For those of you who many not already know, we just went on a friendcation to Walt Disney World in December! It was such a blast because the parks were decorated for Christmas but we went just a bit early (between holidays) and the parks were relatively empty. We also were able to take advantage of a really great promotion that Disney was doing with the help of our wonderful Travel agent Alex Smith and got a FREE meal plan with our stay at the resort. So our trip was super magical.Even though I have been going to Disney (Land, World, and Paris) all my life, this trip had a lot of firsts. Planning a Disney vacation can be a little more pricey than some other vacations you could take but there are so many little things that make it worth it. Throughout all of my Disney visits, I have learned where to skip and where to splurge when it comes to the many things that Disney offers. Today I want to share with you the Top 10 things that I think it is totally worth it to splurge on at Disney and why!
This was another first for all of us on the trip. We would have never tried it if it were not for the awesome promotion Disney was doing. If I were writing a “How to save money at Disney” post, I would tell you right now to look for promotions and go during down season. You save a lot of money by going when Disney has deals on their hotels and meal plans. But I might even be convinced that the meal plan is worth it even if you don’t get a promotion with it.For every night that we stayed in the hotel, we got a snack, a quick service meal, and a sit down meal per person. The best part is that they were all combined on our meal plan and we could spend them however we wanted. A snack to share here, a couple (large) quick service meals to eat here, and a sit down meal every day for the four of us. We ate at some of the fanciest restaurants at Disney that I would have never even considered without a meal plan like Teppan Edo, Biergarten, and Cinderella’s Castle. We were able to experience a whole new side of Disney and enjoy the quality and talented staff they have at each restaurant. They were each mini experiences and we loved that we were able to do that.
Another plus side of the meal plan is that it helps fight the hangry monsters. When you are at Disney you are working out – we walked over 54 miles while we were at the parks for that week. You will need more food than you realize because you are running around, hopping line to line and adventure to adventure, and your body needs nourishment. The first day we didn’t take advantage of the meal plan completely and we all got tired, hungry, and hangry.When you are worried about food prices and/or trying not to eat a lot in the parks, it is easy to not eat enough and get a case of the grumps. With a meal plan, you can always eat when you need to.
We did not purchase this one but if I go back another time I would highly consider it – especially with a family! Long gone are the days of having to pay cash to buy your picture after your ride and carry it around with you all day. Now you can just use your Magic Band to instantly add the photo to your account. Then, when your trip is over (or anytime you feel like it) you can log in and look at all the pictures you scanned while you were there. This is every ride, every character photo, every group picture you take, and anything that Disney takes with their cameras. You can chose to order prints or get the downloads of any picture you would like. The benefit of the photo pass, is that you can download all the pictures for $169. It is like having a photographer come around with you your whole trip.
There are several reasons that I recommend this. First, carrying around a camera at Disney is not worth it. I brought my camera for one morning and it was kind of a pain. We took turns carrying the bag, stressed about how to hold it on splash mountain, and mostly left it in the bag because it was too much to get it out. All the photos we took from our trip (because you will want to take pictures) are with our phones. They fit nicely in a pocket and you don’t need to worry about carting anything around (side note: you really won’t need to carry anything because your Magic Bands have your card attached for shopping, your meal plan, your fast passes, and anything else you need.) Secondly, since each photo is $15 to download, you really only need 11 good photos to make it worth it! If you purchased it and knew beforehand that you were getting this, you could get your pictures everywhere and have enough to make an album when you are home. Lastly, it is too easy for someone to always get left out of the pictures. I love that if a Disney person is taking the picture for you, the whole family can be involved.
This is another restaurant that is worth going to while you are at Disney. With the dinning plan it counts as a sit down meal, if not it is $30- $60 a person. This is such a great place because you are truly immersed in German culture and it is perfect. The food is authentic, delicious, and never ending – just like good German food should be. Also, there are some wonderful selections of beer here. The thing that sets this restaurant apart is the show that they do. All of the tables surround a stage and they do performances during your meal. When we went at Christmas they did a wonderful German Christmas concert complete with Silent Night and I cried. And ate more Apfelstrudel.
Dole Whip is a classic Disney treat and you need to make sure to grab some when you go – you’ll find it in Adventureland! If you are on a meal plan it counts as a snack, if not it is a couple bucks of Disney history. It is also super delicious and you’ll want more.
A DISNEY ORNAMENT
There is so much shopping at Disney. Every park has beautiful stores and Downtown Disney is also packed with them. It can be easy to avoid even walking into any of them so that you do not buy the whole store but I do think that it is worth it to splurge on one item. This can be very different for each type of personality but I love functional souvenirs which is why I said a Disney Ornament is totally a worth it splurge. It is something small and easy to take home, has a specific purpose, and will remind you of the trip you took every year when you hang it up.
EXTRA MAGIC HOURS