Disney’s Old Freebies and What They’ll Cost You Now

If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World Resort in five years or more, you’ll want to save your wallet while you read this one! Here’s a list of Disney’s former freebies and what they cost Guests now…just five years later.

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 seemed like a reset button for The Walt Disney Company. Several free Disney parks and resort perks are gone, leaving fans to do their best to save every last penny they can for a Disney vacation.

Credit: Disney

So, using the example of a family of four, here’s what was free just five years ago that will now hit Disney’s budget.

Airport transportation

Not a Walt Disney World Resort resident? Not only have airfare prices soared, but free transportation for Disney resort guests to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO) is gone. That’s right, without more Disney’s Magical Express, that $0 airport transportation is gone.

Disney's Magical Express
Credit: Disney Dining

Now, for a family of four to use Mears Connect transportation, guests can expect to pay $128 (at $32 per person round-trip) to and from a Disney Resort and an MCO.

Resort parking

Let’s say you decide to rent a car or drive to Walt Disney World. Resort guests were once entitled to free parking at the Disney Resort. But Disney has waived them with fees that depend on your value, moderate, or luxury resort status.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (Credit: Disney)

RELATED: A guest leaves EPCOT after a magical day and finds his car smashed in a parking lot

If you stay four nights with a car at a Disney Value Resort, guests will pay $60. Four nights at a moderate resort for overnight parking will cost $80. And stay Deluxe? Expect to pay $100 for overnight parking for four nights.

magic bands

Resort guests also received a complimentary MagicBand when staying at the Disney Resort. With that perk gone, if guests want a standard MagicBand, they’ll have to pay.

Disney MagicBand Scan for Entrance
Credit: Disney

Guests staying at a Disney resort can pre-purchase a standard solid-color MagicBand for $10 each. For a family of four, that would be $40.

If you don’t pre-order or stay as a Disney Resort guest, the lowest price you’ll pay is $20 for the most basic MagicBand (does not include MagicBand+), which for a family four people would be $80.

FastPass+

Probably the heaviest hitter is the old free FastPass+ which has now been turned into a paid service called Disney Genie+.

FastPass+ would allow guests to select a return time for an attraction and skip the normal line to save time at Disney Park. Now guests have to pay for this benefit.

"the world is small" Lightning Lane Input
Credit: Disney Dining

Disney Genie+ is now subject to variable fees, which means Disney can really charge whatever they want for the day. At present, the price per person has not yet exceeded $22 per person per day.

If you buy Disney Genie+ for a family of four for a four-day vacation in the park, visitors can expect to pay $352 (plus tax).

Individual flash lanes

Lightning Lane’s now individual attractions were previously free with the old FastPass+ system.

Star Wars Rise of the Resistance
star wars: The Rise of the Resistance (Credit: Disney)

Want to experience individual Lightning Lane attractions, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

For that a la carte price, in total, customers can expect to pay around $65 per person or $260 for a family of four to experience these four rides without the wait via Lightning Lane.

2018 vs. 2022

So that’s $0 for the budget in 2018 for those old freebies. In 2022, however, based on the scenarios above, these old free items now hit the budget at:

Cinderella Castle Fab-50 Characters
Credit: Disney

RELATED: Woman shocks the internet with the price of a day’s worth of food at Disney World

  • $218 for airport transportation OR $100 for luxury parking at the resort
  • $80 for MagicBands if not pre-purchased
  • $352 for Disney Genius+
  • $260 for individual flash lanes

That means we’ve gone from $0 in 2018 to almost $1,000 in extra spending in 2022 on Disney World vacations. Ouch!

In addition to these theme park expenses, we’ve seen additional price increases for tickets, food, merchandise, and even bottled water throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

It’s time to take out a loan for the next Disney vacation!

Christy J. Olson