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Study: 45% of Disney-going parents have gone into debt for trip

Study: 45% of Disney-going parents have gone into debt for trip

  • PublishedJune 16, 2024

In one survey, parents with young kids admitted to taking on an average of $1,983 in debt for a Disney trip.

ORLANDO, Fla. — For some families, a trip spent making magical memories at Disney World is priceless. So priceless, in fact, that they’re willing to go into debt for it.

Loan company LendingTree recently surveyed 2,000 people to find that 24% of Disney-goers have gone into debt for a trip to the Florida theme park.

That went up to 45% when the company asked parents with young children under 18.

Let’s look at the numbers.

Those parents admitted to taking on an average of $1,983 in debt for a Disney trip. That’s just slightly higher than the amount all Americans — parents and non-parents — said they took on in debt: $1,690.

Where is that cost coming from?

According to the study, 65% of those with Disney debt said in-park food and beverages were the biggest unexpected expense. General transportation costs were the biggest burden for 48% of survey respondents followed by 47% who broke the bank with lodging accommodations.

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10 Tampa Bay recently looked at how much a typical single-day Disney World vacation would cost a family of four.

Considering that single-day tickets start at $109, and factoring in the price of hotel, parking, food and drinks, and the Disney Genie+ system for rides — a family of four can expect to spend $854.36 on average for one day at the park.

While it isn’t generally encouraged for families to take on these outstanding payments, the experts at Lending Tree said not all debt is created equal.

“I’d argue that could be considered good debt,” Matt Schulz said. “That debt helped bring you an experience that you and your family are going to remember and talk about for the rest of your lives, which is a pretty darn good return on your investment. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should do it too often. Every once in a while, a little debt generated in service of a greater goal can be fine.”

The experts also offered some tips for managing Disney debt, including:

  • Saving money in a high-yield savings account to help pay for the trip
  • Planning ahead by finding out which foods and drinks you can bring into the park so you’re not stuck paying hefty theme park meal prices
  • Spend based on your priorities. Schulz said, “Some may splurge on a hotel and pack lunches. Others may just look for the lowest hotel rate but seek out the best dining. Spend the most on what gives you the most joy.”

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