Disney World is a dream destination for many families, but they often wonder if it’s still worth it given the increasing costs and crowds. This article discusses why Disney World will continue to be a popular vacation destination in 2024. It also examines some of the potential drawbacks, offers tips, and answers common questions about who Disney vacations are best for. With this information, you can decide if Disney World is the right destination for your family vacation.

Let’s start off with the reasons why Disney World is a worthwhile family destination.

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21 Reasons Why Disney World is Still Worth It

1. Timeless Magic

Entering a Disney park sparks a sense of wonder and fantasy in both children and adults. While newer high-tech attractions amaze with their innovation, classics like “it’s a small world” and Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Disney World’s oldest ride, retain their nostalgic charm after decades. My family feels like children again at Disney World, especially when we see the pure joy in our children’s eyes.

A child and adult walk through Magic Kingdom, carrying Mickey Balloons

Image © Disney

2. Thrilling New Attractions

Just in the past decade alone, Disney has added huge new lands like Pandora – The World of Avatar, Toy Story Land, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Groundbreaking rides like Rise of the Resistance, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and TRON Lightcycle Run demonstrate Disney’s continued major investments in state-of-the-art attractions. Experiencing these cutting-edge new rides makes return trips exciting.

3. Showstopping Entertainment

The Broadway-quality shows and nighttime spectacles such as Fantasmic!, Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Beauty and the Beast provide awe-inspiring entertainment that is unparalleled. The costumes, music, singing, and dancing will give you goosebumps. Watching my daughters dance along, completely absorbed in the experience, brings me immense joy. The remarkable shows at Disney World are a significant aspect of what makes it worth visiting for my family.

4. Character Interactions

Meeting beloved Disney characters is often the highlight of any child’s trip to Disney World. My kids love shyly waving to their favorites or running up to give Mickey and his friends big hugs. These character moments create magical memories that will last a lifetime. Our favorite Disney character dining experiences include Cinderella’s Royal Table, Tusker House, Topolino’s Terrace, Garden Grill, and Chef Mickey’s.

Alice and Mad Hatter meet guests

5. Diverse Dining Options

Disney World has a wide range of dining options, from quick counter-service eateries to lavish character buffets to upscale table-service restaurants. Disney World foodies also enjoy world-class cuisine at signature restaurants like Jiko, California Grill, and Le Cellier. To make your visit easier, purchase a Disney Dining Plan or book your Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) 60 days in advance with the help of a Disney travel agent.

Consult our dining guides for suggestions.: Best Magic Kingdom Restaurants, Best Epcot Restaurants, Best Animal Kingdom Restaurants, and Best Hollywood Studios Restaurants.

6. Free Vacation Planning Help

Booking your trip through a top-rated Disney travel agency such as The Vacationeer will get you expert help in planning a fully customized vacation. Their knowledgeable Disney specialists will handle all the details, from selecting dates and tickets to accommodations and transportation to and from Orlando International Airport. They can also help you find deals and discounts, get the lowest rates, and offer a payment plan at no extra cost, all of which will help you maximize your vacation.

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7. Unique Disney Resorts

Disney World offers more than 25 resort hotels to choose from. Every resort has its unique theme, ambiance, and amenities. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly stay at a Disney Value Resort like Pop Century, a comfortable stay at a Disney Moderate Resort like Caribbean Beach, or a luxurious stay at an upscale Disney Deluxe Resort like Beach Club or the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, there’s something for everyone.

A Giraffe on the savanna at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

A Giraffe on the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

See our Best Disney Resorts for Kids and Best Disney Resorts for Adults for recommendations.

8. Special Events

From Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Disney World’s changing calendar of special events gives you new reasons to visit again and again. We recently had a wonderful Christmas trip to Disney World, where the magical holiday festivities enchanted us. The parks were adorned with sparkling lights and festive decorations, and they featured special holiday shows, parades, and unique food and drink items available only during the holiday season.

