Things That Can Screw Up Your Disney Vacation and How to Avoid Them

Cinderella's Castle

There’s no doubt that a vacation to Walt Disney World is magical, but there are things that can put a damper on even the best vacation. Here are some pitfalls that you might encounter on your trip of a lifetime, and some tips to avoid them.

1. Getting Sick

There’s nothing fun about being sick on vacation. Make sure you keep up your good hand-washing habits, especially since you are sharing your vacation with thousands of other people. Carry sanitizer or wet wipes as well. Don’t overdo it, either. Take breaks from the parks when you need to. Also, try not to over-indulge in foods you are not used to eating. If you eat fairly healthily at home, suddenly eating a lot of fried food might do a number on your stomach. Luckily, Disney has so much food variety that this shouldn’t be an issue! Also, don’t forget any prescription or over the counter medications that you use at home- replacing them on vacation could be a big waste of time and money.

2. Cranky family members

A sourpuss can put a damper on any vacation. If someone in your party is prone to crankiness, whether it is grandpa or your toddler, remember to build in time for the things that keep them calm at home- naps, down time, whatever. Allow cranky party members an “out.” Calmly suggest going back for a swim, or point out a nice shady bench to rest on, rather than confronting them on their un-magical attitude. Or, get them to do something silly to bring out their Disney side. If a ride on the Mad Tea Party doesn’t remediate the crankiness, then back to the resort it is!

3. Not knowing how to use FastPass+

Do some research on how to use FastPass+ before your vacation. It allows you to reserve your most coveted ride times, along with meet and greets and preferred viewing locations for parades and shows. Some experiences, like meeting Anna and Elsa or riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will have excessively long waits for people who have not reserved fastpasses.

4. Not being able to eat where you want

You might have big plans about where you want to eat on your vacation, and if you can’t get seating at those places it’s bound to lead to disappointment. Understanding the dining reservation system and using it well in advance of your vacation is key to planning your sit-down meals. Most disappointments can be solved before they happen with a bit of advanced planning.

5. Having to give up items you can’t bring in

What do you mean I can’t bring my favorite glass water bottle into the park? Now you’re left with a choice… take the bottle back to your resort or say goodbye to it for good. Knowing what you can and can’t pack with you for your day in the parks is useful knowledge and can prevent a hold-up in the bag check line. You can bring food, non-alcoholic drinks, cameras, umbrellas, handheld video games, cameras and all their equipment, extra shoes and clothes, etc. You cannot, however, bring large hard-sided coolers, glass bottles, weapons, etc. into the parks. You also can’t wear character costumes if you are over 10, clothing with any vulgarity, or excessively revealing or ripped apparel.

6. Not being able to smoke

Perhaps this should be filed under “cranky party member”, but for people who smoke, not being able to find an area to do so can be extremely stressful. Know where the designated smoking areas are before you go- you can’t just light up anywhere in the parks.

Bonus Tip!

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7. Not planning for your family’s needs

Before your trip, spend some time thinking about your travelling party. Grandpa takes medicine daily? Make sure you have plenty of his medication for the trip. Aunt Fern has a bad knee? Think about getting a scooter in the park to help her with mobility. 5-year old in your crew? He might be able to get through a full day of kindergarten, but don’t expect him to walk all day. Will you bring a stroller? Rent one from a service? Use a Disney stroller? You’re prone to heat exhaustion? Bring along some cooling towels, water bottles, and a great sun hat. Think like a Boy Scout and be prepared.

8. Expecting perfection

You can expect a fabulous time when you embark on your Disney vacation, but you should not expect everything to go perfectly. Here and there, something will be disappointing. A bus won’t show up, or your favorite ride will break down for a few hours. This is where you need to remember you are surrounded by magic, put on a smile, and go with the flow. Remember, even Mary Poppins was only “practically” perfect in every way.

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 price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

About Meredith Smisek

Meredith Smisek is a kid at heart who works as an elementary school counselor. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, son, and corgi. Meredith is a DVC member who loves music, podcasts, crafting, and "talking Disney" with anyone and everyone.

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