There are plenty of things that you should buy at Disney World. Mickey Ice Cream Bars? Yes, buy that. A Ronto Wrap? Absolutely. A Dole Whip? Did you even go to Disney if you didn’t buy one of these? But there are also plenty of things that are a waste of money and time. Guide2WDW is here to help you out with our list of What Not To Buy At Disney World.

Imagine you had an extra $300-$500 to spend on your vacation. What would you do with it? Go on a fireworks cruise? Do that splurge meal at Space 220? Make a custom lightsaber at Savi’s?

It’s actually fairly easy to free up that money from your vacation budget by knowing what not to buy at the parks. There are certain items that Disney will gladly sell you, but they are overpriced or inconvenient. But if you buy them ahead of time and pack them for your Disney vacation, not only will you save money, you’ll save precious time too.

That means you’ll be able to pack in more fun while spending less.

What Not To Buy At Disney World – Video

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1) Don’t Buy Disney World Tickets at Disney World

Disney World Ticket Calendar

You might be massively overspending on the first thing you buy for your Disney World vacation.

Imagine you were buying a pair of sneakers. Store A has it for $100. Store B has it for $85. The sneakers are identical in every way, and both stores are trustworthy and have free shipping. You’d pick Store B every time, right?

Yet when it comes to Disney World, most people choose Store A because they don’t know that Store B exists.

Buying tickets directly from Disney ahead of time is convenient and secure. But unless you have a great deal on a vacation package through Disney, you can get that same convenience and security while spending a lot less money by purchasing from an Authorized Disney Ticket seller.

Undercover Tourist Website - How to get discount tickets at Disney World

In our Guide for Buying Discount Disney World Tickets, I pointed out that you have to be very careful because of Disney ticket scams. Avoid buying tickets from Facebook, Craigslist, or any of the “Cheap” Disney ticket vendors you see as you drive to Orlando.

So, where should you buy your tickets from?

The place that I personally trust and use for buying Disney tickets is Undercover Tourist.

They constantly have great deals on tickets. You could get a three day base ticket for up to $40 less per ticket compared to buying from Disney. For a six day park hopper, you can save up to $78 per ticket

For four people, that’s an instant $312 of savings before you even go to Disney World.

Undercover Tourist - Discount Disney World Tickets

Their tickets are refundable and delivered quickly, so all I need to do is go into the Disney World app and link it to my account. Within minutes of ordering, I can have my ticket tied to my Magic Band, iPhone, and Apple Watch.

If I’m going to Disney World for more than 2 days, Undercover Tourist is a no brainer.

You can see what deals they currently have and get your Disney World tickets here.

No matter where you buy your tickets from, you shouldn’t buy your Disney World tickets at Disney World. Here’s why you should buy them in advance. First of all, time is precious in the parks, and you don’t want to waste half an hour at the ticket booth.

Secondly, park reservations are still a thing until January 2024, and there’s a chance you can get turned away because no reservations are available.

What to buy instead

Guide2WDW’s recommended resource for discount Disney tickets is Undercover Tourist. My family has personally used them many times to save hundreds of dollars on WDW tickets. They are secure and reliable, plus they have great customer support.

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2) Don’t Buy Water Bottles at Disney World

Free Cups of Water at Disney World - Guide2WDW

A few years ago, I saw a Facebook post from a mother who had a terrible time at Disney and swore she would never go again. One of her main complaints was that her family of 6 spent over $200 on water bottles over their vacation.

That is understandably frustrating… and easily avoidable.

That large water bottle tab is how I knew she hadn’t ever been on Guide2WDW, because one of the Disney World tips I most frequently give is to never buy water bottles at the parks.

To stay hydrated, you can always get free ice water at any counter service location. You don’t have to buy anything else, and some of the locations actually have cups sitting on the counter for guest to take. So you don’t even have to wait in line.

A Hydroflask being refilled at a Water Bottle Refill Station at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe in Magic Kingdom - Disney World - Guide2WDW

I also like to bring a refillable water bottle like a Hydroflask and refill at one of the many water bottle refill stations like in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge or Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. This also works well at the soda dispensers in certain counter service locations, like Connections Eatery or Backlot Express, since they offer water faucets.

I’ve gotten some comments from readers who don’t like the funky taste of Florida water. They recommend getting a filtered water bottle from Brita, which can remove some of that off-putting flavor.

