It’s always fun to talk about the great things you should do and experience in Disney World, but there’s definitely a list of no-no’s to abide by if you want to have the smoothest trip possible. Can you survive a trip even if you ignore the items on this list? Absolutely. But it’s always our goal to help our readers be armed with tips that will help make a trip as magical as possible!
1. Going without having any working knowledge of the parks
I’m not saying that a first time Disney guest needs to be an expert before a first trip. That being said, a basic working knowledge of Walt Disney World is essential. You should know generally which parks are there and the major attractions at each park. Looking over a park map and attractions list before you go is helpful in prioritizing what your family wants to do. You should also have an idea of what attractions are most popular, so you know what to expect in terms of wait times and best times to visit those attractions. This will also help you select FastPasses.
2. Visiting without advanced dining reservations
Whether you are a serious foodie or just like to have fun at your meals, you are going to be delighted by the dining options at Disney. Unfortunately, you really do need to secure Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR’s) for a lot of Disney restaurants- especially during peak travel seasons. The chances of being able to walk up to a popular restaurant and successfully get a table are slim. This doesn’t mean you can’t try, of course. You might want to check the ADR availability for restaurants on the online system while you are on the trip- I’ve found that there are many great reservations to be had online on the day before, or even the day of, the reservation. Still, you won’t be so lucky with the most popular places (like Be Our Guest or Le Cellier) unless you book well in advance. The ADR reservation system is simple to use. You can visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining to select reservations, or call (407)-WDW-DINE. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance of your trip.
3. Forcing kids to ride things they aren’t ready for
I can completely understand wanting to coax a nervous child onto a ride for the first time when you think that the child is truly ready for the experience. I vividly remember being a 9-year old Disney first-timer and refusing to ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride because a “wild ride” sounded too scary. My dad rode it without my mom and me, and in retrospect I do wish that they had just talked some sense in to me and made me ride it. There are other cases, though, where bringing your child on something that might be too scary can have long-lasting consequences. For example, the small drop in Pirates of the Caribbean might make your child fear all other boat or dark rides. (If you want to read about some chicken and child-proof rides, here’s a great article to check out: Disney For Chickens). If you have a child with you who doesn’t want to ride something, many rides do offer a rider swap, which means that you and another adult can take turns waiting with the child while you each ride.
4. Not knowing how to use the transportation system
At the very least, you should know that buses are available to take you to the parks from the resorts. You should also know where the monorail stops and what resorts have walking or boat access to parks. “So, how do we get there?” is not a question for the morning of your park departure. You should have an idea in advance if you want to be out and about in a timely manner.
5. Behaving badly
Littering, swearing, or cutting in line are all examples of poor park behavior. Behaving badly in the parks is not magical, so don’t do it! Luckily, the parks are generally pretty friendly, and unsavory behavior is usually minimal.
6. Going to the parks without FastPass+ reservations
I know you may not want to decide what you will ride at 2pm in 6 months, but you really should. You can always change your reservations if you need to, but you really are missing out if you don’t reserve anything. The availability at the FastPass+ kiosks on the day you are in the park is limited.
7. Arriving without knowledge of what type of tickets to buy
Do you need park-hoppers? How about the “water parks and more” option? This is something to figure out before you begin your vacation. You’ll need to know if you are okay with limiting yourself to one park per day, and if you plan to visit water parks, miniature golf, and other “extra” experiences.
8. Refusing to get up early
Sleeping in is glorious, but arriving at the park at rope drop (before park opening) is highly beneficial. If you don’t believe me, try it just once. You will be able to ride many rides quickly in the first hour that that park is open. Even people who intend to get to the park early often don’t make it, so if you can manage it then you really will be in a good position to experience many attractions quickly with minimal lines.
9. Dressing for style instead of comfort
Everyone likes to look cute, but save the heals for home. Even if you want to dress up for a nice dinner, wear your comfortable shoes unless you’re going straight to the restaurant and doing no other walking. You can always bring them in a bag to slip on later. Comfortable shoes are a must! You’ll also want to dress comfortably for heat and sun!
10. Underestimating the importance of breaks
Breaks are great for keeping moods in tip-top shape. Whether you take a mid-day break to swim at the pool or nap, or you just take a long, leisurely lunch mid-day, breaks are extremely important if you plan to see and do a lot on your vacation. This is true for children and adults. Can you stay in the park from opening to close? Sure, but it’s pretty hard to sustain that pace for more than a day or two.
What are your personal Disney no-no’s? Share your tips with us!
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