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how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

San Antonio, Texas
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3,030 posts
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how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

We are considering renewing our annual passes *premium* for our family, and the inevitable question came up. How much have we spent, what do we typically spend, on a Disney vacation?

Will the final tally freak us out? Will we decide instead to put the money in a mutual fund? heh...not sure yet.

But I ask you, what do you typically spend for the Disney experience, passport holder or non passport holders please reply.

I'm pretty sure I'm frugal in my planning, and then wimp out and pay for something that I wouldn't have once I get into the park, whether it be an extra meal, or a picture opportunity, there is always an expense I hadn't planned for. Bottom line, I think our family of 5 can get a two day disney experience, plus gas/lodging, etc, for $300.00, but that is with our tickets already paid for.

Anaheim, California
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1. Re: how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

I think you will find a wide variety of dollar amounts, as every trip is different.

Not everybody goes the same amount of days.

Travel is a big component, and some fly, some drive and where you are coming from has a major factor in the costs just to get to Anaheim. Plus some folks have Anaheim as just part of their trip, how do you breakdown the cost of travel if you are spending a week in San Diego, and a week in the Anaheim area (with side trips to Hollywood and elsewhere).

Then there is the tickets themselves, some will pay full price at the Main Gate, many will order in Advance, which gives folks a discount, but designed to have add an extra day or two to your stay, and some folks take advantage of Annual Passport for multiple trips in the same 12 month period, and that many of those are not locals. Some who plans a stay in May of 2007, and then April of 2008 can upgrade their May 2007 ParkHopper to a Deluxe AP for just a few dollars.

Then of course, there are the locals, the cheapest Southern California AP is $124, and if they go once a month, that is about $10 a visit plus transporation costs.

Then you have someone like me, who lives just a few miles away, and visits about twice a week (a lot of the visits are short, just to grab photos for websites to use). I pay about $3 a visit, get free parking, and gas is about a $1 a trip.

My girlfriend and I buy some merchandise, but much of it is bought at a discount, since we have friends who work for Disney, so we can occasionally shop at the CM store, Company D, or access much higher discounts on property that senior staff gets.

Our biggest expense is Food and beverage. Many times I don't buy anything if I am only there for an hour or two, but about once a week we have lunch, last Sunday, we spent about $45 for lunch for 2 at the ESPN Zone, Thanksgiving Day, we paid about $30 each for the Buffet at Storyteller's Cafe. (With discount and tip included). Sometimes we stop for a beer at the Cove Bar or the Lost Bar, or buy a coke and popcorn, but tend not to buy too many snacks.

A lot of it are decisions we make, do we use a site like Hotwire.com and get a room and rental car at a large discount, but not sure where you will stay, or do you opt for a known location, such as HoJo's or the Candy Cane Inn at about $100 to $120 a night, or opt for paying the $200 to $300+ a night to stay on Disney Property.

If you are staying a few days in the area, do you go to the grocery store to stock up on snacks and things for breakfast, do you leave the property and visit fast food and other restaurants that tend to be a lot cheaper than the food on or near property.

Also, why are you visiting, people on Honeymoons or a "once in a lifetime" visit will tend to spend more on food and merchandise than a family driving in from another state, who will go the more frugal route.

Yucaipa, California
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for Anaheim
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2. Re: how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

Yes, Dark Beer is right, you will probably get a wide variety of responses! But, I love this question.

I am pretty local, about an hour away. I am picky about when I go. I like very warm weather, very long hours, and lots of entertainment. I don't care if I go to DCA because I love Disneyland itself. I don't care about going often and usually go once a year - for one very long "marathon" day, usually about 15 or 16 hours. I went twice this summer (and really shouldn't have, financially) due to the fact that I joined a Disney fan website and got totally into it!

I don't buy annual passports because I can't afford them. Also, I have counted up how many days a year I would probably use one and it is cheaper for me not to have one.

I am single and many of my friends in the past frankly flaked out on me when I have invited them to Disneyland. Amazingly so, most people just don't have the money! But, anyway, I had enough of friends saying, "!'ll let you know," so I just plan it and take off to the Happiest Place on Earth without them! Basically, I have no one else to pay for except me.

