How Disney World Tricks You Into Spending MORE Money

Disney World is good at MANY things! From the fine details to the nostalgia, and the thrills to the animation, is there ANYTHING they can’t do?!


Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Oh, and let’s not forget about that almost trance-like influence they have over us in getting guests to spend MORE money? Genius!

If there’s ONE thing you know about Disney World (okay aside from the fact that it’s magical), it’s that it’s EXPENSIVE. And while there are plenty of ways that they pretty blatantly convince us to spend more money, there are still other ways that are MUCH more subtle!


The Most Magical/Expensive Place on Earth

While things like uber-expensive hotels and ticketed after-hours events are obvious cash grabs, these are ways in which Disney World is subtly convincing you to spend more money:

Strategic Placement of Gift Shops

What a coincidence! You barely survived the Tower of Terror and now you immediately find yourself in a Tower of Terror-themed gift shop, suddenly mulling over a bathrobe you never knew you needed!


Tower of Terror gift shop

And oh what, what’s this? An Avatar-themed gift shop right at the exit of Flight of Passage, where we can customize our own Avatars?!


Pandora gift shop

And YES! Even though it’s 95 degrees and humid, we DO need a Norway-inspired coat after leaving Frozen Ever After! Are you sensing a theme here?


The Fjording

Disney World has mastered the art of strategically placing themed gift shops at almost ALL ride exits, so that you can casually peruse new merch (and spend more money) while you’re still on a giddy nostalgia-high and/or adrenaline rush.

Limited-Edition Merch Collections

If there’s one tactic Disney World is a PRO at, it’s the capacity to create buzz and demand. And they do so with one simple word: “limited.”


TOO cute

In addition to merchandise that’s more evergreen, like classic Minnie Ears and themed board games, Disney World periodically rolls out limited merch, often as part of a highly collectible series.


Stitch Crashes Pocahontas

We’ve seen it before. Heck, we’ve lined up for it before! Recent examples include that whole Stitch Crashes Disney line, and the 2020 series of Minnie merch inspired by Magic Kingdom attractions.


Jungle Cruise Loungeflys

By rolling these limited items out steadily, rather than all at once in mass amounts, Disney builds demand and creates something that feels more like a necessity than an impromptu purchase.

Lightning Lane and Individual Attraction Selections

Sure, there’s nothing particularly subtle about the fact that Disney World is now gladly taking more of your money to let you on in-demand rides more easily. Following the debut of Disney Genie+ and the introduction of Lightning Lanes and Individual Attraction Selections, it’s an up-charge that’s pretty blatant tbh.


Splash Mountain Lightning Lane

But what IS subtle about these features is how they don’t seem like that much money at first! For some, especially first-timers or families EAGER to go on a particular ride, $14 for Rise of the Resistance might seem like nothing. After all, we pay more for drinks ALL the time!


Rise of the Resistance is a MUST

However, making multiple Lightning Lane or Individual Attraction Selections will add up FAST, especially if you’re reserving for multiple people, and it suddenly won’t seem so subtle once you check your credit card statement after vacay!

Disney Vacation Club Stations

One key strategy that Disney employs in getting more of your money is by totally immersing you in their world of happiness, magic, and nostalgia!


Hard to say no to this

They want to ensure you stay on-property, drink their drinks, eat their food, and buy their merch. Basically, they want you to be a Disney super fan (nothing wrong with that!).


This DVC Spirit Jersey just looks…right

If that all wasn’t enough, though, they want to inspire you to spend even MORE time and money with Disney by signing up for Disney Vacation Club.


Disney Vacation Club kiosk in Animal Kingdom

How convenient, then, that DVC stations are situated throughout Disney World, ensuring you’re never far from spontaneously investing copious amounts of money while you’re on a Disney magic high! 

Drinking Around the World

The fact that the mere notion of Drinking Around the World in EPCOT is even a known thing tells you all you need to know about how cleverly designed World Showcase is, turning the act of spending money into a rite of passage!


EPCOT World Showcase

One thing is obvious: drinks in EPCOT (or anywhere in Disney World) are NOT cheap, so by continuously feeling compelled to spend more money in each pavilion, you’re forking over a lot more cash than you might think!


Wild Passion Margarita

But hey, those margs are just so good!

The 1 drink you should good from every pavilion when drinking around the world! 


One subtle and sneaky way that Disney compels you to spend more money is by making something that used to be free…not so free anymore.



We’re talking about MagicBands, which used to be free for Disney World resort guests and Annual Passholders, but now cost money for EVERYONE.



Fortunately for Disney, they’ve already normalized MagicBands as “must-have” merch, thus ensuring they’ll still get lots of guests to spend money on them!


So fun!

It’s especially true now, with the launch of MagicBand+, taking a collectible item and making it even MORE of a must-have!

See MagicBand+ in action here!

Preferred Parking

Even more of a pivotal issue when the parking lot trams weren’t operating, considering how LONG the walk can be, preferred parking can be an essential spend for some.


The trams were not operating like normal!

It’s not cheap, either. By charging extra for front-row parking, Disney is getting a chunk of change out of you before you’ve even stepped through the security checkpoint!


Driving to Disney World may cost you extra.

Maybe you have a sore knee. Maybe you want to save your energy for a full day of walking in the parks. Maybe you have a heavy stroller. There are loads of reasons why preferred parking might be important to you, just brace for the fact that it’ll cost you.


Another example of something that used to be free (for some) but now isn’t, PhotoPass photos on your My Disney Experience app suddenly cost money for everyone, Annual Passholders included!


PhotoPass spot in the China Pavilion

Not only that, but the temptation to purchase photos as a keepsake is especially strong for first-timers or anyone celebration something special, like a honeymoon. It’s moments like these that you might be extra tempted to preserve those memories — and pay the price for it.


Photo Spot = $$$

Between strategic gift shops and Disney Vacation Club stations to not-so-freebies, there are plenty of ways that Disney World is subtly tricking you to into spending money — we just wish we had more will power! But with that being said, we are here to help.

We are in Disney World every single day and know what is worth your hard earned money and what isn’t. We have tips to save, recommendations on what souvenirs to buy, reviews of Disney merchandise like ponchos and ears, and so much more. We want to help you feel like you have having the best experience when you go to the parks and we want to help you avoid credit card bill shock when you go home. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest and most up to date information and buy our DFB Guide if you want a detailed look at planning and saving on a Disney World trip!

Yes…You ARE Spending MORE at the Disney Parks — Here’s Why


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What’s one gift shop in Disney World you CAN’T say no to? Let us know in the comments!

The post How Disney World Tricks You Into Spending MORE Money first appeared on the disney food blog.


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