By planning ahead of time for your next, or first, Disney World vacation, you’re already on the right track to having a memorable trip. However, knowing how to plan and what to avoid can mean the difference between a stress-free vacation and a crazy, hectic one. Here are a few frequent errors that are made during the planning stages of a Disney trip.
8. Not Making a Schedule of Your Trip
Once you set your dates and make your reservation, plan out which parks you will visit on which days. This will make the rest of your planning much easier. While it may be a great idea to “wing it,” not having a plan can lead to arguments and wasted time that you could be spending in the parks. Have a plan of what parks you want to visit, which you will visit more than once, which will be half-day parks, etc.
7. Not Using Fastpass + Properly
Just because you’ve gone ahead and made Fastpass+ reservations doesn’t necessarily mean you’re using them properly. Using them for walk-on rides, or rides with a less than 20 minute wait is a waste. Do your research and save your Fastpasses for rides that consistently have long lines. Another planning error with Fastpass+ is not considering ride placement. Try to minimize your walking in the parks by planning your Fastpasses in a way that works with how you plan on experiencing the parks. Avoid having to double back, and then back again to use a Fastpass and tire yourself out. Maps of the parks can be found on the Disney World website. Here are “3 Major FastPass+ Tips & Over a Dozen Attractions You Should Never Waste a FastPass+ On.”
6. Not Having Dining Reservations
If you’re staying on Disney property, you have from 180 days before your trip starts to begin booking dining reservations. Waiting until the last minute, or waiting until you get to the parks, will result in the more popular dining locations and time slots being filled up. Some less popular restaurants, like those at the resorts, can sometimes have space the day of, but if you’re traveling during the summer or the holidays, even these can fill up. Check out “Disney Dining 101 – 5 Things You Need To Know.”
5. Waiting Until the Last Minute to Get a Parade or Fireworks Viewing Spot
A common rookie mistake is when guests don’t pick out their viewing spot for the parades or fireworks shows before these events start. When making your plans for the parks that have these entertainments, plan to pick your viewing spot at least a half hour before the event starts. You’ll get a much better seat and will beat out all those rookies.
4. Not Using the My Experience App
When you’re at the parks, using the My Disney Experience App is a must. It can help you plan your day as you go to avoid long wait times, take advantage of short ones, find character meet and greets, and so much more. Not using it can mean you’ll miss out when a popular attraction has a short wait or when a ride reopens after being temporarily closed. You can access the app any time and use it to help you predict line wait times and better uses for Fastpasses (see #7). You may also like “My Disney Experience App – How It Helps You Get The Most Out Of Your Disney Trip.”
3. Leaving During Bad Weather
Plan on rain. If it miraculously doesn’t rain during your Disney vacation, consider yourself lucky. But odds are it will rain at some point and if you don’t prepare for it ahead of time, you’ll end of spending extra money or feel like you need to cut your day short. Disney sells ponchos at every gift shop, but if you can bring one from home or from a previous trip, you won’t have to waste time waiting in line to buy one. Having a poncho or umbrella also means you can continue enjoying your day at the parks when other guests leave. Keep your rain gear in your Disney parks bag wherever you go so you’ll always be ready. Here are “14 Things You’ll Love Doing On Rainy Days At Disney.”
2. Spending Too Much On Souvenirs
Another rookie mistake is spending too much money on souvenirs. Before you leave for the parks, have an idea of what you’d like to buy and how much you are willing to spend. And stick to it. Some gifts you can even buy at your local Disney Store for a lower price that what you would find at the gift shops on Disney property.
1. Not Accounting For Travel Time
Whether planning your vacation schedule, Fastpass, or dining reservations, consider the time it will take to travel to and from your hotel or in between parks. Just because you are ready to leave your hotel at 8:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. park opening, doesn’t mean the bus, boat or monorail will be there. Even if it is, there may be a line of people in front of you causing you to wait for a second or third vehicle before you can board. Leave time for traveling, especially the day you arrive. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving or flying. Delays can happen and you don’t want to miss out on an activity because you didn’t give yourself enough time to get there.
By avoiding these eight rookie mistakes, your Disney planning process will go more smoothly and your vacation will be more relaxing.
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