You’ve spent many hours meticulously planning your Walt Disney World vacation. You’ve made all of your dining reservations based on what your family will love, and you’ve booked all of your FastPass+ picks to be sure you get to experience those hard-to-get attractions. On paper, everything looks perfect for your long-awaited Disney trip, but there may be a few things you have in mind that are dreaded Disney World Mistakes.
We’ve both been to Disney many times, and all of the Disney World mistakes you see listed below, we’ve done! Learn from our experiences so you don’t have to go through the same frustration we did.
10 Disney World Mistakes: DO NOT Do These Things
Thinking You Can See it All and Do it All in One Trip
We get it…Disney is filled with so many amazing things, so it’s natural to want to experience everything there is to offer.
Walt Disney World is spread over 40 acres, there are four huge parks, over 40 rides, countless attractions and experiences, and not to mention, all the things to see and do at your resort.
To avoid disappointment and exhaustion, and making one of the most popular Disney World mistakes, realize that it’s impossible to fit all of these things into one trip, no matter how much you want to.
Do this instead:
Make a list of all the things you want to see and do and rank them. Separate them by park and based on how long your trip will be, choose 2-3 and spread them out between the days you will be there. After you’ve made your way through, if you still have time, pick a few more from the list.
And those things you couldn’t fit in? You’ll have to plan another trip to do them 😉
Planning too Much for Each Day
This is related to the tip above, and it all goes back to Disney having so many things to do.
Disney days are LONG. They’re packed with fun and amazing food, but for most of your Disney days, you’re going to be on your feet.
Do this instead:
Make your daily plans realistic by leaving your plans semi-loose. Plan some must-do things for each day, but leave a part of each day open to do something you didn’t plan, to spend some time at your resort, or to just take a few hours to rest your feet by lounging by your resort pool.
Choosing the Wrong Disney Dining Plan
If you’ve decided that the dining plan is the best choice for your family, then you need to be sure that you choose the correct one.
Disney World offers three different dining plans:
Each plan includes lots of food but based on how your family eats, the types of food you like, and the types of restaurants you prefer, choosing the right plan an essential part to enjoying your vacation.
On my family’s first Disney Vacation, there was a deal to upgrade to the Deluxe Dining Plan for next to nothing, so we jumped at the chance. We love eating in restaurants, we love trying new things, and we just love food in general, so what could go wrong?
It turned out that, for my family, the Deluxe Dining Plan was not a good choice. The food was amazing, but we found that we were spending too much time in restaurants, plus, it was A LOT of food, a little too much for us.
The deluxe plan is great for some families, but from our experience, the Disney Dining Plan was more suited to us.
So take some time to read up on each plan (click the links above) and choose the one you feel is best suited for your crew.
Not Effectively Using the Disney Dining Plan
This is one of the Disney World mistakes that will cost you money! So be sure to avoid it. You spent a lot of bucks for your dining plan, so use it to its max.
- For meal credits, order things you may not usually get. Part of the beauty of the dining plans is that you aren’t stuck to only getting specific meals. There are many choices to choose from and straying from your usual picks to try something new is a great idea
- Opt for higher priced choices to get full value.
- Be sure to use up every single one of those snack credits. If you have snack credits left over at the end of your trip, make a quick trip to your resort shop and use them up!
You can keep track of how many credits have been used and what is left through the My Disney Experience App.
Booking Dinner Reservations Too Late in the Day
There are some advantages to booking your Disney Dining reservations later in the day, but if you have little kids in your group, it may not be the best idea.
Book your dinner reservations for late afternoon, well before the kids will be done for the day, and you’ll be able to still have time to fit in a few more activities and/or attractions, if you choose to do so.
Not Setting Aside Time to Relax
It’s very easy to always want to go-go-go when at Disney, because again, there is SO MUCH to see and do (see above!). But remember: You are on vacation.
Getting back home and having to take another vacation to recover from your vacation is not possible for many of us, so be sure to set aside time to rest yourself. You spent a pretty penny to stay at that beautiful Disney resort, so take it all in!
Enjoy your resort, sleep in some days, start the day slowly, spend only part of the day in the parks, and most important…take cues from your kids. If they are tired, don’t push them to keep going.
Thinking Disney Transportation is Quick and Will Get You There on Time
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, Disney transportation will get you to your reservation right on time. Disney transportation is great, but most of the time, buses can be unpredictable and can take way longer to get to your destination than you realized.
To avoid having showing up unfashionably late to dining or FastPass+ reservations, always leave earlier than you think you need to leave. Better to arrive early than late!
If you do find that you got a late start heading out to a reservation, check out the Minnie Van Service. It will cost you, but it will get you there much quicker than the bus.
Trusting Online Restaurant Reviews
You will find thousands of reviews of Disney restaurants online and every spot is going to have raving reviews and not-so-great reviews. Take those not-so-great- reviews with a grain of salt. If the restaurant appeals to you and your family, check out the menu and if it still appeals, book it!
We tend to ignore reviews for the most part. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have eaten at half the restaurants we did, and wouldn’t have found so many new favourites.
There are many hidden gems in Walt Disney World and what someone may loathe, you may love. So don’t let a bad review keep you away.
Thinking That You Don’t Need to Make Any FastPass+ Reservations
Yes, there are certain rides and attractions where a FastPass+ is not necessary. But others, especially those really popular and/or new ones…there’s no way you’re going to get to experience it without waiting in a VERY long line, unless you have a FastPass+. This is one of those Disney World mistakes that will cause a lot of frustration and disappointment.
We’ve listed some of the rides and attractions that you MUST get a FastPass+ for by park. Read through them and if there’s a ride or attraction in this list that’s a must-do for you, be sure you make that FastPass+ reservation as soon as your booking window opens up!
- Best Use for FastPass+ at Disney’s Magic Kingdom
- Best Use for FastPass+ at Animal Kingdom
- Best Use for FastPass+ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Best Use for FastPass+ at Epcot
Not Bringing Needed Items into the Parks (Or Bringing too Many!)
Going to the parks with a small backpack that contains things you may need throughout the day, especially if you have kids in your group is a great idea. Items like sunscreen, cell phone/iPod chargers, ID, ponchos/umbrellas, tissues, hand sanitizer, etc. are examples of some essentials.
You will have to get the bag inspected by security before entering, so they can ensure you aren’t bringing any banned items in. This will add a few extra minutes between you and the parks, but the lines move quickly and really aren’t a big deal. See this article about the things you can’t bring into the parks.
On the flip side, it’s easy to over pack and be weighed down by a heavy bag all day, so pack light and don’t bring anything that’s unnecessary.
Making Disney World mistakes is inevitable, especially for first timers. Despite reading through our list and getting advice from friends and family, there will be mishaps along the way. It’s just part of a Disney vacation.
But the important part is that you take advice from others and if you do make mistakes, learn from them and don’t repeat.
Before you know it, each vacation will get easier and easier to plan and will be seamless from arrival day to departure day.
Have you made any Disney World mistakes when planning or while on your trip? Tell us about them in the comments below!