We went to WDW last summer and are planning another trip this summer.
Based on our trip, I don’t think the following are worth the extra money:
1. Park hopping - If you have small kids and want to see everything, you need the entire day to see a park. Therefore, skip “park hopping” when you buy your WDW tickets.
2. Staying on-site at WDW - I know this is very subjective, but I can’t justify spending almost double the price for a small hotel room with 2 beds in it, just because it’s on WDW property. Last year, we stayed at the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas and paid just under $200 USD a night for a 2 bedroom villa at a beautiful 4 star resort. For that amount I would have only gotten a moderate room at WDW resort and we would have been miserable being so squished for 11 days. The resort was only 5 to 15 minutes from the WDW parks, so it was closer than some of the WDW hotels, depending on which park we went to. Our villa had 2 bedrooms, 2 washrooms, a kitchen, living room, dinning room and washer/dryer. The property has 7 pools, mini golf, an arcade, an escape room, tennis courts, fitness centre, 3 restaurants and store, so it had anything we needed and could easily compare to a Disney resort.
3. Disney quick service restaurants - I was disappointed with most of the quick service restaurants when we had to eat lunch at the WDW parks. The food was nothing special and horribly overpriced. You could hardly ever find seating without having to wait for a while first, the restaurants needed to be cleaned better and the lines were always huge. Any fast food chain I have been to in Orlando (Wendy’s, McDonalds etc.) has better food, service and seating. If you can, eat before and after you visit the parks.
4. Disney full service restaurants - We enjoyed eating at Via Napoli in Epcot last year, but it was way too expensive. We spent over $200 for a family of 4, for pizza, dessert, alcoholic drinks and coffee. I have travelled all over the world and this is not reasonable. Pizza in Rome and Venice costs less! I also don’t like the fact that they want you to book so far in advance. I don’t want my whole schedule to revolve around the time I have dinner reservations. I found the restaurants at Disney Springs and near our hotel to be good and much more affordable. Plus, you can just walk in, or make your reservation an hour before you get there. Therefore, I think it’s better to eat off-site.
5. Paying extra to park closer - This is another waste of money. Parking already costs around $20 at WDW. They have trams you can take to your car so it’s not worth paying an extra $10 or $20 to be 2 minutes closer to your car. You have to take the tram anyway, so an extra minute or two won’t make a difference.