15 Mistakes to Avoid During a Disney Vacation so that you will make the most magical memories!
Roger & I love Disney.
We might even be a little obsessed.
So much so that we are looking into Disney passes for next year. Well actually we are doing more than looking & we might even go ahead & buy them this fall so we can enjoy them all winter!
Roger grew up spending quite a bit of time in Disney parks. His grandparents live in Florida late fall through the beginning of summer so he has seen a lot of changes over the last 20+ years.
The thing is, Disney changes quickly & often. For example, when we started our 5 day Disney vacation a few weeks ago, the first 3 days we thought we had to visit FastPass+ stations to sign up for additional FastPasses, but by day 4 we realized that Disney now makes it possible to sign up for additional FastPasses from our phones through their app. It was freaking awesome and convenient!
We literally swiped our FastPass+ at a ride & as we were walking through the maze of ropes Roger would sign us up for the next one. At the end of the day, we were able to go from ride to ride using this method. I’m not sure if that’s because there were fewer people in the park or because others hadn’t caught on to this awesome trick!
And since I am sharing one new Disney tips post a week for the next several weeks I figured this would be a good one to share this week.
ps. You can Click here to see all of my Disney posts, like 20 Things to Buy Before a Disney Vacation, 10 Things to Do 3 Months Before Your Disney Vacation, & much more!
Now on to the list of 15 Mistakes to Avoid During a Disney Vacation!
1. Not Researching
I talked a lot about this in my post 10 Things to Do 3 Months Before Your Disney Vacation, so I don’t want to bore you with repetitiveness.
I will say that this is one of the most important things you can do. By doing your research you can save money on your Disney tickets by purchasing them online (we bought our 5 day Disney World ticks on Ebay – read more here) & on your hotel reservation (we bought our hotel room through Orbitz & a week later a nicer room became available for $25 less a night than the basic room – we snatched it up!). You will also know what restaurants, rides, entertainment, & attractions are available, new, or under construction in each park. Basically, if you do your research you will be able to plan a Disney Vacation you will never forget!
2. Planning Too Much or Too Little
Research & planning are two different things & should not be confused with each other. While doing your research is crazy important in regards to a Disney vacation there is such a thing planning too much. You can research Disney to your heart’s content, knowing the ins & outs of everything related to Disney, while still just planning what is essential for a great Disney vacation.
For example, you can plan too much for every moment of every day of your vacation, but that can lead to a crazy stressful trip, especially because you can’t plan in wait times or the unpredictably of life. On the other hand, you can plan too little & have no FastPasses set up (a huge bummer) or restaurant reservations, both of which can result in long lines or having to skip something you were looking forward too.
While we like to do lots of research, we also like to plan the basics. We make reservations for all our favorite restaurants well in advance & set up our FastPasses as soon as it becomes available for our vacation dates. We also bring all of the necessities into the park with us, all of which you can read here.
Speaking of FastPass+, while it’s a crazy awesome way to enjoy your favorites of Disney it is possible to not use them to the best of your advantage. If you have extra magic hours or have a breakfast reservation before the park opens it might be beneficial to reserve your FastPasses later in the day since you will be able to get to your favorite rides before the masses get there.
Also, it’s important to note that you can now sign up for extra FastPasses on your phone
after you have used your last of the 3 you are allowed to book in advance. So you no longer have to waste time hunting down a kiosk on your park map, simply use your smartphone!
I’ve read comments/forums where people say they don’t like FastPass+ because they don’t want to be told where to be at a certain time. Crazy, right? First, you have an hour to use that FastPass+. Second, you don’t have to use it. Third, it’s nice to have the opportunity to skip the 2-hour wait line for your favorite ride!
4. Not Preparing for the Weather (Rain or Shine)
Preparing for the weather is crazy important because buying in the park when unexpected weather arrives can be expensive, especially if there is more than 2 of you!
I have lots of tips on this subject in my post 20 Things to Buy Before Your Disney Vacation. I discuss important items like sunscreen, glasses, to hats, fans, rain jackets, umbrellas, rain ponchos, ect.
5. Wearing Bad Shoes or Attire
This is crazy important! Bad shoes can equal feet that don’t want to move & the wrong attire can mean being rubbed raw after walking all day.
I have more tips on this subject in my post 20 Things to Buy Before a Disney Vacation. From why I wear dresses to the shoes I bought specifically for our last Disney vacation.
Not bringing enough snacks or money for snacks is a major problem. Having a hangry husband or children are not fun. And if you are looking to make a few extra bucks before your Disney Vacation & you do a lot of shopping online you might want to sign up for Ebates so you can earn cash back while shopping online!
Food is important!
7. Extra Magic Hours
While Disney is magical, don’t fall into the trap of believing the parks will be magically empty during your extra magic hours. While this can be true during the off seasons, it can become crowded very quickly even during Extra Magic Hours of the busy seasons.