Guide2WDW Recommends

The Hydroflask has become my go-to travel water bottle over the past few years, as well as my primary water bottle at home. Water just tastes excellent in these, and the vacuum seal keeps liquids cold or hot for hours.

Buy from Amazon

The water fountains at Disney World taste pretty funky (to put it lightly), so I’m reliant on refilling at Counter Service restaurants or my hotel during a mid-day break if I use a Hydroflask. If you want to have more flexibility, this Brita Filtered Water Bottle is a very good choice, as it will take the funky taste out of that Florida fountain water.

Buy from Amazon

3) Don’t Buy FuelRods at Disney World

FuelRod Kiosk

FuelRods are a neat idea. They’re a USB little battery pack that can charge your phone. You can recharge them at home like normal, but what if you run out of juice while you’re out and about?

The magic feature of FuelRods is that you can swap out your empty battery for a fully recharged battery at one of their kiosks. These kiosks are located in Disney World, Disneyland, some airports, and many other tourist destinations.

Some people swear by them, and it is admittedly convenient to just chuck a dead battery into a kiosk and get a fresh charge.

So, why shouldn’t you buy them at Disney World?

First of all, the price. At Disney World, FuelRods are $30 for a system that includes a charger and some cables. That is not a terrible deal, but you can get two FuelRods on Amazon right now for $35. Not only is that a way better deal, but you can still swap them out at the kiosks.

But then there’s the issue of capacity. The FuelRods have a 2600 Milliamp hour capacity, which is how much charge it can store. For reference, an iPhone 15 has a 3349 milliamp hour battery.

One FuelRod would only charge you up to just about 75% percent before running out.

You can buy batteries with much higher capacities for around the same price or cheaper on Amazon. This Anker charger has 10,000 MaH, which is roughly 3 full iPhone 15 charges, or the equivalent of four FuelRods. This is a great option if you want to carry one device to charge all of your group’s devices.

I personally use this MagSafe Anker charger. It has a capacity of 5,000 MaH, and can charge an iPhone just by magnetically sticking to the back of the device.

By buying a battery like this, you have enough charge to get you through the day, and you don’t have to go searching for a kiosk to swap.

Plus, when you swap your FuelRod, you’re getting a used battery. Batteries wear out over the course of their lifetime, so you might swap your new FuelRod for one that has significantly less capacity because it’s older.

So, definitely don’t get a Fuel Rod at Disney World. You can get way more bang for your buck buying them from Amazon, or doing what I do and getting a battery with much more capacity.

What to buy instead

You can get the convenience of FuelRods at a discount vs buying at Disney World. This 2-pack is only $5 more than the single charger you’d buy at the kiosk in the parks. Plus, you can still swap them out. This is a good option if you want a ultra-portable charger and like the idea of swapping your battery at the kiosks.

Buy from Amazon

This Anker power bank is the ideal blend of portability and charging capability. With a USB-A and USB-C port, this can charge two devices simultaneously, offers fast charging, and the large 10,000 mAh capacity will offer multiple charges for a phone.

Buy from Amazon

If you have a newer iPhone, I personally love this Anker MagSafe charger. It has a capacity of 5,000 mAh, and it can charge wirelessly just by sticking to the back of the device. It’s super convenient.

Buy from Amazon

4) Don’t Buy Ponchos at Disney World

Ponchos at Disney World - Disney World Secret Tips

If you’re going to Disney World, the chances of rain are about as high as the dad from Carousel of Progress completely obliterating their Christmas dinner.

A trip down to Orlando usually means that you’ll get to experience the time honored southern tradition of sudden afternoon thunderstorms. So you’ll want to be prepared for some rain, because being soaked and soggy while slogging through Animal Kingdom isn’t exactly a magical time.

Now, of course, Disney will gladly sell you a Disney Parks branded poncho for a Disney Parks branded price. This wearable garbage bag costs about $15 per person. So depending on the size of your party, you could end up shelling out a ton of money for ponchos.

Alternatively, you can buy a pack of ponchos for your entire crew from Amazon for a fraction of the price. Right now, you can get a 4 pack for $10, a 8 pack for $16 and a 12 pack for $20.

That could save you $50 and up. You can easily use those savings toward a counter service meal.

But the next item is an even bigger waste of money, because at least the ponchos have some practical use.

