 499 days to pay off your vacation.

If you have a $4,000 (most common) budget and you book in June for the following November, you have more time to pay off your vacation. If you book your vacation 13 (most common) months out, you will have around $333 to pay each month. This is the best way to keep up with payments so it is not an overwhelming big lump sum 30 days before.

The following are examples are for families of 4 – the average 6 night stay (rack room rate) which includes: resort, park tickets, & food expenses/ dining plans for Disney resort guests and are only general guidelines.

If your budget is less than $3,000, look at off-site like Holiday Inn Express & Embassy Suites (free breakfast!) in Kissimmee area, or notable condominiums in the area like the Grove. Or by staying on-site renting a tent at the campsites at Fort Wilderness.

If your budget is $4,000 or less look at the value resorts: Disney’s All Star Sports, Movies & Music, Little Mermaid rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation, or Disney’s Pop Century. You may also consider an upgrade from a standard room to a preferred room, and be closer to the food court and bus line. This usually runs about $150/night more.

If your budget is $5,000 or less budget than you can start looking into moderate resorts: Disney’s Caribbean Beach, Disney’s Coronado Springs, Disney’s Port Orleans sister resorts French Quarter and Riverside or Fort Wilderness cabins.

If your budget is $6,000 or more than you can start looking into the deluxe resorts with bus and/or boat transportation: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club or sister resort Yacht Club, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s (DVC) Old Key West and/or Saratoga Springs, or Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

If your budget is $7,000 or more than you can start looking into the deluxe resorts, on the monorail line: Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian, or Disney’s Polynesian resort.

If your budget is 10,000 or more you can start looking into the deluxe villas: 2 or more bedroom villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian, Disney’s Cooper Creek cabins, or Polynesian’s bungalows.

If you have a big family you will need to figure it’s basically an additional $1,000 per person. The All- Star Music or Art of Animation family suites can accommodate large families nicely.

The average DisneyWorld stay is 6 nights, 7 days, 5 days of Disney base tickets, and dining. The nice thing about the dining plans is that you don’t need to consider food.

If you do not stay on-site, you need to budget $20-40 a day to park at the parks or if you are driving to the resorts, you need to add the following resort parking fees.

Values: $13/day

Moderates: $19/day

Deluxe: $24/day

If you have the money upfront, without needing a payment plan, than renting points from Disney Vacation Club owners can get your family in a Deluxe Resort for the price of a Moderate, and you can add dining and ticket Plans. This usually must be done 11 months before the vacation because the resorts/rooms fill up quickly.

Kissimmee has a lot of budget hotels, some at which you can stay for less than $50 a night but splurging on the hotel can really enhance your experience, particularly given the amount or percentage for which it constitutes in the overall budget.

If you do get a budget resort make sure it’s a name brand hotel and check Google/Yelp/Travel Advisor reviews. Generally speaking, the best option, if you are looking for the same benefits as an on property Disney guest, is the Disney Good Neighbor hotels–e.g., Holiday Inn, Double Tree, etc. and it usually is the price point between a value and a moderate. Generally, they also offer more updated rooms than Values and are located next to Disney Springs,

If you’d like to stay at a Deluxe Resort level [with a more moderate price ] the Dolphin and Swan are close by, and on the Disney bus routes, as well.

Book what you can afford by the rack room rate, not by future promotions, or, at the least, wait to book after a promotion comes out to see if you can in fact afford. The last thing you want is to be stuck where you did not qualify for a promotion and there is no option to downgrade.

A View Points on the Resorts

Currently, Animal Kingdom is being pushed heavily–which is nice with the opening of Pandora. It is really the only Deluxe resort being heavily pushed/promoted by Disney currently.

The Art of Animation and Pop Century resorts are right next door to each other and close by ESPN Wide World of Sports and have just been updated, so those, as Values, are likely to be pushed (especially for the cheerleading competition in February).

From the 3 Boardwalk hotels (Beach Club, Yacht Club and Boardwalk) are all convenient to walk to Epcot or short boat ride away to Hollywood Studios. Beach and Yacht Club share a beach area and a sand-bottomed pool that appeal to all ages.

The Magic Kingdom resorts (Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Polynesian) are generally full, due to the convenience of the monorail. Copper Creek Villas/Wilderness Lodge/ Fort Wilderness is also considered in the Magic Kingdom area, and they are short boat ride away. Rv spots fill up fast.

Rooms Almost Always Excluded from Resort/Room Promotions

With almost 99% certainty, Disney will always exclude their Disney Vacation Club 3-bedroom villas at their Deluxe Resorts, the campsites, the Cabins at Copper Creek Villas, the Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the Bungalows at the Polynesian, and (typically) the Little Mermaid Room at the Art of Animation Resort.

If you are looking at booking any of the rooms above, you either need to (1) rent Disney Vacation Club points, or (2) join the Disney Vacation Club. These rooms are extremely popular and typically sell out at the 11-month point.