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Are you planning a Disney World trip? Then this blog is for you!

✨ Disney Planning from the UK for 2024, 2025 and beyond ✨

  • Are you planning a Walt Disney world trip?
  • Are you wondering how much it’s going to cost?
  • How much money you’ll need whilst you’re there?
  • Are you undecided about whether to stay off site or on site?
  • If you stay on site should you go with a Disney Value, Moderate or Deluxe Resort or one of Disney’s own villas?

Then this is the blog is likely talking to you, I’m going to answer all your questions and more!

We recently returned from what can only be called the trip of a lifetime, we had an EPIC 15 nights at Walt Disney world, staying in a variety of rooms/resorts at Disney World. It wasn’t the first time we’d done Orlando or Walt Disney World but it was our first ever time staying IN the Disney World bubble and we loved it! I’m now converted forever!

If you’ve been here before then welcome back, thank you so much for stopping by again, say hi in the comments below, as you’ll already know I’m pretty good at responding quickly and I love to chat and answer your questions! If you’re new here though then I’m Sam, I started my YouTube channel and this vlog to document our happily ever after once our 2nd baby, Jack, completed our little family!

I am a financial adviser by day and I have a weird fascination with figures… I ended up keeping every single receipt from the entire trip and laid them out in an excel spreadsheet. If you would like a copy of it enter your details —-> to sign up for news, giveaways, information etc and I will send you a copy 🙂 Make sure you hit subscribe over on Youtube too, we’re a small but lovely growing community and a personal favourite space of mine so thank you so much in advance!

Lets get started:


From the UK, you can fly direct with Virgin, BA etc. depending on which is your preferred home airport will depend on who its cheapest with. You can also fly indirect, we haven’t done it before as I just can’t be bothered with the ag of connecting with the kids, however, I’ve heard really good things about the Aer Lingus flight that connects in Dublin, you go through US immigration right there in Dublin! It can be a cheaper option and one day I think we will try it for ourselves, it would be great arriving Orlando having already gone through immigration, just grab your luggage and off you go!
But, my first cost saving tip is AIRMILES. If you don’t already save airmiles then get on it!

The 2 main programmes you can use to get to Orlando are:

  1. Virgin Flying Club
  2. British Airways Executive Club (Avios)

All you have to do is set up a Flying Club or an Executive Account (it’s free!) and then you can start collecting points (or airmiles as they use to call them).

I suggest having a look at which airlines you’re more likely to use for Orlando or other destinations and start there. We do have both but we rarely focus on the British Airways Avios. However we have used them for hotels and car hire etc many times in the past, I’ll come back to that later when I talk about the spreadsheet.

So, every flight you take with airlines that offer airmiles, you’ll generally accrue 1 point per mile flown. So that’s a great start. Have you flown recently on a flight and not claimed the airmiles? You can usually apply for them to be added to your account retrospectively so that’s definitely worth a shot.

Other ways to increase your airmiles collection:

  1. Tesco points (food shopping AND petrol!)
  2. Sainsburys/Nectar (same!)
  3. Virgin Shops Away (I only learned about this recently, but whenever you’re making any online purchases then check whether Shops Away have a points deal with them, if they do then you could snag yourself up to 12 miles per £1 spent! That’s the best I’ve seen anyway. They have deals with stores like Apple, M&S, Sports Direct, Look Fantastic, B&Q, Curry’s etc.
  4. Credit Cards. This comes with a caveat, even though I’m an IFA THIS IS NOT PROFESSIONAL ADVICE IN ANYWAY SHAPE OR FORM! If you have found yourself in a pickle before with credit cards then I would not suggest this option for you, it’s not worth it. But, if you already use a credit card on a monthly basis and clear it in full each month then this could definitely be worth you looking at. As with any credit card, you get 56 days from the date of purchase before you start paying interest so as long as you clear the balance in full each month you won’t have to pay any interest and you get your airmiles for free! The 2 main ones we’ve used are American Express and Virgin Atlantic Credit Cards.
  5. American Express (Amex in short): there are certain Amex cards that allow you to accrue points. You then transfer these points to either BA Avios or to Virgin Flying Club. The great thing about this is you can choose which airlines they go to. The transfer rate is the same on both IE 1 credit card point = 1 airline point. But it means if you don’t know which airline you’re going to fly with then then you don’t have to choose which airline to put the points into until you are going to book. The downsides of Amex, the interest rates are generally very high (if you go past the 56 days rule) and Amex isn’t accepted everywhere.
    Virgin Atlantic Credit Card (not to be confused with the Virgin Money Credit Card, they’re not the same!). There are 2 different Virgin Atlantic Credit cards, 1 is free and 1 has an annual charge. The chargeable card is currently £160 per year, we have done this for a few years now and find we get significantly more points than when we had the free one. The interest rate is high so again pay it off each month to avoid any interest!

