Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Chances are you’ve read plenty of articles on how to save money on your Disney vacation. However, a trip like this is the experience of a lifetime and sometimes it’s worth it to spend a few extra dollars. These five Disney splurges are popular for good reason and will make your special trip even more magical and memorable.
It’s well known that a trip to Disney can get expensive. While there are plenty of ways to save money on your vacation, sometimes it’s more fun to give in and make it memorable with a special experience. From dining with princesses to the benefits of staying on property, sometimes those Disney splurges can be worth it. These are some of the best experiences my family has had on our Disney vacations.
What could be more fun than dining with Disney characters? When we took our first family vacation to Disney World, character dining was something I knew I wanted to splurge on. While it wasn’t cheap, we felt like it was worth every penny!. My daughters loved watching the princesses as they made their way around to the tables. When they got to our table, they really took the time to make it a memorable experience for my girls. They signed autographs, chatted and had a little more time to spend than when you wait in line to meet them at the parks.
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The bonus is that you meet quite a few characters at once, which means you won’t be waiting in long lines to meet them later. That gives you more time for all the other rides.
TravelingMOM Tip: If you’d like a great experience AND terrific food when dining with princesses, I’d opt for lunch Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot. While we had wonderful experiences at both places, the food was much better at Akershus.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
What little girl doesn’t want to be a princess? At Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, your daughters will be transformed as if they had their own fairy godmother. From hair, makeup, nails and accessories, they’ll be pampered all the way. Sorry moms…it’s just for the little ones! The boys don’t have to feel left out because they can choose to become fierce pirates.
TravelingMOM Tip: It’s easy to save a little money by bringing your own princess dress from home.
This was another thing I unsure about doing but in the end, I was very glad I had. With the Memory Maker, we were able to have professional family photos taken wherever we saw a Disney photographer. Since I’m usually behind the camera, we have few photos together and it was nice to be able to get so many as a family. Disney’s photographers are located throughout the parks to capture special moments everywhere from Cinderella’s castle to the Eiffel Tower in Epcot.
Sometimes your pictures even come with a little extra Disney magic. We wondered why this photographer had the girls hold their hands out in front of them but it all made sense once we got home and saw the photos.
TravelingMOM Tip: Don’t worry if the memory maker just doesn’t fit into the budget. Disney photographers are happy to snap family photos with your own camera.
I often recommend bringing souvenirs from home to save money. However, sometimes it can be fun to pick up a Disney souvenir that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. Skip the toys that you can find anywhere, such as a princess doll or stuffed Mickey. Disney has plenty of great shops that offer unique souvenirs. We once bought my daughter an entire set of Disney princess Christmas ornaments and every year when we pull them out, she’s reminded of our magical family vacation. I’ve never seen those ornaments anywhere else and we’ve always felt they were worth the extra money that we spent.
It’s not hard to find budget friendly hotels but it can be worth the splurge to stay on Disney property. Advantages to staying on Disney property include extra magic hours, free parking, and boat and monorail transportation. You can even use your magic bands to bypass check-in and go straight to your room. There are plenty to choose from, so you can usually find one that fits your budget.
TravelingMOM Tip: If you’re staying at one of hotels with lots of amenities, schedule extra time to make the most of them. We’ve stayed at properties with fabulous pools but wound up spending all our time in the parks. If I’d known better I’d have scheduled an extra day or two. You don’t want to stay on property with a fabulous pool or amazing restaurant if you won’t be around enough to enjoy it.
There are so many great ways to save money at Disney. We love bringing our own food and refilling our water bottles. Headed to the happiest place on earth? Traveling Mom recommends Undercover Tourist for discount theme park tickets.
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