Packages for Walt Disney World
Guests zoom and soar through the exciting TRON Lightcycle / Run roller coaster at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Florida

Walt Disney World Packages

A Brilliant Guide from Wishful Thinking


In our Brilliant Guides, we simplify things. Get expert tips for first-timers & returning guests. Perfect for Disney newcomers & travelers from abroad, we cover the basics & highlight what matters most.

In our Brilliant Guides, we simplify things. Get expert tips for first-timers & returning guests. Perfect for Disney newcomers & travelers from abroad, we cover the basics & highlight what matters most.


Walt Disney World Packages

Walt Disney World offers their greatest value within travel packages. Let’s consider the options and figure out which package is best for you.

2025 Walt Disney World vacation packages are here! Great new perks have arrived, including the revitalized Disney Dining Plan and a complimentary Disney water park day for Disney resort hotel arrivals in 2025. Read on below for the delightful details.


No one wants to waste money or get stuck with a reservation they can’t cancel. When you book a Disney Vacation Package, you enjoy flexibility and an extended time frame to pay the total cost. But is a vacation package better than paying for things a la carte?

A Disney Vacation Package is a bundled offer from the Walt Disney Travel Company which combines a resort stay with theme park tickets. (As opposed to an a la carte booking, where you pay for your hotel and theme park tickets via separate transactions.)


Here are the features of a Walt Disney World vacation package. Below, we’ll break down how each of those features differ when you do an a la carte booking.

  • Only $200 per room to reserve, with time to pay off your balance. | After making your deposit, your balance isn’t due until 30 days before check-in. You can spread out your payments over time, or wait and pay the whole balance in one lump payment. 
  • Very easy to modify. | It’s free to change the arrival dates, the number of days of theme park tickets you’d like, the type of ticket you’d like (i.e., Park Hopper, etc.) the number of guests on your reservation, and even the actual hotel in which you stay.  
  • Generous cancellation terms. | You may cancel for a complete refund up to 30 days before check-in. After you’re paid in full, you may still cancel your stay for a refund of your hotel cost — or simply push back your vacation for an arrival date in the future. 
  •  Eligible for future discounts. | Disney regularly offers special promotions and incentives to visit and save. If Disney announces a promotion which applies during your travel dates, Wishful Thinking will know about it, and we can apply the new promotion to existing bookings.  
  • It’s available for any Disney resort hotel or Good Neighbor Hotel | Packages are available for all of the Walt Disney World resort hotels, plus the Dolphin / Dolphin / Swan Reserve, the Four Seasons, the Disney Springs properties, and other Good Neighbor Hotels. 
  • Disney resort guests may add a Disney Dining Plan. | Pre-paying for your meals is a great way to budget for your trip and avoid the stress of paying for your meals. Learn all about Disney Dining Plans ▸ 
  • For arrivals in 2025, Disney resort guests receive a complimentary visit to a Disney water park on their arrival day. | On your arrival day, you’ll be free to visit Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park or Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, on your check-in day! Learn about Disney’s water parks ▸ 
  • Easy to set up a split stay. | This is the term that Disney uses when you transfer from one Disney resort hotel to another during your stay.
If you’d like to pay for your lodging and your theme park tickets separately, we call this an a la carte booking. Here are the most distinct features of this type of booking (see above for important comparisons to a Walt Disney World travel package).
  • You can stay off-property. | You may prefer to stay near other Orlando-area attractions — like Universal Orlando Resort, Sea World, etc. Others prefer to rent large vacation homes with multiple bedrooms, full kitchens, and swimming pools. With an a la carte booking, these types of lodging become available to you.
  • Pay entire amounts up front. | When you do an a la carte booking, you’ll need to pay for your theme park tickets all up front. (Unlike a vacation package, there’s no ability to spread out the payments over time.)  For your lodging costs, you may have the option to pay with a deposit and then pay the balance at a later date, but the best rates often require full prepayment. 
  • Freedom to buy different ticket types, but difficult to modify tickets, and no refund for cancellations. |  Each member of your party can select different ticket types. If some want 4 days in the parks but others want 5, it’s easy to set things up that way. However, if you decide to modify your tickets after purchasing — to add extra days or add the Park Hopper option — you’ll often need to wait on hold for several hours for the assistance of Disney’s ticket services. Walt Disney World theme park tickets are strictly non-transferable and non-refundable. You may upgrade them to add extra days / features, but you can’t reduce the number of days, you can’t get a refund if someone doesn’t use them, and you can’t sell them to someone else. They’re attached to a specific name as soon as you buy them, like a plane ticket, with a specific expiration date.
  • Difficult to modify hotel reservations, with cancellation fees. | Each hotel is unique, but if you’re hoping to change hotels or change dates, typically you’ll cancel one reservation and book an entire new one, typically with a cancellation or change fee. Many of the best hotel rates are non-refundable. If you do qualify for a refund, you may wait weeks before you receive it. A last-minute change of plans can become very problematic — and very expensive. 
  • Not eligible for future discounts. | If you buy your theme park tickets and then Disney later announces a promotional theme park ticket price — like a buy 4 days, get 1 day for free, for example — you won’t be able to apply that promotion to previous purchases. The same typically applies for lodging reservations. 
In some circumstances, an a la carte booking will be your only option. Those who stay in an off-property vacation home  — i.e., via AirBNB or VRBO — may save money across the total vacation cost. But as we specify above, an a la carte booking is more risky.
Wishful Thinking can set up your theme park tickets and assist with Theme Park reservations. We can also help provide off-property lodging reservations which reduce your risk in case you need to modify your plans. 