So, after all that information, how many airmiles do you need to get to Orlando? It’s usually around 25,000 miles return per person. I’ve seen it go to 50,000 per person during peak times, over Easter it’s quite often 35,000 per person. So for 4 people flying to Orlando with Virgin, it will usually cost you 100,000, then you pay your fees and taxes on top. So, when we went to Florida recently, we paid the grand total of £964 plus the points. This is the fees and taxes for 2 adults, 1 child and 1 baby (who was a lap infant). For comparison, for 2 adults and 2 children with their own seats, using airmiles, the cost is currently £962. So less than we paid in 2022, I can only put that down to the fact that 2022 was more expensive as things were opening back up from covid.

When you compare that to flying direct with virgin WITHOUT using airmiles, for 2 adults and 2 children it comes to £2328, so its a significant saving as long as you haven’t had to pay interest on the credit card! That’s £1365 saved right there!

Links to the cards we use are below.

ESTA’s- I would do this absolutely ASAP to ensure you can get one, it’s a visa free entry to the USA, but you have to apply online. It’s about $12 per passport but lasts 2 years and there’s no limit to the amount of visits within that 2 year period. So for the 4 of us, that came to $48.

Next, how are you going to get from the airport to where you’re staying?
Every time we have looked at this we have ended up deciding that car hire is the way forward.
Disney’s Magical Express which used to take you from the airport to Disney for free, no longer exists, but there are some paid alternatives.
The one we have heard the best reviews from is the Sunshine Flyer. It currently costs $15 per adult each way and $12 per child each way. I’ve heard only really good things about them! It seems to take about 45 minutes to get from the airport to your disney hotel so not bad.
If you’re not going to be staying in a Disney hotel, or perhaps you’re starting in Universal or staying offsite in a villa or at a different hotel, then the cost of an uber from the airport for 4 people with luggage to get to the Margaritaville area of the 192 (the 192 is one of the main roads on Disney side of Orlando, Margaritavilla is about half way along, its very close to Animal Kingdom) then its currently suggesting it will cost $58 each way.
To hire a car for 2 weeks though, a large car collecting at Orlando International airport and dropping back there 2 weeks later, comes to approx £389.
For us, we have always ended up hiring a car, we love having total flexibility, we don’t want to only rely on disney transport, whilst we do use disney transport a lot, its so handy having your own vehicle. Especially with young kids, when you’re leaving the park late at night after the fireworks, you don’t have to wait for the bus etc.
Something to factor in though, if you’re not staying at a Disney hotel, then it’s $25 per day to park in a Disney Park. So on a 2 week trip that’s an additional $375 if you visited a Disney park every single day of your 14 night trip! A big additional expense.

Ok you’ve made it to Disney, you passed under the arch, maybe you’ve cried, I don’t know, you do if you’re me ha!
So where are you staying…..

Your Options: Disney Hotel, Good Neighbour hotel, other hotel or a villa?
We have stayed at an outside hotel before and you can get some crazy cheap deals! But in my experience you get what you pay for. How much time will you spend in the room? Do you care for other amenities like pools, water slides, food courts, restaurants, do you really want to meet Mickey at your hotel? Also, your budget. These are the things that are going to dictate your accommodation.

