Visiting Walt Disney World can be a daunting adventure, especially for a first time visitor! With so much going on and to plan for, it’s easy to accidentally fall into making some of the more common “tourist” mistakes. We’ve made this short, convenient list to help keep you on top of things and to make planning for the magic a bit easier!
- Waiting In A 3+ Hour Line – Unless you are a complete superfan of the franchise the attraction is based on, it’s simply not going to be worth dedicating a large chunk of your day to one single ride. Each and every time I ride Avatar Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom, I walk away hearing upset tourists talking about how the ride was great, but not worth the long wait. Flight of Passage is commonly discussed as one of the greatest attractions in all of Orlando, yet this is still the consensus from a large chunk of tourists. Unless you are an absolute saint about waiting in lines, don’t get yourself upset to the point where you won’t even enjoy the ride you just waited 180 minutes for! Spend your time in shorter lines for attractions you’ll actually be able to enjoy!
- Not Getting Your Fastpasses in Advance – Waiting until the last minute to plan means getting whatever stray fastpasses are left over. The premier attraction fastpasses get very quickly swiped up, so it’s important to jump on them fast to get the best plan laid out for your trip. Fastpasses can be booked 60 days in advance for resort guests and 30 days in advance for regular guests.
- Not Booking Your In-Park Meals in Advance – As with all things Disney, restaurant reservations can be hard to come by if you do not long in advance. If you are a resort guest at Walt Disney World, these are the following guidelines for booking reservations, straight from their Dining website:
“Starting 180 days in advance of your arrival date, you can book dining for the entire length of your Resort stay – up to 10 days.”
- Not Downloading the Walt Disney World app – There is absolutely no reason to not download and take advantage of this tool, yet I constantly see people neglecting it. The Walt Disney World app gives you a ridiculous range of tools at the tip of your fingers ranging from restaurant reservations, fastpasses, wait time updates, and more! The app is completely free as well, so there’s no excuse to leave yourself in the dark on your next trip.
- Visiting During Peak Season – We get it. It’s so easy to want to vacation during Spring Break or the holidays due to the kids being free from school, but you’re far from the only person having that thought! Save the trip to Disney for a time of the year that not everyone has off. No matter how many guides you read, how much planning you do in advance, etc, you simply can’t avoid the fact that everyone is visiting the parks during these times of the year. Every main attraction and even many smaller attractions will be 1-3 hours minimum making it nearly impossible to achieve even close to everything you would like to on your trip to Disney (especially if this is your visit!!).
- Visiting During A Holiday – The same logic as #5 applies here. On a holiday (even a less major one such as President’s Day), locals typically have school off and absolutely everyone seems to find it to be the perfect day to visit the parks.
- Falling For The Tourist Traps Within Disney – Disney may seem like a magical oasis free from low-quality entertainment and tourist traps, but there are still plenty of things within Disney that are simply not worth your time. Rainforest Cafe, for example, is just not worth your time while you’re visiting the parks. There are plenty of unique dining experiences between the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs and there’s no real reason to fall for the overpriced average food of a restaurant like this that you can find elsewhere throughout the country.
Likewise, there is an endless stream of souvenirs, toys, etc. that you’ll find yourself (or more likely your kids) enamored with when realistically, you can find similar or identical things outside of the parks for a fraction of the cost.
- Feeling The Need To Do Everything Together – While vacations with family and friends are fantastic, they also don’t have to be spent attached at the hip with one another. Feel free to plan moments where you or your group split up into smaller factions to do things that only some of you want to do. This way, more gets accomplished and everyone stays happy and content with how they spent their time. Many times, your group will be too large to ride together anyhow.
- Thinking You Can Do It All – Unless you are visiting the parks for a very long, extended trip, you simply won’t be able to do it all in one trip. Quite honestly, you don’t NEED to do it all either. Be realistic and have main goals in mind before arriving and aim to get that done. Otherwise, you’re going to be driving yourself crazy running from park to park, day after day, trying to squeeze in all 49 rides plus shows, meet and greats, etc. into one trip. Do the attractions that fit your interests and work some relaxation into some of your time as well. If not, you’re going to leave Florida feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation!
- Forget The Essentials – Disney may be a magical place, but it does not mean you’re free from needing some day-to-day essentials. Bring a water bottle (such as a Hydro Flask) to keep yourself hydrated in the Florida heat (and to keep yourself from spending a ridiculous amount of money on overpriced drinks). Bring snacks to keep yourself energized throughout the day without needing to stop for food every few hours. This will save you precious time and money every single day. Buy sunscreen outside of the parks and wear it every day! Even if it’s cloudy/overcast outside, the Florida sun will wear you down and you will end up sunburnt and in pain for half of your trip.