There has been a lot of discussion recently that the price of a family vacation to Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is climbing out of the range of the average American family. Whether it is due to inflation, labor costs, or the artificially limited supply and demand for Theme Park admittance thanks to the Park Pass reservation system, the cost of a Disney Day does appear to have been hit with a dash of pixie dust, causing it to drift higher and higher.
But, it should be mentioned that Disneyland and Disney World vacations have always been expensive, especially when one compares the cost of a multi-day visit to other vacation destinations.
This is NOT intended to deter fans from visiting Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but instead a glimpse into what other vacation options stand when measured against “The Disney Standard.” This comparison is often used in terms of overall quality, but right now, let’s use it in terms of pricing. What does a for a family of five, and how does it compare to the price of other vacation options around the world?
Cost of a 5-Day Disney World Vacation
Let’s first look at a 5-day Disney World Vacation for a family of five (with one child under 10), getting ahead of the game to plan their family’s 2023 summer vacation from June 5, 2023 – June 9, 2023.
As of this article’s publication, the cheapest option for that summertime window was Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which started at $256/night. Adding in the cost of five 5-day with the Option, the cost of the increased to a total of $4,605.24. This does not include transportation between and the , Meals (which, without the , let’s ballpark at ~$30 per person per meal as a general average), Memory Maker, and newer extras like + and Lightning Lane. Oh, and of course, souvenirs.
Let’s give this family a budget window of $7,500 – $10,000 for their five Disney Days.
Vacations for Equal or Lesser Cost of Disney World
Now, let’s take our family of five’s budget range for a Disney World Vacation and see what we can get elsewhere for the same time slot. Please note that we are only talking about trips that either meet or surpass the quality of a Disney Vacation, so all other Theme Park vacations like Hollywood and Resort are automatically omitted.
Five Days in Europe, New York City, Miami
The first thing to remember is that you do not need to purchase Park tickets to explore a city which means that more of the budget is available to be allocated to hotel accommodations.
According to Google, quality hotels in prime locations can be found in New York City for ~$600/night. In Miami, favorable hotels are rated between $200-$600/night. Or, go abroad and spend time in Paris and London for the same price. It is also easy for one to find Hilton, Marriott Bonvoy, Wyndham, and IHG hotels where you can increase or utilize loyalty points during your stay, and AirB&B offers plenty of safe and affordable options as well.
Sightseeing around any city costs a fraction of what it costs to be able to go sightseeing in a Disney like or Disney’s . At the time of this publication, the Disney World website states that a 5-day Standard Theme Park Ticket with the Park Hopper option valid for our time window will run $124 per day per person. That is more than what it would cost for a child to visit the Natural History Museum and climb to the top of the Empire State Building.
Seven-Day Alaskan Cruise
No, seriously. Upon the publication of this article, Disney Cruise Line competitor Norwegian Cruise Line was offering an Alaskan Cruise for a family of 5 which departs from Seattle, Washington, sailing on June 3 and ending June 10, for just over $7,000 total. The reservation was for two Oceanview rooms and included Open Bar, Specialty Dining, Shore Excursions, and WiFi! This writer is also taking advantage of one of the rolling deals that several Cruise Lines continue to offer on a regular basis.
Any cruise vacation is essentially an all-inclusive Resort stay that takes you and your family to exotic new destinations literally overnight. This brings us to our next option.
All-Inclusive Caribbean Resorts
Our family of five’s budget also allows for an escape to a family-friendly all-inclusive Resort in the Caribbean. The Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa in Jamaica, for instance, offers our family a spacious 2-bedroom suite with basic food and drinks already included for just over $4,000 for their four nights. Plus, Guests can also enjoy 10% off Cabana rentals, excursions, and extra “romantic dinners” for mom and dad.
Again, I share this information with you all not to steer you away from booking your next Walt Disney World vacation but to highlight just how special it should be. Instead of using the same amount of money to travel the world and explore new places, we make it a point to return to The Most Magical Place On Earth because there is something about it that offers an experience that is above anything else we could imagine to find elsewhere. And I would not be writing for this publication if I did not believe that Disney Resorts deserved that repeat business, especially for Disney Vacation Club members! The cost–both in money and opting out of four-and-five-star experiences elsewhere–was worth it!
Everything matched the “Disney Standard,” from the customer service and security to the dining options and showmanship. But is that Standard still on display today? If not right now, will it return to the “Disney Standard” in time for your next family vacation? I sure hope so, but these are questions that only you can answer for yourselves.