When Disney World is already expensive, you might not have considered any of the optional upgrades you could buy.
You don’t HAVE to get any upgrades to have a great Disney World vacation but you might find the extra cost of some of them to be worth it. We asked DFB readers, “What Disney World upgrade do you think is totally worth it?”
We reached out on Facebook (give us a follow if you want to share your opinions in the future!) to find out which upgrades our readers find worth the extra cost and their responses might make you consider shelling out some extra cash! We’re taking a look at the most common responses from our readers, so let’s get into it!
Park hopper tickets
When you book your Disney World tickets, you can opt for either standard or park hopper tickets. Park hopper tickets cost extra, by about $65 to $75 (depending on how many days of tickets you book), so it’s a serious upgrade to consider. If you don’t mind staying in one park all day, you probably don’t need them, but if you like a little more freedom and the ability to visit a couple parks a day, the park hopper ticket can be a worthy upgrade. One reader said, “Park hopping is a must[.] I love visiting multiple parks in a day.”
Not everyone is thrilled with park hopping at Disney World at the moment, however, because park reservations make it a little more complicated. In order to park hop, you must have a park reservation to check into first, and park hopping isn’t allowed until after 2PM. Still, it can be worth it!
Another reader said, “I know a lot of people won’t agree but for my family park hopping is a must. Most of the restaurants we enjoy are in EPCOT and it’s the best park to divert to on crowded days. We rarely start our day there but end up there almost every evening.”
Also, if you’re staying at a Disney Skyliner resort, like Art of Animation or Pop Century, having a park hopper ticket can add even more convenience to your trip. With the ability to visit both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios plus switch between the two, a park hopper gives you a little more freedom. One reader said, “[S]kyliner resort with a park hopper […]. Skyliner is a game changer for sure.”
If you like to visit multiple Disney Parks in one day or you’re staying at the Skyliner and want to maximize your options, you might want to consider the park hopper upgrade!
The BIG park hopping danger you need to know about in Disney World!
Although it seems like lots of people aren’t fans of Genie+, a number of our readers pointed out (some begrudgingly) that the cost of Genie+ is worth it to skip lines. If you didn’t know, Genie+ is the new, paid version of FastPass+, which means you pay $15 per person, per day to skip standby lines and use Lightning Lanes.
A reader said, “As much as I hate to admit it, Genie+.” You don’t HAVE to buy Genie+ — but it might make your day easier.
As we’ve talked about, one of the biggest Genie+ recommendations we routinely make is to do your research and know how to use it. If you don’t know anything about Genie+ before getting to Disney World, you probably won’t be able to get the most out of it.
Another reader said, “Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes. If you really do your research beforehand and get good at using it quickly, it will literally save you hours of standing in line per day,” and one reader said, “Genius+. Once you know how to use it […] it’s very useful.”
And it’s no secret that Disney World has been CROWDED lately. We’ve been seeing line wait times of over two hours on a routine basis now! So if you hate waiting in lines or you have young kiddos who might struggle in line, Genie+ could be a great investment.
A reader commented, “Genius+. [I don’t care about] the cost. With a little [one] who wants no part of waiting for anything let alone in a ride line with hundred[s] of other people for 60 minutes at a time [it’s] totally worth more than it cost me.”
Disney World upgrades are not always necessary for everyone, but according to many of our readers, “Genie+ was totally worth it for us!”
Disney Genie and Genie+ — Here’s EVERYTHING you need to know!
Figuring out what hotel to stay in during your Disney World vacation can be a difficult puzzle to solve but there are some upgrades to consider. Right now, staying in any Disney World hotel can get you access to Early theme park entry, which allows guests to enter Disney Parks 30 minutes before opening time. A reader commented, “Getting a head start or late access can mean getting on a few more premium rides without much of a wait.”
Deluxe Disney World hotels can give you additional perks, but it could cost you upwards of $700 per night. Still, you can take advantage of some of those exclusive perks, like Extended evening hours! A reader said, “A deluxe resort. The location and amenities are worth the price,” and another reader said, “Deluxe resort. Definitely expensive but they are whole experiences on their own. Plus the perks.”
For some of our readers, the proximity of some deluxe hotels to Disney Parks is a worthy upgrade. A reader commented, “Deluxe Resort – specifically Beach/Yacht Club for walkability to EPCOT.” Disney’s Beach and Yacht Clubs are located just a short walk from the International Gateway entrance gates of EPCOT, which makes it much easier to get back to your room at the end of the night!
And if you REALLY want to go all out with the upgrade, you could also opt for a preferred room at a deluxe resort for an optimal view — sometimes with views of a Disney Park! Another reader said, “Preferred rooms at any resort, but a preferred room with a great view at a Deluxe is even better and worth it!”
You might be shelling out a pretty penny for these upgrades but if views and convenience matter to you, a deluxe hotel might work for you!
The pros and cons of staying at a Disney World deluxe hotel!
There are also a few upgrades to think about with dining! Instead of visiting a regular restaurant, you could visit a character dining spot! These restaurants tend to be on the pricier side and it might be difficult to find reservations, but if you or your family loves seeing characters, it might be an upgrade to consider!
One of our readers said, “Character dining (as opposed to any other dining at the parks) is definitely worth it. You have to eat at some point and it means no waiting in line forever to see popular characters at the same time.”
Another upgrade to consider is dining packages for fireworks or shows. These packages often cost a pretty penny, but they typically guarantee good seating! If you don’t want to wait hours for a good fireworks spot, you can book a dining package and spend your valuable time doing other things.
A reader said, “Dining packages for fireworks/shows! I much prefer having guaranteed good seating, instead of having to stake out a spot.”
Character dining can save you time in line for individual characters in the park and dining packages can keep you from wasting time sitting in a spot for fireworks. Time is money and your time is precious at Disney World!
The complete list of back-to-normal character dining restaurants!
And if photos are really important to you but you don’t want to be the designated family photographer, you can upgrade to the memory maker package to get professional pictures taken by Disney PhotoPass photographers, digital downloads of all your photos, magic shots, and more. You can expect to spend $69 for one day $169 for 30 days if purchased in advance, or $199 for 30 days if purchased during your visit.
A reader commented, “Memory Maker. Honestly it makes getting pictures so much better when you don’t have to ask a random stranger to hold your phone.” You could opt to take photos on your own or hand your phone to Cast Members (or strangers), but it might eliminate some stress if you know you can get professional-level photos all over Disney World.
Is Disney’s Memory Maker photo add-on actually worth it?
So this isn’t exactly an upgrade we can opt for, but it’s the upgrade we’ve been asking for. A reader said, “[Give] Rapunzel something better than a bathroom!!!” RIGHT?? Poor Punzie deserves more than just a bathroom, even though it’s consistently rated one of the best bathrooms in Disney World (yes, that’s a thing).
We could totally see The Snuggly Duckling pub from Tangled fitting in perfectly in Magic Kingdom! Oh well. Maybe someday!
Keep reading DFB for more Disney news and updates — and remember to follow us on social media if you want to weigh in on future debates!
The most stressful situations at Disney World and how to fix them!
What do you think about Disney World upgrades? Tell us in the comments!