I had a look at hotel prices for a nearby hotel, 2 weeks in April after Easter with at least a good review and you can get 2 weeks for 2 adults and 2 kids for £826! Bargain!

In comparison, hiring a villa and having that all to yourselves, with a private pool, in a great area within 10mins from Disney (FYI unless you’re going to use Ubers everywhere, you’re probably going to need a car) is going to cost £2700. But, that will house 8 people across 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. So, if you’re traveling as part of a larger group then that could save you a lot of money for what you get.this is what we did when 8 of us went in 2019 and it was fabulous!

Now, let’s talk Disney hotels, my favourite part! You cannot beat a Disney hotel but you may end up paying for it….. our recent trip, we stayed for 5 nights in a Value Resort, 5 nights in a moderate resort and 5 nights in a deluxe resort, as I said, we’d never stayed on site before and I wanted to try them all! First off, I’m going to give a quick run down of what you get with these hotels, then I’ll break down what we spent on a 5 night stay at each level of hotel.


These are fun, bright, loud, all have a food court, a shop, a big swimming pool, no slides, no full service restaurant. They’re all heavily in your face disney themed (which I love) and the value resorts are your cheapest. It means you aren’t right on a Disney theme park doorstep and you may only have the Disney bus transport to rely on (unless you booked car hire of course).
Value resort rooms are all very similar, in a standard room it’s usually 1 large bed plus a pull down Murphy bed. You have a smallish but fine sized bathroom and sink/vanity area with some hanging space. You can pop your suitcases under the big bed, all come with a TV, a safe, a hairdryer, a small fridge that’s great for drinks, free wifi, free parking for staying guests and mousekeeping, which is Disney’s name for housekeeping.
I wouldn’t describe value resort standard rooms as small, they were fine for the 4 of us and we managed to fit in a baby cot/pack and play/crib too.
I would give you the advice that if you don’t need a connecting room with people you’re traveling with then request a non connecting room, ours was a connecting room and it was so so loud. I wouldn’t say the family next door were particularly loud but the noise carried so much we were woken up in the middle of the night a few times by them and their crying baby which we think they had put the cot up against the connecting door. So avoid if you can!
You can pay for a preferred room as an upgrade but, the room is exactly the same, it’s just closer to amenities.

The value resorts are the 3x All Star Resorts (sports, Music and Movies), Pop Century and Art Of Animation. The cheapest of these is generally All Star Sports, closely followed by All Star Music then All Stars Movies. Although, checking mid April 2024 dates/prices for 2 weeks right now, Movies is actually cheaper than the other 2. The downside of the All Star Resorts is transport, you only have Disney bus transportation from these 3 resorts.

Moving up to Pop Century, this is on the Skyliner route which is a total game changer! We stayed at Pop Century on our trip (all the vlogs are in the description below) the Skyliner is completely free, we had a preferred location room at Pop and we would walk to the Skyliner in just a couple of minutes. We could get from our room to inside Hollywood Studios in 10 minutes! We barely queued for the Skyliner, even over Easter at a peak time. When there was a queue, it moved very quickly and we didn’t find it a bother at all. The skyliner also takes you to the Riviera hotel, the Caribbean resort and EPCOT. Its fabulous. My only downside is you have to collapse a double pram or stroller, so when Jack was asleep that was annoying, but that is literally my only downside!

The most expensive of the value resorts is usually Art of Animation. People LOVE people The Little Mermaid theme that is around parts of this resort, Ok, if I’m honest, I’m talking about me, I love The Little Mermaid theme! People also love the family suites AoA has but they’re not cheap… they’re more expensive than some of the moderate and even deluxe hotels rooms if you can get a good deal. But they do come with a lot of space so it’s worth considering and could be a great option for you and your family/party.


These are Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach.

