Home » 5 Walt Disney World Upcharge Experiences that are Actually Worth the Money

5 Walt Disney World Upcharge Experiences that are Actually Worth the Money

scrapnancy, Flickr (license)

A lot of times, a trip to Walt Disney World can feel like Bob Iger stole your identity — sure, everything seems fine, but then one day you check your bank account only to discover that thousands of dollars have gone missing.

Much of that cost comes from things that are part of the basic Walt Disney World experience, like the resort hotels, food, and park admission. But, in recent years, Disney has become masterful at crafting unique indulgences that can give some guests a special perk … in exchange for an extra charge.

In the theme park world, these have become known as “upcharge experiences.” While Disney wasn’t the first to come up with such a thing, they are certainly the best at it.

Now, not all upcharge experiences are created equal. In fact, some aren’t too valuable at all. But there are a select few that not only provide a type of VIP experience, but they do so to such a degree that the money they cost is totally worth it.

Here are the five upcharge experiences that are definitely worth their cost:

Behind the Seeds

 scrapnancy, Flickr (license)

Image: scrapnancy, Flickr (license)

If you’ve ever been to Epcot, you’ve probably explored its popular The Land pavilion — home to the renowned Soarin’ Over the World attraction. Next to that ride, however, you’ll find Living with the Land, a relaxing boat ride that tells the history of American agriculture. And, believe it or not, it’s far more interesting than it sounds — particularly when you arrive at the greenhouse portion of the tour, when your boats make way through real produce Disney is growing and experimenting with on property. 

But if that isn’t enough for you, you can actually take a behind the scenes tour of that greenhouse area, seeing an up-close view of those crops while learning more about the processes by which Disney has grown them. That tour is called, funny enough, “Behind the Seeds.”

Unlike most Disney tours, it’s fairly short and relatively inexpensive, but it’s a fascinating glimpse not only at some cool science underway at Epcot, but also one of Walt Disney World’s most unique attractions.

The Chef’s Table


Image: Disney

When most of us want to do something special at Walt Disney World, we grab dinner at the California Grill. When we want to do something really special, if we’re fortunate, we do a tasting menu at the world-renowned Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

But if that isn’t enough — if a five-star experience just doesn’t quite cut it for you — there is one other tier you can elevate to: the Chef’s Table at Victoria and Albert’s.

In this experience, head chef Scott Hunnel crafts a personalized menu for your party’s specific tastes and preferences. From there, the kitchen is your show as you get to enjoy seeing your meals prepared while you sit right beside the kitchen.

It’s an amazingly difficult reservation to score, and it’ll cost you $250 per person to try it. But if you do, you’d be hard pressed to say it wasn’t worth it.

The Void


Image: Disney

If attractions are more your speed, one of the best at Walt Disney World isn’t found in any one theme park. Instead, it’s hidden at Disney Springs — The Void’s virtual reality Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire experience.

Due to its limited capacity, the Star Wars VR experience is an upcharge attraction. But, for $30, guests can enjoy one of the single most immersive Star Wars experiences you could possibly imagine.

The Void’s unique style of VR storytelling includes real-world sets and props that guests can interact with while wearing their VR helmets. The result is a unique combination of the real world and the virtual world — if a railing appears in front of you, you can touch it and it’ll be there for real.

The experience lasts around a half-hour, but for a Star Wars superfan, it’ll feel like it flew by in just a matter of minutes. And, coming toward the end of the year, The Void will premier a new Wreck-It Ralph-themed attraction at Disney Springs.

Disney After Hours

 mblphotography, Flickr (license)

Image: mblphotography, Flickr (license)

How much would you pay to have Walt Disney World to yourself? $50? $100? What about $125? That was Disney’s gamble when it created the Disney After Hours experience at Walt Disney World. 

So far, it has been a success. On select nights, each Disney Park remains open three hours later than usual — but only to holders of the special event ticket. Yes, it’s extremely expensive, and yes, you’re only getting a small amount of time in the park. However, the trade-off Disney guarantees you is that there will be far fewer people in the park than during a normal operating day.

For some, that seems silly — the parks are often open from 8AM until 10PM or later. Why pay the extra price for just a few hours more? But for others, the After Hours events offer an oasis free from the crushing crowds and stressful stampedes. Are you willing to trade hard-earned dollars for exclusive access to one of the most prized pieces of real estate on earth? If so, Disney’s happy to make that trade — and, considering that the events largely live up to the promise, it’s hard to argue that it isn’t worth it.

Holiday Parties

 dkelly1126, Flickr (license)

Image: dkelly1126, Flickr (license)

But if paying for the privilege of a few extra hours in the park seems a bit much, perhaps you might feel better if you got a seasonally-appropriate show along with it. That’s the premise behind Disney’s famous holiday parties, such as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

In practice, the holiday parties are not too dissimilar from the After Hours events. The trade-offs are there, of course — there are more people and fewer attractions guaranteed to be open — but in exchange, you get more time in one of the most magical places in the world during some of the most magical times.

Plus, special parades and shows make the holiday parties feel like an entirely different theme park — especially if you’ve never been to one before.

It’s rare that Disney takes money out of your wallet and you willingly hand it over without feeling too guilty. Disney’s holiday parties, though, tend to be such an experience.

If you’ve been to Disney countless times and are looking for some way to spice it up, or if you’re looking to do something special on your first ever visit, these upcharge experiences might seem silly at first. But, they’re well worth your time … and money.