It’s possible to experience Walt Disney World on a budget, but it’s also possible to splurge on extras throughout your vacation that will make you feel like royalty. It’s hard to know which experiences are worth the splurge! So we’ve compiled a list of our favorite expensive Walt Disney World experiences that are worth the money – if you have it, that is!
1. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
We’ve had the pleasure of attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and it was fantastic, but there’s just no comparison with our favorite ticketed event, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. If you’re even remotely a fan of all things Halloween, you need to attend this event (costumes are optional, but highly recommended)! The exclusive Boo-to-You Halloween Parade is hands-down the best parade on property, and you’ll only enjoy it as part of the party. There’s also the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular show, and of course, the hugely entertaining Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Show. With spooky and delicious treats all around the Magic Kingdom, as well as trick-or-treating for adults and children throughout the park, this is a Halloween celebration like no other.
2. VIP Tour
It’s not cheap (think $400-$600 an hour), but if you have the money, hiring a VIP Guide to give you the perfect, customizable day at Walt Disney World is absolutely worth it! Bring a group of up to ten people, and let your guide pick you up in a private vehicle, and then take you to as many theme parks as you’d like, while you ride your favorite rides (often repeatedly, and with reduced waits) and enjoy night-time shows and parades from special VIP viewing areas. Throughout your day, you’ll benefit from your guide’s expertise, and Memory Maker is even included. This is one way to make sure you feel like royalty in Walt Disney World!
3. Try a Deluxe Resort – for a Night
We’ve stayed at value, moderate, and deluxe resorts in Walt Disney World. So, is it worth paying more (a lot more) to stay at a deluxe resort? Well, yes – and no. You will certainly feel pampered and have fewer crowds to contend with at a deluxe resort compared to a value resort, but if you spend most of your time in the parks, it may not be worth the expense. We know several people who routinely book a value or moderate resort for most of their stay, and then splurge on a deluxe resort for a couple of days before they leave, so we tried this on our last trip – and it was so worth it! A couple of days gives you time to enjoy all the amenities of the deluxe resort of your choice (in our case, the incomparable Stormalong Bay at Yacht Club), but won’t break the bank.
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4. Backstage Tours
Walt Disney World offers a dizzying array of backstage tours that allow you to go behind the scenes to examine Disney magic that the average guest never gets to see. There’s a tour here for everyone, whether you want to swim with dolphins at Epcot, meet a rhino at Animal Kingdom, or explore the Magic Kingdom’s famed utilidor system under the park. We’ve done a few of these backstage tours, and we’ve found them to be excellent and completely worth the money, every time! If you’re a Disney fan who wants a glimpse behind the magic curtain, there’s no better way than with a backstage tour.
5. Minnie Van Rental
Walt Disney World has a variety of complimentary transportation options for guests, and we’ve used all of them. If you’re looking for a more private way to get to your destination on Disney property, though, Minnie Vans are a perfect option! They’re operated by Disney cast members, and they’ll pick you up anywhere on property and drop you off wherever you want to go. Cheaper, more reliable, and more comfortable than taxis, Minnie Vans are a great option if you want to get somewhere in Disney World fast, without fighting crowds, and still ride in Disney style! Plus, some Minnie Vans are accessible, and Minnie Vans can take you to drop-off points not accessible to Uber and Lyft drivers.
6. Rent an Attraction
Do you have a favorite ride? And a momentous occasion coming up? Well, if you’re willing to spend the big bucks, you can actually book some of your favorite Walt Disney World rides for a private party. Prices vary depending on the location, the type of event and catering you’re looking for, and whether you want the ride to be operational for your party, but don’t be surprised to spend thousands of dollars for this privilege. Is it worth it? Well, just imagine celebrating a milestone birthday with a dinner party on the terrace of Tower of Terror – the memories would be priceless!
7. Surf Lessons
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to surf, but weren’t quite ready for the ocean, try learning from a pro at Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon. You’ll catch a wave before the park opens, or after it closes, so you’ll have the wave pool to yourself. Waves here get up to six feet high, and with 100 waves over the span of your 3 hour lesson, you’ll have plenty of time to learn to hang 10 in a controlled environment! You can even add on a food package to complete your experience.
8. Memory Maker
There’s nothing like the photos taken by professional Disney photographers throughout the parks! The quality is amazing, you’ll get perfect shots with Walt Disney World icons such as Cinderella Castle and the Tree of Life with no other tourists in the way, and there are even special magical shots that can add your favorite Disney characters to your photos. If you purchase the Memory Maker, you can get as many photos taken as you want and enjoy and share them after your vacation. So is it worth the nearly $200 price? We’d say yes, especially if you don’t often visit WDW, or if you want to capture one-of-a-kind shots with your family, or if you want to commemorate a special event. After all, why both wasting time trying to take the perfect selfies when Disney photographers can do it for you?