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5 Disney Scams You Shouldn’t Fall For

Planning a Disney vacation can be overwhelming for the non-seasoned guest, and to make matters even more difficult scam artists can sometimes get in the way of what should otherwise be a fun vacation. When planning your Disney trip, be sure to avoid finding yourself in these scams:

5. Tickets from illegitimate sources

When planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, it is extremely important that you only purchase tickets through legitimate sources. Craigslist, eBay, and the shops and souvenir stands around Orlando that advertise discounted tickets are not the places where you should be purchasing tickets. Often times these locations are selling tickets that are partially used. When tickets are partially used, only the person who initially began using them will be able to continue using them. So while these tickets may be a steal as you can often find them as low as $40, they can easily become a complete rip-off when you arrive at the gate to enter the park and the tickets are linked to someone else.

There are some instances where you can find legitimate discounted tickets, but be completely trustworthy of these sources before purchasing anything. In some cases, your employer or AAA may be able to secure discounted Disney tickets. In even rarer cases, select travel websites can sometimes offer them as well. As a general rule though, any tourist shack or websites where items can be resold will usually turn out to be sketchy places to buy tickets from.

4. Personal shoppers

Personal shoppers are Disney guests who go into the parks and resorts to buy items and sell them (for a profit online) usually through social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook. You may initially think these services are a good idea, because they are giving you a way to purchase items from the parks that you would ordinarily not be able to purchase without visiting yourself. But there are plenty of ways where personal shoppers are in fact just pushing scams.

For one, there is a way to purchase Disney Parks merchandise without physically being in the parks. The Shop Disney Parks mobile app allows you to order park-exclusive merchandise right from your smartphone. Of course, not all merchandise is available on the app, and specifically limited edition and event-specific merchandise is often left out. But this brings us to another way that personal shoppers scam guests. Personal shoppers often buy bulk amounts of limited edition merchandise in the parks to re-sell for a profit, which aside from increasing the price and ripping off their “customers,” is making it difficult and sometimes impossible for guests in the park to purchase limited edition items as this often causes them to sell out quicker than they should. Even more unfortunate is that policing these issues is nearly impossible as even with limits imposed for how many of an item can be purchased, personal shoppers can simply do multiple transactions or get help from friends and family.

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3. Wheelchair “front of the line” rentals

This has not been as much of a problem in recent years, but in the past, some guests were sometimes scammed into “hiring” guests in wheelchairs to get them to the front of the lines at attractions. First of all, because of  ADA requirements, most attractions contain queues that are completely accessible to wheelchairs, so using one really doesn’t give you a front of the line benefit. But more importantly, this practice is not only a scam to guests but also extremely offensive to guests who actually do need to use wheelchairs to visit the parks.

Credit: Disney

2. Non-official Disney souvenir shops

If you are arriving in Orlando in your own car or staying off property, you’re sure to come across at least a dozen shops selling discounted Disney merchandise. These items are not officially made by Disney, and in most cases, the quality of these items will leave something to be desired. If you’re searching for affordable Disney merchandise off property, check out the Character Warehouse in the Orlando Premium Outlets. This official Disney Parks merchandise shop sells older and discontinued parks merchandise at discounted prices.

1. Extras that may be worth it for some guests but not for you

There are plenty of Disney extras that likely work for some guests, but you may not be one of them. We probably would not refer to the dining plan as a “scam,” however some guests will save 35% off the cost of their meals while others will not. Additionally, some guests find value in purchasing a special event ticket for an evening when they already have theme park tickets, and some guests do not. Some guests find the fireworks dessert parties to be worth it for them, and other guests are just as content with a cookie from the Main Street Confectionary and their own spot in front of the castle. Do some research while planning your trip to determine which extras are worth it for you so you don’t find yourself spending additional money on things you don’t need.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."