A trip to Walt Disney World in Florida is a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for many and it doesn’t come cheap! Some go to Disney World without knowing what to expect or what pitfalls to avoid. While Disney will give you many wonderful experiences, here are a few you should try to avoid.
1) Sleeping In – A Disney World vacation is unlike a trip to the beach. If you picture sleeping late and lounging by the pool, think again! Certainly, it is beneficial to reserve a day like that if you’re staying for a week or more, but most people go to Disney to experience their world famous theme parks. The best time to enjoy the rides and attractions is at park opening, before the heat and the crowds descend on you. So, rise and shine! You can sleep when you get home!
2) Standing In Line To Buy Tickets – As stated above, consider your time in the parks to be at a premium. Every minute you stand in line is a minute you could be doing something fun. Consider purchasing your theme park/water park tickets before leaving home. Set up a free account on www.mydisneyexperience.com and link your tickets to your account, so when you arrive at Disney, you’re ready to go! *Bonus tip: If you’re staying at a Disney resort hotel, you can purchase your tickets at guest services. The line should be shorter that at the theme park.
3) Dining Without Reservations – Another thing you can do with your My Disney Experience account is make dining reservations for any of the table-service restaurants in the parks or hotels. There are plenty of quick-service locations that require no reservation, but don’t miss out on the experience of dining at one or more of Disney’s well-themed restaurants. The food is generally very good and the hour or so rest will do you good. Beware! The most popular restaurants book up well in advance (as much as 6 months). If you wait until you arrive, you will likely miss out.
4) Standing in Long Lines – Disney has recently added interactive queues to many of their rides and attractions. Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan are all examples of that. Nevertheless, standing in line is still something you should avoid, if possible. Arriving at park opening (or even before) can give you 1-2 hours of short lines before the crowds arrive. Riding during parades, fireworks and even mealtimes can reduce lines also. However, the best tip for avoiding long lines is to book Fastpass+ before you leave home. At 60 days out from your trip, you can book three ride/attraction experiences on your My Disney Experience account for each day of your trip. Then, when your reservation time arrives, you walk to the front of the line, without waiting. * Bonus tip: After using your three Fastpass+ reservations, you can book another (and then another, and then another…) at any of the Fastpass kiosks around the park, until all Fastpasses are exhausted for that particular park.
5) “Winging” It – It’s hard to deny that the parks are more crowded today than ever. There are hardly any slow times anymore. Gone are the days when you could just show up, stand in the middle of Main Street USA looking at a park map, and then do whatever you wanted. It’s imperative that you have some sort of plan, even if it’s just a loose one. At the very least, know what the popular attractions are and where they are located, so you don’t waste time.
6) Heat of the Day – If you visit Disney World anywhere from March through October, you’re likely to encounter the central Florida heat and humidity. It is oppressive! Your best bet is to arrive early at the parks, enjoying the attractions until about 1 pm, then sit down for a nice meal in air condition comfort. Afterwards, consider returning to your hotel for a swim and/or nap during the heat of the day. You can return to the parks for the evening fireworks/parade or more rides. If you are determined to stay in the park all day, do the indoor shows and attractions or shopping in the afternoon.
7) Deluxe to Value – Disney World veterans like to do split stays. That is, break up your trip by changing resorts during your stay. Obviously, this works best if you’re staying for a week or longer. This is a great way to experience a deluxe hotel that might be too expensive for a longer stay. To get the full effect, stay in the lower-priced hotel first (as opposed to the other way around), so that you feel like you’re getting an “upgrade” when you change resorts. If money is an issue, reserve just your last night at a deluxe hotel, and plan to spend time enjoying the hotel’s amenities and restaurants.
8) Early Flight Out – Avoid scheduling your flight home at the crack of dawn. Remember, an early flight out will have a domino effect on your last night, unless you plan on no sleep!
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!