Disneyland or Disney World: What Fits Your Budget?

First or second? Two parks or four? Sunny and dry California or sunny and humid Florida? These, as well as many other questions, go through one’s head when thinking about a vacation at either of America’s two Disney parks. On the one hand is California’s Disneyland. It’s the first ever and rich in history and nostalgia. On the other hand is Florida’s Walt Disney World. It’s the second park built and is, for lack of a better adjective, enormous. Where Disneyland is more intimate and can be visited in a few days, Disney World is huge and can take a week to see everything.

Those aren’t the only things one needs to think about when it comes to a Disney trip. The two most important things to ponder are money and how it’s going to be added to the budget. A trip to either park isn’t cheap. A party of four can spend almost two thousand dollars on transportation, tickets, and accommodations alone. However, there are some things which could ease the budget and leave money for other things. Here’s a breakdown.


Tickets to both parks cost the same. For a family comprised of two adults and two children between the ages of 3-9, the price for 3-day tickets is $900. The price goes above $1000 when park hopper upgrade is added, which allows users to jump from park to park during one day. Three days is just about right to see the attractions at Disneyland, but Walt Disney World may require an additional day or two.


For a family that lives east of the Mississippi, a trip to Disney World seems the least expensive. The opposite is true for those who live west of the river. Selecting regionally-specific parks can save money for a family who’s flying and even more for one that’s driving. This can’t be said for people who live in Pennsylvania who wish to visit Disneyland. Determining the desired Disney park sets the amount of money spent to get there.


This comes down to where one wants to stay — inside or outside of the park. There are 30 resorts within Disney World which range from economy to deluxe accommodations, and that doesn’t include those near the Downtown Disney area. Disneyland has three deluxe resorts within the park and partners with others within a mile of the main gate. Of course, both areas have other independent hotels within a few miles of the Disney parks. Where families stay depends on what else they wish to do while on vacation. For example, families heading to California may want to stay in San Diego, just a 90 minute drive on Interstate 5 to the Disneyland, to enjoy the beaches and other attractions.

Planners should review all attractions outside of the Disney parks to determine if anything else will be visited. This may alter the budget even further.

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