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Picking a Disney Resort that Fits Your Budget.

Yacht and Beach Club Pool.
Copyright Disney.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype when it comes to picking a Disney resort, especially if you’re planning far in advance and you spend time on Disney message boards.  There’s a lot of information out there, but at some point it all comes down to your wallet: What can you afford?  Here are five tips for staying within your budget while

1. Pick the resort you can afford right now, no matter what happens.

Here’s why this is so important:  Disney value and moderate resorts fill up faster than deluxe resorts, so they’re harder to get closer to travel. This is particularly true for certain discounted rooms, such as those under free dining.  If you feel that a value most fits your budget, go for it even though you have months to save for that deluxe room.  Chances are good that if you have the extra money a couple of months prior to your trip, you can easily switch to a more expensive room, even keeping your discount in the process.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

2. If you’re worried about cost, you’re probably spending too much. 

Everyone feels a little bad spending money on a hotel room. After all, it’s just a place where you rest when you’re not having fun. That’s normal. But if you’re starting to feel really uncomfortable with the cost, you’re spending too much.

You’re probably thinking to yourself “Chris, why do you sound so cranky about this issue?”  Okay, maybe you didn’t think that at all, but let me explain anyway.  In my experience, the clients who are the most likely to cancel are those who book deluxe resorts.  I’ve often wondered if those clients would have gone to Disney World if they’d had a less daunting $2200 price tag facing them at the 3-month mark than a trip that costs $5800.  It seems to me that the worry over cost takes a lot of fun out of the planning experience and leads some guests to just cancel entirely.

3.  If you get in over your head, let your travel agent or Disney know as soon as possible. 

This can save your deposit or, as noted above, make it easier to find an alternative resort, but just as importantly it can also help you avoid Disney’s $50 change fee.  What, you haven’t heard about that?  Well, whenever you lower the amount of your package 45-days or less prior to travel, Disney can charge you a $50 change fee, so try to make any changes to your resort reservation prior to that time.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort.
Copyright Disney.

4. Don’t believe the hype.

The right resort for you is the one you can afford. It’s that simple. Yes, staying at a deluxe is amazing and often times, it’s more convenient as far as location to the parks is concerned. But if you’re so worried about cost that you can’t relax, what kind of vacation is that?

5.  All Disney resorts are clean and offer the same level of service.

I think this is actually one of the biggest fears guests have about staying at the values.  If this is your concern, put those worries away:  I’ve never noticed a difference between the different resort levels.  In fact, I secretly think cast members at the values try a little harder.

Bottom line, pick what you can afford and avoid all the hype. Planning should be about the fun anticipation of your trip, not worrying about the cost. If your circumstances allow it later, by all means, upgrade if that’s what you want. But you’re going to be a lot happier and a lot more likely to travel if you stay within your budget in the first place.


  1. Stayed at a Value Resort on my last trip to Disney with my 2 boys (first time in about 20 years) and LOVED it. Might consider staying there again in December when we go !! Boys loved it, I loved it, and my bank account loved it!

  2. For the past 5 years we have stayed at the Beach Club Resort.It is amazing (but not cheap) Last week we went to Disney for 8 days and stayed at the Pop Century Resort. It was Wonderful.I never expected it to be as great as it was.The Beach Club is all about location and is a gorgeous hotel but we had just as good of a time this trip for a fraction of the price…anyone that has any Pop Century question, feel free to email me. Gina104220@aol.com

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