9. Convenient Transportation

Disney provides a variety of complimentary transportation options, such as buses, boats, Skyliner gondolas, and monorails, to connect its different hotels, parks, and Disney Springs. This helps guests save money by avoiding additional expenses and the inconvenience of renting a car or using ride-sharing services like Uber. Moreover, some non-Disney hotels near Disney World offer free shuttle service service to the parks.

Disney Skyliner over Caribbean Beach

Disney Skyliner over Caribbean Beach Resort

10. Water Park Fun

Florida’s heat can be brutal, but Disney has you covered with its two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Blizzard Beach offers a thrilling experience with its Summit Plummet slides, while Typhoon Lagoon is known for its surf pool and lazy river. These water parks provide a refreshing and enjoyable experience that goes beyond the theme parks and is a great way to cool off from Florida’s heat.

11. Electric Parades and Dazzling Nighttime Entertainment

Disney parks are made even more magical by the incredible parades and nighttime shows, such as the Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom, the Fantasmic nighttime show at Hollywood Studios, and the Happily Ever After fireworks show. These shows offer a complete experience of lights, music, and beloved characters. For my family, the search for the perfect viewing spot and the electric pre-show atmosphere are almost as enjoyable as the fireworks themselves!

12. Priceless Memories

My kids and I cherish the magical memories we’ve made at Disney World, from their excitement on Slinky Dog Dash to priceless hugs with characters. Jamie and I love the way it strengthens the bond within our family. The shared experiences hold an intangible worth beyond their cost. Disney is the one and only destination that our family loves and bonds over. That’s why my wife and I always make it a point to take our family trip there every year!

13. Multi-Generational Appeal

With activities and attractions catering to all ages, Disney World makes for a fantastic multi-generational vacation, allowing grandparents to create magical memories while taking their grandkids to visit Disney World. During our last big family reunion trip to Disney World, young children, parents, and grandparents alike enjoyed themselves thoroughly. We stayed at a spacious Disney family suite and had a grand time.

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14. Engaging Queues

Disney’s interactive and immersive ride queues make waiting in line enjoyable. My children enjoy the playful queues at Peter Pan, Toy Story Mania, and Frozen Ever After. My wife and I appreciate the highly detailed queues at newer rides like Guardians, Avatar Flight of Passage, and Millennium Falcon.

15. Legendary Customer Service

Disney parks are renowned for their exceptional attention to guests, and the customer service at Disney World is no exception. Cast Members at Disney World genuinely engage with guests, going above and beyond to add that signature Disney magic. Their friendliness and enthusiasm enhance the entire experience, leaving guests with memories that last a lifetime.

16. Shorter Lines with Genie+

Although some people may object to the additional cost, we believe that Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane passes are worth it to reduce the amount of time spent waiting in long standby lines with restless children. Being able to expedite access allows us to experience more attractions and have less frustration.

WDW Toy Story Lightning Lane

Lightning Lane and Standby Entrances at Toy Story Mania

17. One-of-a-Kind Souvenirs

The souvenir options at Disney World are endless, from official Disney character merchandise to unique gifts like custom lightsabers and droid action figures. My kids love picking out their favorite, unique souvenirs, but my wallet, not so much! However, a few mementos that bring back the memories are worth it.

18. Diverse Rides

With thrilling rollercoasters, slow, immersive rides, 3D experiences, water rides, and more, there’s something for every member of the family. Disney’s ride variety ensures everyone finds favorites at their own comfort level.

For recommendations, see our related articles: Best Magic Kingdom Rides, Best Epcot Rides, Best Animal Kingdom Rides, Best Hollywood Studios Rides, and Best Rollercoasters at Disney World for more.

19. Resort Perks

Staying at an official Disney resort hotel will allow you to experience the immersive storytelling and magic that Disney is known for. You will also receive valuable benefits, such as early entry to the theme parks (with the option of extended evening hours for Deluxe guests), easy access to free Disney transportation, package delivery to your room, the option to purchase a Disney Dining Plan, and more.

20. Disney Springs Shopping/Dining

Disney Springs is a fantastic place to unwind and have fun, even after the parks close. You may dine at a variety of restaurants, such as The BOATHOUSE, or shop at the many stores. There is also a LEGO store that my son Ben enjoys, World of Disney that my wife and daughter love, and Disney’s Days of Christmas that I enjoy. Disney Springs is free to enter, making it an ideal destination in the evening after a day at the parks or on an off day.

