How Much Would it Cost to Live at Disney World?

When your Disney vacation comes to an end, it’s really easy to start wishing that you could stay longer!

Cinderella Castle

We’ve often found ourselves wondering what it would be like to live at Disney World (so that we’d never have to leave). What would our days look like? Where would we stay? How much would it cost? Today, we’re breaking down that last question, so break out the piggy bank and start saving!

To make the math a little easier, we’ll be looking at the cost for one person to live in Disney World for a year, and we’ll be breaking it down into a few categories — based on how extravagantly the person would like to live.

Our fictional guest will be staying at Disney Resorts and will have to move around a good bit, considering there are limits on Disney Resort stays. We’ll also be looking into the basic needs: transportation, food, and park tickets (if you’re living at Disney World, they’re a necessity).

Walt Disney World Railroad Station

A “Budget” Lifestyle

Disney’s campground, Fort Wilderness, is the only Disney Resort where guests can stay for a full month. Booking the cheapest site possible, the tent/pop-up camper site for the month of May would cost $3,712, which would be about $44,544 for the year (prices may fluctuate each month). Keep in mind that you’d have to switch campsites every month.

Fort Wilderness

Our fictional friend will need a place to stay while at the campground, so we’re assuming they go the cheap route and buy a tent. You’ll want the tent to be pretty durable and withstand the weather, so we’re going to spend about $100. We’re also going to give our guest a monthly grocery budget of $300. We’re being a tad generous here because they’ll likely need to purchase some extra equipment to cook at their campsite. No eating meals in the parks when you’re in this category!

Fort Wilderness

In order to save money, we’ll be using Disney transportation instead of having our own vehicle. We’ll travel to the grocery store every two weeks, and there may be other times where our guest needs to leave the property, so we’ll budget $90 a month for transportation.

Disney Buses 10 Zone Seating Arrangement

Last but not least, if you’re living at Disney World, an annual pass is a necessity. Assuming that our friend can get a Florida resident address, they’ll be purchasing the Disney Pixie Dust Pass, which costs $399 before tax.

TOTAL: $49,723 for a year

**Keep in mind that this price (and all the others) would fluctuate based on taxes for the annual pass and individual spending habits.


Living Moderately

Assuming that you’d like to live a little more comfortably, we’ll be checking out prices to stay at Moderate Disney Resorts. To stay at a Standard Room at Coronado Springs for 2 weeks in May would cost $3,980, and a 2-week stay at Caribbean Beach runs about $4,282. Plus, a 2- week stay at Disney’s Port Orleans — Riverside Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans — French Quarter Resort would cost about $4,325 each.

If you alternate between the four for a year, then your total would be $109,928.

Gran Destino Tower Lobby

These rooms don’t have kitchens, so you’ll have to get pretty creative with grocery buying. We’ll continue with the $300 per month food budget, but we’ll also allow an extra $50 per week to enjoy some fast food or a meal in the parks. That’s a yearly food budget of $6,200.

Dining at Quick Service

In this scenario, our guests will continue to use Disney transportation. We’ll budget a little more money for traveling this time, so the monthly transportation budget will be about $150.

Caribbean Beach Skyliner Station

This time, we’ll level up to the Disney Pirate Pass (sales for this pass are currently paused), which is $699 before tax. And for the moderate category, we’ll want to buy some park souvenirs occasionally, so we’ll give a yearly budget of $360 (that’s a pair of Minnie ears each month).

TOTAL: $118,987 for a year

Champagne Ears

More Luxurious Choices

If you’d like to do things a little bit nicer, then let’s head over to some DVC properties. Here, accommodations feel a bit more home-y, with living spaces and kitchenettes. A Deluxe Studio at the Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is $7,418 for 2 weeks in May, while a similar room at the Beach Club Villas would be $12,450. Pricing those out for the year would put us at $238,416 for a year. 

Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club

With a $300 grocery budget, plus an extra $100 a week to eat out and dine in the parks, your annual food budget would be $8,400.

Garden Grill

For travel, our fictional guest will keep their car on-site. This means that they’ll pay for parking, which is $25 a night or $9,125 per year. They’re now also paying for gas, which we’ll budget out at $100 a month. (Considering they may still use Disney transportation).

Animal Kingdom Parking

For an annual pass, we’ll be buying the Disney Sorcerer Pass for $899 (sales for this pass are currently paused) before tax. Our merchandise budget will go up to $500 for the year so that we can buy some presents for friends and family as well. (Or a pair of designer Minnie ears every now and then!)

TOTAL: $258,540 for a year

Christmas Merchandise

Just for Fun: Living Extravagantly

Just for kicks and giggles, we decided to check up on the cost of living waaaaay over-the-top at Disney World for a year! Here’s what it would cost you:

  • Staying at the over-the-water Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas for a year: $1,230,780
  • Eating 3 meals a day at Disney World restaurants for a year: $31,025
  • Parking and gas: $10,325
  • Disney Incredi-Pass: $1,299
  • Merchandise Budget: $1,000
  • Special experiences (VIP tours, behind-the-scenes tours, and hard-ticketed events): $1,000

TOTAL: $1,275,429 for one incredibly expensive but amazing year!

Polynesian Village Resort Bungalows

As you see, it would be pretty pricey to live at Disney World, and even the cheapest option wouldn’t be very cushy. We think we’ll just continue to visit when we get the chance and be thankful for the time that we do get to spend at our happy place!

The 10 Least Expensive Souvenirs in Disney World

Would you ever live at Disney World? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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15 Replies to “How Much Would it Cost to Live at Disney World?”

  1. The tent option wouldn’t have a fridge so the food cost would probably be higher as would the number of trips to the store.

    I know someone that lived in a tent most of the year except during big storms or if a friend offered a night in and he worked full time.

  2. There are people that live in Ft Wilderness in beautiful class A RVs in the premium sites. Not sure if they move for 1 night, but they are always in the same location when we go, and have been for years.

  3. A food budget of $300/month for the frugal and moderate choices. Is light. That is $10/day. It may be doable for Ft Wilderness since you can do your own grocery shopping and cooking (more on that later). However for the moderate you really don’t have that option. I guess you can buy cereal and milk for breakfast. But to have a hot meal, I don’t think it is possible.

    For Fort Wilderness you can bring a car in for “free”. So I would bring a car, so I can go off property for grocery shopping. I imagine the Trading Post has limited choices on groceries and the prices would be higher.

  4. What do you think it would cost in points to stay a year in, say the Grand Floridian or Old Key West, a2bedroom villa as a DVC member? Parking is free and the annual pass is discounted. Groceries could be more elaborate because you can cook.

  5. The one house for sale in Golden Oak right now is listed at $2.6M. For a “mere” $150k per year you could _own_ a bit of Disney World.

  6. This scenario pretty much supposes that I win the big one in the lotteries. That point I’d be better off buying a Golden Oaks home. Of course if i have to wait for the home to be built then staying in a Poly Bungalow for a few months becomes an option. ;-P