Today's post is all about the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World. The following itinerary is about staying at a Walt Disney World resort on the park property and NOT exploring the rest of the region. Pricing is based on middle of the road options and my editorial opinion. You can dial up or down based on your budget.
Two adults and two school age children
At least seven months from the date of departure.
If this is your first time, I suggest a five-night trip. That accounts for two travel days and arriving by air. I’ve randomly selected July 15-20, 2017. Why five nights? Because that is ample time to hit the highlights of Walt Disney World in four days. Of course you can spend more or less time, but I think four is the minimum.
Time of Year
If you have school-age children that aren't homeschooled, you most likely need to travel when they are out of school. This means you are traveling at a peak time to Walt Disney World. We can discuss the pro and cons of this time period in another video. A video about Peak Season can be found here.
Where To Stay
This itinerary was based on staying at a Walt Disney World owned moderate property. Disney has three basic resort categories: deluxe, moderate, value and campgrounds. I selected a standard room with a standard view at Port Orleans. Two queen beds and a bathroom. Bottom Line on accommodations for five nights including taxes and park hopper passes: $2,944.04
Arriving By Air
Orlando International Airport is the largest airport in the vicinity. Southwest Airlines has the most number of flights followed by Jet Blue, Delta and American. I selected Delta. Round trip from NYC for four people with all taxes and fees is $912.00. Don’t forget baggage fees. In my opinion, each family member gets one carryon which, on most airlines, is free and the family shares two checked bags. This adds about $100 round trip to the bottom line. Sanford International is about an hour's drive from Walt Disney World and Allegiant is the biggest carrier there. If you are planning on driving, I would suggest no more than six hours in the car per day. Anything over that is a hostage situation. Bottom Line on Air: $1,012.00
Ground transportation in your departure city will affect your cost and I highly suggest booking a car service or an Uber so you don’t have to mess around with long term parking. I budgeted $250 round trip in your departure city. When you arrive, Disney has a very cool feature called Disney’s Magical Express. This is bus service from the airport. My time is more valuable than waiting with the herds, so I say book a car and get to the resort faster. $75.00 each way adding $150 to the total. Bottom Line Ground: $400.00
Big Daddy Travel Boss Surprise #1
I have a special surprise for the whole family. Take them on a 15 minute helicopter tour of the parks and the region. Your family will be talking about it forever and it really amps up the excitement level! Its $350 bucks and departs from the airport! BooYah! If your inbound flight was on time and you booked an early departure from your home, then you do have a little extra time before you can check into your hotel around 3:00pm, so this is a perfect option. Bottom Line: $350.00
One of the benefits of staying at a Disney-owned resort is you really alleviate the need for a car rental. Their transportation will take you to all the Disney attractions and it is included with the cost of staying at a resort owned property.
I have included park hopper passes in the accommodations total. Park Hoppers allow you to go from one park to the next at any point in the day or night during the arks operating hours.
I opted to NOT select one of the Disney dining plans. I have found (through experience) that I needed a little more flexibility with dining. I have included two very cool dinners in this pricing, one at O'Hana at The Polynesian Village...because who doesn’t like meat on a stick! And a dinner at Flying Fish on the Boardwalk. Both dinners will run you about $285.00. In addition, no matter how old the kids, I say one character breakfast is an excellent idea. So I have included a breakfast at Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Hotel which will cost you about $100.00. I also budgeted about $440.00 for the rest of your meals. Once again, you can dial up or dial down based on your preferences. Bottom Line on Dining: $825.00
Souviners and Unanticipated Extras
You can’t leave without some souvenirs, so I added $250.00 for the family and $300.00 in unexpected random things I couldn’t think of. Bottom Line: $550.00
Big Daddy Travel Boss Surprise #2
I took the liberty of including a $300.00 spa appointment for your significant other. He/She will love you for that! Other nice touches are a round of golf or an amazing dinner at The Grand Floridian. Again, a little surprise goes a long way. Bottom Line: $300.00
Because I would consider this a big ticket vacation, I would go ahead and insure the trip and that will cost you about $120.00.
Bottom line for this exact itinerary: $6,501.04
If you would like to book this trip, message me in the comments below or send me an email with a link to this video and I’ll hook you up with my travel agent who may be able to price out the exact itinerary for less. Or, you can book most of these items direct with Walt Disney Parks. When they ask how you heard about this itinerary, tell them Erik The Travel Guy suggested it.
Again, keep in mind, this vacation is your jumping off point. If you have additional thoughts on your last trip, drop them in the comments below. Do your own homework and then get ready to have the vacation of a lifetime at Walt Disney World.
PS. Learn more about Walt Disney World here. Price out your own itinerary with my handy dandy vacation calculator here.
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. As the host of the nationally syndicated television television for PBS and the Create channel, "Beyond Your Backyard," I travel (on average) 25 weeks per year. I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet cool people, experience new places, eat delicious food and work with the best production crew in the world. Hopefully, through this blog, you will join me on my travels and be reminded just how exciting it is to be alive!