By the time you factor in the cost of getting to Walt Disney World, staying at Walt Disney World, and getting into Walt Disney World, you may feel as if everything else should be free, but unfortunately it is not. Once inside the park, you may feel the need to try and cut costs, but there are certain experiences that are worth the additional price tag. Here is our list of the 10 splurge worthy experiences (at least once)!
10 – Character Dining Experience – not terribly expensive, but you should consider eating at a character dining location. These restaurants are exclusively buffets, so it does offer a good deal for the money and you can eat and enjoy the company of your favorite characters. Be sure to do your research about what characters are where so you can decide what restaurant is the best for you and your family!
9 – Special Holiday Event – Disney puts on two amazing parties every year during the holidays, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Both are separate, hard-ticket events, but for the price of admission, you can experience your favorite attractions (with much smaller lines), meet and greet with characters not usually in the parks, enjoy candy (at Halloween) or hot cocoa and cookies (at Christmas), and enjoy very special entertainment. Having attended both, I think the parade and fireworks at each party is worth the cost of admission alone, but there is much more for you to enjoy at each of these events!
8 – A runDisney Race – multiple times a year, Disney offers a variety of races to suit people at any skill level. Depending on the length of the race, the cost fluctuates, but the races offer a unique opportunity for guests to be in the park before or after hours, meet and greet with characters (again, some not always in the parks), and to be in backstage areas. The events are very popular, so if you are considering participating in one of these events, make sure to check out the sign-up dates and register early!
7 – A Behind the Scenes Tour – Disney offers a variety of tours at all of the parks that allow guests to peek behind the curtain and see backstage areas or learn about the secrets in the park. The cost of these tours vary, but each tour is extremely informative and fun. My favorite has been the Keys to the Kingdom tour, but there are still many more for me to discover!
6 – Dinner and a Show at the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue – located at the back of the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds in Pioneer Hall, the Hoop Dee Doo is a fantastic dinner AND show. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are a little expensive (roughly $60/person). However, the dinner is all-you-care-to-enjoy and DELICIOUS: amazing barbecued pork ribs, fried chicken, salad, corn bread, beans, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. In addition to the food, an uproarious dinner show is performed that involves the audience. It is a great time and I can’t wait to go back!
5 – A Trip to a Disney Waterpark – not every family adds the “Water Park Fun and More” option to their tickets, but at least one time you should. The two Disney water parks offer amazing theming, delicious food, and great rides – whether you want to plunge down the Humunga Cowabunga at Typhoon Lagoon or float around the lazy river or wave pool at either park, you and your family will have a great time regardless of what park you choose!
4 – Stay at a Deluxe Resort – at least once, and if only for a day, the deluxe resorts offer amazing amenities and truly wonderful theming. In staying at a deluxe resort, you are also fairly close to any one (or possibly two) or the theme parks. If you are staying there, you should take some time to appreciate the theming of the resort and to explore and find the details or enjoy the restaurants and lounges that the deluxe resorts have to offer!
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3 – Dessert Party – between Epcot and Magic Kingdom, there are many ways to view the nightly fireworks at each park. Disney offers various boat cruises or dessert parties for guests to enjoy the fireworks in a more intimate setting. These parties offer drinks and snacks and usually a dedicated location for viewing the fireworks. You may want to consider this for a special occasion as these experiences can run anywhere between $50 and $100 per person, but they are definitely worth the money!
2 – Drink (or Eat) Around the World – take the time to experience with your tastebuds the flavors of World Showcase. Between a snack and a drink in each county, this could run you a few hundred dollars, but it is a fun way to move around the countries of World Showcase and learn a little bit about their culture.
1 – Resort Hop – take a day outside of the parks and hop from resort to resort and explore. The restaurants at these resorts can be better than the food offered in the parks. You can also find fun things to do at some of the resorts – a tour of the Circle-D Ranch, a ride on a carriage at Port Orleans French Quarter, or a relaxing boat ride to Disney Springs. There is no cost of admission, but depending on what you stumble upon, it may end up costing some money.
We all know that Disney is expensive, but certain things are worth the money. What is your top splurge worthy thing to do at Disney World?
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!