Almost nothing makes a seasoned Disney veteran as angry as hearing a park guest complain about Walt Disney World. A little investigation often reveals that Walt Disney World rookie mistakes are the reason for angst among these guests.
10. Not budgeting for snacks, shopping and fun.
One of the complaints I hear most often is how expensive Walt Disney World is. While the costs of a Walt Disney World vacation truly add up quickly it is so important to remember that little luxuries on your trip help you relax and make memories. While I am all for saving a few dollars by sharing lunch in the parks and drinking your own bottled water, it is also important to feel like you can spring for a souvenir item or snack you want to sample. After all, have you really had a Walt Disney World vacation if you have not enjoyed an iconic Mickey Premium Ice cream Bar in the shade of Frontier Land?
9. Not staying on the same page with your travel gang.
Planning ahead and communicating with your travel gang is important to enjoying a Walt Disney World vacation. Not communicating with your group during the planning stages of your trip and during the vacation is a recipe for disaster. Remain flexible and open to the group splitting up to enjoy different attractions. Everyone in your gang is excited about the trip and spending their hard earned money and vacation days on the vacation so they deserve to enjoy the attractions.
8. Not taking advantage of opportunities at your resort.
Taking advantage of resort amenities and activities is key to having a great vacation at Walt Disney World. Familiarize yourself with activity schedules so you never miss a morning at the pool or a slot in the Disney karaoke contest on the beach. Consider taking a resort day to enjoy resting, swimming and touring other resorts. You will save money on a park ticket for the day while recharging and scoping out potential activities for your next Walt Disney World vacation.
7. Not planning fast passes ahead of time.
Waiting to plan fast passes after arriving at Walt Disney World or worse, not taking advantage of fast passes at all is a sin at Walt Disney World. Take the time to reserve your fast pass times as soon as they become available months prior to your vacation. Communicating with your group (see number 9) and planning “must see” attractions ahead of time with fast passes will ensure a much smoother and worthwhile vacation. Check out “
6. Not taking advantage of character meals and deluxe dining opportunities.
While character meals and deluxe dining is pricy it is absolutely worth the cost. If there are children in your gang, character meals are a great option. Enjoy a delicious meal while characters come to meet you at your table for autograph and photo opportunities. You save time by cutting character meet and greets in the park and the kids can enjoy meeting their favorite Disney friends in the comfort of air conditioning with no long lines to wait in. Enjoying upscale dining in Epcot and at numerous Walt Disney World resorts is a favorite activity for my family.
5. Not choosing a park plan that works for your gang.
Neglecting research and discussion with your travel party prior to your trip can really take a toll on morale during your vacation. Do not assume that everyone has the same idea and expectations of a Walt Disney World vacation. Developing a park plan prior to the vacation will ensure you make informed decisions about the parks and attractions you visit. Understand that a day at the Magic Kingdom may not be the best fit for every travel party despite the iconic Disney appeal. Die hard Toy Story fans will be sad to miss out on Midway Mania and character meets with their favorite toys if they are forced to spend their one day in the parks with family at any park aside from Hollywood Studios.
4. Not scheduling time to relax.
A quick walk through any theme park will reveal plenty of midday meltdowns between families. Avoid bickering, exhaustion and illness by scheduling time to rest during busy days in the park. This could mean returning to your resort for a midday nap and swim or taking the monorail to a nearby resort to relax and grab snacks. Spending an hour at the Contempo Café enjoying flat breads in the Contemporary Resort or listening to the pianist at The Grand Floridian are some of my favorite ways to recharge during a long hot day. Check out “Disney World R&R – 12 Best Ways to Relax At WDW Resorts.”
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3. Not staying at a WDW Resort hotel.
Avoiding staying on the Disney property during a Walt Disney World vacation is a major mistake. What you save in cash you lose in time driving in Orlando traffic. In addition to the stress of driving to the parks each day, guests staying off the property pay for parking in Walt Disney World and do not enjoy the same easy luxury of returning to their hotel room for a midday break. Extra magic hours are a huge perk of staying on the resort property. Each day Disney offers extra magic hours for resort guests at one of the parks. This means that the park is open exclusively for resort guests earlier in the morning or later in the evening. Extra magic hours provide an incredible opportunity to enjoy high traffic attractions with short wait times. My family saves high traffic attractions for evening extra magic hours to avoid waiting in long lines for those attractions during regular park hours. When you consider parking costs, extra magic hours, traffic stress and lost park time staying at a Walt Disney World resort is a much better value for you vacation.
2. Not researching peak attendance times prior to planning a trip.
Another one of my “rookie pet peeves” is hearing how crowded Walt Disney World is and how ridiculous wait times are from disgruntled park guests. When planning your vacation take the time to research usual park attendance during that month. Obviously the dead of summer and winter break are going to be slammed with travelers that are away from work and school on break. If you can travel during slower visitor times at Walt Disney World you can expect shorter wait times and often cheaper resort prices. If you can only travel during the peak times keep realistic expectations about crowds and wait times. Enjoying Walt Disney World during peak times is possible through the proper utilization of extra magic hours and fast passes.
1. Not adapting to changes like weather, ride closures or issues with your gang.
As it is in daily life, there are situations that arise at Walt Disney World that are beyond your control. Keeping realistic expectations and remaining calm and courteous at all times is the crucial to enjoying your vacation. While factors like weather, ride closures and illness are out of your control, you can control how you react to the situations. Keeping an upbeat attitude and being ready to adapt to situations will keep a rainy day in the park from ruining your family’s Walt Disney World vacation.
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