Don’t miss out on Disney’s newest discounts, deals and promotional pricing. Our research shows that it’s best to reserve now; it increases your chances of scoring a great promotional price.

Everyone loves a bargain!  Here are the three main types of promotions that Disney typically offers. 


One of Walt Disney World’s most popular promotions. Now that the Disney Dining Plans have returned — which lets you prepay for your meals — Disney likes to offer free Disney Dining plans when you book a multi-night package that includes a hotel stay and theme park tickets. Typically, they’re only available on stays of 4 nights or more, with a 4 (or more) day theme park ticket. Disney makes this promotion available at various times of the year, but it’s never offered during peak season.


Disney often offers promotional rates like a certain percentage off a hotel cost (10% – 30%) for a multi-night stay. It’s helpful to know that these rates are almost always on stays of 4 nights or more. But beyond these promotions, here are the key things need to keep in mind.

  • If you’re bargain hunting, focus on the hotel cost rather than the ticket cost. Disney’s nightly room rates fluctuate more than you might expect. The exact same room might cost $129 a night during a slower period, then cost $329 per night during a busy period. When you’re staying many nights, those price differences can really add up.
  • Here are the slower periods at Walt Disney World: from mid-January through the end of February, and then from mid-September through mid-October. Historically, this is when discounted room rates are usually cheapest. 
  • Here are the busier periods: the end of December / beginning of January, and the weeks around Easter. Room rates are usually highest at this time of year because American schools are on holiday periods.
  • Disney typically announces its hotel and package discounts about 6 months before an arrival period. 
  • Disney’s hotel promotional discounts can widely vary, but it’s helpful to know that booking early carries very little risk. With a Disney Vacation Package booking, you’re golden! If Disney announces a new promotion at a later point, we can ask Disney to apply that promotion to the package you’ve already booked, then enjoy the savings. In most cases, you can even change resorts to stay at a hotel where a discounted rate will apply. 

Disney’s website booking engine is finicky. Our help is free, and we love to help you find the best promotions and discounts! Get in touch now. We’ll hook you up.


Disney’s theme park ticket discounts only kick in when they’re bundled as part of a vacation package.

