7 Things You Need to Add to Your 2022 Disney World Budget

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Disney World is not a cheap vacation, and over the years it has gotten more pricey in several different areas, including ticket prices, cost of food and merchandise, hotel prices, and more.

2022 brought lots of price increases

We’ve seen a TON of price increases so far this year, and they’ve got us thinking: What will you need to ADD to your Disney World budget in 2022? Let’s take a look at some extra expenses that you might not have considered if you haven’t been to Disney World in a little while.

Over the last year or so, a lot has changed at Disney World. Some of that has to do with restaurant re-openings in the parks and hotels, changes in health and safety measures, and new rides and attractions.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

A lot of the changes have to do with extra costs as well (either directly — like price increases — or indirectly — like the removal or adjustment of certain perks). Let’s start out the list with some added travel expenses.

Transportation to Disney World From the Airport

Beginning January 1st, 2022, Disney World officially discontinued the free Magical Express service, which took guests between the Orlando International Airport and their Disney World hotel.

Disney’s Magical Express is officially retired

There are a few replacement options for Magical Express, but none of them are free. Mears Connect is run by the same company that operated Magical Express, so it’s a very similar service.

Mears Connect bus

Mears Connect is located in the same area where Magical Express was previously. Guests using this service will board buses and be taken to their Disney World hotels, possibly with a few stops at other hotels during the trip.

Mears Connect

You will need to book your spot on a Mears Connect bus in advance. You cannot just show up to board the bus.

Mears Connect Bus

The cost for Mears Connect is subject to change, but as of writing, the price for a roundtrip is $32 for adults and $27 for children for the Standard Service.

Mears Connect station at Orlando Airport

The Express Service for a family of four is $250, with an extra $55 added for each additional passenger.

Mears Connect Express

There are other options for the trips between the airport and your Disney World hotel. The Sunshine Flyer is another bus transportation service, and it uses buses that have been painted to look like 1920’s train cars.

©The Sunshine Flyer

A roundtrip with this service costs $34 for adults and $25 for children.

©The Sunshine Flyer

So, based on those prices, it looks like the cheapest option is Mears Connect if you’re traveling with more adults than children, but the Sunshine Flyer is a better deal if you have more children than adults.

©The Sunshine Flyer

If you don’t want to take a bus from the airport to Disney World, you can also use various ride-share services, like Uber and Lyft. Ride-share trips are usually more expensive than the buses (closer to $60–$80 for a family of four), but they are less expensive than the Express Service with Mears Connect.

Rideshare Drop Off at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In addition, with ride-shares, you would not have to wait at the airport, and you won’t be stopping at other hotels on the way to your hotel, so it might be faster.

Lyft drop-off in Disney World

We want to mention here that other travel expenses might have gone up as well, including airplane tickets and rental car prices. We’ve seen a higher-than-average cost to fly recently, especially with airlines being short-staffed.

Travel is expensive

And rental car companies are frequently short on cars (due to the supply chain problems limiting available car parts), which drives the cost up for those as well.

Rental Cars

Check out the prices for whichever mode of transportation you’re going to use, and then budget accordingly for the changes.

Click Here to Learn More About the Differences Between the Magical Express Replacement Services

Genie+ and Pay-Per-Ride

Last year, Disney World got rid of FastPass+ to make way for the new Genie+.

©Disney

This new service is very similar to FastPass, except that Genie+ is not free. You can buy it for $15 per person per day. Initially, guests were given the option to either buy Genie+ in advance for the length of their trip or purchase the service for individual days on the day of their visit. But as of June 8th, 2022, Genie+ will ONLY be available to purchase through the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit. 

Lightning Lane Entrance

You can buy Genie+ for individual days starting at 12AM. We recommend buying it before 7AM so that you can make your first Lightning Lane reservation at that time.

Slinky Dog Dash

With Genie+, you can reserve your spot in the Lightning Lane (previously known as the FastPass lane) of certain Disney World rides. Starting at 7AM, you can make selections for rides in the park you’re visiting so that later on, you’ll get to skip the line.

Lightning Lane Entrance

With some exceptions, you can only make one reservation at a time. Once you’ve been on the ride you reserved, you can make your next selection.

Click Here to Learn About the ONE Disney Genie Rule Guests Keep Forgetting

Not all of the rides in Disney World are included with Genie+. Usually, each park has two rides that are pay-per-ride instead . But during some busier times like summer and the holiday season, Disney moved some of these rides to Genie+, so each park only had one pay-per-ride attraction at that time).

