1. Skip researching ahead of your trip
You don’t need to spend hours on end researching every detail of the Walt Disney World Resort, but following sites like this one or checking things like which rides will be refurbished and what the weather will be like during your stay can go a long way. Once at the resort, Disney cast members are certainly willing to help make your vacation a breeze, but knowing some of what to expect beforehand can really make your vacation even easier and more care-free.
2. Sleep in too late
There is nothing wrong with taking some time to relax on vacation, but if you sleep in late every day of your Disney trip you may miss out on some of the best hours in the parks. Early mornings in the parks (with the exception of new areas like Toy Story Land and Pandora: World of Avatar) can be much more relaxing than the later parts of the day. Crowds are lighter, wait times for attractions are shorter, and it’s just easier to take in all of the details that make the parks so special.
3. Forget to stay hydrated
With so much going on at the Walt Disney World Resort it’s all too easy to forget about your water intake. Especially in the warm summer months, staying hydrated is a must while visiting the parks. You can get free cups of ice water from any quick service restaurant, and while you may be rushing to your favorite attractions it’s definitely worth stopping for a few sips of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
4. Pack with no regards for the weather
We may know Florida as the Sunshine State, but truthfully the weather in Orlando can be quite unpredictable. Summers often come with afternoon thunderstorms, and winters while not necessarily cold for guests visiting from up north can actually be on the colder side. Don’t forget to pack a jacket for winter trips since the temps can get as low as the 30s or 40s, and be sure to pack cool clothing but also rain gear for the summer months.
5. Cut or save spaces in lines
No one likes a cutter, plain and simple. If you’re in line with the family and your toddler needs to use the restroom, other guests will typically be understanding. The problem is more-so when you have one person holding a spot in line and the rest of the family arrives late to meet them. It’s not technically against any kind of park rules, but it’s not very courteous to the guests around you can you’re sure to get some stares.
6. Ignore cast member directions
Some cast member instructions may not make sense to guests, but they are giving them for a reason (usually for your safety). Even instructions like moving all the way to an end of the row during a show are just in place to allow more guests to experience the show (and therefore cut down on wait times if it’s a continuous attraction).
7. Over work the kids
Walking five+ miles a day in the parks can take a much greater toll on kids than it can on adults. Even staying up later and past bedtimes can be trying on kids who are exhausted from a long day in the parks. This is true for adults as well, but with kids especially it’s important to stop and take breaks and maybe even spend some time relaxing at the resort pool so they can get a nap in or just work out some of that exhaustion as a family.
8. Count calories
Calories don’t count while you’re on vacation. If you’re looking to enjoy dining out without over-doing it, you can usually find a couple of options at each Disney restaurant, but even so counting calories or points on vacation can make you crazy and take the fun out of eating on the trip. Plus a Disney vacation comes with so much walking that you’d really have to eat A LOT of calories to offset how many you’ll be burning each day.
9. Take flash photos on dark rides
Dark rides take place in the dark for a reason-- The special effects simply do not work the same with the lights on. As such, taking flash photos on dark rides presents the experience to other guests in a way that it is not meant to be seen. Be mindful of other guests who are looking to experience the magic on your trip, and put the cameras (and cell phones) away while on dark rides.
10. Leave the park right after the fireworks
Leave the park once the fireworks end and you’ll find yourself in line after line waiting for the bus, monorail, boat, or however you plan on getting back to your resort. The crowds that accumulate by the park exits after the fireworks actually do not take too long to disperse, so if you take your time leaving the park and do some last-minute shopping or take some photos you can avoid much of the post-park lines and crowds.
11. Spend the whole trip on your phone
It’s tempting to be on your phone a lot during a Disney trip partially because so much of your trip is planned through the My Disney Experience app. Save for using this app and taking photos, (or actually making necessary phone calls), put the phone away for the rest of the trip. Your entire vacation will be more enjoyable if you live in the moment rather than experiencing it through a screen.
12. Skip the pool at your resort
Spending a day or at least a couple of hours at your resort pool is one of the best ways to relax at the Walt Disney World Resort as a family. It’s also one of the amenities that’s included in the cost of your resort stay, and something you should take advantage of! Worried that the kids will be bored? All of the resort pools schedule special children’s activities during the day making this the perfect way to take a fun break from the theme parks.
13. Forget about tipping cast members
When traveling anywhere (at least in the U.S.), it’s important to remember to tip cast members who provide you a service. In Disney, this includes servers, bell services, housekeeping, salon stylists, Uber/Lyft/Minnie Van drivers, and Magical Express drivers (especially if they helped you with your bags). Contrary to other destinations, concierge cast members in Disney are working a non-tipped role.