Location is key with these resorts. I had to change the dates here when I looked as it looks like Coronado Springs have sold out of their cheaper rooms for these dates, but Caribbean Beach is a great option as it’s on the Skyliner route! (if you check out the YouTube video this will make more sense as I show the booking screen as I’m talking, link below!) It’s at the interchange area of the Skyliner too, so from here you can go direct to Riviera and onto Epcot, direct to Pop Century and Art of Animation and direct to Hollywood Studios! So its greats for some resort hopping or park hopping. Caribbean. Beach Resort is lovely and a firm favourite for a lot of people, but it’s very big, you could well have room a long way from the main amenities or the Skyliner station so that’s something to bear in mind.
The Port Orleans resorts are a definite favourite of UK guests, both are on the boat route to Disney Springs which is a great add on! They’re both lovely quiet and very calm resorts, the boat ride to Disney Springs is lovely and you sail by a few other Disney Resorts too so it’s a great way to be nosy!
Port Orleans Riverside (POR) will forever hold a very special place in my heart as it was our first ever Disney World hotel, honestly we absolutely LOVED it there! I can’t rate the Royal Guest Rooms highly enough either! We paid to upgrade to one of these rooms and they’re Prince and Princess themed, they have fireworks in the headboards, they’re really really lovely. What I didn’t know until we got there is that dogs are allowed to stay at POR, if I’d have known that before I think it would have put me off but honestly don’t, we saw no signs of dog wear and tear, we had no allergy symptoms at all and there was zero dog smell anywhere in the entire resort.
Port Orleans French Quarter (POFQ) is smaller and more intimate than POR, and of course POFQ have the famous Mickey beignets!
Coronado Springs, is further out towards Animal Kingdom, its described as a Animal Kingdom resort but honestly its not that close to it. Coronado only has bus transportation options, there is no other boat service or access to the skyliner directly from this hotel.
All Moderate resorts are a little more luxe than the value resorts, they have additional options for room upgrades, like the Royal Guest Rooms I mentioned at Riverside. Coronado has a new tower called Gran Destino and it honestly looks like a deluxe resort! Its beautiful! So if you’re willing to sacrifice location for a more up market hotel then Coronado could absolutely be your answer. Moderate Resorts all have multiple pools still and they have waterslides too. They all have a quick service food court but also have fulls service restaurants. So they’re certainly upgrades to the value resorts. The theming is less in your face and they don’t have huge character statues everywhere, I think value for money at Moderate resorts is excellent, if your budget can stretch to it.


Now these are the stuff Disney dreams are made of! These are the hotels in the BEST locations, with the most incredible theming, usually with excellent transport options to the parks, with character dining onsite, an array of amazing dining options, bars etc, think theme park room views from your hotel, watching Happily Ever After; Magic Kingdom’s nighttime firework spectacular, from your own private balcony, or eating breakfast with Giraffes and Zebras in the Savannah again on your own private balcony!
The rooms are bigger, the beds are bigger, there’s more space, they include coffee machines, extra toiletries, Hey Disney! Alexa in room service. Our standard Moana room at the Polynesian was huuuuuge! Again head over to our Youtube channel to check it out.
The Deluxe hotels though, will likely break the bank….

A quick overview of the Deluxe resorts:
All Deluxe resorts have character dining options, multiple pools, large Splash Pads for the kids, waterslides, full service restaurants, quick service, multiple shops and Disney theming and attention to detail at its best!
The cheapest of them is going to be Animal Kingdom Lodge, purely because of the location, it’s not walking distance to any park and it only has bus transportation available. It is closest to Animal Kingdom but it’s not mega close…. But it is on the Savannah and it’s amazing and oh so magical!
Then there are the Epcot area resorts; Beach Club & Yacht Club which have arguabley the best pool on Disney property, it’s like a water park in itself! It’s called Stormalong Bay, you can only use it if you’re staying at Beach or Yacht Club so if you’re going to be spending a lot of time chilling at the pool then this could be perfect for you.
Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is also around here and all 3 are walking distance to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. Beach Club in particular, is very close to the International Gateway entrance of EPCOT (the entrance/exit at the back of Epcot near the World Showcase), there are some rooms that are only a 90 second walk to EPCOT!

