Disney World offers a variety of extras to enjoy their magical experience, but which ones are worth the additional cost? Disney does cost a pretty penny to start with! Our TravelAwaits Disney experts weighed in on their favorite add-ons for a Disney vacation.
Meet The Experts
- Sarah Armbruster – loves all things Disney and enjoys planning magical memories for her clients.
- Seana Beard – would pick Disney first for any vacation and she likes coming up with the perfect plan for her customers.
- Chris Cook-Leitz – not only enjoys Disney, but owns her own travel business that specializes in many vacations including Disney.
- Laura Liden – this former Disney intern now plans magical vacations for all Disney clients.
1. Club Level Rooms
These premiere rooms are available at all the deluxe resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian Village, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk Inn and Animal Kingdom Lodge) plus Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The club level rooms have access to a few perks including food, drinks, and snacks throughout the day. While times and offerings may vary, club lounges offer breakfast, snacks throughout the day, an evening reception with hors d’oeuvres, and evening indulgences with desserts and other sweets. Drinks, including soda, juice, coffee, tea, and select adult beverages, are offered throughout the day.
Cook-Leitz likes the access to dedicated concierge staff, which includes a dedicated phone and text line.
“Nothing beats the privacy of a keyed floor with slightly larger rooms and extra amenities like turndown service, daily concierge planning services,” Liden comments. “I love starting my day with a quick breakfast, stopping back midday for an afternoon snack but my favorite is evening appetizers, cocktails, and desserts. The offerings rotate daily so it’s rarely the same thing.“
Pro Tip: If your family is a sun up until sun down park-going crew, Cook-Leitz says the club level rooms might not be worth the splurge. But if you are planning to have a relaxing Disney vacation, with a later start and mid-day breaks, club level rooms are definitely worth the additional cost.
2. Seasonal Events
If you are visiting Walt Disney World toward the end of the year, there are two ticketed events that are worth considering.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
On select nights in August, September, and October, Magic Kingdom hosts ghosts and ghouls of all ages for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Party-goers experience event-exclusive entertainment, including a ride by the Headless Horseman, the Boo-To-You Parade, trick-or-treat stations, live shows, and Disney characters decked out in their Halloween costumes. Cook-Leitz says the fireworks spectacular is one not to be missed.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
You can celebrate the holidays with Mickey and Minnie in November and December during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This yuletide cheer spreads joy throughout Magic Kingdom on select nights. Cook-Leitz says not only are your favorite attractions open (and some are holiday themed!), but there is a great parade, your favorite characters are dressed in their holiday finest, cookies and hot chocolate flow abundantly. Of course, it would not be Disney without a dazzling fireworks show. Parties usually start at 7 p.m. and your separately purchased ticket allows entrance to Magic Kingdom at 4 p.m.
If you are visiting Walt Disney World during the Halloween or Christmas seasons, Cook-Letiz says these parties should definitely be on your to-do list.
3. Poolside Cabana
You can reserve a poolside cabana at select Disney resorts and Disney water parks. These private oases include some, if not all of the following: Dedicated cast member providing service to the cabanas, padded lounge chairs and sectional couch, ceiling fan, smart TV with cable service, fruit basket or snacks, a mini refrigerator stocked with complimentary sodas and water, and plush towels.
These are available for full and half-day rentals and have limited availability at select resorts. Cabanas also must be reserved in advance.
“A poolside cabana at one of Disney’s deluxe resorts can be the cherry on top of a lazy pool day,” Liden adds.
4. Fireworks Dessert Party
If you love Magic Kingdom fireworks and you love dessert, then Armbruster highly recommends the fireworks dessert parties. You simply arrive early and check in at Tomorrowland Terrace and they will seat you at your reserved table where you will enjoy a top notch view of the fireworks and also enjoy desserts and adult beverages as well as some cheeses and other juices. It is a perfect end to a perfect Magic Kingdom day!
At the time of writing this article, it will cost you $500-$600 depending on the ages of your kids. You will need a park ticket and either a park reservation for Magic Kingdom or a park hopper ticket to enjoy this extra. Park tickets are not included in the price of the party.
5. Minnie Vans
Minnie Vans are Disney’s answer to Lyft or Uber. Liden enjoys cruising in these adorable red and white polka dot vehicles. They pick you up and drop you off within the Walt Disney World complex. Driven by cast members and operated through the Lyft app, they are a fun way to get from point A to point B quickly. For those with little ones, they do provide car seats when needed.
6. Polynesian Bungalow
Another great splurge is a stay in a Polynesian Bungalow. There are two separate bedrooms and two full baths. You also have a full kitchen and living room, plus your own private plunge pool on the deck looking out over Seven Seas Lagoon. What a view!
“Though it was a huge splurge, it was just what our family of 3 needed! I highly recommend this if your budget or lack of one allows you to experience them. They are absolutely amazing! Pricing (at the time of this writing) starts around $2,300 per night depending on the season,” Armbruster says.
7. Signature Dining
If you are a foodie, then try some signature dining. There are so many to choose from — Le Cellier at EPCOT for the steak fans, California Grill at the Contemporary for an incredible fireworks view, or Victoria and Albert’s at Grand Floridian for a Five Diamond Award experience. Beard says with an incredible variety, there should truly be something for everyone.
8. Galactic Starcruiser
Now this is one of the priciest add-ons but Beard says your little jedi will never forget it. Galactic Starcruiser is Disney’s newest resort catering to the ULTIMATE Star Wars fan. Packages range in the $5,000 to $7,000 space (at the time of this writing and sometimes even higher). With an itinerary set much like a cruise ship, guests are whisked away for an intergalactic adventure. These prices include dining, lodging, and an “excursion” to the galaxy of Batuu in Hollywood Studios.
9. Theme Park View Room
At some point, save up and shoot for a theme park room view at one of the three deluxe resorts around Magic Kingdom. Beard says you will not only have easy access to the fun, but you can beat the crowds at night and enjoy the bursting skies from the comfort of your own pajamas! The prices of the rooms vary.