  • Expect discounts only on four or more days. It’s very rare to see discounts on anything less than 4 days of theme park tickets.
  • The more days you buy, the cheaper they become.  Disney theme park tickets become significantly cheaper as you add additional days. The price difference between a one-day and a two-day ticket is about $120, but the difference between a six-day and a seven-day ticket is only about $30. At a certain point, Disney knows that if you spend more time in the parks you’ll probably also spend more time in its hotels, restaurants, and gift shops.
  • Enjoy a relaxing morning? Recently, some Disney vacation packages include discounted “after noon” tickets, which invite you to use your ticket only after noon.
  • Consider enhancing your ticket rather than buying many days. If you’re traveling with a group who simply enjoys being at Walt Disney World without necessarily being in the parks, you can economize your ticket purchase by choosing fewer days, yet adding the Park Hopper option. This gives you the chance to visit the highlights of multiple parks, then spend additional days relaxing at your resort, enjoying outdoor activities, or doing some shopping and dining. It’s helpful to know that you don’t have to use your multi-day tickets on back to back days.
  • Swap out theme park days for water park days. When you add the water parks option to a multi-day ticket, it gives you an equal number of days in the theme parks and the water parks, for much cheaper than it would cost to buy individual water park tickets upon entry. For many families with kids, a multi-day park ticket followed by multiple days in the water parks adds up to a fabulous vacation. And, this kind of package is much cheaper than spending every day exclusively in the theme parks.  See the latest updates >
  • Florida residents and members of the military often receive promotional discounted rates. These discounts are prone to shift throughout the year. If you’re a Florida resident or an active-duty member of the United States Armed Services, say hello and we can discuss what’s available.
  • Beware of third-party scams and sales pitches. Many people search for things like “discounted Walt Disney World theme park tickets” from third-party ticket offices. For the most part, it’s futile to try. The vendors are often problematic. Sometimes completely illegitimate. Some vendors will offer tickets if you’re willing to sit for hours in a high-pressure sales pitch for a timeshare. You can decide if that’s worth your time.
Disney celebrates its 100th Year Anniversary with a platinum sign in front of the Main Street Train Station at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom


Let’s avoid extra stress about how much a Disney trip will cost. We can calculate a budget to make your Disney dreams achievable.

When creating your budget, consider these categories: tickets, lodging, meals, souvenirs, and transportation. The following numbers are rough estimates — in general, things are a little higher if you’re just doing a day or two, and a bit lower if you’re staying for five days or more. All prices are in USD.

THEME PARKS | Budgeting for Theme Park Tickets

Begin with a budget of about $120 per person per day. After about 4 days of theme park tickets, the price for additional days drops considerably. More about tickets >

LODGING | Budgeting for Hotels 

Begin by considering which lodging price category you’d like to book. | Disney breaks down their resort hotels into three categories: a Value resort is about the equivalent of a 2 or 3 star hotel. A Moderate resort would be considered a solid 3 or 3+ star hotel. A Deluxe hotel would be a 4 star hotel. Orlando also has a handful of 5-star Luxury hotels which are not owned and operated by Disney. With those categories in mind, here’s a general guideline for pricing:

Budget per person, per night, in a double occupancy room: 

  • Value category: $75 per person per night 
  • Moderate category: $150 per person per night
  • Deluxe category: $250 per person per night
  • Luxury category: $300+ per person per night 

If you’re planning to stay 4 to a room you can divide the numbers above by half. 

DINING | Budgeting for Meals

Budgets can vary widely, but use these predictions to build a budget. In Walt Disney World’s restaurants, quick service (fast food) menus are notably more affordable than table service (sit-down meals where a server brings your food). With that in mind, if you’re planning to eat:

  • Mostly food and snacks that you prepare yourself — about $40 per adult ($20 per child) per day. Perhaps your lodging has a kitchen and you plan to cook some meals there, or you’d like to bring picnics with you into the park each day. 
  • Mostly fast food / quick service — about $60 per adult ($40 per child) per day
  • A combination of quick service and table service restaurants— about $75 per adult ($50 per child) per day
  • Mostly table service restaurants — about $100 per adult ($75 per child) per day

If you’d like to get into the nerdy details, you can see the menus and pricing for nearly every Walt Disney World restaurant. 

SOUVENIRS | Budgeting for gifts & souvenirs

The sky’s the limit here, but if you visit the ShopDisney site, you can get a good sense of the cost of many Disney souvenirs. If you’ve got kids in mind, you can probably manage to delight the kids with a budget of $30 USD per kid per day.  That would get you a cute shirt or an adorable plush animal, and perhaps a light-up thingamabob. 

TRANSPORTATION | Budgeting for transportation around Orlando

Unlike many countries, within the USA, airfares can change rapidly — but prices tend to leap dramatically within a month of travel. It’s almost always wisest to buy as soon as your travel dates are set. 

