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Dos and Don'ts

Don’t Be ‘That Guy’: What to Do and Not Do at Walt Disney World

Are you about to embark on a vacation to the one and only Walt Disney World Resort? Perhaps you’ve been before and have learned a little (or a lot) from past experiences and consider yourself to be in good shape as far as Disney vacation planning goes. Or perhaps you’ve never been or haven’t been back in quite some time. If the second scenario suits your situation, then read along for some helpful pointers to keep in mind that will prevent potential problems and inconveniences and allow you to get the most out of the enchanted experience ahead.

Related: These Are the Best and Worst Tips for Doing Disney World

10. Make Things Easier By Staying Onsite

Make things easier on yourself and your party by choosing to stay onsite at a Disney World Hotel. There are so many options to choose from, of all different designations, room types, and locations within the confines of Walt Disney World Resort. What’s more, Disney Resort Guests get exclusive perks that others lodging in the greater Orlando area just can’t boast. Some of these added benefits include complimentary transportation services from Resorts to Parks, extended time in the Parks, and even first dibs on making Lightning Lane selections through Disney Genie+ in addition to numerous others. What’s more, each and every Disney accommodation creates wonderful onsite experiences for all Guests, laden with plenty of amenities and recreations.

Disney Hotel Vacation

Credit: Disney

Related: What You Need to Know About the Different Disney World Resort Levels

9. Don’t Wing Your Vacation

This advice is at the center of your entire experience. In short, you really can’t do Disney without first having a viable plan in place. Obviously, you need to make all your arrangements—flight bookings, decisions about lodging, and everything else. You also have to study up, learn the lay of the land, and carry on with your plans accordingly based on what you’ve learned. Disney World is huge, comprising of four theme parks, two water parks, a wide range of Resorts, and neighboring Disney Springs. So, winging it just isn’t an option. Avoid getting lost by studying Disney maps prior to your trip (if you have never been). It’s also an excellent idea to go into a Disney vacation with at least some idea of those attractions and experiences you hope to pursue.

Disney Trip Planner

Credit: Polka Dot Pixie Shop

Related: Expect the BEST – But Prepare for the WORST at Walt Disney World

8. Remember, Reservations Are Now Required

Gone were the days when you could just get a Disney Park ticket and walk right into the theme park of your choosing. Reservations are now required for entering Disney World in addition to purchasing Park tickets. So, don’t make the unfortunate mistake of overlooking this much needed step in the process.

Park Reservation

Credit: Military Disney Tips

7. The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Sure, you may be on vacation and all, but sleeping in and getting a late start at Disney isn’t at all the way to go. Arriving at your reserved Park bright and early is always the best course of action to take. And if you followed suit in booking a Disney Resort, even better. Disney Resort Guests are allowed entry into the Parks a half hour earlier than those not staying onsite. And you’re going to want to reap the benefits of earlier arrival, especially given the fact that Disney crowds get heavier as the day progresses. So don’t arrive late, or you’re looking at longer lines and possibly missed opportunities to get to do all the things you were counting on.

Early entry

Credit: The Disney Journey

 6. Don’t Be a Disney Park Packrat

When going to Disney Parks, it’s always best to travel light. Pack only those essentials you know you will need and avoid making the mistake of overpacking. Bringing too many unnecessary items along will slow you down considerably. Not only will it be a hassle when riding rides or even just trying to get by and navigate within the Parks, but it will seriously inconvenience you when going through the security checkpoints upon entry, as your bags will be thoroughly searched.

Backpack

Credit: Disney

Related: These Are the Items You Should Always Pack for a Trip to Disney World

5. Do Come Prepared for the Weather, Though

On a polar opposite note, don’t come to the Parks underprepared, particularly where the weather is concerned. You will want to make sure that you at least have ponchos in the event that an impromptu rain shower decides to move in. Likewise, given the classic sunny Florida weather, you may want to remember the sunscreen. And it never hurts to bring along a sweater in case the nights get cooler or even if you go into a highly air-conditioned venue. So, plan accordingly and don’t come underprepared.

Sun protection

Credit: Laura Hermoza/Disney Fanatic

Related: The Craziest Weather to Ever Hit Disney World

4. If You Really Want It, Book It

As part of the advisement against winging things, if there is an experience you truly want and it is something that can be booked in advance, do so. This includes dining at a table service restaurant you’ve always wanted to eat at and even reserving a specific Lightning Lane selection when there is an opportunity to do so. Are you visiting Disney around one of Mickey’s ticketed holiday events, such as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? Beware that they fill up fast, so don’t expect to be able to walk on over to the gate and purchase tickets on the spot. It doesn’t work like that. While you may luck out with dining via a Walk-Up Wait List, don’t risk it if it’s what you truly want. Book an advance Disney dining reservation and play it safe.

Mickey's Very Merry

Credit: Disney

Related: Tips to Scoring the Best Disney Dining Reservations

3. Don’t Skimp on the Simple Pleasures

Sure, you want to ride all those must-do rides and pursue each and every big-name attraction, but don’t let the determination for doing so distract you from enjoying all those hidden gems and simple pleasures you may be overlooking in pursuit of what you may feel is greater and grander. You’ve already achieved a milestone to be proud of—you’ve made it to the one and only Walt Disney World Resort after all! So, anything you do here, great or small, is just frosting on the case—something to write home about. So go ahead and let yourself bask in the simple pleasures you may be tempted to forego or overlook. Hop aboard the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover to see Magic Kingdom Park from a new, unique aerial vantage point. Indulge in that decadent Kitchen Sink Sundae with family on an all-too rare splurge you can only get at Disney. Even just strolling along the base of the Tree of Life over at Animal Kingdom, trying to keep count of all the different animal carvings can be a lot of fun, as is the simple joy of trying to spot Hidden Mickey’s just about everywhere your travels take you throughout Walt Disney World. These are all simplistic, magical moments and are not to be missed!

Kitchen Sink

Credit: Disney

2. Keep Your Cool

On the flip side to having a well-worked plan in place for your vacation, you need to remember that some things just don’t go according to plan, no matter how well-thought-out your plan may be. So do leave a little room for flexibility, and don’t get so bent out of shape over a minor setback that you have a meltdown or let the domino effect foil all the other magical moments you may enjoy. A sour mood can impact your entire experience as well as the experiences of those you are with. Furthermore, it can end up affecting the moods of other Park-goers if left unchecked. Don’t let your disappointment be a driving factor in how you treat others, especially other vacationers looking to enjoy themselves or Cast Members who are just trying to help, just trying to do their jobs, and are not meant to be the punching bag recipients of your ire. In fact, you shouldn’t have any ire; you’re at Disney!

Grumpy

Credit: Living By Disney

Related: Here Are Things You Should NEVER Say to Disney Cast Members

1. Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Experience

Even if you think the point is overstated, it cannot be said enough. You are at the most magical place on Earth. So, remember to enjoy your time here. Let yourself laugh and have a good time. Don’t keep your everyday adult decorum in check; let yourself truly rediscover what it feels like to be a kid again, whatever your actual age. Snap photos, make memories, meet your Disney favorites, and just have a blast!

Disney Magic Moments

Credit: Disney Rewards

Your Disney experience is meant to be magical, pure, and simple. And by following along with these Disney tips and tidbits, you’re sure to have the most enchanting experience in all your endeavors.

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.