An illuminated bridge and a restaurant shaped like a paddlewheel boat at Disney Springs

Image © Disney

21. Resort Pool Fun

The themed resort pools are perfect for family fun after long days at the park. Our favorite Disney World pools are Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Beach Club and Yacht Club (with an incredible lazy river), the Big Blue Pool at Pop Century, the Caribbean Beach Fuentes del Morro Pool, and Lava Pool at the Polynesian.

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And thanks to their expert-level knowledge of all the best discounts, your trip might even cost less than if you’d booked it yourself!

Potential Disney World Trip Drawbacks

While Disney World offers many perks, potential drawbacks include:

1. Rising Costs

The average cost of a Disney World vacation has increased dramatically due to recent inflation trends. As of 2024, a Disney vacation for a family of four can exceed $5,000 with theme park tickets, hotels, food, and other expenses. We have a Disney World Cost Calculator that can help you estimate your payments.

2. Crowds

Disney World can get very crowded, which leads to congestion, packed buses, and long lines at the attractions. This can take away from the experience, as you will spend more time waiting and navigating the crowds.

3. Hot Weather

The weather at Disney World can make or break your trip. Summers in Florida are extremely hot and humid, which can be uncomfortable or unbearable for some people. Additionally, the region is prone to hurricanes from mid-August through October and rain showers throughout the year, especially during the summer months. If the weather is a concern, it may be worth it to plan your trip in the winter or spring, when the weather is cooler and drier.

4. Transportation

Opinions on Disney’s transportation offerings are split. Some find the monorails, boats, and buses to be convenient and efficient, while others view them as unreliable, uncomfortable, and confusing. Uber is always an option, but my family has generally had good experiences with most transportation, even buses.

5. Group Vacation Challenges

Coordinating a group vacation can be a formidable task, especially when it involves individuals of varying ages and temperaments. While Disney World is best suited for children aged 3-12, the environment may prove overwhelming for infants, toddlers, and some older children. The key to a harmonious trip is to exercise patience and stave off arguments to ensure everyone has an enjoyable time.

6. Extensive Walking

While some Disney parks have less walking than others, you will be on your feet and walking a lot all day at any of them. Therefore, I recommend adding a comfortable pair of shoes to your Disney packing list as one of the most essential items.

7. First-Time Planning Learning Curve

Planning a Disney vacation can be time-consuming and confusing, especially if it’s your first time. The My Disney Experience app and Genie+ also have a learning curve. We always recommend working with a Disney vacation planner such as The Vacationeer to take care of the heavy lifting for you. They are entirely free to use and can provide you with tips, save you money, and plan and book everything.

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Tips for an Enjoyable Disney World Family Vacation

While potential drawbacks exist, proper planning facilitates a rewarding Disney World family vacation. Here are some tips:

  • Use mobile order to skip food lines – order while waiting for rides!
  • Take midday breaks to rest and avoid peak afternoon heat and crowds.
  • Reserve Disney dining 60+ days out, especially character meals that fill up quickly.
  • Stay hydrated – bring refillable water bottles and reapply sunscreen often.
  • Use Rider Switch with little ones so adults don’t wait in lines twice for thrill rides.
  • Purchase Genie+ and pay-per-ride Lightning Lane passes to reduce long standby queue waits.
  • Arrive at the park opening for the lowest crowds and coolest temperatures.
  • Remain flexible on plans rather than rigidly adhering to an itinerary. Go with kids’ interests.
  • The best time to visit Disney World to avoid crowds is typically during the off-season. Avoid school vacation weeks, holidays, and the summer.
  • Work with an authorized Disney planner like The Vacationeer for expert, free trip-planning advice. Their services save significant time, money, and stress.