Then, there’s the Monorail resorts.
Here you have Wildnerness Lodge, where you can bus or boat to MK, the theme is similar to Sequoia Lodge in Disneyland Paris, think woodland! Its a bucket list thing of mine to stay here at Christmas, it has the most amazing atrium!

There is also the Polynesian and we LOVED our stay there. Here the monorail stops in the Great Ceremonial Hall which is the main lobby building, you can also get a boat over to MK or you can walk when the walking route is open and not closed due to refurbishment. Theming here is incredible, think Hawaii, exotic flowers, incredible smells, Dole Whip, amazing food bars and restaurants, awesome pools and splash pads plus amazing view of Space Mountain and Cinderellas Castle across Seven Seas Lagoon.

You also have The Contemporary resort, the monorail goes right through the middle of this hotel! This place is funky, very cool, with “Incredibles” themed rooms. It has some fantastic restaurants scubas Chef Mickey’s (where you can dine with the big five; Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. There is the highly rated Steakhouse 71 with an epic view of Magic Kingdom (MK)! And the Contemporary is a short walk to MK itself too.
Last but not least, the Grand Floridian, certainly for me this resort was the hotel I associated with Walt Disney World as a child, its what I remember from the promotional videos my parents used to order and let us watch, we didn’t visit until I was 13 years old so there was years of me obsessing over this hotel as a very young child before I saw it in real life! This is Disney’s only 5* hotel, there are other 5*’s onsite, but none are official Disney resorts, you can walk to MK from here and you have a monorail stop at the hotel too. It’s having a big overhaul at the moment, it’s being updated and refreshed, think Mary Poppins, Princesses…. it’s pure magic. And that atrium is divine!

Price wise, some of these are hefty, especially when they have sold out of their standard rooms with a standard view, as you can see on the video.

There are some other Deluxe resorts too; Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Kidani Village, the Villas at Grand Floridian, Riviera, but these are the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Villas. DVC is basically Disney’s own version of timeshare, there will be more to come on Dvc later in another video/blog. You can still stay at these resorts if you’re not a DVC owner, these resorts are also very expensive. My suggestion is, if you want to look at staying in these resorts then you should look at a company such as DVC rental store where you essentially buy a DVC members points in order to stay there, it can save you hundreds of pounds!

The only other add on we need to talk about in regards to cost is Disney park tickets. We have great ticket deals here in the UK and we have only ever bought the 7 day ticket with the free additional week AKA 14 days for the price of 7, these include unlimited park hopping access to all the Disney parks including the water parks! And it includes Memory Maker too. Memory Maker is where all the digital copies of all photos you have taken by Disney photographers or on rides is sent to your My Disney Experience app for free!

Current costs for these tickets are:
£499 for aged 10 and up
£479 for 3-9 years old

Disney snacks and disney food, I LOVE! We didn’t hold back on our trip, if we wanted it, we had it. That being said we often found ourselves so full we would skip a meal and have a snack instead,. We just ate when we were hungry. We did book and eat at the full sit down service restaurants that we wanted to like Woody’s Round-Up Rodeo BBQ (which was a total disaster, even though I’d absolutely eat there again, I ended up with a bleeding leg and had to throw my new Adidas Moana trainers as they were blood stained, long story, its in the Hollywood Studios vlog if you want to check that out!)
We also did Topolinos Terrace Character Breakfast at the Riviera which was absolutely fantastic, we ate at City Works in Disney Springs, lunch at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge, we had dinner at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian, we had a lot of quick service and food court meals too and my goodness we had a lot of snacks, including spending $21 on M&M’s, yes true story unfortunately!

