Disney World can be expensive and when you start planning your Disney vacation you will be bombarded with so many extra experiences and addons that all have their own cost. Today I want to share which Disney World Extras are Worth the Money and should be added to your itinerary and budget if you can afford them. I will also share what ones I think you can skip and not miss out on any magic.
Disney World Extras Worth the Money
You booked the resort and got the park tickets. Now it is time to get planning. Planning a Disney World vacation takes a lot of work between getting all advanced dinner reservations, Fastpasses, and planning out the itinerary. Then there are the extras. Disney has so much to offer and it can be overwhelming.
Which extras are just money grabs and which ones really expand the magical vacation experience?
While I think these are things that are good to spend your money on, even these aren’t required. Just going to Disney is magical so if park tickets, a cheap off-property hotel, and packed lunches are all you can do, then don’t worry about these extras. I haven’t even done all of these but they are on my list because of all my friends that have done them repeatedly.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
If you are visiting Disney World anytime in the fall or during the holiday season then I think the parties are very much worth your time and money. The special parades, fireworks, characters, and ride overlays make the parties very much worth the party ticket prices.
The parks are also less crowded which make for a better park going experience.
To Make It Worth the Price:
Concentrate on the experiences not available during a regular park day. See the parade, the stage show, try to see a few rare characters, buy a few limited edition treats, and ride the rides with overlays.
So many people like that the parties have small wait times on rides but you are paying for the extras, not the rides.
Disney After Hours
Disney’s popularity is growing and there is rarely a “slow” period at Disney World anymore. Disney created crowd-based pricing making it cheaper to visit during off-peak times and it worked. More people means longer lines and less availability of Fastpasses.
One way to get around this is with Disney After Hours. Disney After Hours is an extra ticketed event offered at Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Magic Kingdom.
Other than the free snacks like Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars, Sodas, and Popcorn you get really, really low crowds which make ride lines super short. We are talking super short waits for the most popular rides like Flight of Passage, Mine Train, Slinky Dog Dash, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain.
Disney Villains After Hours is a new event that I hope continues. Check out Mama’s Geeky post sharing her experience.
To Make it Worth the Price:
Enter the park as soon as you can. You are allowed into the park a few hours earlier than the start time. To have the most amount of energy, rest prior to the event and make the day a non-park day.
Epcot’s Candlelight Processional Dinner Package
I recommend this especially if it is your first time going to Epcot’s Candlelight Processional. It is such a beautiful presentation of the Christmas Story and the music is so pretty. It is crowded almost every night, especially when a popular narrator is reading the story and the closer it gets to Christmas.
The dinner package gets you a great dinner in the World Showcase as well as a reserved, good seat to see the processional.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or Pirate’s League
If you have a princess or pirate obsessed little one then either the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or the lesser price Pirate’s League are great extras to add to your Disney vacation experience.
To Make it Worth the Price:
- Plan character greetings or a character meal after the makeover. The characters just love when little princesses, princes, mermaids, and pirates visit them.
- Fully research the options at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and if needed DIY some parts of it like bringing your own dress.
- Get a lot of pictures especially with Disney Photopass Photographers.
Pirates & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage
While I think most Disney dessert parties are not worth the cost, this dessert party is a bit different. You are not in the park. You start the Pirates & Pals voyage at the Contemporary resort with a dessert spread but you got to watch out for some sneaky pirates! Captain Hook and Smee meet guests before shipping out. Captain Hook and Smee are rarer character greetings.
When you are on the boat getting ready to view the Happily Ever After Fireworks you participate in Disney trivia, sing sea chants, and brush up on all things nautical. It is a totally magical experience!
While I have not personally done this experience, Nikki, from Favorite Grampy Travels has and will happy to answer questions you may have about this experience. Join the Disney World on a Budget Facebook Group and ask her.
If you are a runner and looking for a fun race, Disney has you covered. Even if you don’t classify yourself as a runner try the untimed 5Ks. runDisney offers lots of different race themes like Star Wars or Princess.
I am a plus-size runner who has done the Princess 10K in 2017 and I’m doing the 2020 Disney Marathon Weekend 5k. I just love getting to wear a costume and running through Disney and meeting characters along the way.
Before the race, you get to take part in the runDisney Expo where you can listen to Olympian Jeff Galloway talk about best training practices, shop runDisney merchandise, and meet other runners.
Disney Tours (Some of Them)
Not every Disney tour offered is worth the cost unless you are a frequent Disney guest. The best tours are:
- Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour. The 5-hour walking tour explores the creation and remarkable growth of Disney’s Magic Kingdom! Explore secret locations you’ve always wondered about and get the inside scoop on some of your favorite attractions.
- Epcot Seas Adventures Aqua Tour and DiveQuest. The Aqua Tour offers a snorkeling experience like no other for guests who are not SCUBA-certified, this 2.5-hour experience at Epcot includes approximately 30 minutes of actual snorkeling time at The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion. If you are Scuba certified try DiveQuest. It lasts 3 hours, and you’ll spend approximately 40 minutes on your actual dive.
Disney Extras Not Worth the Cost
- Disney Minnie Vans. Riding around in an overpriced decorated van is not worth the cost. If you are looking for a quicker, more convenient way to get around without using Disney’s free transportation use Uber and Lyft.
- In Park Firework Dessert Parties. Views are not much better than anywhere else. While there are unlimited desserts at these parties, there are amazing desserts in the park too.
- Magic Bands. If you are not staying or property, going to make multiple visits within 2 years, or a passholder then getting a Magicband is pretty much a waste of money in my opinion. It is not like you can wear it other places and it has a use. Looking for a great souvenir, check out these souvenir ideas which are better than a Magic Band.
- Early Morning Magic. While I fully endorse Disney’s After Hours, the Early Morning Magic falls flat for me. The event runs from 7:45 AM to 10:00 AM with the park opening to everyone at 9 AM. Only select rides in Fantasyland are open. There is a breakfast that is offered at Cosmic Rays and most people eat that between 9-10. So to break it down, you are paying $79 per adult and $69 per child for about an hour of park time plus breakfast. I don’t want to be that rushed.
- Disney Classics Tour. It is somewhat informational but basically, the tour guide takes you on the classic rides in the Magic Kingdom. While you save Fastpasses on those rides, many of them don’t require them anyway even on busy days.
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