Budget Disney World Trip Tips

  • Visit during off-peak times for savings on Disney World tickets and accommodations.
  • Multi-day theme park tickets (3 or more days) are a better value the more days you add. The average price per day goes down with each additional day.
  • Split quick-service dining plan credits to save money on meals
  • Opt for the most affordable Disney resorts, including Pop Century, the All-Star resorts, or The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness.
  • Look for limited-time deals and ongoing discounts for Florida residents and military personnel. The Vacationeer can help!

Top Attractions By Age

Here  are a few of the best Disney World attractions for kids:

  • Preschoolers: “it’s a small world,” Dumbo, Frozen Ever After, Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Elementary: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Jungle Cruise, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Tweens/Teens: TRON, Guardians of the Galaxy, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror

Please note that some Disney World rides have height requirements, so make sure to check before planning your itinerary.

Disney World Trip FAQs

What’s the ideal first visit age for kids?

There is a special magic that affects children between the ages of 3 to 12. Children over the age of three can better enjoy rides while still being immersed in Disney wonder before the cynicism of tweens and teens sets in.

What’s the best budget Disney World resort?

If you’re searching for a hotel that offers a good mix of theming, affordability, and amenities with easy access to Skyliner transportation, Pop Century is a great option. Disney’s Art of Animation provides a variety of affordable family suites with fun-themed choices. However, if you’re looking for the most budget-friendly option, Disney’s three All-Star Resorts offer basic and inexpensive rooms at the lowest prices offered by Disney.

How many days should you spend at Disney parks?

Spend at least one full day at each Disney park to fully immerse yourself in the magic. Magic Kingdom is the most popular choice for repeat visits. Overall, I recommend staying at Walt Disney World for 5-7 days for family vacations so you don’t feel rushed.

Is Disney good for tweens and teens?

Absolutely – teens are drawn to thrill rides, new high-tech lands, and Disney Springs dining and shopping. Allow them to freely explore their interests.

Should toddlers visit Disney World?

Children under three are offered free admission to Disney parks, which offer many activities and attractions toddlers can enjoy. However, young children may not remember the experience, and the crowds and noise may overwhelm them. So it’s up for debate whether it’s worthwhile to bring toddlers to Disney World.

Wrap-Up: Is Disney World Worth It in 2024?

In my family’s experience, Walt Disney World absolutely remains worth the investment in 2024, especially for households with children 12 and under.

Disney World caters to all ages, offering a range of entertainment from classic rides like “it’s a small world” for preschoolers, family-friendly rides like Jungle Cruise for elementary kids, to cutting-edge attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind for tweens, teens, and adults.

The wide range of accommodations and dining options makes it more attractive and impressive. But, most importantly, the shared experiences at Disney World create lasting family bonds and priceless memories.

However, Disney vacations can be expensive and require careful planning. Utilizing a travel planner like The Vacationeer can offer significant value by providing expert advice to save time, stress, and money.

Despite its cost, the entirety of the Disney experience – shows, rides, dining, and time spent with loved ones – provides a lasting worth that surpasses the initial expenses. By planning ahead and staying open-minded, any downsides can be overshadowed by the enchanting experiences that make for an unforgettable family vacation.

In conclusion, everyone in my family agrees – Disney World is worth it!

Let The Vacationeer Plan Your Stress-Free Disney Vacation

The knowledgeable Disney specialists at The Vacationeer can simplify trip planning for your family. Their friendly Disney travel agents provide expert vacation planning, saving you time, money, and stress.

Your dedicated vacation specialist will handle every detail seamlessly for you. The Vacationeer‘s services include:

  • Recommending the best resorts for your needs and budget
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  • Providing personalized Disney itineraries on request to maximize your park time
  • Advising on the best rides, shows, and attractions for kids by age and interest
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The best part? The Vacationeer’s services are completely FREE. Their fees are covered by Disney.

Contact The Vacationeer today to get a free, no-obligation quote for your Walt Disney World family vacation or discuss other great options like booking Universal Orlando Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Sandals or Beaches Resorts, or the hotels at Atlantis Bahamas Resort.

Their team is ready to simplify your Disney trip planning to make this your family’s best vacation ever. There’s no risk, so why not let the experts handle the work for you?

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