On the video, I know show you the spreadsheet and talk through the costs we spent on this trip. I also break it down by each 5 night stay so we can compare the whole price of a 5 night stay at a Value Resort, at a Moderate Resort and at a Deluxe resort, including travel costs, food etc! If you’d like a copy of the spreadsheet then subscribe here ——> and I’ll send it across free 🙂

When it comes down to it, we spent the most during our stay at the Polynesian, that’s not a surprise as the restaurants and quick service there is at another level, its all more expensive when you compare it to Pop Century’s food court, remember Pop is a value resort so no sit down restaurants, its just the 1 food court so the options are significantly less, there just isn’t a chance to spend more money on more food options at a value resort! Everything about the Deluxe resorts is done so well we found we spent a lot more time in the resort and less in the parks, especially as we had just had 10 days in the parks by the time we checked into the Polynesian for our Deluxe stay. We did a lot of relaxing and chilling and just soaking it all in! Which meant so many opportunities to spend a ton on food, and merchandise…. But no one needs to see how much we spent on merch this trip, I know how much it was as I calculated it on a separate spreadsheet…. it’s not pretty! Maybe I’ll do another post on it later, hmmm we’ll see!

So, what did WE spend total? Here are the necessary costs that will be the same for whether you stay in a value, moderate, or deluxe, offsite etc.

Airport Parking – £198.89
Airport Hotel – £25.00
Flights – £965.44
Park Tickets – £1507
Car Hire – £500
= £1689.33

5 nights at a Value Resort – £1130
5 nights spend whilst at a Value Resort – $737.92
Necessary costs – £1689.33
= £5027.50

5 nights at a Moderate Resort – £1710
5 nights spend whilst at a Moderate Resort – $826.64
Necessary costs – £1689.33
= £5677.73

5 nights at a Deluxe Resort – £3520
5 nights spend whilst at a Deluxe Resort – $1198.86
Necessary costs – £1689.33
= £7582.05

This is all converted using the early September 2023 exchange rate.

We also had $360 dining and merchandise credit plus a $200 gift card that was part of the booking incentives when we booked, these were amazing, they made a big dent into our spending which was great.

We saved every month for our spending money, changed it to dollars on our Revolut card in the app when the dollar was better, we only got $1.20 per £1 though. It’s still not much better now as I make this video sadly for us Brits. So with the money we saved and the dining credits we had we were all covered for our food!

This year, it’s up to $2100 dining and merchandise credits plus up to $200 gift card in their booking incentives which is amazing! That would have covered all our dining spend and some of our merch spend too. when you’re getting that level of credit, it kind of means you don’t need a Dining Plan, in my opinion…

Ok, other things you can spend your moolah on: there are tours like Keys to the Kingdom, its a bucket list tour for me, you get to go under Magic Kingdom to the secret underground cast member only network of roads and walking pathways…. It’s a 5 hour walking tour and costs $114 per person before tax. I’m really tempted to do this for my birthday next year whilst we’re there.
Another experiences I have to tell you about is a private boat road on Seven Seas Lagoon to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. We did it in 2019 and it was an absolute sob fest, it was incredible, best disney night ever? Yeah probably, it really was incredible. They put out some snack and drinks, the music is pumped into the boat so you get a great view and a great sound. You get a tour of the whole lake, the cast member that drives the boat explained so much to us, we saw where River Country, the old water park that got shut down was, we had a fabulous view of the Electrical Water Pageant and then the view of the fireworks with the music and being on the water…. I’ve never cried so much at fireworks in my life! It’s for up to 10 people and costs $399 before tax, if you’re there as a group or meeting friends at Disney, when you break it down per person its really good value for money.

Hopefully this vlog has given you enough information to show you the cost of a Disney trip, ways to help bring the cost down and how to spend allll your money and totally break the bank or actually do it for less! Thank you so much for watching, please let me know any questions in the comments below and if you haven’t already, please hit subscribe. Thank you and see you on the next blog!

Sam x

If you want to speak to a travel agent to book your Walt Disney Trip then please head over to our facebook page for all the latest fully ABTA and ATOL protected deals and offers, my sister and I run our own travel consultancy under the wonderful The Holiday Village, we adore putting together bespoke adventures for you all so head on over and check out everything we offer 🙂

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The YouTube video related to this blog post x


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