The base total of a Disney vacation is already quite costly, so the thought of add-ons doesn’t always seem worth it. If you’re on a budget, springing for those frivolous additions may not be the best idea, but if you have a few extra bucks to burn, it can be a lot of fun.
No, none of these things are necessary, but everyone deserves to treat themselves sometimes!
Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, a birthday, or simply the fact that you’re on a Disney vacation, a good meal should be your go-to. More than just amazing food and impeccable service, these restaurants offer a fine dining experience that’s worth the price tag. Try California Grill on top of the Contemporary Resort for views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks, savor exquisite French cuisine at Monsieur Paul in EPCOT, or go all out for a $185 seven-course meal at the Grand Floridian’s Victoria and Albert’s, a AAA Five Diamond recipient since 2000.
Yes, they’re a $25 alternative to a free shuttle bus, but Minnie Vans are infinitely more enjoyable after a long day. Skip the lines, the crowded vehicles, and the possibility of having to stand on the whole ride back to your resort, and give yourself some time to relax — it is a vacation after all! Simply summon a car using the Lyft app, then kick back for a comfortable cruise. You may still have to deal with traffic, but at least you can sneak in a quick nap without worrying about falling asleep on a stranger’s shoulder.
A Club Level Room
This is a big splurge, but if you can swing the upgrade on an already pricey deluxe resort room, it’s worth the special treatment. First, there’s the private lounge where you can get a free continental breakfast, appetizers, snacks, drinks, and more throughout the day. Second, you get access to a designated concierge service, which can help you plan your days and make those difficult-to-get dining reservations. Plus, a newer perk gives club level guests the opportunity to pay $50 per day to make an extra three FastPass+ selections and get VIP viewing for nighttime spectaculars.
All the eating with none of the moving! If you’re staying at a deluxe resort, you’re only a phone call away from getting anything from Mickey waffles to an Ohana-style feast delivered right to your door. There’s just about nothing that feels as luxurious as lounging in a bathrobe, noshing on a fresh meal that you obtained with minimal effort, so this one is worth the up-charge. There’s also the convenience factor — it may not be a money-saving technique, but it does stop you from having to hit up a restaurant before heading to the parks.
Skip the sweaty crowds packed from Cinderella Castle all the way down Main Street, U.S.A. for an exclusive experience with all the sweets you can eat! For $69 per person (or $41 per child), you get access to a buffet of delectable desserts, non-alcoholic beverages like sparkling cider, and a comfortable area to view Happily Ever After with a clear view of the spectacular. There are similar events hosted at other parks as well, like the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party at EPCOT, the Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience, and the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
(Some) Character Meals
Character meet and greets in the parks often elicit long lines and don’t always leave you with much time for interaction. Save yourself the time and frustration, while also feasting on fine fare, with a character meal! Quality can vary greatly between the offerings across property, but Ohana’s Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo and Stitch and Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom are solid spots for food and fun. For a little more attention from Mickey and friends, try making a reservation towards the end of the service when there’s less diners, and therefore more time characters have to spend at each table.
Let us know which ones we missed in the comments section below!
Kate Joseph is a writer from Beverly, Massachusetts who earned her degree in journalism from Simmons College in 2015 and currently works as a copywriter in Boston. After her first trip to Walt Disney World at age three, she famously told her mother, "I don't like this world, I want to live in Disney World." So, she did! During college, she participated in the Disney College Program working as a committed cast member at Disney's Boardwalk Resort for one incredible semester. When she's not traveling to Disney destinations, she likes listening to podcasts, playing with her dog, and enjoying the outdoors.