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Cinderella Castle with Money

Disney’s Former Free Items and What They’ll Cost You Now

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

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 seemed like it was a reset button for The Walt Disney Company. Several complimentary Disney Park and Resort perks disappeared, leaving fans now doing their best to save every last penny possible for a Disney vacation.

Rainbow over Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

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

Airport Transportation

Not a local to Walt Disney World Resort? Not only have airline tickets climbed in price but Disney’s complimentary Resort Guest transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) is gone. That’s right, with no more Disney’s Magical Express, that $0 airport transportation has disappeared.

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 for a roundtrip) to go to and from a Disney Resort and MCO.

Resort Parking

Let’s say you decide to rent a car or drive to Walt Disney World. Resort Guests were once eligible for free parking at the Disney Resort. But Disney did away with these with fees that depend on your Resort status of Value, Moderate, or Deluxe.

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

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If staying 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 staying Deluxe? Expect to pay $100 for overnight parking for four nights.

MagicBands

Resort Guests were also provided a complimentary MagicBand upon a Disney Resort stay. With that perk gone, if Guests want a standard MagicBand, they will need to pay.

Disney MagicBand Scanning for Entry
Credit: Disney

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

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

FastPass+

The heaviest hitter is probably the former complimentary FastPass+ which has now been transformed into an upcharge service called Disney Genie+.

FastPass+ would allow Guests to select a return time for an attraction and skip the normal standby line to save time in the Disney Park. Now, Guests must pay for this perk.

"it's a small world" Lightning Lane entrance
Credit: Disney Dining

Disney Genie+ is now on a fluctuating fee which means Disney can really charge whatever they would like for the day. As of right now, the price per person has not yet gone above $22 per person per day.

If buying Disney Genie+ for a family of four for a four-day Park vacation, Guests can expect to pay $352 (plus tax).

Individual Lightning Lanes

The now individual Lightning Lane attractions were previously free to experience with the former FastPass+ system.

Star Wars Rise of the Resistance
Star Wars: 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 this a la carte pricing, in total, Guests can expect to pay around $65 per person or $260 for a family of four to experience these four rides without the wait via the Lightning Lane.

2018 vs. 2022

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

Cinderella Castle Fab-50 Characters
Credit: Disney

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  • $218 for Airport Transportation OR $100 for Deluxe Resort Parking
  • $80 for MagicBands if not pre-purchased
  • $352 for Disney Genie+
  • $260 for Individual Lightning Lanes

That means we’ve gone from $0 in 2018 to almost $1,000 in extra expenses in 2022 for a Disney World vacation. Ouch!

On top of these theme park expenses, we’ve seen additional price hikes in tickets, food, merchandise, and even bottled water throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.

Time to take out a loan for the next Disney vacation!

About Jamie Sylvester

I'm a Disney nerd! A kid at heart who loves the magic and memories of Walt Disney World. I follow all things Disney and enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways, and geek out over the planning of such events. My goal is to experience as many Disney desserts and cocktails as possible! Married to another Disney nerd and blessed with a daughter and son, we thoroughly enjoy the magic at Disney and are here to help others experience the magic as well.