Some things around Disney feel fancier than they would at home, and other things really are fancier than at home. Either way, we’re all about embracing our fancy personas while we’re on vacation.
Enter “The Finer Things Club: Disney World Edition.”
But instead of discussing culture and literary classics with fine china, we’re discussing Disney World…with paper plates.
Our goal instead is to recommend the things at Disney that make us feel fancy and grown-up or that we think are worth the extra cost or time spent.
(No, we aren’t talking about the $250,000 crystal Cinderella Castle.)
And while many of the recommendations we make to experience the finer things at Disney are on the expensive side, we’re by no means including only expensive things!
Around the Parks
It can be hard to feel bougie in the parks when you’re sweating in your Minnie ears and Goofy hats, but it isn’t impossible. We’ve enjoyed things like:
- Behind-the-scenes tours like Wild Africa Trek (i.e., a private safari at Animal Kingdom), Keys to the Kingdom (Magic Kingdom), or Behind the Seeds (EPCOT), help you experience the parks in a new, unique and educational way.
- Visiting the France Pavilion in the World Showcase is one of our favorite ways to spend time at Disney. What’s more chic than sipping champagne (Les Vins) or nibbling on macarons (Les Halles) and crêpes (La Crêperie)?
- Springing for an After Hours event is one of the best ways to experience Disney like a VIP without actually renting out the parks. Late-night ambiance with fewer crowds and little to no waits for mega headliners? Sign us up every time.
For us, feeling pampered at Disney comes down to indulging at any one of the numerous signature dining restaurants across property.
Some of our favorite places to go for a nicer meal around the resorts:
- Citricos: Upscale without being stuffy, this Mary Poppins-inspired spot is fancy enough to serve caviar but comfortable enough to not make it obvious.
- California Grill: The vantage for fireworks viewing and the wine list here make this one a must-do, especially for first-timers.
- Jiko: We often prioritize this hidden gem at the Animal Kingdom Lodge over dining in the park (or elsewhere) on our Animal Kingdom days.
- Topolino’s Terrace: Romantic rooftop ambiance aside, this restaurant currently offers one of the best dinners on property.
Our favorite spots for great food and a great experience at Disney Springs:
- Morimoto: Sleek and stylish, we love this choice when we’re looking for elevated Pan-Asian cuisine or sushi with cocktails.
- Wine Bar George: One of our top picks at Disney Springs, this spot is perfect for maxing out on enjoying the little things (like wine tastings, small plates, and charcuterie boards, for starters).
- Amorette’s Patisserie: While technically not a meal, be sure to save room for housemade ganache and other incredible desserts!
For a truly top-tier “finer things” experience (and if you aren’t on too much of a budget!), try for a reservation at the famous Victoria & Albert’s (Grand Floridian) or Monsieur Paul’s (EPCOT). Both are unique, intimate, and quite upscale!
Around the Resorts
There are so many activities and things to explore around the Disney resorts, and a few of those stand out when we’re trying to enjoy the finer things in life.
- The Grand Floridian is a beautiful resort that definitely fits the “feeling fancy” motif. Take a stroll around (especially at night) and stop for classic Beauty and the Beast-inspired cocktails at the Enchanted Rose.
- Go down the Bayou and swing by Port Orleans French Quarters. This resort is small and relatively quiet, giving it a very intimate atmosphere. Be sure to order a Mickey beignet, then check out the live jazz at Scat Cat’s Club!
- Book yourself a club-level room or spring for one of the villas (we recommend Grand Floridian or the Riviera). Since they’re offered at the higher level resorts, these rooms are not just generally more comfortable, but the concierge and snacks make it feel extra special.
- Thanks to an extensive cocktail list and a moody ambiance, Victoria Falls at Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of our favorite places to grab an after-park nightcap.
- If you’re looking for a fun weekend activity, the Sangria University (Coronado Springs) is open for enrollment. Learn about, sample, and then make your own sangria in this fun and refreshing class! Follow it up with dinner at Three Bridges, and you’ve got yourself an afternoon for the books.
Outside of dining and the parks, there are so many options for enriching your trip and enjoying your vacation. There’s truly something for everyone, and, though we have some faves, this list is by no means exhaustive.
- Though it isn’t the first thing you think of for a Disney vacation, Disney is a resort, and resorts have things like spas and golf. Take some time to yourself at the spa, or go on a family mini-golf adventure at Winter Summerland or Fantasia Gardens!
- A highly rated fan favorite, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is about getting your kids in on feeling fancy at the parks. Though reservations can go fast, slower seasons sometimes accept walk-ins first thing in the morning. Look out for cancellations 24 hours before, too!
- Going for dinner and then seeing a show, especially one as mesmerizing as Cirque du Soleil at Disney Springs, is a fun way for the whole family to feel like they’re indulging on vacation.
- Don’t forget you can watch the fireworks and eat dessert from the water on the Ferrytale Dessert and Fireworks Cruise! We find these much fancier and often less expensive than their on-land counterparts, the (in)famous Dessert Parties.
- What’s fancier than sippin’ with your pinkies up for afternoon tea? The one offered at Grand Floridian was probably our favorite “Finer Things Club” experience at Disney. It still isn’t back, and it may not return, so we’re looking forward to trying this experience at The Cake Bake Shop (coming in 2024)!
- Speaking of sweet, work alongside expert pastry artists to decorate a famous Mickey dome cake in a cake decorating class at Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs.
There are all kinds of things you could add to your Disney vacation to make it feel a little more magical. But you don’t have to be bougie to enjoy Disney! Focus on making your time worth it with good strategy and insider tips (like the ones in The Complete WDW Parks Strategy Playbook) so you can indulge in the little moments instead.