Even in a place as inherently magical as Walt Disney World, reality still wiggles in. Whether it’s through the economy, human nature, or mother nature – the Disney bubble can be popped. Consider today’s article a therapeutic exercise. Let us discuss the top frustrations that plague Disney World guests. While none of these will ruin your trip (if you have the right attitude), it’s wise to remain aware of them. Let the therapy begin …
1. Massive Crowds
A familiar complaint. More than anything, crowds have the biggest impact on a trip. While crowds bring financial success to the parks, they bring woes for guests. Not only will there be long lines for every attraction (even unpopular ones), there will be lines for the bathroom and drink carts. If you want to enter the park at rope-drop or grab a good seat for the fireworks, you’ll have to show up twice as early. And you may get jostled in bottle-neck crowds and relive the stampede of The Lion King. For this reason, I’d suggest that every prospective visitor take popular times into account. The holidays can be abysmally busy and the Magic Kingdom is swamped on most Saturdays year-round. Try to avoid these peak times and if not, pack some patience in your suitcase. You might need it.
2. Transportation Delays
Free Disney transportation is amazing … until it isn’t. It’s common knowledge that on-site guests benefit from many free transportation options on property, including busses, boats, and a new gondola Skyliner. More often than not, these methods are efficient at shuttling large groups of people with ease. But, sometimes life happens. Things break. Technical difficulties arise. You might find yourself in a crowd of people when the monorail shuts down. You may be staying at a popular value resort, which seems to have the longest line for busses. In that case, consider using ride-share services or cabs for emergencies. You can also allot more time in your schedule for travel, just in case of a mishap. Just realize that Disney is not infallible and there is always another option for getting around.
3. Park Pass Reservations
To manage attendance in a world affected by a pandemic, Disney implemented a park pass reservation system. By requiring guests to buy date-based tickets, Disney could keep capacity to a safe level and avoid the aforementioned crowd problems. All in all, this isn’t a terrible idea. More manageable crowds can make for a better experience. However, this greatly impacts the joy of impromptu visits. Whether you’re a local who enjoys popping into EPCOT for dinner or you’re a tourist from a nearby Florida beach, it’s difficult to visit at random. There are easier days and parks to enter on the fly, but the gates are not as accessible. Here’s to hoping we find a happy medium in a safer world moving forward.
4. Unpredictable Weather
Walt Disney built Disneyland in California and residents enjoyed the year-round, comfortable weather. Afterward, he started to build Disney World in Florida because he needed more real estate. Florida fit that bill. Despite that, things aren’t always sunny in the Sunshine State. Florida weather can be downright miserable at times. Summers can be unbearably humid. Some seasons bring at least one daily thunderstorm. And even Florida can experience cooler temperatures in the winter, accompanied by drizzly rain. How do you combat this? Pack appropriately. Ponchos, closed-toed shoes, extra socks, and backup sweatshirts should always be on hand. Fortunately, WDW has so many things to do, bad weather can be accommodated. Just have necessary wardrobe items and knowledge of indoor attractions and experiences. This could prove useful.
5. Mounting Costs
“Disney World trips are so affordable!”, said no one ever. It’s true. Disney World vacations are not the cheapest. Some families only make one trip in their lifetime, while some never can. And like everything else, prices go up there from year to year. (Believe it or not, this is disheartening to even the most obsessed visitor.) If the cost is staggering for you, I’d suggest you pinch pennies wherever you can. Stay in a value resort, camp nearby, or even consider an off-property hotel. Pack snacks for breakfast/lunch and limit your souvenir budget. Ditch the park-hopper option for your ticket and keep your eyes peeled for any promotions. There is always a way to make a trip more cost-effective. You just may need to flex some creativity.
6. Last Minute Viewers
Does this scenario sound familiar? You show up early to reserve a great viewing location for the fireworks. You endure humidity and boredom as your legs go numb from sitting on concrete. Then the nighttime spectacular soundtrack starts to play and out of nowhere, a six-foot person hoists a child on their shoulders right in front of you! If this has ever occurred, you are not alone. Not only is it frustrating to have your view blocked, but it’s doubly frustrating to have it blocked by an inconsiderate latecomer! As a public service announcement to all parents: We do sympathize if your child can’t see. We do ask that you remain aware of those around you, and please don’t sneak in at the last minute. It doesn’t make for a magical atmosphere.
7. Obnoxious Riders
Speaking of annoying people, does anybody else want to listen to somebody speak along with the narration in the Haunted Mansion or the Tower of Terror pre-show? Me neither. Also, does anybody want illusions ruined for them in dark rides by photographers that don’t turn off their flash? Nope. These are just a couple of examples of irritating attraction riding behavior. Similar to people who block your view without remorse, some guests also ride as if no one else is there. We get it. It can be easy to lose yourself in the excitement of a ride. However; if your fellow riders start to give you looks, you may want to tone it down. In the end, it detracts from everyone’s experience.
8. Guest Tantrums
Of all the unacceptable guest behavior, nothing is more uncomfortable than seeing someone give a cast member a hard time. Disney World is renowned for its customer service and sadly, some folks take advantage of that. With everything it takes to keep a theme park running smoothly, there is no need to yell at a cast member for bad weather, long lines, or broken-down attractions. These issues simply aren’t in their control. More often than not, calmly explaining your distress will result in some kind of compromise that will soothe your wound. Cast members are trained for these exact conundrums! Whatever you do, don’t be the person who ruins a cast member’s day.
Despite these annoyances, Disney World can still provide the most memorable vacation of your life. Just be aware of what could go awry. We hope that you will have the grace to navigate bumps and still come home a satisfied visitor. Good luck!