So many people immediately stop to take pictures when they get into a park. While I understand the desire to take pictures before you get hot & sweaty I personally suggest you wait to take them until 11 am or noon. Get to the rides while the lines are 5 minutes long. There Is never a line for pictures unless professional & even then it’s nothing compared to the lines of rides.
Of course, if you are getting to the park before it opens for your breakfast reservation & have a few minutes to spare before or after you eat this is definitely the ideal time to take pictures. The park is crazy empty & you’ll be able to get amazing photos without tons of random people in your picture with you!
Florida is hot. Drinking water is important.
We were in Disney at the end of May, not the hottest month of the year, & we saw a kid vomiting (& another one right afterward), as well as a kid passed out in their stroller & the parents couldn’t (or were having a crazy hard time) waking them up.
I’m not a parent, so I’m not going to pretend I know what your child needs. I do however know how I feel when I am dehydrated & I know it’s not fun & not good for my body.
Water is important.
Which leads to my next tip/mistake to avoid.
10. Paying for Water.
There is never a reason to buy water in a Disney park. You can get free cups of water at any quick service location that sells fountain drinks.
Carrying a bottle with you? Ask for two cups of water, drink one & refill your bottle with the other. Win-Win!
11. Carrying Your Souvenirs
If you are staying at one of the park’s many hotels or resorts; a huge mistake you can make is buying souvenirs & then lugging them around all day. Depending on the length of your stay/when your checkout date is you can have your souvenirs delivered to your hotel within the next couple of days.
Another option is to have your souvenirs shipped to your house. Or you could just wait to buy your souvenirs until the end of the day.
12. Following the Crowds
The biggest part of this is choosing long lines, walking the main path, & the fireworks/parades.
There will be many times throughout the day when it will be easy & tempting to follow the crowd, but don’t!
When you arrive at the parks quickly scan the lines for a security person who is quick or has a shorter line.
Also, you can avoid the mass of people walking down the center of the street by simply walking on the sidewalks. Plus many of the stores are connected in the parks. We often avoided the crowds by walking through the shops, not only was it occasionally faster (it’s only the two of us, no kids begging to stop to look at everything), but the air conditioning & shade were a nice relief from the Florida sun.
Oh, & when it poured down rain while we were in Epcot throughout the afternoon we were able to avoid rain by swiftly walking from country to country when the rain lessened & then exploring what each country had, by walking through the open shops/restaurants, while the rain picked up again.
We normally watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks behind Cinderella’s castle, behind the carousel. The fireworks are directly above you & it feels so magical. On our last trip, we spent 2 days in The Magic Kingdom so we decided to watch them in the front of the castle to see what all the hoopla was about.
While it can be fun to see the images on the castle, if you are short like me, you might not be able to see them anyways, plus the crowds are horrendous. Like suffocating, can’t move, everyone touching everyone else… horrendous. We will not be doing that again.
We prefer off the beaten path spots to watch the parades & fireworks.
13. Restaurant Reservations
Restaurant reservations are a must, especially during the busy season. We were astonished by how many people were themselves astonished when they walked into sit-down (“table service” as Disney likes to call them) restaurants without a reservation & asked for a table, especially when they had a huge party with them. Usually, these people were told it would be an hour or two wait time if they could even accommodate them at all.
Even with restaurant reservations, there can be a short wait time, especially during busy seasons.
I recommend researching what restaurants & food options are available in each park & making reservations well in advance if possible.
We made a couple of breakfast reservations (which are great for getting into the parks before they open), ate most of our lunches at quick service restaurants, & then had reservations for dinner at table-service restaurants.
Another good tip is to eat at times when people are not eating if you don’t want to wait or don’t have reservations. Like lunch at 11 or 11:15 & dinner at 4 or 4:30. If the park opens at say 8, you probably will be hungry for lunch earlier anyway!
14.Going in the Dead of Summer
Some people don’t mind thousands of people, long lines, & killer heat. But if you do & especially if it’s your first trip Disney, or your first one with kids, I highly suggest that you schedule your trip for a different time of year.
You can find the best times to visit Disney here.
15. Walking & Standing When You Could Sit
Any opportunity you get to sit you should take. Your feet will thank you later.
ps. If you are in The Magic Kingdom during the off season you might want to take the train, instead of walking, across the park to your FastPass or restaurant Reservation.
When buying food at a quick service restaurant have your spouse or friend stand in line to order while you scout out a place to sit. Sometimes you will have to casually stand by while people finish eating so that you can take their place once they are done.
This doesn’t mean I’m suggesting to be rude or demand they hurry up & eat. Just stand by & use this opportunity to text your friend where to find you. Plus you can look up ride times or make new FastPass+ reservations while you wait.
Looking for more Disney tips & advice? Click here to see all of my Disney posts, like 20 Things to Buy Before a Disney Vacation, 10 Things to Do 3 Months Before Your Disney Vacation, & much more!
Have you ever made a mistake on a WDW vacation?
I’d love to hear them & how you overcame them or plan to avoid them next time!
Feel free to comment below, email me, or tweet me on Twitter!
And don’t forget to check the comments for more Disney mistake tips!
With love, G
Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.