Can you go to Europe on a Disney budget?

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Speaking to friends and family I am often asked about our vacation adventures abroad. When I describe our trips to Italy, Iceland, France, etc the response I usually get is: Wow I would love to be able to go to Europe, but it’s just to…

  • Expensive
  • Not for kids
  • Too complicated

After I reveal our budget, I am usually met with surprise and some additional questions about “how” I was able to travel to Italy for the same or less than they spent on a domestic trip, like Disney or a drive to a fancy rental house beach vacation.

Using my 2017 Italy itinerary as a template, I picked 10 days in July, excluding the 4th of July to avoid skewed costs. Estimates are for 2 adults and 2 children, ages 13 and 11. I compared this to ten days in Disney World.

The Italy itinerary includes 10 days of accommodation including breakfast; 4 nights in Rome, 2 nights in Venice, Naples, and Amalfi. The hotels are a mix of higher end and moderately priced options, most of which have swimming pools. Transportation includes a mix of high speed rail, water taxis, rental car, excursions and meals.

The Disney itinerary includes 10 days at the deluxe Disney Caribbean Beach Resort, 7 days of single park tickets (no hopper), Disney’s regular dining plan for 7 days, and car rental. You’d be on your own for 3 days of meals, which isn’t included because I don’t know if you’re a Waffle House fan or a Downtown Disney diner.

When reading any comparison, it’s possible you could get free dining at Disney or reduce transportation costs in Europe by focusing on one city or area. There are hundreds of ways to tweak itineraries, but the important thing is that Europe is within reach!

Read all about my Italy 2017 trip

Disclaimer: Disney is used only as an example here because it’s so popular. I have nothing against Disney vacations. My family and I have taken several Disney vacations. We’re going to be visiting Disneyland in California for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. We love all things science fiction and only Disney is building experiences like Galaxy’s Edge. Why California? We love the weather, have friends there, and enjoy many non-Disney activities available in Los Angeles.

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