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10 Mistakes Rookies Make At Walt Disney World Resort

Your first trip to Disney is bound to be magical, exciting and fun for everyone. However, with so much to experience, it’s easy to make mistakes that could cost you money, time and just a pleasant trip overall. Here are 10 rookie mistakes to avoid when visiting the parks:

10. Not Utilizing Fastpass+

Some people believe that making FastPasses takes the spontaneity out of a Disney trip, but in order to experience a majority of the attractions the parks have to offer it really is a necessity. You are able to make up to three FastPasses for one park per day and make one at a time at a FastPass kiosk in any park once you finish your initial three. If you make FastPasses for popular attractions that normally have long wait times, you are able to fit more fun in during your day in the park.

9. Not Making ADR’s

If you plan on dining at one of Disney’s table service restaurants, it’s wise to make an advance dining reservation (ADR) as early as possible. The majority of the restaurants start accepting reservations 180 days in advance, and for restaurants like Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table and Le Cellier, the reservations are booked fast. Do not assume that you can walk up day of and get a table because chances are, you won’t be able to.

8. Not Checking Extra Magic Hours

If you are staying on property, each day one park will either open earlier or close later for resort guests only. This is an excellent opportunity to get photos without thousands of people in it, grab an early dining reservation or get a jump-start on checking attractions off your list. If you aren’t staying on property, it’s still beneficial to check the extra magic hours just to make sure you don’t show up before you’re allowed in the park. 

7. Not Getting Spots Early For Fireworks/Parades/Shows

Disney entertainment is unlike any other entertainment in the theme park world. You could see the same show or parade a million times and still not be tired of it. Because they are so popular, it’s recommended that you find a viewing spot at least 45 minutes prior to it starting – and I highly suggest sticking to that rule. If it’s your first time experiencing some of the shows and parades, you’ll definitely want a good spot and some people start waiting even earlier than 45 minutes. 

6. Not Allowing Time For Travel

If you aren’t staying on Disney property, chances are you’ve chosen a hotel that’s about 15-20 minutes away from the parks. However, don’t think that you can leave at 8AM to be at Magic Kingdom for the welcome show, which is somewhere around 8:50. Even though it’ll take you 20 minutes to get to the parking lot, you still need to park, take a tram or walk to the Ticket and Transportation Center and take a monorail or boat to the Magic Kingdom entrance. It normally takes me about an hour from when I leave my hotel to get into the park, so allow yourself extra time.

5. Not Using Disney Transportation

If you are planning on hitting multiple parks in one day, you will waste a lot of time driving to each park separately. While you only have to pay for parking once, when you think about how much time it takes to get back to your car, drive to the other park, park your car, get to bag check and then get through the front entrance… that’s a lot of time. My pro-tip? Whichever park you plan on ending at, park there. If you plan on ending your day at Magic Kingdom, I would park there and then take the monorail to Epcot. From there, you can take Disney Transport buses all over property and it’s free.

Bonus Tip!

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4. Not having the Disney Parks app – My Disney Experience

If you have a smartphone, you should download the My Disney Experience app prior to your vacation. This app is useful in easily accessing the park hours and wait times while in the parks. You can also make dining reservations and even purchase tickets. This is also where you can manage your FastPasses and if a ride is down and your FastPass selection has changed, you’ll be notified immediately.

3. Not Adding Park-Hopper To Your Ticket

If you only have a few days in the parks, I highly suggest purchasing Park Hopper tickets. With three out of the four parks at Walt Disney World being under construction in one sense or another, it can be said that they are half-day parks in their current state. This means that there aren’t enough attractions to keep you in the park from open to close. In addition, some parks close earlier than the others and if you aren’t ready to call it a night yet, it’s easy to ‘hop’ to another park and continue the magic.

2. Not Picking Up A Times Guide/Park Map

Even if you have the Disney Parks app, it will still be helpful to pick up a times guide and park map upon entering the park. The park map will have a large layout of park and where every attraction, dining and merchandise location is. Picking up a times guide is also helpful because you can see where characters are meeting and when they’re meeting. You will see the times for parades, fireworks, shows and any other special events.

1. Not Taking A Moment To Stop And Enjoy The Atmosphere

It’s easy to get so caught up in your set itinerary and reservations that you forget to take a moment and to just take in all the magic. My advice? Walk down Main Street at a slow pace and take in the smells, sights and sounds. Walk around the World Showcase and get a feel for the different cultures. Nowhere else will you be able to experience all of these different things at the same time. Take advantage of it.

These tips can help you avoid stress and time management issues during your trip. And, with this knowledge, you’re well on your way to becoming a Disney vacation pro.

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!

About Monet

Monet is a senior majoring in journalism at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is a Disney AP holder and a Disney College Program alum. You can find her covered in pixie dust singing along to the Festival of Fantasy parade soundtrack while dreaming about dole whips and blogging her life away.