A big spender, I am not. In fact, I find great pleasure in seeing just how far I can stretch a dollar. My ears perk up at the words “total savings” each and every time the grocery store clerk tabulates my bill. Getting the most bang for my buck is important to me. And here’s the crazy thing—I love going to Disney World. I go every chance I can talk my family into it. Is it so crazy? A total contradiction to my penny pinching personality? No! Disney doesn’t have to leave your pockets empty and your wallet as scarce as the deserts outside of Aladdin’s Agrabah. Though $10 won’t take you far at Disney World, there are ways you can spend it and still make seriously magical memories. While there are many FREE things to enjoy on the Disney World property, I’m including ones that come with a price tag attached. Got $10? You’re in luck! In this second part of my 3-part series, here is a list of our top 10 activities, foods and souvenirs for $10 (or under!).
10. Wagon Rides
My first excursion takes us to the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds where there is so much to do and see, you can truly spend an entire vacation here and never leave the “resort.” If you’re yearning to take a tour of this rustic and scenic Disney wilderness, why not do so on an old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon ride? For $8 ($5 for child ages 3-9) you can be transported to a simpler time on this 25-minute jaunt around the property. As twilight settles into night, kick back and let yourself relax to the sound of well-shod hooves clip-clopping across various terrains, and if you’re lucky you may just catch a deer or peacock roaming the grounds. You don’t have to be a guest staying here or even on Disney property to enjoy this fun-for-all-ages activity. These wagon rides depart from the Pioneer Hall on a first-come, first-serve basis between 6:00pm and 8:30pm.
9. Disney Grab-N-Go Breakfasts
Mickey Waffles ($4.99), Polynesian’s Tonga Toast ($5.19), Sleepy Hollow’s Strawberries and Cream Waffles ($6.39), France’s Boulangerie Patisserie’s Quiche Lorraine ($7.00). These are just some of the quick-service breakfasts that help make your Disney vacation highly memorable. If you haven’t had one of these, you haven’t lived. And for that price, it’ll be a decision you won’t regret making!
8. Casting-Rod Fishing
In the midst of all the excitement and energy at Disney World, take some restful time away and enjoy the recreational activities these resorts have to offer. For just $5.50 you can rent a casting-rod fishing pole at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground for 30 minutes, or rent it for the entire day at just $9.52! And because these waters are incredibly well-stocked, you will feel like a professional angler in no time! Regardless of your age or experience, this is a guaranteed way to “reel” in the fun and make remarkable memories all-the-while not breaking your piggy bank!
7. Quick-Service Lunches
While there is something special about trying the many Disney World sit-down restaurants, sometimes you need to pack in as much as possible in one day to get your money’s worth and time is of the essence! Luckily, there are PLENTY of delicious and filling options to choose from that’ll cost you under $10. Find your stomach grumbling inside the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot? Mosey on over to the Yorkshire County Fish Shop counter and order their famous Fish and Chips. This favorite meal will run you only $9.49 and will certainly fill you up. Other delightful favorites include the iconic Turkey Leg (usually under $10 depending where you purchase it, sometimes just slightly over), Casey’s Corner Barbeque Slaw Dog ($9.99), Sleepy Hollow’s Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich ($7.49), Pizza Planet’s Individual Pizza (at most, $9.69). If you are OUTSIDE the theme parks you can still grab a delicious quick lunch at Downtown Disney for under $10 too. Head over to one of their many new food trucks or scooch off to my favorite quick-eatery, Earl of Sandwich.
6. Popcorn Souvenir Bucket
If you are roaming about the Disney World theme parks, the simple act of trying to avoid the smell and taste of this alluring, buttery salty signature snack is probably just as effective as trying to get the “It’s a Small World” song out of your head. The enticing smell of popcorn is everywhere you turn and let me just say—there is something special about Disney World popcorn. Perhaps it’s simply the fact that it’s associated with walking around the “happiest place on earth” while eating it, but I believe there is no popcorn that tastes better than Disney popcorn. And I’ve got great news! You can sample this delicious, finger-licking snack inside your very own keepsake Disney-themed bucket! For just $5.50, you get a snack that’ll feed a whole army AND you get a bonus take-home souvenir! Scoring this two-in-one will leave you and your wallet very happy indeed.
