What's not worth the money at WDW?

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.

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I agree with you on park hopping with small children and paying the extra for closer parking. For us, on-site is worth the money, as my DH prefers not to drive and we enjoy the bubble. I also prefer getting my FPs at 60 days. The food is expensive, but you are paying theme park prices, so it comes with the territory. I will agree that there are specific restaurant locations that I don’t think are worth the money, so I just don’t eat there.

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Totally agree on 1, 4 and 5. Totally disagree on 2 and 3. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Hate to reply to myself LOL but I want to clarify part of my response. I agree that the quick service restaurants have some very real issues but for us it’s the lesser evil so we use them heavily. :wink:

I ate at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in London and paid less than we did at Via Napoli.

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I guess the driving is the issue. If you have a rental car you have more dining options.

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To me, the cost of the rental and parking would be included in the hotel costs. Plus the frustration of driving through traffic. We also don’t mind Disney transportation.

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Oh God, my brain is mush this PM. I should have said I agreed on 1, 4 and 5 and disagreed on 2 and 3. I absolutely agree about the full service places. Totally overpriced and not nearly good enough to justify said prices. You are absolutely right. (I’ll edit my post)

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Generally, I agree with you. We paid for it once, and never actually hopped. We had 6 day tickets. But there are exceptions. If you can’t allocate 4 full days to tackle each park, for example. Or, if you are staying on site and want to hop to Epcot for a change in food, or spend a day in one park, but see fireworks in another, that kind of thing.

I’ve only done it once, so far. For our honeymoon. It was wonderful! But, realities of budgeting has had us agree with this in all other cases, including our upcoming May 2020 trip. We will have 10 nights in a 5-bedroom house with private pool/hot tub, kitchen, game room, etc. for about $1600. That works out to $160/night for 8 people! So, definitely you can get more value off site if you don’t care about the 60 day FPP.

Having said that, the 60 day FPP is a potential reason to stay on site. Also, my DW and I will do an on-site 25th Anniversary trip in December 2020 where we are spending the big bucks. It is expensive, but there are only two of us. No way we could do it with the entire family!

Yes, true…however, we still usually end up doing 1 meal in the parks. We get there early, and usually leave by dinner. But lunch. We have, at times, brought in a lunch with us when our budget was particularly tight. But now that I make a little more money, I can afford to fork over the money for some on-site eating. We will still eat Breakfast and most dinners in our rental house, however.

For us, this is a rarity. Like, we pick ONE full service place per trip. Last time, it was Rainforest Cafe. And it was very expensive with a family. With the anniversary trip, it will just be me and my wife, so it will be a different story. We budgeted ahead of time to cover eating at full service places with just the two of us.

Totally agree. With rare exception, I can’t imagine why anyone would pay for this. We’re going to walk 6 miles in the parks each day…we can handle a little more walking in the parking lot. However, I can see how this might be advantageous for those who aren’t necessarily handicapped, but have some health issues.

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I didn’t find the traffic bad in Orlando, and a drive of 10 to 15 minutes was better than waiting for a bus that could take up to an hour. I’m from Toronto, so Orlando traffic has nothing on us!

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I’m talking about the traffic getting into the parks. I haven’t been in a car in Orlando since I went with my parents in the 90’s. :slightly_smiling_face:. And we have never waited for an hour for the bus. 45 minutes was the longest in a very odd situation at AK.

I agree the traffic to get into the park with a car was long. For the bus, I meant that I have heard that the time from when you get to the bus stop to when you get to your hotel can be long…I have heard that it can take up to an hour as they stop at several hotels along the way.

Maybe my expectations are too high! I have travelled a lot in Europe and North America and have eaten in a lot of good restaurants. I guess dinner at a full service WDW restaurant can never live up to dinner in Paris or London, or a cruise ship for me.

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I really don’t even know why anyone would compare the food in WDW to food else where. It is an amusement park…of course it is not going to compare to food in Paris or London. You are paying for convenience in almost everything that you get at Disney. The food is no different. If you don’t want to leave the parks, or pack your own food, or eat the same QS meals over and over for days, then you pay for the convenience of a TS meal.

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I think you are mixing up the Magical Express to and from the airport and the buses around the parks and resorts. Yes the magical express from the airport can take an hour, but most of it is driving. You do sometimes stop at several hotels, but the last time I went it was only one. The buses around the resorts and parks typically do not go to multiple hotels, unless it is at very unbusy times and only to a neighboring hotel, such as POFQ and POR or the Allstar resorts.

What I meant was that the Quick Service restaurants at WDW suck compared to every other place I have been! Only airplane food is worse. Any fast food restaurant you go to has better food and service. I was expecting that they would at least compare to Wendy’s or McDonald’s and they don’t! I did not have high expectations, but they are worse than other amusement park restaurants I have been to.

The full service restaurants can compare to other full service restaurants off-site, but they are horribly over-priced.

I agree with 3 and 5

We have young kids and the park hoppers and staying onsite are what made our vacation a vacation and not a stressful mad dash through parks. We rope drop the park that has extra magic hours and stay until around noon or one. Then we head back to the hotel and relax until around 4. Then we head out to another park that is less busy (because it didn’t have the extra magic hours) and enjoy an evening in the parks.

I think if you take advantage extra magic hours, your hotel being very close, and hopping to a different park in the afternoon it is well worth the extra expense. Makes it a much less stressful vacation. Because it is a vacation you need to relax a little.

I’ll admit the quick service did not impress me in the parks either.

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Interesting discussion. I get where you are coming from but at the moment for our family, I don’t agree. Onsite feels like we are on holiday at WDW, while offsite is a villa holiday with day trips to WDW. If you’re offsite then I agree hoppers probably aren’t worth the money. I love the TS dining, to me it’s half the holiday as most of the restaurants are so unique, and not a setting you can find elsewhere. I’ve never driven at WDW but if I did I would probably pay the extra for preferred parking unless we were arriving very early.

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I get your point as well. Maybe if we were going for less days I would try staying on site at WDW. We are going for 11 days, and WDW will only take up 5 days of our trip, so a relaxing trip at a resort with day trips to WDW, the beach and other places is the type of experience we’re going for.

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It’s all completely subjective. If everyone on this site weighed in, we could have a list of every single thing to do at Disney. Add some people who don’t like Disney and they’ll say nothing is worth the money.

A mickey bar isn’t worth it. $5? I can get that for a box of 10 ice cream bars at Walmart for $4!
Beer isn’t worth it. $9? I can get that for $3 at Applebees!
Stuffed animals aren’t worth it. $20? I can get that for $5 on Amazon!
Hotel room outside Disney isn’t worth it. $70/nt? I can just stay home!

I don’t worry about what other people think is or isn’t worth it. I decide what is or isn’t worth it for my family. Everything that everyone has mentioned on here is absolutely valid. If you are getting what you want out of your vacation then it was worth it.

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