Looking for the best ways to spend your money at Walt Disney World? From taking the pressure off taking photos to party tickets and snack indulgences, here are 20 things you won’t regret buying at Disney World!
Note: A couple of the items mentioned are not available at this time, but I have every reason to believe they’ll be returning soon!
20 things you won’t regret buying at Disney World: Memory Maker
If you don’t plan on carrying a camera around the the theme parks on your visit, Memory Maker is a smart choice. Yes, it’s a big extra cost (at the time this post was published the price for a Memory Maker package is $169 for advance purchase, $199 regular price), it really does take the pressure off getting the perfect photos during your trip.
Additionally, when you add in the special effects photos and videos that are available (make sure to ask each of the PhotoPass photographers when it’s your turn if one is offered) plus on-ride photos and videos, it’s an upcharge that you won’t regret.
One Big Souvenir
Every visit, I like to buy one large piece instead of a bunch of little pieces. I’ve bought a full-size Haunted Mansion Sign that’s on my bedroom wall and some other signed art pieces. As an adult, I’d rather have a meaningful investment piece.
If you don’t have room to take it home with you, ask Disney castmembers for shipping options.
Room upgrades can range from Preferred Rooms that are closer to transportation and the resort lobby or restaurants in Value & Moderate Resorts to a pool view versus a standard view in the Deluxe Resorts. And pricing for the upgrades can vary from $25 a night to well over $100 depending on where you’re staying.
I learned years ago that a Preferred Room, especially if it’s saving me hundreds of steps each day, is well worth the upgrade. If you’re unable to book an upgraded room, it never hurts to ask when you check in if one is available. We’ve paid the extra charge several times to get closer to the main pool area at Value Resorts and I’ve never regretted it once.
Princess Makeovers at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
The moment your kiddo sees themselves in the mirror, transformed into a princess or prince makes the cost of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique worth every cent. Starting at $74.95 plus tax, add ons include dresses and coordinating accessories.
20 things you won’t regret buying at Disney World: Park Hopper Tickets
Park hopping at Walt Disney World is back – hooray! It’s one of the reasons I purchase an Annual Pass every year compliments of the flexibility to visit more than one theme park each day.
Starting in 2021, park hopping has changed in the fact that you’ll need to book one theme park reservation in the morning and then, with availability, you can hop to another park starting at 2pm.
For Disney’s Hollywood Studios, if your goal is to get a reservation for Rise of the Resistance, you’ll need to make sure it’s your morning park reservation as ride passes open at 7am and 1pm. You can make the am ressie wherever you’re staying but you’ll need to be in the park for the 1pm option.
Minnie & Mickey Ears
I have a giant collection of Minnie & Mickey ears and I’m not embarrassed at all. Honestly, I enjoy wearing them so much that I started making my own Minnie ears to fill in the gaps.
Now, I’m not saying to buy all of the Minnie ears, but purchasing a pair or two, as long as you have the budget, is always a fun way to show your Disney pride – plus they’re great for bad hair days compliments of the humid, Central Florida weather.
20 things you won’t regret buying at Disney World: MagicBands
Starting January 1, 2021, MagicBands are no longer complimentary with Disney Resort reservations. And while I’ll miss collecting all of the colors, I’m okay with buying the special edition MagicBands that can be found in practically every indoor store on property.
If you’re not familiar with MagicBands, consider them an easy way to navigate your vacation. You can link your room key, dining plan, credit card information, Memory Maker, and theme park tickets on them and use each with a tap.
Droid or Lightsaber at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
If you have some extra cash and are a huge Star Wars fan, or maybe you want a cool experience while you’re in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, making your own droid or lightsaber is always a cool idea.
For $99.99 plus tax, you can customize your own droid at Droid Depot. You’ll need to make an advanced reservation, so check the official Droid Depot website for availability.
For a customized lightsaber, you’ll be dishing out $199.99 plus tax at Savi’s Workshop. If I had to name the most popular experience, it’s making a handcrafted lightsaber. Again, reservations are needed – here’s the official Savi’s Workshop website to lock down a date & time.