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

The pay-per-ride attractions are usually the most popular rides in each park. For these rides, you’ll have to pay a separate fee (between $7 and $15 per ticket, depending on the ride and time of year) if you want to skip the line.

Flight of Passage

You do not have to have Genie+ to use pay-per-ride. So you have four options when it comes to Genie+ and pay-per-ride in Disney World: (1) Use both Genie+ and pay-per-ride, (2) Use Genie+ but NOT pay-per-ride, (3) Use pay-per-ride but NOT Genie+, or (4) Don’t use Genie+ or pay-per-ride.

Frozen Ever After

We suggest making a plan for each day, depending on which rides are most important to you and what your vacation priorities are.

Tower of Terror Lightning Lane

For example, you might use Genie+ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to get on Slinky Dog Dash, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The next day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, maybe you don’t get Genie+, but you pay to ride Avatar: Flight of Passage. Then you hit EPCOT, where you don’t use either Genie+ or pay-per-ride; instead, you show up at the park early and head straight to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure to get on it with a shorter wait time than it’ll have later in the day.

Waiting in line at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Basically, our point is that you can use all kinds of combinations of Genie+ and pay-per-ride, or don’t use them at all! Plan out what you want to do and then check your budget to see where it makes sense to spend the money.

Click Here to Learn All About Genie, Genie+, and Pay-Per-Ride

MagicBands

MagicBands are the key to the kingdom at Disney World. You’ll attach one to your wrist, and it serves as your park ticket, hotel room key, and even credit card during your trip.

Scanning into the park!

A free MagicBand used to be included with a new resort reservation, but starting January 1st, 2021, guests no longer get free MagicBands. Annual Passholders also do not get free MagicBands.

MagicBands

If you want to buy a MagicBand, you’ll need to pay for one. These are available online at shopDisney or at many gift shops inside Disney World. The most basic styles on shopDisney cost $19.99, and many of the themed bands are between $29.99 and $39.99. There are even some designer MagicBand options that get up to around $60.

New MagicBand in EPCOT

Last year, Disney announced a NEW option called MagicBand+, which is set to launch in Summer 2022. When they come out, these special MagicBands will have more features than the normal bands. According to Disney, they will allow guests to interact with the 50th Anniversary character statues, have haptics to alert guests to interactions, and will activate more experiences in Galaxy’s Edge.

©Disney

We don’t know how much MagicBand+ will cost yet, but it will likely be more expensive than other MagicBands.

MagicBand+ will debut in 2022 at Walt Disney World Resort ©Disney

Remember that if you already have a MagicBand from a previous trip, you can definitely re-use that one for future visits.

Re-use those old MagicBands

Also, MagicBands are not required at all for a Disney World vacation! With MagicMobile, your smartphone can serve as a “MagicBand” by holding your park tickets, hotel key, etc.

MagicMobile signage at Animal Kingdom

MagicMobile is a free part of the My Disney Experience app, so you don’t actually have to pay anything to use it.

Click Here to Learn More About the New Interactive MagicBands

Price Increases for Food

In 2022, Disney World saw HUNDREDS of price increases for food around the parks and resorts.

Kids meal at Backlot Express

Most of these increases were by less than a dollar per item, but those small increases can still add up.

Many cocktails got price increases

So whatever your budget was for food and drinks at Disney World, you might want to give it a small boost to account for the extra costs you’ll see on some popular items.

Tropical Serenade from Aloha Isle

A few staple Disney World foods were hit by these recent increases, including DOLE Whips, DOLE Whip floats, Mickey Ice Cream Bars, Mickey Pretzels, and more.

Gotta love a good Mickey pretzel!

Most of the bars and lounges around the parks and hotels saw price increases on the cocktail menus as well.

Lots of pool bars saw price increases

Besides the basic food budget, you may also want to have a special EPCOT festival budget. EPCOT almost always has a festival going on (our team member calculated about 30 days this year that won’t have a festival at EPCOT), and those festivals have lots of food booths with fun snacks and drinks.

Festival of the Arts in EPCOT

If you’re hoping to eat around the world and check out some of those festival offerings, take a look at the prices for the food booths and budget accordingly.

Lots of great food options at the EPCOT Festivals

Most of the dishes cost less than $10 (since they’re designed to be small plates rather than full meals), but the price depends on the booth and food item. And since they’re smaller portions, you will probably want to try more than one.

Click Here to See Five Must-Have Snacks in EPCOT that You Can Get Year-Round

Price Increases for Souvenirs

Like food items, souvenirs have been getting price increases in Disney World.

World of Disney Gift Shop

Not only have there been some incredibly expensive new merchandise items ($1,000 Mickey ears, anyone?), but the basic souvenirs are getting a little pricier as well.

The Luxe 50th Anniversary Collection

For example, we’ve noticed that many Spirit Jerseys in Disney World that used to be $69.99 have jumped to $74.99.

Spirit Jerseys

The cost of building your own lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop in Galaxy’s Edge also jumped from $199 to $219 last year.

Savi’s Workshop

And if you’re visiting during Disney World’s 50th Anniversary (which lasts throughout all of 2022), you might want to get a couple of special souvenirs to commemorate the event.

50th Anniversary display in the Emporium

Make sure you’ve planned for the cost of souvenirs and stick to your budget so that you’re not surprised by the cost at the end of your vacation!

Click Here to See More Price Increases on Souvenirs in Disney World

Special Events

Last year, both of the big holiday parties in Magic Kingdom were replaced with After Hours events. But Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is coming back in 2022 — with a hefty price increase since the last time it was held in 2019.

Boo Bash

For comparison, in 2019, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party cost between $75 and $135 per person. Last year’s Boo Bash, which replaced Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, cost between $129 and $199 per person.  And the pricing for this year’s return of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary look closer to last year’s replacement than the 2019 event, with prices ranging from $109 to $199 per person, depending on the date.

Boo Bash tickets sign

And last year’s Disney Very Merriest After Hours Event, which replaced Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, costs between $169 and $229 per ticket (with tickets going up to $249 on Christmas Eve). Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, by comparison, cost between $99 and $139 per ticket. That means the After Hours event tickets cost up to $150 more than the previous Christmas party.

Very Merriest parade

Disney hasn’t announced yet if Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is returning this year, or if they’ll stick with an After Hours event this holiday season. But regardless, based on the trend set by the Halloween party, it’s likely that we can expect the ticket prices to be higher than you may have budgeted for in previous years.

Very Merriest was certainly popular, though

If you’re visiting Disney World during the holiday season and want to attend one of these events, make sure you’ve planned for a pretty high price tag for the tickets (especially if you’re traveling with a large group).

Click Here to Find Out if the Pricey After Hours Holiday Party Was Worth It

Ticket Price Increases

Earlier this year, we also noticed that single-park multi-day tickets, Park Hopper multi-day tickets, and Park Hopper Plus multi-day tickets were affected by a price increase.

Entrance

Since the pricing varies by date, the exact amounts vary, but depending on the scenario, we saw increases that ranged from $1 per day to $25 per day.

Click Here to Learn More about the Changes to Disney World Ticket Prices

Possibly…

There are some other possible price increases on the horizon, although these have NOT been confirmed by Disney.

Disney Dining Plan

Another possible cost could come into play if the Disney Dining Plan returns. All of the price increases at Disney World restaurants make us wonder if the return of the Dining Plan is just around the corner.

Close-up of Disney Dining Plan Snack Icon

Disney might be hiking up the prices as an incentive for guests to purchase the Dining Plan when it returns.

Mickey Ice Cream bars will cost a little more now.

On the other hand, the price increases could mean that the Dining Plan will be more expensive when it does return.

Grab some grub!

In either case, take a look at the Disney Dining Plan cost (we’ll let you know what that is as soon as we hear any information!) and compare that with your own preferences for dining in Disney World. Whether the Dining Plan actually saves you any money depends on how you use it and where you want to eat.

Le Cellier

Hopefully that gives you a good idea about how to change your budget for your 2022 Disney World trip! Keep following AllEars for more tips and advice as you plan your upcoming vacation.

Click Here to See 12 Things We Can’t WAIT to Return to Disney World in 2022

Are you heading to Disney World in 2022? Let us know in the comments.

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One Reply to “7 Things You Need to Add to Your 2022 Disney World Budget”

  1. There are other transportation options such as private car services. We booked a minivan car service for our March 2022 trip. Family of 4, roundtrip, driver meets us at the luggage area of MCO for about $200 (then at the resort at the end of the trip, of course). If you want a Suburban, the roundtrip price is about $250.