Airfare | Round-trip fares to Orlando 

Now that the post-pandemic pent-up demand for travel is behind us, airfares are returning to normal. Here’s about what you should expect for airfares in the coming year:

  • From cities along the East Coast (NYC, Boston, Washington DC, etc.): $350 USD round-trip
  • From cities within the Midwest (Chicago, Detroit, etc.): $450 USD round-trip
  • From cities along the West (California, Las Vegas, etc): $550 USD round-trip

Take note: many North American-based airlines are now offering a category known as Basic Economy, which features upcharges for simple things like checked luggage and seat selection. Be very cautious when booking via a third-party site like Expedia, Orbitz, etc. to make sure you’re in the fare class that you prefer. To make sure you’re on the smartest flight for your itinerary, it’s better to contact us for assistance.

Airport Transfers | You have a few options if you want to arrange a private airport transfer. You could budget about $70 USD for a taxi or ride share from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to your hotel. These taxis usually have room for 4 passengers with no luggage, or 2 passengers with large suitcases. Groups of three or more will sometimes need to separate into two taxis.  Mears Transportation now offers shared motorcoach transportation between the airport and all the Walt Disney World hotels via Mears Connect. Or, also through Mears, you could reserve a private van withwhich ranges from $150 round-trip for a standard taxi sedan (2-3 passengers plus luggage) to about $200 round-trip for a premium luxury van (4-6 passengers plus luggage). We are happy to arrange ground transfers for all our clients.

Ground Transportation within Orlando | If you rent a car, your budget should begin at around $50 USD per day, but prices are often higher during peak periods. If you’re planning to rely on taxis or rideshares, you may want to preview the cost between your hotel and various Orlando destinations. Lyft is the preferred rideshare service of both Walt Disney World and Wishful Thinking.

All guests within Walt Disney World resort hotels — including those in the Disney Springs area, the Dolphin / Swan / Swan Reserve, the Bonnett Creek area, and the Four Seasons Resort — receive complimentary bus transportation throughout their stay. Some hotels also have water shuttles or gondola transport. More about Disney’s free transportation 

Wishful Thinking offers expert trip planning for any budget — from ultra-economy to ultra-luxury. Let’s start working on your budget ▸ 


Tired of your trip getting more expensive every time a server brings the check? The Disney Dining Plan makes your vacation all-inclusive.

NEWS & DETAILS: Disney has just announced that dining plans will return for stays beginning on January 9, 2024.

What is the Disney Dining Plan? | Essentially, it’s a way to pre-pay for your meals on a Walt Disney World vacation. It likely won’t save you money — for most guests, it comes out about even — but it helps you budget more accurately for your whole trip, and pre-pay for more of your vacation. What’s the real reason why it’s always been so popular? It’s not the savings. It’s the feelings. It makes it feel like your meals are free.

How and when can you buy a Disney Dining Plan? | You must add it to your Disney Resort Hotel Package before your arrival at Walt Disney World. They’re only available for stays that begin after January 9, 2024. You cannot add it to a 2023 vacation.

How many different plans are there? For 2024, there are two different Disney Dining Plans:

DISNEY DINING PLAN | For the main dining plan, every person in your party aged 3 and over will receive one Quick-Service meal, one Table-Service meal, and one snack or nonalcoholic beverage for each night of their stay. Additionally, each guest will receive one resort-refillable mug.

DISNEY QUICK SERVICE DINING PLAN | Every person in your party aged 3 and over will receive two quick-service meals and one snack or nonalcoholic beverage for each night of their stay. As with above, each guest will receive one resort-refillable mug.

DINING PLAN PRICES | Prices vary, so to get the most up-to-date-numbers, invite us to send you a price proposal by completing our inquiry form ▸ 

We’ve got a very detailed FAQ with every question you might have, including when, where, how, and who can spend your meal credits, how they’re calculated, all the various rules, questions on gratuity and more!

Detailed FAQ: New 2024 Dining Plans at Walt Disney World ▸ 


For more insights & a hearty, upbeat discussion, join our Brilliant Disney Travel Tips group on Facebook.


Feeling anxious about how far in advance to book? Relax. Your $200 deposit is fully refundable. 


As early as possible. An advance search for rooms will provide a wider variety of room categories and pricing. This is important to remember: if a later promotion appears which applies during your vacation stay, Disney will permit you to apply that discount at a later date. In short, there’s really nothing to lose by booking early. And as you’ll see below, having a hotel booking in place will give you advance access to other reservations. 


If you’re booking a Walt Disney World vacation package — a packaged bundle with a room reservation and theme park tickets — Disney asks for just a $200 deposit on most packages. The balance is due 30 days before arrival. Note: these are the terms for vacations booked through us at Wishful Thinking. Cancellation penalties for those who book directly online are more strict. 


