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Credit: Disney

Spend Your Money On This in Walt Disney World

A trip to Walt Disney World isn’t cheap. The room, tickets, and food can add up, but if you are trying to figure out where to spend your money or extra money for something special, we have some suggestions on where to spend it.

Upgraded Rooms

When booking a Resort room at Disney World, you can choose from standard rooms, preferred rooms, Theme Park view rooms, water view rooms, and so many more. If you have some extra money, think about upgrading your hotel room. A preferred room in some of Disney’s larger resorts can put you a lot closer to resources like transportation and food. Some of the Deluxe Resorts have outstanding views of the castle or Space Mountain, and if you are celebrating something special, this can be a wonderful way to celebrate. If you are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, look into a savanna view room. Where else will you be able to wake up in the morning and have giraffes outside your window? Spending some money on upgrading your Resort room can make a big difference in your vacation experience.


We are still learning about Genie+ and the best way to use this new feature provided by Disney in the Park. For $15 per person per day, Guests can purchase Genie+, giving them access to the Lightning Lane for around 40 rides throughout the four Theme Parks. Those traveling during busy times of the year, such as holidays, spring break, or summer months, might find this investment worth it. We see that Genie+ is reducing wait times to under 15 minutes for the rides included, which could make a big difference when it comes to these busy times. The other option that could be a good way to spend money is the individual lightning lane rides. If Rise of the Resistance is a must do experience for your family, it could be worth it to purchase a lightning lane to ensure your ride. It might not be for everyone but think about your goals and which Parks you will be visiting to determine if these options would be a good investment.

Memory Maker

Memory Maker is Disney’s photo package. It costs $169 if you purchase it before your vacation or $199 after or during. If your family loves photos, this is a great way to spend money at Disney World. Not only do you get all on ride photos so you can capture those screams on Splash Mountain forever, but you also have the opportunity to take photos throughout the four Theme Parks with Disney’s outstanding Photopass Photographers. These Cast Members are fantastic at capturing outstanding photos of families. They also can offer some magic shots where they can add some pixie dust to your photos. These are super fun and can only be done with a Disney photographer. At almost $16 per photo, purchasing the Memory Maker can be a good use of money if you know you will want a lot of them. It is also a great investment if you are going with a large group as they can share it with you as well.

Special Merchandise

It is easy to get sucked into wanting everything you see in the stores at Walt Disney World. There is a reason they put gift shops after almost every ride. Although we don’t suggest buying everything you see in Walt Disney World, we think some souvenirs are a great way to spend your money in Walt Disney World. Look into those personalized souvenirs like ornaments or hats. These are great ways to remember your trip. We also like the specialized event items such as festival gear in EPCOT or the 50th Anniversary Celebration items in Magic Kingdom. Look for those items that can only be found in the Parks because that is what makes them special and unique to your trip. In Galaxy’s Edge, two souvenirs are fantastic and unique souvenir choices. You can build a lightsaber or a droid of your own. These are cheap souvenirs starting at $100 and going to $220, but they are something you can only get in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. So don’t get sucked into all the items that you will be able to find later on shopDisney, but instead focus on those specialty items that you can only find in Disney World.

Fancy Dinner

When celebrating a special event like an anniversary, honeymoon or birthday in Walt Disney World, we recommend spending some money on a special meal. There are some fantastic dining experiences throughout the Disney property. The new Steakhouse 71 and Space220 are fantastic choices with excellent food choices as a special dining experience. Disney Springs has numerous options, from high-end meals at Boathouse or comfort meals at Art Smith Homecomin’. Consider spending some money on a special meal while on vacation.

Refillable Options

If you are going to be in the Parks and at the Resorts for a while, consider investing in refillable popcorn buckets and drink cups. In all four Theme Parks, Guests can find refillable popcorn buckets. Some are typical buckets for around $12, where there are also unique themed buckets like the Mickey balloon buckets that range closer to $15. If your travel party enjoys popcorn, these are a good investment as you can refill them for $2 for the rest of your trip. At the Resorts, you can purchase a refillable souvenir cup. For $19.99, these cups are a good investment if you drink a lot of pop. The unfortunate part of these cups is that they are only refillable at the resorts, but they can be fantastic options if you plan to get your pop before heading out. These refillable options can be a great way to spend money while on vacation in Disney World.

We know that a trip to Walt Disney World isn’t cheap, but if you are trying to determine where to spend your money, we hope this list helps you narrow down your choices more. Every trip is different, so the options are different for all of us, but hopefully, you will find something that might work the best for your family during your Walt Disney World vacation.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.