Here’s everything you need to know about how much money Disney World in Orlando, Florida, makes each day.
The most magical place on Earth works hard to keep the banality of everyday life far from its gates. Things like litter, cuss words, and cars are all infamously kept far from the entryways to the Disney parks.
But Disney is a business, and even as they try to go cashless, the signage posted around every snack shack and attraction will doubtless remind guests over a certain age of the bill getting racked up by their vacation. After all, Disney became the powerhouse it is today with massive funds both powering its success and incentivizing further development.
This begs the question: how much money does Disney World make daily?
- Annual and Daily Earnings
- Caveats, Considerations, and Concerns
- Places The Money Could Come From
- Expenses & Other Places Disney World’s Money Goes
- How Much Disney World Makes Each Day: Final Thoughts
Annual and Daily Earnings
The easy answer can be found by taking the annual earnings of Disney World, reported by the company, and dividing it by 365 to get a rough number. Most fans of the parks agree that once you account for closed days, all the pandemic weirdness the last few years, and other anomalies, Disney World makes about $20 million a day, on average.
Except, that’s a simplified number that just doesn’t match up with what we know about the parks, how they work, and the way popularity fluctuates over time. Disney World makes way, way more per day during the crazy busy summer months and major events like Christmas and Spring Break than the slower off-season.
Caveats, Considerations, and Concerns
Theme parks are lucrative opportunities to turn massive profits. But, they aren’t an industry where anyone can make money or find success. Numerous people have attempted to get rich quickly in the theme park industry, only to understand that there is not just one factor that makes a park successful.
Numerous factors affect what Disney makes in a day. While we know some of what contributes to Disney’s overall income, limitations and disclaimers cannot be ignored. Keep this in mind as you read on and learn about how much cash Disney brings in.
The Disney Parks division is a massive part of the Walt Disney Company. People who are more familiar with Disney media properties, like their television shows and movies, may not understand how massively profitable and financially dependent the company is on the parks for its success.
Dollar for dollar, the majority of the company’s profits come from the parks, not the movies, art, or media produced by Disney.
As such, disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic massively affected the company and its relationship with the theme park, potentially for years to come. COVID restrictions being different in different countries, states and cities made huge differences in which theme parks brought in revenue and which didn’t.
Disney World Resort in Florida is made of four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. WDW also operates Disney Springs, a massive Disney-themed outdoor mall that hosts Disney-themed vendors and traditional vendors alike.
This makes WDW distinct from Disneyland in California, as well as parks located in Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
Naturally, Disney World in Florida will bring in more money than its counterparts.
Disney is not a company known for its transparency within its ranks, let alone with curious fans. Much of what fans know about publicly attended events such as the Oogie Boogie Bash has to be pieced together from experiences posted online and the bits of literature provided on-site the day of events.
Disney notoriously holds financial information close to the chest. Food prices, experience prices, and even ticket prices are often difficult to nail down well in advance, hence the active market for those who offer to help plan your Disney trip with their ample expertise with the Disney system.
From here on out, understand that much of this is based on good-faith guesses by well-intentioned fans.
Places The Money Could Come From
To understand how Disney World could pull in so much money in a single day, let’s try to break down the cost that might stack up for an individual during a trip to one of the Disney Parks. Let the magic begin!
Ticket prices fluctuate wildly for the four parks at Walt Disney World. Ranging anywhere from $100-$200 depending on when you buy them, tickets are frequently sold out. Not only that, but they are only applicable for a single park unless an extra Park Hopper add-on has been purchased that allows visitors to move between parks.
Overall, tickets are expensive, and even shelling out hundreds of dollars tends to be just the beginning of your spending for the day, rather than anywhere near the end.
Parking & Transportation
Ticket prices only apply once you’ve made it to the park gates. Disney World was built on a swamp specifically because there wasn’t much currently built there, meaning there was lots of cheap land available for development.
This means that, with the exception being infrastructure built around Disney World to accommodate Disney guests, there aren’t a lot of ways to get to Disney. The name of the game is planes, trains, and automobiles. Whether you’re parking at your home airport, your hotel, the parks, or another location, you’re easily paying upwards of fifty dollars a day.
Shuttle trips may be free depending on whether you are staying at a Disney resort or hotel, but are often crowded at peak times, meaning less time spent at the park and more time in line, just like the lines you already waited in to get on your favorite rides.
This is all besides any third-party fees, of course, like renting a car from a non-Disney company and any gas prices, which are subject to change.