If you make a reservation for just a hotel room, the deposit is usually the cost of your first night’s stay, with the balance due upon arrival.


Anyone can book a table service meal or a tour 60 days in advance. Especially during peak periods, certain restaurants absolutely will book up on the very day they become available. Anyone can book dining or tours at this 60 day mark, regardless of your lodging plans. 

See our guide to the most popular dining & experiences  


If you’ve booked a vacation package, your balance is due 30 days before arrival. If you’ve booked a ‘room only’ reservation, your balance is due when you check in at the resort. You can always prepay early, and it’s a very good idea to do so.  A prepaid resort reservation will qualify you for online check-in so you don’t need to visit the Front Desk upon arrival. 



You could go as mad as a hatter trying to stay on top of all of this. Thankfully, Disney pays us to help you. Our services are free, and there’s no obligation. 

Disney pays us to help you plan your vacation. We offer the following free services:

  • We help you find the best pricing and promotional discounts for your stay. 
  • If Disney announces a sale or promotion during your vacation dates, we can apply promotional discounts to your package even after you’ve booked your vacation.
  • We can book your advance dining reservations, Enchanting Extras, tours, and Park Pass theme park reservations.
  • Want some expert tips on Disney Genie Service and which Individual LIghtning Lanes to book? We’ve got you. 
  • We take note of what’s most important for you to see and do on your Disney vacation and consult with you to offer expert-level tips in many areas: transportation, crowd survival, dining, shopping, and even which shows, character experiences and attractions are the most likely to delight each member of your travel party.
  • We prepare for you a customized step-by-step guide to your itinerary, complete with invaluable insights and smart suggestions on how to maximize your experience.
We work with everyone from solo travelers to families of all sizes. We love coordinating group travel, and we’re total bosses on corporate getaways. Plus, we’re super friendly, and we love to talk about Disney! 


Walt Disney World in 2024 & 2025

When is the best time to visit? How busy will it be in the theme parks?

Why should I book a hotel on-property vs. off-property?

What’s located at each theme park? What’s a must at Disney Springs?

What rides, dining, & experiences are most popular & need reservations?

How can I combine park tickets, dining, and hotel stays to save money?

What are realistic tips for transportation and getting places on time?

How much do park tickets cost? Which ticket options save money?

When & where do I use the smartphone app, Genie+ and MagicBand?

Join our community!

Ask questions. Share your favorite travel stories. Get expert-level free help for any Disney travel destination around the world. You’re invited to join our Facebook group! As Yzma would say, it’s brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

Flying boy who doesn't want to grow up
Flying boy who doesn't want to grow up

Wishful Thinking is an affiliate of Looking Glass Travel, a Gold Authorized Disney Vacation Planning agency.

Our trip planning is free. When you book a Disney vacation through us, you’ll pay the same price as if you booked it on your own, yet enjoy the bliss of a talented Wishful Thinking travel planner.

A Wishful Thinking travel planner is:

  • Bright. We’re nerd-level experts on Disney’s past, present and future.
  • Talented. We’ve been designing travel itineraries around the globe for 15 years.
  • Realistic. We help you prepare for everything and set honest expectations.
  • Whimsical. Spontaneous fun often produces our most treasured memories.
  • Inspiring. We’re still kids at heart who believe in the power of dreams.

It’s never too early to start planning!

You do the wishing. We do the thinking.™

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Wishful Thinking is an affiliate of Looking Glass Travel, a Gold Authorized Disney Vacation Planning agency, and an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner..

Disney pays us to help plan your trip, from your first wish list until your departure. We’ll even assist you during your vacation until you’re happily back home.

Our trip planning is free. When you book a Disney vacation through us, you’ll pay the same price as if you booked it on your own, yet enjoy the bliss of a talented Wishful Thinking travel planner.

A Wishful Thinking travel planner is:

  • Bright. We’re nerd-level experts on Disney’s past, present and future.
  • Talented. We’ve been designing travel itineraries around the globe for 15 years.
  • Realistic. We help you prepare for everything and set honest expectations.
  • Whimsical. Spontaneous fun often produces our most treasured memories.
  • Inspiring. We’re still kids at heart who believe in the power of dreams.

It’s never too early to start planning!


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