You’ve already put all of this money into your family’s Disney vacation, and now you’re wondering how much spending money for Disney is needed. It almost feels overwhelming, trying to figure it out.
…I know the feeling.
Planning this all ahead of time is key to saving money. If you decide that you’d rather not budget and just try to keep track of what you’re spending while you’re there, you will definitely end up spending more than you want to. In order to help you feel a little more prepared for your trip, let’s break down how much spending money for Disney you will need, and how exactly to calculate the right amount for you!
What is it?
The first thing you want to do is decide what “spending” money actually means for you. For every family that’s going to be a little different, but let’s go over some of the common factors.
Many think that Magic Kingdom is the biggest park at Disney World, but it’s in fact significantly smaller than both Epcot and Animal Kingdom. However, it does seem like we do the most walking at Magic Kingdom. In order to tour the park correctly, you can’t necessarily do the 3-mile walk around the park. You’ll find yourself zigzagging back and forth all day. It’s definitely worth it in order to make sure you aren’t waiting more than 20 minutes in line at any point, but all that walking will make you all kinds of thirsty and hungry.
How much is water at Disney World? As of 2020, Bottled water is $3.50 and a large fountain drink is $4.75.
For snacks, a few common choices are popcorn, cotton candy, and a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar. Currently, a popcorn is $5.25, cotton candy is $5.00, and the classic Mickey Mouse ice cream bar is $5.69.
These items are delicious treats to snack on throughout your day at the park, but they aren’t a necessary part of your trip. Because of this, snacks are a part of extra spending during a Disney World trip.
No matter how many times I go to Disney World, I always find something I want. In order to be realistic, know that souvenirs are most likely going to be at least 50% of your spending budget.
T-Shirts at Disney World are on average $24.95, though different styles may be priced much higher, like the popular Spirit Jerseys, which go for $69.99. The iconic Mickey ears (headbands or hats), something almost everyone gets while at Disney, are minimum $17.99.
Check out my list of 25 Cheap Disney Souvenirs for a better idea of how much the cheapest souvenirs will cost you.
Spending money on souvenirs is inevitable, but with a plan, which we will discuss below, it’s possible to maintain your financial sanity.
Check out the newly updated Disney on a Budget ebook!
How much is parking at Disney? Parking at the Disney World theme parks is currently $22/day, while preferred parking is $45/day. Also, if you are driving to Disney, are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, and are not a Disney Vacation Club member, you need to consider the Overnight Parking fee.
At Value Resorts, this is $15/night, at Moderate Resorts, this is $20/night, and at Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts, this costs $25/night. You can still park at resorts for free during the day if you are a guest at any Disney resort, but you cannot leave your car there overnight.
Walt intended there to be a no drinking policy at Magic Kingdom. For the sake of the children, of course. But in 2012 that changed, when Be Our Guest restaurant began selling a few alcoholic beverages. Now all full service restaurants in Magic Kingdom serve alcohol at lunch and dinner.
If you’re going to Epcot you might or might not be drinking around the world, meaning you will be getting a drink from each of the 11 countries, and trying to make it to the end (yes, this is real). If you plan to do this, or just try one or two unique drinks as you walk around, then you have to put money aside for that.
Classic Strawberry Margarita from the Mexico Pavilion – $15.50
Canto Loopy cocktail from the China – $8.95
Glacier Shot from Norway – $11
Alcoholic beverages at Disney World generally cost anywhere between $8-15, though there are bound to be items outside of that range, such as the drinks at Oga’s Cantina in the Galaxy’s Edge portion of Hollywood Studios.
I’m not big on alcohol myself, but Disney World has some of the nicest pools, and on my rest days, I love a nice drink by the pool. It’s the best way to enjoy some relaxing time on vacation.
Putting your Disney Spending Budget together
Putting together a plan on how much spending money for Disney you should have, is a very strategic task. That’s why is natural to be lost as to where to start. Follow the steps below and you will find success.
- Figure out what “spending” money means for your budget.
- Use the information above
- Parts of your budget that you can’t estimate to the dollar.
- Go through the things you listed as extra and use the information you have to guesstimate as best you can.
- Add 10% to any estimate you’ve put together.
This budget will never be exact because we just can’t know how many Disney souvenirs you will fall in love with, or how many drinks you’ll want or need, but we have to do our best to estimate more than what we’ll probably spend.
It’s better to come home with money then to overspend.
Save on your Disney Budget
Now that you have put together a spending plan for the extras during your Disney vacation, it’s time to start cutting costs where you can.
- Pre-buy souvenirs for your kids before you go. Surprise them daily while on vacation. The Dollar Store is a great place to start. I’ve never been to one that doesn’t have a few Disney toys, stickers, notebooks, pens, etc.
- Provide your own snacks, either by bringing them with you from home, grocery delivery, or buying them at a Disney resort store. No matter what option you choose, it’s going to be cheaper than buying snacks in the parks.
- Bring snacks and drinks with you in your park bag to avoid all of those costs while touring the parks. With this tip alone you can eliminate 90% of the snacks part of your budget.
- Use a few tips from my post to save 10% off of Disney gift cards and use those for souvenirs, snacks, and everything else.
- Ask for Disney gift cards for holidays and other celebrations. Don’t use those for anything else except the spending part of your budget.
- Find souvenirs while you’re home. That could get you the same items for 75% off.
- Get your kids into Disney pins. You can start a collection inexpensively, and it’s like a project for them. It’s a small souvenir, but it becomes something that they look forward to getting every trip. Along with that, they can trade the pins at the parks, so it’s a way to keep them preoccupied while you are there too.
Keep Your Disney Spending Budget Under Control
- Any budget can get away from you quickly, especially when you’re at Disney World. Aside from saving up money to have something to spend, there are many techniques to maintain your budget and spend less while you are there. I’ve researched a whole bunch of different methods that people use to stay on budget.
- Put most of your spending money on Disney gift cards. You can use those gift cards almost anywhere on Disney property.
- Give your children a specific budget and guidelines.
- I read about a family who waits until the end of the day to get the souvenir of their choice. That way they know that they have seen every possible option.
- One souvenir/day, that’s it, or set a similar limit of the number of souvenirs for the whole trip.
- Use the Shop Disney Parks app to scan items you want into your cart. At the end of the trip you can go through all of the items and take out what you don’t want. The rest can be delivered to your hotel room or home. This is one of my favorite things to do. For starters, it means not walking around with bags and you’d be surprised at how many things you’re ok with deleting the day after.
- Don’t buy in the moment. Give yourself some time to decide. You can also check if the item you want is on the ShopDisney site. If it is, you can also wait until you get back home to decide if you really want the item.
- Use the same credit card for souvenirs so you can easily keep track. When you spend as much as you do on a Disney vacation, easy record keeping and organization is best.
We’ve gone over what spending actually consists of, how to estimate your budget, and ways to save on your Disney spending budget. What tips do you have?