Disney Vacation Upgrades that Don’t Make the Grade

Mickey Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey Very Merry Christmas Party - Photo by Steps to Magic

You can over-spend on a Disney World vacation by investing your budget into the wrong things for your party.

Many of the items in this article may, in fact, be perfect for your unique situation and so feel free to disregard the advice on that specific point. We’re just trying to give things that we’ve seen or experienced to our readership in order for them to make an educated decision.

Disney Vacation Upgrades that Don’t Make the Grade

Hotel Pizza Delivery

Starting out with an easy “pass”, the sheer cost of an after-hours pizza from a Disney resort would make even the biggest spender blush. If you think that you’ll be hungry after getting back from a full day at the parks, grab a snack or a meal “to go” and it’ll save you enough money to have another Dole Whip!

Cost: Two Adult Table Service dining credits are required to purchase one Large Pizza, two Desserts, and one 2-Liter Bottle of Soda.


Preferred Parking

Many folks drive to Disney World and take their car everywhere. With most of those folks being Annual Passholders, they get free parking with their investment…but sometimes folks will pay cash for things like parking. This tip is for you!

Don’t worry about Preferred Parking! It’s not worth it.

Directly from Disney:
Guests pay one fee for a parking pass good all day at all 4 theme parks—Magic Kingdom park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Our special preferred parking lots are located conveniently close to the theme park entrances. All parking fees include applicable sales tax.

  • Preferred parking: car or motorcycle – $45-$50 per day*
  • Standard parking: car or motorcycle – $25 per day
  • Oversized Vehicle Parking: Shuttle, Limo, Camper Trailer, RV, Bus or Tractor Trailer – $30 per day

Standard theme park parking is included for registered Guests of Disney Resort hotels and select Annual Passholders. These Guests can also choose to enjoy preferred parking by paying the difference in cost between their included standard parking and preferred parking (difference is currently $20-$25 per day*).

*Pricing is seasonal and will vary based on date of visit.


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Chefs Table at Victoria & Alberts

I love Victoria & Alberts! It’s an amazing experience if you’re looking for Disney dining on a level that you have always dreamed about.

That being said, the Chef’s Table may not be exciting IF you’re not into the culinary scene. It’s the same price per guest from the regular Dining Room or the Queen Victoria Room, but as long as you’re excited for a meal to remember…you’ll be fine:)


Character Dining

Controversial take, but every Character Dining experience is not the same AND some are not worth the upgrade.

When you’re paying out of pocket, it’s important for you to find a meal that brings good food together with an awesome character encounter. If you think that your party won’t enjoy meeting certain characters, then maybe it’s worth finding another reservation at a character dining.

The best example is the Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or the meals at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian. Both are non-Fab5 and are perfect for a certain age group or fans of a certain franchise.


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Holiday Events

Over the last couple years, we’ve planned full vacations around Halloween and Christmas in order to get to see Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party.

From the price of the tickets ($100+ for a party which gets you access to the Magic Kingdom for 8 hours or so) to the crowds and generic merchandise that doesn’t appeal to most guests. These parties used to be fun, but have now transformed into gatherings where most guests have to camp out for 2+ hours to meet a single character and have to deal with large crowds of unhappy guests trying to get their money worth.

After buying tickets and experiencing them both, we feel as though the parties have now ventured into the territory of not being worth the price of admission.


Minnie Van

This is an easy one for me, because I feel as though there are better options to get around Walt Disney World than in a minivan with polka dots. Grab an UBER and save 60-80% of the cost of a Minnie Van trip.


Hope that this was helpful in your trip planning!

Please remember that if you are “all in” on Minnie Vans or every character experience, this article wasn’t telling you that you were wrong. In fact, if you love the holiday parties because you’re able to pick and choose the exact dates that may have smaller crowds and fluke out with a night that gets rained out…you’ve got the luck of the Irish and you should pick up a lottery ticket:)

I’m Dustin Fuhs, a theme park fanatic that has created this platform to showcase my passion, tools and opinions to create a fun and interactive experience for everyone who visits. My goal is to help you and your family have the most magical experience at Walt Disney World. In reading my articles and ideas, I hope that you can find some fantastic ways to bring your dreams into reality!
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