Holiday Party Tickets
Fall & Winter holiday parties at Magic Kingdom are one of the top reasons why I visit during those times of year. With both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party & Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party yes, you’ll be paying extra for each member of your party to attend, but I’ve never regretted dishing out the money once.
For past parties, guests with valid tickets are allowed to enter Magic Kingdom starting at 4pm. In general, parties run from 6p or 7pm until midnight so you are getting your money’s worth and can be in the park for 8 hours. Add in special edition food & drink, low crowd levels, parades you can only see during the parties, and elusive Disney characters and it’s a no brainer for me.
I’ve always said that calories don’t count at Walt Disney World. While not true at all, I do walk up to 10 miles a day in the parks, so that Mickey cupcake or giant cinnamon roll I’ve had my eye on doesn’t seem so out of reach.
Souvenir Refillable Mugs
If you purchase a Disney Dining Plan (DDP), refillable souvenir mugs are complimentary. But even if you don’t purchase a DDP, paying out of pocket for one makes really good financial sense.
You’ll receive unlimited refills for the length of your stay and, for about $20, you’ll only need to fill up your mug 5 times to break even.
Character Dining is an easy way to see and meet your favorite characters. If you love Winnie the Pooh and pals, Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom is your spot. Want to meet Mickey and friends? There are several character dining experiences to choose from.
While the food is good, it’s the ability to have a little one-on-one time with the characters without having to wait in line that’s the clincher.
20 things you won’t regret buying at Disney World: Special Tours
From Behind the Seeds in Epcot to Keys to the Kingdom at Magic Kingdom, taking a specialty tour is a fun way to see behind the scenes.
If you’re looking for a cool way to learn cool facts about the parks, a specialty tour will be up your alley. Each tour has a minimum age requirement, so make sure to find one that fits you best.
Disney popcorn buckets are not only collectible, they’re a super cute way to snack. Once you purchase one, you’ll receive refills for $2.00 each. And while it states refills are for date of purchase, folks have brought back their buckets day after day and received refills with no problem.
Personally, I like buying buckets that have a seasonal theme and putting them out as decorations year after year.
Scavenger Hunts at Epcot
Epcot scavenger hunts tend to revolve around holidays and festivals, which is super cute. Once you purchase a map (prices are right around $8 plus tax), you’ll receive stickers that correlate with each World Showcase country. Fill them in, turn in your map, and you’ll receive a small souvenir as a prize.
Holiday & Limited Edition Items
Buying holiday merchandise is a highlight of every trip to Disney World for this gal. I love buying items for the house & holiday shirts and Minnie ears. My daughter is a pin trading fan, so she makes a beeline for the special edition and holiday versions.
Making your own Mickey ornaments at home is a snap! Here’s my easy tutorial for Mickey Christmas ornaments.
Rain Poncho & Umbrella
During the winter and humid summer, rain is definitely on the forecast. I, personally, suggest buying a rain poncho and small umbrella and packing it but if you forget, you can buy them in the parks and at the resorts.
If you do purchase a Disney rain poncho and you rip or tear it, you’ll be able to exchange it for a new one so keep your receipt.
Special Buy Items with Purchase Bags & Blankets
If you head to the larger stores that are on property, keep an eye out at the register for Special Buys. They’re discounted prices for items like backpacks, bags, and blankets when you make a minimum purchase.
I’ve bought Halloween totes and sturdy, Disney-themed backpacks that have seriously held up very well over the years.
20 things you won’t regret buying at Disney World: Clothing for Hot/Warm Snaps
I remember one October I packed for warm weather and a cold snap hit without warning while I was there. Happily, the shops at Disney World are prepared and will roll out racks of sweatshirts and coats during those times.
A Haircut at Harmony Barber Shop
If you have a wee one, making the Harmony Barber Shop in Magic Kingdom the spot for a first haircut is precious. You’ll get a certificate plus the opportunity to buy special Mickey ears to commemorate the day.
If you have older kiddos, it’s a fun place to get a trim and a bit of pixie dust to wear around the parks.