A family’s first trip to Disney World is exciting, magical and overwhelming. Here are ten common Disney Rookie mistakes and how to avoid them.
10. Staying “off property” – Orlando offers all kinds of great hotel deals within a short distance of the Walt Disney World parks. Many offer free shuttles to and from the parks and boast cheap rates that are appealing to the budget conscious vacation planner. Before you book your offsite hotel room, take a look at the rates offered by Walt Disney’s value resorts. During low attendance times rooms can be had for as little as $85 per night (or less!) and allow your Disney Rookie family to be completely immersed in the magic! Let’s face it, you spend a fraction of your time in your hotel room on a Disney vacation and 90% of that time is spent sleeping. Plus, you have the convenience of Disney transportation and easy access to all of the perks the parks and resorts have to offer.
9. Poorly timing your visit – Timing your visit to Disney World properly will not only be kind to your wallet but also aid in avoiding the turmoil caused by large crowds and long lines. Disney has low times and high times. These can easily be identified by visiting disneyworld.disney.go.com. Don’t miss your favorite attractions – during different times during the year certain attractions will be closed for refurbishing. If you are just dying to get on Splash Mountain, be sure to consult the Walt Disney World website for ride closure information.
8. Not using FastPass – Don’t leave home without it! With the Disney magic band program its easier than ever to pre-plan your most popular, must see attractions without the hour long wait! Before even boarding the plane to Orlando your family can have all their FastPasses pre-programmed to their MagicBand to avoid the long lines. Don’t have a magic band? No sweat. Fast passes can be picked up at the attractions upon arrival to the various parks. But, get there soon. There are a limited number of FastPasses issued for each attraction each day.
7. Sleeping in – A Disney vacation is not the time for sleeping in. Get to the park when it opens to take advantage of short lines, lower crowd levels and tackle the big attractions first. Extra Magic hours in the evening will a lot you plenty of time for a midday nap!
6. Sticking around for the afternoon parade – Although the daytime parades can be fun experiences for the little ones, you typically have to line up at least an hour in advance to get a good seat that won’t mean your toddler spending twenty minutes on your shoulders crying because they still cannot see Mickey. Skip it. Use this time to head to one of the more popular attractions or areas of the park. In the Magic Kingdom this would be FantasyLand, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Mountain to name a few.
5. Trying to see it all – It’s not going to happen. A typical five to seven day stay at the park is still not enough time to experience all that Disney has to offer. After all … it’s magic!! Even after over 15 visits to the parks I am still discovering new and exciting things. This is why this is only your first trip! Preplan your visit as a family by browsing the different shows and attractions on various Disney websites. Make a top 10 must see list per park to assure everyone gets to their favorites.
4. Not Visiting Animal Kingdom first thing in the morning – If you want the best chance at seeing wild animals at their most active head to Animal Kingdom as soon as the park opens and make a beeline for the African Safari. The animals are most active in the morning and you are sure to see zebras, giraffes and the coveted prides of lions.
3. Arriving at the night shows too close to start time (or skipping them!) – Whatever you do, or don’t do, do not miss the great night shows at all four major parks. For the best viewing, it is highly recommended that you take the time to reserve a prime viewing spot two hours in advance.
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2. Visiting FantasyLand in the afternoon – Little ones are surely going to want to see all the great rides FantastyLand has to offer. The longer you wait to get there, the longer the lines will be. My suggestion? Get to the park at opening and head straight to FantasyLand. This will be your best chance at seeing all the fun rides geared towards your smaller vacationers.
1. Missing the character visits – Buy the kids an autograph book and stop every chance you can to “meet” a character. Not only are these meetings part of the magic of Disney they bring great memories and even better (cheap) souvenirs! You can take your own photos and use your MagicBand to collect professional photos to be purchased online when you return home.
By not making just a few basic mistakes, your first trip to DisneyWorld will be one of the most me memorable experiences you and your family will have.
Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper