How much would it cost for a round the world Disney trip?

March 16, 2018, 5:49 AM

As a Disney theme parks fan, what lengths would you go through to feed your Disney appetite if money and time were no object?

I am a huge Disney theme park fan and try to go to the parks as often as I can. However, it’s expensive and time consuming to visit them. But what if you had an unlimited budget and free time to travel the world and see all the Disney theme parks? What if you won the lottery or your uncle Floyd left you his Bitcoin fortune in his will? How much would it cost? How much time would it take? This is just a thought experiment on my part and is not very scientific, (by ‘not very’ I mean ‘not at all’) but a few hours of research on the ol’ Internet can produce a rudimentary estimate.

Here are my rules;

1. 3 days per park and 1 rest day will be built-in for cities with multiple parks. i.e., the California part of the trip would take up 7 days, HK will be only 3. I estimate that 3 days is enough to really get to know a park and experience most of what it has to offer. And since time isn’t a factor in this experiment, why not? The only exception I will make for this is adding 2 days to WDW for the water parks.
2. 1 day of travel will be allowed for parks that are within 8 hours of flight time of each other. So, HK to Shanghai is 1 day. The long international flights will be given 2 days for jet-lag recovery time.
3. The price of flights will be calculated as first class and non-stop, if available. Once again, why not? Money is no object here and you are going to want that hot towel for your face with all this traveling. (This will undoubtedly be the most expensive part of the trip, by far).
4. Hotels will be on-site only, to enhance the Disney experience. And of course only deluxe resorts will be considered. Club level if offered.
5. $100 a day, per person will be allowed for meals. I’m not sure how I arrived at this price, it’s just a nice round, even number. Non park travel days will be $100 as well.
6. $200 per person, per park will be allotted for souvenirs. This may seem like a lot but just consider that the LEGO Disney castle alone is $509 on Amazon, and is similarly priced at the WDW Emporium. The main reason I don’t spend a lot on souvenirs is simply from budgetary restraints. (BTW, my son worked at the WDW Emporium for the college program recently and he told me that 15 or so of these LEGO castles were shoplifted from the store. Just picked ‘em up and walked right out of the gates with them. Bold.).
7. $500 a day will be allotted to hotels for non park travel days. Hey, we’re fancy people, right?
8. I am basing this estimation on a family of 4; 2 adults with 2 adult age children. All prices come from the Disney parks websites.
9. The dates I chose to estimate prices was for April and May, 2018. There would be obvious price differences for other times of the year, but the PhD in numerology I got on the Internet only gets me so far.
10. No attempt was made to try to avoid specific holidays of individual countries. Too convoluted for me. And 3 days per park will allow one to experience the parks even if they are crowded.
11. $300 will be allotted for transport between airports and parks per city.

Ok, drum roll please… By my estimate it would take 51 days and cost $209,015. $133,648 of that is air travel via first class. You can buy airplanes for that much money. LAX to Tokyo alone was $50,488 for 4. And that’s one-way. Maybe it’s cheaper to charter flights? My research didn’t delve that far. I didn’t try to compare prices or search very hard for these flights.

The most expensive park was WDW at $10,600, as it has 4 gates. Or 6 gates if you count Universal style. ; ) DL and TDR were pretty close on price with DL being $8800 and TDR being $8500. Those prices only reflect hotel and park tickets. No food or souvenirs included. Meals for 4 at $100 a day each was $20,400 for the trip.

So what do you think? Fantastic? Insane? Stupid? Fantastically stupid? Did I forget anything? (I’m sure I did). How could I improve my estimates? How many basic math/spelling errers did I make?

Maybe Robert would like to invest $209,015 so I can actually make this trip happen. That way it would be more accurate and scientific. You wouldn’t want any ‘fake news’ on your site, would you, Robert?

Conversely, I wonder how much it would cost if you went on the cheap? I’m sure you could knock off a hundred grand or so just by switching to economy flights.

Two personal notes;

1. If I did have unlimited funds for such a gluttonous experience like this, I would donate as much as I spent on the trip to a charity like Give Kids the World or something similar. It would just be the right thing to do, in my opinion.
2. It would be a shame to visit places such as Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, snd Shanghai without taking time to experience these wonderful cities. When I planned my first trip to Tokyo Disney Resort, I only thought to visit the parks and not even go into Tokyo. (It’s a 20 minute train ride into town). I changed my mind at the last minute and fell in love with the city.

Replies (11)

March 16, 2018, 7:21 AM

I have to disagree with your first rule. Some Disney parks barely have enough stuff to do in 1 day, let alone 3 days (I'm looking at you DHS). Also, with park hopping at the multi-park resorts, there's a level of efficiency that can be accomplished. Do you really think it would take 14 days to fully experience WDW??? Even for a first timer, I think anything longer than 10 days is overkill at the Florida resort. Also, if you cannot experience the entire Disneyland Resort in 4-5 days, you're doing something wrong. Sometimes more is not better, and spending so many days in the same theme parks can cause fatigue, so much so that most people might start to dislike the parks. I love WDW, but there's absolutely no way I could recommend spending more than 10 straight days on a first time trip (we rarely spend more than 5 now) in those parks dealing with all the nonsense that comes with a WDW vacation. California's a bit different, but I think 5 days would be my limit for those parks.

However, I think you're skimping on food costs. $100/day for food at expensive hotels and theme parks would be going on the cheap IMHO. If you figure $15 for breakfast, $25 for lunch, $10-20 for snacks, you're only leaving yourself $40-50 for dinner. Certainly you could easily find dinner for $50, but if you're staying at deluxe resorts and flying first class, having a $50 dinner is going to feel cheap (along with having to eat counter service breakfast and lunch to allow for that $50 dinner). To eat TS dinners at WDW and DLR, you should be allotting at least $75-100/ person (more if you're having alcohol or getting an exclusive experience like a chef's table or tasting menu). I'm not sure of the exact food prices in Asia, but I know food prices in Europe are even more than in the states.

As far as experiencing the cities, I don't view this as a tourist trip. The purpose is to experience Disney Around the World. If you want to experience the cities surrounding the Disney resorts, you should take individual trips to each city combined with a couple of days at the parks. I think it's great to experience theme parks when you travel, but if you're in an amazing city, you should be experiencing that city with theme parks as a ulterior motive. This trip should be theme parks all the way with the only city experiences limited to airports and train stations.

Edited: March 16, 2018, 10:56 AM

I think this would actually be more interesting if you looked at instead how cheaply it could be done. Eg - cheapest Orlando-Paris is $510 one way with Norwegan Air Shuttle, but Orlando- London Gatwick is less than $200 some days, I bet even with transfers and Eurostar added on that would make more economic sense.

March 16, 2018, 2:34 PM

Years ago (aka pre-Shanghai Disneyland), I roughed out a Disney Around the World trip. The way I did it, the trip started at the original Disneyland and went eastward, finishing up at Tokyo Disney. If I remember right, it was 4 days in California, 8 in Florida, 5 in France, 2 in Hong Kong, and 4 in Japan, with one travel day in between each stop. The idea was for the trip to be Disney-centric, but also allow time for some general sightseeing as well. I forget all the criteria I used, but I remember it coming out to around $10,000 for one person not including the starting and ending flights. If you made compromises (stay off site, cheapest possible flights, no full-service meals, only one day per park, etc.), I'm guessing you could probably get it down to under $6,000.

As for the trip originally described, that definitely sounds like the way to do it if you've truly got all the money in the world (though I'd probably change the rules to say you'll spend as long at each resort as the longest ticket they offer). However, it would probably ruin Disney for you, as any other trip would not be the same.

March 16, 2018, 11:20 PM

@Russell, thanks for the input. You definitely have a point about some parks not needing 3 days to complete. I decided on 3 days because I imagined this to be a leisurely trip with long breakfasts, un-rushed entries to the parks, and an attempt to see every parade and live entertainment show. Which is the opposite of the way I do it. When I go with my family I try to plan every minute so we get our hard earned monies worth. Also, there is so much to do at WDW besides the parks; horse back riding, golf, boating, resort hopping, para-sailing. So, two weeks seems appropriate. And the food costs for me was hard to guestiamte. I'm not a foodie, so I just need fuel at the parks, not a sit down meal every time. So you're probably right about the food costs.

@ChadH- I would interested to know how much you could do it on the cheap as well. I guess it's easy to over estimate everything with a big budget, but trying to plan it frugally would test each individuals comfort zone. I personally don't need a big budget for food, etc.

@AJHUmmel That sounds like an incredible trip! Did you write about it? I'd love to hear some details.

Edited: March 17, 2018, 1:56 AM

Brandon, I didn't actually do such a trip, just created a rough outline the way you have done (sorry for any confusion). I'm sure the detailed outline is buried on my computer somewhere, but I'm not entirely sure where I saved it. Truthfully, an around the world Disney trip is not something that would personally interest me as it would be too much Disney at once, and by the end of it I've got a feeling everything would meld together. I'd rather pick one destination and explore it fully, then save others for a separate trip.

March 17, 2018, 11:35 AM

Would an airline's "around the word" fare help here? Haven't done the math, but I would explore that as an option.

Also, I suspect that the direction you go around the world might influence airfares, as well.

Finally, I agree with Russell. If you're enough of a Disney Parks geek to consider such a trip, you're probably good enough to blow through most of these parks pretty efficiently. If I were doing this, I would do 3-4 days Tokyo, 2 Shanghai, 1 Hong Kong, 3 Paris, 6 Orlando, and 3 California. If you've never been to any of these parks before, add one day to that at each new destination.

March 17, 2018, 1:08 PM

$10K for WDW is already a bad estimate. Your costs doesn’t account for actual discounts or offers that will mitigate the cost. You can get it down to $6000 or less including travel costs and this is for a family of 4. If traveling single, you could do it for $3000 or travel double occupancy and share costs with a friend who pays their own way. Not all parks are worh doing at once. I would do the Asia parks in one trip, Tokyo to Shanghai to Hong Kong. Then Anaheim to Orlando to Paris.

Edited: March 19, 2018, 10:02 AM

I’m seriously thinking about trying to look at the cheapest way to visit all of the parks
I’m thinking the following rules:

*can start at any disney Park
*transport options should be examined as Direct, and single booking per park (so transfers and inter line transfers. Might look at ultra-risky-cheapscate too
*prices to be based on actual figures on sites
*Minimum 1 day per park. Extra days are allowed to wait for a cheaper flight (but must be offset by extra accommodation AND an extra day in the park) - no wait seats without park admission purchase.
*overnight breaks of journey are permitted to get a better fare on non direct options, but must be offset by hotel cost, and transfers if no hotel airport.
*all hotel and transfer costs must be included. Visa, travel insurance and food are not

March 19, 2018, 11:54 AM

This is all still pretty theoretical....why not the cheapest trip to see 5 different amusement/theme parks in 7 days. The goal would be the most major rides / roller coasters for the cheapest price.

This kind of information would actually be helpful. I have gone on several week long trips that crammed in as many coasters as possible.

....Or maybe this is a different thread...

March 19, 2018, 3:53 PM

I think it would need to have a bit more of a theme Jeff, and Disney with its fanatical fanbase has that built in.

That said, if we were to grab the current Guinness Book rankings and do a "Cheapest price to experience all record holders", that would be a fun exercise that could be updated annually.

March 19, 2018, 10:52 PM

@Robert- I've never heard of a Round the World airline ticket, but some quick research brought me up to speed. I did a quick search from Abu Dhabi (my current location) to Paris and then on west towards the Disney cities. The estimate I got was kind of shocking- $1800 to $2400! That's crazy cheap. Abu Dhabi to the US alone will run you $1200 (roundtrip).
This might be a do-able thing. The problem for me would be the time. I'd want to take a full two weeks to do it all. I've been to all the parks, but it would be really cool to do them all in one trip.

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