4 Disney Extras that are “Worth It” and 4 That Might Not Be

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We often get asked what extras are worth spending your money on and what simply aren’t that important. So I took eight of the most asked about ones for this article!

Which Extras (Up-Charges) are “Worth it?”

  1. Holiday Parties

We are asked all the time if the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Part (MNSSHP) and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) are worth the money. I say Yes.

These events happen at various dates August through December. The price varies based on the date you attend and if you buy your tickets in advance.

Guests with tickets to these events can usually enter around 4PM for the party that lasts from 7PM till midnight. The park will close at 7PM to general admission and guests for the party get to continue in the parks. It does drop the wait times.

(Here’s a little secret though. On party nights the park closes early so people don’t usually want to use a park ticket for a whole day on a partial day. Crowds can be less in the Magic Kingdom on party days.)

During the party there is special entertainment, parades, fireworks, merchandise, treats (free ones too) and more!

I do think MNSSHP is a better party and a better deal (plus if you trick-or-treat you get a lot of candy) but MVMCP is also very nice and the castle looks amazing!

Overall I would say definitely yes it is worth the up-charge.

2. runDisney Events

Throughout the year Disney hosts running events,usually a 5k, 10k, Half-Marathon, and kids events, with a full marathon taking place in January.  The price varies based on the run you choose.

The 5k is an un-timed, family friendly, race. It’s not that far and you can even walk it.

I do recommend trying this at least once as it is a lot of fun and you race early in the morning, before the parks open, so you get to see some cool things and sometimes get into areas that are usually closed off to guests.

Plus there is special merchandise for runDisney participants, special photo opportunities and more. Definitely worth the up-charge.

3. Character Meals

(Photo Credit: Disney)

Character Meals happen at various table service locations around the Disney Parks. Most of the time they are buffet style, but some they bring to your table.

These are fun because while you eat the Disney characters will come to your table to see you, take photos, sign autographs, etc.

Different characters are at different locations so make sure you check all the options to decide on the characters you would like to meet the most.

It’s also nice because you don’t have to wait in line for a long time for a character interaction. Keep in mind these can be pricey and you usually need reservations. Tips at table service locations are usually not included unless you have a larger party. If you have a dining plan the character meals are included in the ones with table service credits, but there are a couple that will require two credits per person.

Again. I would recommend this at least once. Worth it!

4. Tours and Tour Guides

Disney parks do offer special tours and you can pay to have VIP tour guides.

VIP Tour Guides: I do recommend this if you can do it but the tour guides are very expensive. Prices start at $425 per hour (sometimes more depending on the season) and there is a minimum number of hours required. Plus you have to have valid park admission. You can have up to 10 people in your group. So you could split this up between friends, family members, etc.

It’s nice because the tour guides can usually get you to the front of the line. They are knowledgeable about the parks, history, trivia and more. They will take you where you would like to go. If you can afford it, I recommend it.

Tours: Disney also offers a variety of tours in the various parks.

Prices vary by tour and some are several hours while others are an hour or less.  You can learn more about the various tours offered HERE.

Of course some are more worth it than others. It depends on your interests and budget.

Yes it can be worth it for sure.

4 Not So “Worth It” Extras

  1. Dessert Parties

Dessert Parties are all the rage at Disney Parks anymore. The up-sell is usually that you get special desserts and food and then you get to have a special viewing area for a parade or fireworks show.

The prices for these are NOT worth it in my opinion. You are better to spend the money on treats from the bakeries or kiosks and getting to the event early to get a good spot.  You can often get a better spot on your own.

By all means do them if you want to try it at least once. I always say if you want to do something go for it. If you like them definitely do it. But if you are asking me if it’s worth the $$$ I’m going to say No.

2. Dining Plans

Often people think that the Disney Dining Plan is a good deal. If you order the most expensive items that qualify it could be (remember you have to pay tips separately) but often they just aren’t worth it.

Usually it’s too much food for us and we couldn’t eat enough to make it a better deal. We end up with a lot of credits that we lose money on trading them in for snacks. Many blogs have written about how the dining plans are not the best way to go.

Of course if you can snag a free one when you book, take it. But if there are other discounts weight them as well, they could save you more in the end.

Like with the dessert parties, if the Dining Plan is something you like, definitely go with it, but it isn’t always the best up-charge to buy.

3. Early Morning Magic / Disney After Hours

This special “extra” is offered various times of the year. Most often it is at the Magic Kingdom, but the Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios also offer it. You have to have regular park admission to buy tickets to the extra time as well.

Early Morning Magic: allows guests into the park about an hour and a half early and ride attractions in a specific area with, low wait times, until the park opens. It also includes a quick-service, buffet breakfast.

Unless you really want to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Flight of Passage, or Slinky Dog Dash multiple times for $89 per adult/ $79 per child (plus regular park admission) you can. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the price.

Disney After Hours: This one is a little more worth it, but still pricey. Available at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, it offers 3 extra hours of park time. So it’s more like one of the holiday parties and includes snacks and beverages like the holiday parties. The price for this one is $129 per person.

If you have the money I would recommend it more than the Early Morning Magic option, but it’s still quite a bit for what it is.

4. Minnie Vans

If you aren’t driving yourself and you don’t want to take the buses, you can take the Minnie Vans at Walt Disney World.

Minnie Vans are special vehicles painted red with white polka-dots, that offer special service around the parks.

Once upon a time I would have recommended them more, but their prices have increased and when you compare it to Lyft or Uber, it really isn’t worth the expense.  The only time I might reconsider that is if you are going to the Magic Kingdom. Minnie Vans can drop you off at the bus area, where Lyft and Uber have to take you to the Transportation and Ticket Center and you will have to come across in the ferry.  In that instance, if you really can’t ride the bus, it might be worth it.

For some it’s the best way and that’s fine. If you have a limited budget it’s something you can do without.

There you have it. The top extras people have asked about.

Of course your opinions might vary and something I said I don’t think is worth it you might feel is the best bang for your buck. That is fine. You do you! But we’ve done 99% of these and sometimes they aren’t worth the cost.

I hope it helps some of you!

What do you think? Comment and let us know.

Disney has been a big part of my life for years--from family trips to WDW to growing up on Disney classics, TV, and movies. I'm a mom and an art teacher. I love to share my love for Disney and I'm also a co-host of the Disney fan podcast and YouTube Pirates and Princesses (PNP) channel. Also contributor D-Rezzed and Former contributor and acting social media manager at The Kingdom Insider. Opinions are all mine.