With four theme parks and two water parks, Disney World offers its guests many opportunities for fun and excitement.
Parkgoers looking for an extra special experience can spend a little more on a few key things that make the trip even more memorable.
The six best splurges at Walt Disney World are Genie+, dining with Disney Characters, Memory Maker photo packages, buying souvenirs, staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort, and attending a Magic Kingdom Holiday Party.
Guests don’t have to overspend to enjoy Disney World, but adding any of these exceptional options makes the visit that much more magical.
This article explores the six best splurges at Walt Disney World that are all worth the cost.
Top 6 Splurges At Disney World
1) Use Disney Genie+ Service
One of the easiest ways to elevate any trip to Disney World is by upgrading park tickets with Disney Genie+.
Disney’s Genie Service is a complementary feature in the My Disney Experience App that allows guests to organize their visits according to dining and activity preferences, all while updating ride statuses throughout the day.
For an extra fee, visitors can upgrade to Genie+ and access Lightning Lane entrances to skip the regular lines once at participating rides.
With Genie+, guests can typically fit two or three Lightning Lanes into their schedule daily, depending on timing.
They can also purchase á la carte access to Lightning Lanes at rides not covered by the Genie+ add-on.
Ultimately, Disney’s Genie+ Service is a great splurge for getting more out of a day at the park.
Pricing varies by date, and regular park admission is required to activate the feature.
2) Book a Character Dining Experience
Everyone has their favorite Disney Character, and meeting them can be a dream come true.
One of the best ways to encounter these beloved characters is through Character Dining Experiences.
These pre-arranged meals allow guests to interact with Disney Characters one-on-one without crowds of people also vying for attention.
The dining experiences also give parkgoers a chance to try an excellent meal from one of several restaurants, including:
- Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort
- Garden Grill Restaurant at EPCOT
- Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood Studios
- Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White at the Wilderness Lodge Resort
- Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera at the Riviera Resort
- Tusker House Restaurant at the Animal Kingdom.
Not all Disney Characters appear at every restaurant, so guests should check which restaurant hosts their favorite.
Parkgoers can make their reservations 60 days before their visit, and with limited seating available, Character Dining fills up fast.
Visitors who want to splurge on this once-in-a-lifetime experience should check the My Disney Experience app and book their spot as soon as possible.
3) Purchase Memory Maker
If guests splurge on nothing else at Disney World, they should consider purchasing a Memory Maker Photo Download Package.
This add-on is a fun way to have professional Disney PhotoPass Photographers capture special moments while exploring all four theme parks.
Typically, Disney Photographers hang out at iconic locations in all four theme parks, waiting to be approached by visitors who want their photos taken.
The photographers may encourage visitors to strike a fun pose and then add an animated Disney Character or a fun effect to create a special photographic memory.
Guests scan their MagicBand, PhotoPass Card, or QR Code, and their photos and videos are uploaded to their Disney accounts.
From there, they can download them and/or share them with others who also have the Memory Maker upgrade.
Parkgoers can also download pictures taken on any rides included with a Memory Maker package.
For many visitors, the professional photos taken throughout the parks are priceless memories well worth the additional cost.
4) Buy Souvenirs
Buying souvenirs does not need to break the bank, but they can be happy reminders of a day spent at Disney World.
Each theme park and resort hotel sells many souvenirs and keepsakes, and the most popular include Mouse Ears, Disney pins and lanyards, shirts, autograph books, and Droids.
First-time visitors often enjoy buying Classic Mickey or Minnie Ears or a pair that fits a specific theme.
This quintessential Disney accessory can make every picture perfect, and each park offers different styles.
Some parkgoers even buy their ears before visiting to have them ready on arrival!
Star Wars Megafans can find the ultimate galactic souvenir at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios.
Some of the coolest souvenirs at Disney World are the Disney pins.
Guests can find the pins at many souvenir shops, and the pin styles and themes change periodically and seasonally.
The most fun part of the Disney pin experience is the opportunity to trade them with other guests.
Often, visitors wear their pins on a lanyard as they walk through the parks – if someone sees a pin they like, they can ask to trade for it.
These conversations usually lead to new acquaintances and, occasionally, a new pin.
Guests can also trade pins with a Cast Member anywhere, anytime.
When at a cash register in a shop, Cast Members may even have some pins behind the counter available for trade.
Disney encourages this fun Pin Trading hobby, and many people who participate meet at Disney World for pin-trading events.
EPCOT also sometimes has an unofficial pin-trading location during the week where collectors can gather and trade.
It’s rare to leave Disney World empty-handed, and more often than not, guests who splurge on a Disney souvenir cherish the items they bought in the parks.
5) Stay at a Disney Deluxe Resort
A Walt Disney World Resort Hotel adds a colorful and luxurious note to any Disney vacation.
These resorts can be pricey, but they’re worth the extra cost because of their convenience and the perks of staying at a Disney property.
The eight Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels include:
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Polynesian Village Resort
- Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
- Wilderness Lodge
- Beach Club Resort
- Contemporary Resort
- Yacht Club Resort
- BoardWalk Inn
The twelve Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts include:
- Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
- Old Key West Resort
- Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
- Boardwalk Villas
- Beach Club Villas
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
- Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Riviera Resort
Disney Resort Hotel Perks
Guests of Disney hotels enjoy multiple perks with their stays.
The biggest benefits to staying at a Disney property are Early Entry and Extended Hours.
Early Entry allows Disney Resort guests to enter the parks thirty minutes before the regular opening time.
Extended Hours give resort guests a couple of extra hours (on certain evenings) to enjoy the parks after they close to regular ticketed guests.
Additionally, Disney hotel guests receive complimentary transportation to the parks and easy ways to make purchases at restaurants and shops throughout the property.
Disney Resort guests receive MagicBands, which are linked to the credit card on file at the hotel.
Not only do MagicBands make cute souvenirs, but they can also be used to make effortless, no-contact payments wherever they’re accepted in the parks.
6) Attend a Magic Kingdom Holiday Party
The Magic Kingdom hosts two Holiday Parties during the year: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which occurs in the weeks before Halloween, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which takes place in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Magic Kingdom closes early for Holiday Parties, and visitors who’ve bought event passes enjoy smaller crowds and special themed events, parades, shows, and rides.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party attendees dress up in their Halloween costumes and wander the park, trick-or-treating in fun places.
The Halloween decorations are spooky and fun, and the costume changes of the Cast Members and Disney Characters are spectacular.
The visitors who attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will see marvelous Christmas decorations, a Christmas parade, special fireworks, and festive holiday shows.
Disney Characters wear their holiday clothes, and Santa always makes an appearance.
Tickets to these Holiday Parties sell out quickly, so guests should buy them well in advance – they are worth the extra cost.
Disney creates magical and memorable holiday events that parkgoers will remember for years to come.
Disney World has designed its theme parks to be exciting and fun, but for some guests, spending a bit extra on added perks can make a Disney trip even more magical.
The six best splurges at Disney World include:
- Using Disney Genie+
- Dining with Disney Characters
- Purchasing the Memory Maker photo package
- Buying special souvenirs
- Staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort
- Attending one of the Holiday Parties
These experiences can create an unforgettable vacation that guests will carry with them forever.