If you had $100,000 …

Yesterday, one of the Lines chat family (@princessinlove) asked a “Fun fantasy question. If you had $100,000 to spend on a trip to WDW, how would you spend it? How long would you stay and where?” Great question! For my wife and I, we would want to know just how long we could stay in The World without leaving. After all, we NEVER want to leave. I’m sure you know how we feel. It was a laid-back day, today, so I did some investigating.


To estimate a cost for lodging, I went to Disney’s website to run a Room-Only quote. The first thing I learned was that you can only request a quote in maximum increments of 30 nights. I had actually heard this before, but I had never tried to quote trips longer than 10-14 days. When I tried to quote January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 for this little exercise, the web site politely told me I was a wacko and said, ‘Forget about it!’ So, I went to my much more time-consuming backup plan. I quoted each month of 2013 individually. A standard room at Pop Century looked like this:

Disney’s Pop Century Resort – Standard Room

JAN — $3,544
FEB — $3,949
MAR — $5,239
APR — $4,515
MAY — $4,309
JUN — $4,918
JUL — $5,051
AUG — $3,734
SEP — $3,587
OCT — $3,864
NOV — $3,988
DEC — $5,183
TOT — $51,881

Wow! There’s a chunk of change. Interestingly, I started the exercise by quoting a room at All-Star Music, assuming that the room would be cheaper. The January rate was actually higher than Pop Century, so I switched. We, actually, would prefer to stay there anyway!

Next up was food. First, we’ll knock beverages off right away with a refillable resort mug. For two people, one mug for each of the twelve months (since we would have separate reservations for each month), would cost a combined $396.00. This assumes two mugs times twelve months times $16.50 per mug.

To estimate meals, I assumed that we’d eat Counter Service. In actual fact, if you were staying in a room for an extended period of time, you’d have to think you would run out to the local grocery store for some cheaper eats from time to time to cut back on costs. Plus, my estimate, here, assumes that we eat a Counter Service breakfast each and every day. We would NEVER do that. We might go out for breakfast once in a while but not every day. However, on the other hand, we might do Table Service now and again. I can’t walk away from those Cape May crab legs (yum!). In the end, there are pluses and minuses in this estimate, but it is reasonable in my mind. If anything, it’s likely to be a bit high.

To zero in on a cost per meal, I surveyed ten Counter Service locations on AllEars.net and chose a meal at each. Then, I averaged the costs. They were:

Boardwalk Bakery
Roast Beef and Blue Sandwich – $9.99

Pepper Market
Lunch Buffet – $16.99

Pecos Bill
Deluxe 1/3-Pound Angus Cheeseburger – $9.69

Gasparilla Grill
Cobb Salad with Lobster – $10.69

Sunshine Seasons
Spicy Cashew Chicken – $9.99

Flame Tree BBQ
Ribs and Chicken Combo – $11.99

Yorkshire County Fish Shop
Fish & Chips – $8.19

“Everything Pop” Food Court
16″ Pepperoni Pizza – $15.49

Landscapes of Flavor
Mongolian Grill Beef Stir Fry – $11.49

ABC Commissary
Asian Salad with Chicken – $10.19

The average cost of these ten items is $11.47, so that’s what I used in my calculations. It worked out as $11.47 times two people times three meals per day times 365 days in the year equals $25,119.30. When you look at it that way, all you can say is … ouch!

You can’t forget park entry, though, right? For two people, you can get Annual Passes for $611.31 a pop or $1,222.62.

The Grand Total of this adds out to:

Room — $51,881
Mugs — $396
Food — $25,119
APs — $1,223
Total — $78,619

Obviously, I left some cash on the table – some of which would go to pay for things like gasoline, personal items, and other sundries, etc. The rest? Might I have tried for a room at a moderate? Hmm.

In final analysis, I’m not going to take issue with the mugs and APs. After all, those are set charges. I am, however, going to challenge the room and food. First, the room cost averages out to $4,323.42 per month. I’d say its time to look for an apartment near Walt Disney World, at that rate! Seriously, assuming you could tie something down for 1/3 to 1/2 the Pop Century’s price ticket, you can cut back to about $17,000 to $26,000 per year (including utilities).  Do this, and your stay extends well beyond that first year!  When it comes to food and household items (cleaning supplies, toiletries, personal items and the like), we usually can get away with about $1,000 per month. In other words, we can eat and hold a home (and ourselves) together for about half of what our Counter Service diet would cost.

In conclusion, if we had $100,000 to spend on an extended stay at Walt Disney World, we might just move to Orlando! After all, you’ve gotta know we want to do that anyway!

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