What to buy instead

This set of 4-12 ponchos ships with Amazon Prime and has a 4.5/5 star rating in customer reviews.

Buy from Amazon

5) Don’t Buy Glowing Gizmos at Disney World

Before Fantasmic and Happily Ever After, Disney carts out these glowing toys that your kid will desperately need because — ooooo, it’s glowy. So, you buy it, and your kid is happy for about 15 minutes. But then that glowy thing goes home with you and gets shoved in the back back of some closet. You’ll stumble upon it every 5 years or so and think to yourself, “Eh, I can’t get rid of this, I spent so much money on it.”

Then you’ll put it back and continue to never touch it again.

It’s one thing if it’s a special toy that you can only get at Disney World, but the worst part is that a lot of these aren’t even Disney branded. They’re just generic wands or knock off lightsabers.

I’ve actually gotten this tip for taking kids to Disney World from a couple of different Guide2WDW readers. It’s a solution that’s frugal, while being way more fun than just saying “No, we’re not getting that.”

Buy a small glowing toy at the Dollar store or off Amazon, and stick it in your day pack. It can be something as simple as a glow stick or a necklace.

Once your kid is drawn in by the siren call of the shiny glowing toy cart and starts asking you for one, you can pull out your own glowing toy that you bought for much cheaper.

6) You Don’t Have to Buy Disney Souvenirs at Disney World

Mickey Mouse Plush Toys - Disney World Souvenirs

This is another souvenir strategy that I’ve gotten from Guide2WDW readers. At first, it was just a tip aimed at parents of young kids, but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized it can apply to everyone.

So the tip is a way for parents to make a Disney trip more exciting for their kids from the outset, save time going through the shops, and quell the constant questions of “Can we buy this? Can we buy this?”

It’s simple and kind of brilliant: They buy Disney plush on discount ahead of time, and then surprise their kids with it as they arrive to their hotel room.

This does a few things: It starts the vacation off on a high note, it gives your kid a special “vacation buddy,” and it can save you some money.

You can get Disney plush from, Target, or Amazon – and it’s pretty easy to find some good discounts on these either by using a shopDisney promotion or getting 5% off with a Target RedCard.

So, how does this apply to everyone? You can also do this for Disney shirts, ears, accessories, bags, etc. My family loves to rock a matching shirt, and we spend way less money buying one ahead of time off Amazon, Target, or Etsy versus buying them at the parks.

Now, unlike the rest of this list, this doesn’t mean that souvenirs are something you should never buy at Disney World. If you get an Annual Pass or DVC discount, buy it in the parks. There are also certain items that they only sell at the parks, and sometimes it’s a special to buy something from Disney World as a memento. If you’ve ever watched one of my Disney World YouTube videos, you’ve seen how many Disney tchotchkes I have. I’m definitely pro-memento.

I’m not going to tell you to deprive getting your kid a special souvenir because “IT’S NOT THE BEST VALUE.” But you can definitely save some money buying some items ahead of time, and it can make things more exciting leading up to your trip.

7) Don’t Buy Disney Gift Cards at Disney World

Disney World Gift Cards

Disney Gift Cards are the biggest money saving hack for a Disney World vacation.

You can use them pretty much anywhere— at hotels, at restaurants, and at stores.

Disney Gift Cards can also help you stay on budget, since Disney World has a way of shutting off the part of your brain that’s in charge of saying “$8 for a cupcake? No way.”

You can buy Disney Gift Cards pretty much at any gift shop around WDW, but that would be a waste because you can really easily buy them for a discount before your vacation.

The most automatic way I know is to buy Disney Gift Cards at Target using a redCard. That gets you 5% off. So by extension, that’s 5% off of everything you use them on during your vacation, and that stacks with any other discounts you may get like Annual Pass discounts.

There are ways to save even more on Disney Gift Cards by combining deals and using points. The best my family has done is a bit over 20%. You can read about how to save 20% or more on Disney Gift Cards here.

What Not to Buy at Disney World - Pinterest Pin

Pack like a pro for Disney World

Ultimate Disney World Packing Guide

There you have it: What not to buy at Disney World. By buying these items ahead of your vacation, you have taken a huge step toward having more fun at Disney. But if you’re looking for the ultimate packing guide, then I have you covered. Our Ultimate Disney World Packing Guide has recommendations for everything you should bring to Orlando