It’s truly impossible to try to estimate the cost of what a person can spend at Disney World on their food for a day. Some fans estimate that a family of four will drop an average of over $200, or $50 per person. Others assert that it’s almost impossible to keep your average under $20 a meal for three meals, let alone the plethora of snacks available.
Food prices change, vendors change, and seasonal varieties come and go. All in all, Disney World likely rakes in mountains of money from food sales as well as tickets and parking.
Some of the most insidious hidden costs at Disney parks are the experiences, add-ons, and extra perks. Regular visitors are undoubtedly familiar with the patented FastPass system, which has now been replaced by GeniePlus.
GeniePlus costs $15 per person per ride, meaning that throughout the day, the bill can rack up to rival the price of admission, if not exceed it.
For smaller guests, there are opportunities like the Bippity Boppity Boo Boutique that can also rival the cost of admission. These hour-long makeovers are premium experiences meant to help your little ones feel pampered and special.
Tours are also available for Disney fans, whether they are looking to gain a better insight into the history of the Disney park, get a behind-the-scenes look at cast members’ process, or simply learn the history of the incredible operation.
EPCOT especially is known for its special ticketed events like its famous festivals for the arts, food and wine festivals, and holiday festivals. Once within these events, all food counts as extra add-on expenses.
One of the more obvious ways people end up spending more than they expected at Disney World is at the gift shops at nearly every corner.
Not only are there a ton of gift shops inside of Disney World Resort, at the airports in Orlando, at the hotels associated with the Resort, at the malls in Orlando, and at nearly every shopping center in the area, but Disney also has special hours for the shops. The gift shops in Walt Disney World are open later than the rest of the park.
From pre-packaged snacks to attire, the goods in gift shops run as much as ten times what their unlicensed counterparts may usually cost in drugstores back home. A combination of supply and demand at work and sheer licensing power means that Disney can charge as much as they’d like for a tube of lip balm with a beloved character on it.
While it’s hard to track how much an individual or family might spend on souvenirs while on a trip to Disney, especially since they might purchase it while technically outside the park guests, in general, it’s safe to say that a fair amount of money is funneled back to the company through these shops.
Expenses & Other Places Disney World’s Money Goes
Theme parks are massively expensive operations, and not necessarily in the ways, people expect. Even small family fun centers like Chuck E Cheese’s have high operating costs, but a massive operation like Disney World Resort has a sky-high cost associated with it. Some of the more surprising aspects of that can be found below.
Wages & Benefits
How many people does it take to run the happiest place on Earth? Truly take a moment to try to guess the number. A staggering 77,000 employees work at Walt Disney World Resort, making it the largest single-site employer in the entire country.
Workers report wages of approximately $18.37 an hour, or $38,000 a year. Assuming the majority of the employees are full-time, the payroll of the company for the resort alone totals over $2.9 billion per year.
Ride & Park Maintenance
Estimates within the company claim that the company spends over $11,000 a day on ride maintenance across Disney’s American parks. Technicians on staff work tirelessly to try to keep rides functional for as much of the day as possible, as any dead time is seen as lost money and a huge potential for customer dissatisfaction.
Advertising is massively expensive, especially when done through traditional means. While the internet initially made advertising a cheaper medium, now that the attention of the market has become more diffuse it is becoming more and more difficult to capture the eyes and ears of the target demographics.
Advertising the parks is a massive part of the budget of any theme park experience, and Disney is no exception. As famous as they are, they still need to advertise new rides, new experiences, and new features to entice people who may be putting off visiting or may not be considering returning.
Disney World is committed to maintaining a magical experience for all guests, at any cost. That means that there are times when all the stops will be pulled out to ensure that people leave the parks happy.
Disney parks will often randomly compensate for experiences, treats, and pull out random stops to create what they refer to as “magical moments” to heighten guest experiences. In addition, they will compensate or ‘comp’ unhappy guests to ensure high customer satisfaction.
Other Branches of the Disney Company
With the parks being such a central aspect of the Walt Disney company’s ability to pull in new profits, the success of that division may not just feed back into new theme park projects. Success in the parks may be used to stabilize the rest of the company and help fund other projects.
How Much Disney World Makes Each Day: Final Thoughts
Disney World Resort pulls in massive amounts of money each day, often surprising guests by taking more than people expect to spend with extra, hidden fees. This money then ends up in surprising places.
From maintenance to wages, it takes a ton of elbow grease and financial weight to keep the wheels turning behind the scenes of this magical set of theme parks.
Adventures at Disney World are expensive. It’s easy to understand how what Disney World takes in throughout the day can fluctuate based on what events are happening, what season it is, and even the weather.
Overall, the resort takes in multi-millions each year, accounting for a large chunk of Disney’s wealth.