5. Epcot’s World Showcase Passport Kit OR Disney Character Autograph Book
The reason I couldn’t narrow this down to one souvenir is simply because I realize not everyone experiences the Epcot theme park on their vacation AND I believe these two souvenirs are very similar in their main objective: give kids a goal to achieve during their theme park visit. With the Epcot World Showcase Passport Kit ($10) you will receive a Mickey Mouse button pin, a blank passport and stamps for every World Showcase country. Most children aren’t biting at the bit to experience Epcot’s World Showcase but this souvenir can be a real boredom buster as they travel from one country to the next. In addition to the passport stamping, kids can enjoy “KidCot Fun Stops” at each country (no extra charge) where a cast member will help supervise them in making fun kid crafts. Keep in mind, these World Showcase Passport Kits are just as much for adults are they are for children!
With the Disney Character Autograph book ($7.95), your child can eagerly capture their favorite Disney Character’s signature to admire at home in this handy booklet. At that price point and the fun this provides your child, it makes waiting in these meet-and-greet lines well worth it.
4. Ghirardelli’s Specialty Sundaes
A tradition for many, making a special trip to Downtown Disney and ordering one of Ghirardelli’s specialty sundaes is a surefire way to make a deliciously delightful memory. These sundaes are HUGE and I know people who simply have them as their meal (Hey, you’re at Disney and allowed to break a few rules). Try the Gold Rush Sundae with its freshly homemade hot fudge and melted peanut butter oozing over vanilla ice cream accompanied by whipped cream, chopped almonds, a cherry and Ghirardelli’s chocolate squares. At $9.45, this is a delicious deal!
3. Bike Rentals
Practically every Disney resort offers bicycles to rent, but there is something majestic about exploring the nature trails around the Ft. Wilderness Resort and Campground and The Wilderness Lodge properties. As you spin past the tree-lined paths, odds are you’ll see some of the wondrous wildlife that makes these wilderness forests their home. This is the “quiet” away from the “chaotic” of the Disney theme parks, so soak up this peaceful time and burn some calories while you’re at it. Don’t forget your camera—picturesque photo opportunities are at every turn! So much to see, smell, and experience, at $9 an hour it’s worth every penny!
2. Disney World Specialty Air Fresheners
This smell-sational souvenir has to be one of my favorites. Whether you are keeping it for yourself to hang in your car or are giving it as a gift, I guarantee just the sight of it will elicit smiles. And the SMELL of it?! Boy, are you in for a treat! The marketing/merchandising teams behind this souvenir are innovative indeed, turning some of Disney most popular iconic treats into air fresheners. You can think about that Dole Whip long after you leave the parks with just one delightful whiff of its air freshener. For about $6 each, choose from an ever-growing variety like the Turkey Leg, Mickey Waffle, Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar, Candy Apple, and Popcorn scents. Hanging one of these on your rear view mirror will make those commutes to work slightly more bearable with the sight and smells of some of your favorite Disney memories.
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1. Raglan Road—Ger’s Bread & Butter Pudding
There isn’t a person on this planet that I won’t rave to about Downtown Disney’s Raglan Road. After all, Raglan Road isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an experience. Whether you even have the slightest hint of Irish-love running through your blood, or whether you don’t know a Guinness from a grape soda, I believe you will love this lively, musically dynamic, gets-your-blood-pumpin’-and-foot-stompin’ Irish pub. The entertainment alone is worth popping in for, but one taste of the MANY delicious food offerings and you’ll be thanking your lucky leprechauns that you came. That being said, I HIGHLY recommend their famous Bread & Butter Pudding. For just $8.50 you can order this must-have, amazing dessert. I recommend simply coming in at night after a long day, grabbing one of the first-come tables at the bar (or the bar counter) and sharing one of these. While you savor the sweet taste, watch the Irish dancers perform on stage or catch one of the many Irish bands who frequent this gem of a Disney experience! THIS is the treasure at the end of the rainbow…trust me!