You’re making your first visit to Walt Disney World and you couldn’t be more excited! Avoid these ten rookie pitfalls to make the most of your magical trip.
10. Trying to Do it All
Walt Disney World is mind-blowingly big. You simply cannot do it all in one trip. The sooner you make peace with this idea, the happier your trip to the Happiest Place on Earth will be. Instead of trying to do everything, think about the ages of your group members, their interests, and the kind of trip you want to have. Decide what your biggest priorities are and plan accordingly.
9. Winging It
Take time BEFORE your trip to make some plans. Download the My Disney Experience app and figure out your must-see attractions, characters, and restaurants, then prioritize those with your Fast Pass+ and dining reservations. Study park maps so you know where you’re going once you arrive. Some rookies worry that too much planning will make their vacation seem programmed and lacking in spontaneity, but planning ahead allows you to get the most out of your time at Walt Disney World.
8. Wasting Your Fast Passes
As part of your planning you’re going to want to make Fast Pass+ reservations for your top priority experiences. Nothing will reduce your time spent waiting in line as well as Fast Pass +. Reservations are available for select rides, characters, and parade and firework viewings. Make the most of those reservations! Do your research and find out which attractions tend to have longer wait times. Some rides have really outstanding line experiences, so you might not want to miss them. And be sure to arrive at the Fast Pass+ line during your ride window! If you miss it, you will not be allowed to enter the line and your reservation is wasted.
7. Not Making Dining Reservations
Have your heart set on a breakfast with the Princesses? Dying for dinner at Be Our Guest? You need to plan WAY ahead. You can make dining reservations up to 180 days in advance and the most popular restaurants fill up quickly. Rookies are often surprised to learn that you don’t need to have your park tickets yet to reserve your meals, so go ahead and plan ahead!
6. Underestimating Travel Time
Remember that Disney World is really, really big. Pay attention to the estimated travel times that WDW provides. You want to get to Magic Kingdom for a dining reservation and you’re staying at All Star Music? The bus ride alone is over twenty minutes. Be sure to leave enough time to get to your destination early so you don’t miss one of your precious dining or Fast Pass+ reservations!
5. Being Unprepared for the Elements
Florida: The Sunshine State. While Florida gets its sunny reputation fairly, it can also rain frequently and be downright chilly in the winter. Be prepared!
Going in the summer? Know that it’s going to be very, very hot and humid. If you aren’t used to the southern climate it may take more out of you than you anticipate. Remember to hydrate, take breaks in the AC, and wear and reapply sunscreen. Summer is also Orlando’s rainy season, so be prepared for the frequent, though typically short-lived, thunderstorms. A few emergency ponchos and will keep you dry without taking up a lot of space in your bag.
Planning a winter visit? While the average high temperature in January is a pleasant 71º F, the average low is only 49º F, and the record low is a brisk 18º F! If your suitcase is full of tank tops and shorts you’re probably going to be shivering!
4. Pushing Kids (and Adults) Too Hard
Disney Veterans know that “getting the most out of every minute” doesn’t mean pushing yourselves to the point of exhaustion. Disney Vets have all witnessed meltdowns from guests who are hot, tired, and over-stimulated. To avoid the meltdown, take frequent breaks to snack, hydrate, and relax. Especially during the summer months, consider going to a park in the morning, taking an afternoon break to swim or rest at the hotel, then return to the park in the cooler evening hours. And if you can, consider taking a day or two off from the parks during your stay. Wander around some of the resorts, shop at Disney Springs, and swim in the resort pool. You’ll be refreshed and rested for the next day of park fun.
3. Blowing Your Budget
Food at Disney World isn’t cheap, so be sure to budget for meals. Check prices before you dine so you don’t get surprised with a bill that’s higher than you expected. If you’re taking advantage of the Disney Dining Plan, remember to budget for tips, as they are not included. Souvenirs are another expense, and there are an unbelievable number of opportunities to buy them. It’s easy to go crazy, so try to keep yourself (and your kids) in check. While Magic Bands are a great convenience, charging to them doesn’t always feel like spending “real” money until you get your bill at the end of the visit, so keep track of your spending!
2. Skipping the classic Disney attractions
With new rides and big thrills filling your Fast Pass+ queue, it’s easy to overlook some classic Disney attractions. “The Enchanted Tiki Room,” “it’s a small world,” and “Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress” might seem outdated or quaint, but they’re the heart and soul of the park and were conceived by Walt Disney himself. As a bonus they rarely have long lines. And it’s just not Disney World if you don’t have one of these catchy songs stuck in your head.
1. Missing the Details
One of the things that truly sets WDW apart from a “standard” amusement park is the incredible attention to detail. If you’re pushing through at breakneck speed you’re missing out on so much of the Disney experience. Slow down and look around. From the pavement under your feet to the music that seems to come from thin air, everything is intentional. Take a few minutes to enjoy the atmosphere; it’s truly magical.
You’re sure to make a mistake or two on your first Disney adventure, but avoiding these blunders will help you have a fantastic rookie trip! In no time you’ll feel like a true Disney Veteran.
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