When it comes to Walt Disney World, I feel like I’m a pro. I’ve spent more nights of my life in Walt Disney World resort hotels than I’ve spent in apartments I’ve rented, so I’d like to think I know what I’m talking about. But there was a time long, long ago that I was a newcomer to the whole WDW scene. Yes, there was a time when I booked my first trip and I made LOTS of mistakes. There were times when I did not get the most out of my Walt Disney World vacations and came home feeling a bit disappointed by my tactics. The good news is: I’ve made those mistakes, so if you decide to continue reading this, you won’t have to repeat them. Here are the Mistakes You Need To Avoid In Walt Disney World.
Sleeping In – Have you ever heard that saying, “You can sleep when you’re…”, well, not at Walt Disney World, that’s for sure! You spent A LOT of money on this vacation, right? You completely expect to ride all of the big rides, eat at all the fun restaurants, and see all the best shows that WDW has to offer, don’t you? Well, if you decide to stay tucked into your comfy bed at your resort until 8 or 9 every morning, you’ll be missing out. Yes, I did say 8 or 9. AM. Listen, when I get to WDW, I crank up the AC (even if it’s 60 out, I paid a lot for my room!) and love sleeping and waking up in the middle of the magic, but I make sure I set my alarm for a bright and early wakeup so that I can experience everything the parks have to offer right when they open! You can sleep on the plane or when you get home!
Going In Without A Plan – With the addition of Fastpass Plus, the crowds in the parks, and the difficulty in getting advanced dining reservations, it’s more important than ever to really take some time to plan your days in the Walt Disney World theme parks. Sure, before FastPass Plus came along (and before I had any offspring), I used to just wing it. I’d walk into a park, go right to my favorite attraction, print out an old school paper FastPass, then wait in some other lines while the clock ticked by in anticipation of my FastPass return time. I would also chance it and walk into the some of WDW’s top restaurants without a reservation and just wait for my name to be called eventually. That’s just not possible anymore (for my wife and I with 3 little kids, especially). If you’re planning a trip to WDW soon, you HAVE TO PLAN (or have an experienced Disney travel planner plan for you…hint, hint!) I really can’t stress this enough! Make your reservations in advance, know what you’re doing on what days, and have a solid gameplan. Of course, leave some time for exploring, waiting in lines, and people watching, but planning should be a HUGE part of your next trip.
Not Using Disney’s Magical Express – What would you say if I told you that you could check your bags at your departing airport and then not have to deal with them until you had to unpack them in your WDW resort hotel room (or you could choose to live out of your suitcase, I’m not here to judge)? That’s the best part of using Disney’s Magical Express, in my opinion, and I didn’t even mention that you also get FREE transportation to and from your WDW hotel to the Orlando International Airport. If you’re staying exclusively in WDW and not utilizing Disney’s Magical Express, you’re making a mistake.
Planning Too Many Table Service Meals – So I really want to persuade you to experience as many table service meals as you possibly can while on vacation in Walt Disney World. There are so many unique and fun restaurants (there’s an entire different post there!) that I would hope you’d have the time to explore. BUT…if your Disney vacation is only going to last a few days (like three or four) it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to spend all that much time in restaurants. WDW’s table service restaurants are fantastic, but their counter service restaurants are great as well. Places like Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (with the world famous Sonny Eclipse), Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, & Be Our Guest (for breakfast & lunch) offer just a few of the great counter service dining experiences. The fact is, table service dining costs more money (or Disney Dining credits) and takes more time. If you don’t have the money or the time, don’t make these mistakes in Walt Disney World!
Not Taking Breaks – Another confession from me, right here, right now: I’m a former Walt Disney World guest who would prefer to go commando. Please get your mind out of the gutter! By “commando” I mean, run, run, run. Commando means getting to the parks early, using up your FastPasses, and running from queue to queue all day and night long. While this is often necessary for once in a lifetime guests (and even recommended), it’s not a great strategy for the Average Joe, especially if you’re traveling with little ones. If you’re a parent and are vacationing with young children, I think breaks at the resort are an absolute must. You can head back to your room for naps or to your resort’s pool to swim (or have adult beverages, I’m still not judging!) and you and your party will be completely recharged for the rest of your day and night. Don’t push anyone in your party beyond their limits. If you want to have the best possible Disney vacation you’ve ever had, take your time, take breaks, and plan on hitting the things you missed on this trip on your next one.
Like I wrote earlier, I’ve made all of these mistakes before, and I don’t want to see you make them on your vacation. But I’m also just scratching the surface here in this post. I didn’t even mention mistakes like paying for bottled water (all Disney restaurants will give you free ice water, just ask!), wearing flip flops or sandals all day in the parks (the average guest walks A LOT, you’d just be asking for blisters), or not taking advantage of Disney’s transportation (they get you anywhere you want to go on property for free!) Those are mistakes I’ve made too! So just remember this post on your next trip and you’ll be mistake-free (unless of course you eat a turkey leg and then immediately ride Tower of Terror…then you’re on your own!)
Thank you for reading this list of my sad mistakes and shortcomings! I am sure you’re probably saying to yourself right now, “Hey Phil, you made another mistake, you forgot _______!” Please feel free to comment on this blog post with other mistakes that need to be avoided on trips to Walt Disney World. Or, you can always post them on my Facebook wall HERE, tweet them to me HERE or email them to me at email@example.com. As always, I look forward to hearing what you have to say and I’m always looking to avoid mistakes on my next trip! Thank you again for reading and enjoy the rest of your stay here at Ear To There Travel!
If you’re thinking about taking a Disney vacation soon, whether it’s Walt Disney World, Disneyland, the Disney Cruise Line, Aulani in Hawaii or Adventures By Disney, I can help! I offer concierge level service and will take care of any and all planning for you, and I will do that 100% FREE OF CHARGE!