I don't own a car, so each time I go I rent a car - usually get a good deal, but that is an added expense. Then there is parking and gas. So that all is close to $100, or between $85 and $100.

I always get one day Disneyland only tickets, so I save a little not getting a park hopper that I won't use anyway. I was able to get mine this year at a discount through my employee association (union).

I have lunch and dinner at the French Market for about $15 to $17 for each meal. I always have a Dole Pinapple Whip for a snack, so that is about $3. I throw a bit of money away on fortune tellers (I must get one or two from Esmerelda on Main Street) and the wishing well. Then, of course, I get an ice cream or coke around 11:30 pm so I can relax and take my last looks around Main Street while all the other people are hurrying out!

I think you have to allow yourself (each person in your party) about $15 to $20 for some kind of souvenir. I spurlged on two CDs from bands that played when I was at DL (Side Street Strutters and Doc Anello). I consider that an investment because they have brought me hours of pleasure.

On my second trip this summer, I wanted to go to the Blue Bayou again (haven't been for about 25 years). All the posts I was reading on my Disney site got me interested in going. For me, that was a big financial mistake. I actually prefer to be outside at the French Market, which so much more of a better deal.

I think planning meals at DLR carefully and sharing food helps families alot, because that can be a major expense right there.

Btw, I remember years and years ago when I would take no more than $40 with me to Disneyland to buy my ticket and have lunch and dinner!

San Antonio, Texas
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3,030 posts
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3. Re: how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

ok...now you've prompted a new post !!

What disney fan sites do you haunt? !

Anaheim, California
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25,711 posts
13 reviews
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4. Re: how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

I provide content, mainly photos for MousePlanet.com and MiceAge.com.

So I participate at the MousePlanet.com boards, the MiceChat.com boards (the sister site to MiceAge.com), plus the LaughingPlace.com boards. I prefer the boards since they all seem to focus more on Anaheim than Orlando, though all three cover all the Disney Theme Parks worldwide, along with non-Disney parks.

Windsor UK
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1,328 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

We went to Disney land last year and for international visitors there was very few ticket deals available so ended up paying at the gate.Where we can save and shop around ,is for deals with flights and hotels.Disneyworld in Florida is were most Brits go as they seem to offer all types of ticket deals ,some much better than what locals can get but Disneyland does not seem to offer the same.

Yucaipa, California
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for Anaheim
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18,754 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

I am "Senior Castmember" on Intercott.com "west side", othewise known as Intercott West (Intercott has 2 sections, WDW and DLR). Being a Senior Castmember just means that I have posted a whole lot since June when I joined. I enjoy it because it is like a little group of Disney friends and sometimes we even share other concerns around the "Water Cooler". The members are supportive and never ever argue or say anything bad to each other. It's a great experience. I like the policies or the site very much.

I also belong to Visions Fantastic and highly recommend anyone who is into Disney to check it out. They have a lot of video you can access as a member, as well as audio, and a large amount of posts. It is a lot of fun to visit Visions Fantastic.

My user name is Disney Babe on both sites. Stop by and say hi!

I also like checking out MouseSavers and just generally Googling for anything about Disneyland.

San Diego
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204 posts
5 reviews
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7. Re: how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

Just got back from 2 days and 2 nights at DLR. Took $200 cash and a $100 giftcard. Only charged our room, paid cash for everything else, and brought back about $30. We only used the gift card for souvenirs, and only ate onsite once. We had the rest of our meals at Mimi's or McD's. BTW, we are 2 adults and 2 kids. We were actually pretty pleased with ourselves!!

Lake Tahoe
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301 posts
1 review
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8. Re: how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

Grand Cal. Hotel with 3 day Hopper for a family of four...$1250.00

Meals and nick-nacks....$575.00

Leaving Disneyland, knowing that you won't be blowing money like this until next year...Priceless.

9. Re: how much does a trip to Disney REALLY cost?

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