I worked at Disney World and am a travel planner, and there are a lot of things to waste money on.
Bottles of water, generic theme-park food, and bags of candy aren't worth it in my eyes.
I don't spring for the pricey spirit jerseys, balloons, or misting fans either.
As someone who grew up going to Disney World every year, worked there for two years, and currently works as a travel planner, I've formed some opinions on what I do and don't spend my money on at the parks.
Here are some I never buy at Disney.
It's important to stay hydrated, but I never waste money on single-use water bottles
Water bottles at Disney can be upwards of $4 apiece. When you're in the Florida sun all day, you must stay hydrated — but not at this cost.
There are water fountains located all around Disney World property, so I usually bring a tumbler that I fill up throughout the day.
Most quick-service restaurants will also give you free cups of water, so there's no need to spend $4 every time you need a drink.
Popcorn buckets are supposed to help you save — but they don't if you keep buying them
Every season the parks seem to release new cute popcorn buckets.
There are always so many to choose from, and some Disney fans like to collect them. But I personally don't understand the draw.
They're huge buckets, so I don't get where people store them when they're not at Disney. Even in the parks, I don't like to carry around something bulky on top of everything else I bring.
If you love eating popcorn in the parks (unlike me), you might be able to save a bit of money on refills. But it's only ever going to be lucrative if you stick to one bucket since they cost between $13 and $25 each.
I'm not a fan of the generic quick-service food spots
One of the things I love about visiting Disney World is enjoying all the different food offerings. I visit my favorite quick-service and specialty restaurants, hit up the food stands at the Epcot festivals, and keep my eye out for new seasonal offerings.
But I always try to avoid generic food I could get outside of Disney, such as Caesar salad, chicken nuggets, pizza, or plain cheeseburgers.
Spirit jerseys are outrageously expensive
When Disney first started making spirit jerseys some years back, I was the biggest fan. But recently I find myself avoiding them.
They've seemed to nearly double in price over the years, and I just can't allow myself to spend upwards of $80 on a long sleeve T-shirt.
I'd rather buy other Disney merchandise.
If you visit the parks often, I don't think springing for Lightning Lane passes is worth it
As an Orlando local, I can't justify spending the money on a Lighting Lane pass to skip the lines for attractions.
It'll either cost you nearly $16 a person per day if you buy Genie+ (which usually gets you a few Lightning Lane passes a day). Or you can buy Lightning Lane passes à la carte for a select number of rides for between $7 and $17 a person per day.
I've done all the rides so many times, so if something has too long of a wait, I can always come back.
I think Lighting Lane is only worth it for guests who aren't able to go to the parks often and want to make sure they ride every attraction.
I don't really get why people like the Disney-themed Crocs
I've never been a fan of the different variations of Crocs that Disney releases.
I'm also just not a fan of the shoes in general. I'd much rather spend my money on different Disney merchandise.
I bring my own umbrella or poncho to avoid buying rain equipment in the park
If you've visited Disney World, you know that a typical day involves some sort of rainstorm.
As someone who's been going to the parks since before I could walk, I always make sure to bring rain protection. That way I don't have to spend money on an expensive Disney poncho or umbrella, which can cost between $12 and $40.
The Mickey balloons are cute but pretty impractical
Even though a lot of the balloons Disney releases are adorable, I never buy them.
They're impractical, pretty expensive at $14, and you have to carry them around all day.
Many buildings and attractions on the property don't even allow balloons inside, so it really becomes a hassle to figure out what to do with them.
You can buy a misting fan outside of the parks for much cheaper
It can get very warm at Disney World, especially in the summer. But if I know it is going to be a hot one, I always bring my own misting fan.
I can typically find a functional one on Amazon or at Walmart for a lot cheaper than the $22 version in the Disney parks. I also like getting a smaller fan that can be popped in a backpack as opposed to the larger ones Disney sells.
There are much more exciting treats than the packaged candies and popcorns
I've tried the different packaged candies and popcorns from the Disney gift shops so many times before, and they're never worth it.
I'd rather get fresh popcorn or a made-to-order dessert when I'm visiting the parks.
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