There are hundreds of planning tips and tricks on what you should do at Disney Parks. There are tips on what attractions to ride, where to eat, what characters to meet, where to stay, etc. However, let me provide some tips on the ten things that you should NOT do at Disney.
Have Tunnel Vision: There are so many things to do at Disney Parks; attractions to visit, characters to meet, and dining reservations to attend. It can all get overwhelming if you are not careful. Try to remember that you are on vacation and have spent a great chunk of change to have fun. Take a moment and look around you while walking to your next stop. Disney Imagineers include so many fantastic and slightly hidden details through the parks that taking time to stop and look around is always greatly rewarded. Some of your best memories may come from stopping to watch a performer at World Showcase in Epcot, or from marveling at the actors and actresses from 1920s Hollywood strolling down Sunset Blvd. at Hollywood Studios.
Forget to Drink Water: Dehydration is never fun! You get cranky, tired, and dizzy. Add to that waiting in line for forty of more minutes and then taking a plunge down the Tower of Terror: not a good time. Keep a water bottle full at all times and whenever you pause to wait in any line, take a drink. This will make for a much better and healthier trip.
Be Rude to Cast Members: As a former CM, I cannot tell you the number of times that guests were rude to me. Cast Members are not to blame for the Florida afternoon rain, and no, there is no magic weather machine that they can use to turn it off. They are not to blame for the price of the Cinderella dress that your child is in tears over. They are not to blame that there are long lines to meet Elsa and Anna. However, they are there to help make your trip as magical as possible! Some of my best Disney memories are interacting with guests and seeing the joy on a child’s face when I could do something to make their trip that much more special. Believe me, with Cast Members, kindness goes a long way – and may even get you some free stuff when possible. It’s much more rewarding to help out a great, fun, and kind family than it is to help out the family that is screaming at you.
Forget What It’s Like to Be a Kid: Maybe the Tiki Room isn’t your thing. Maybe It’s a Small World really grates on your nerves. That’s okay. Just remember to have fun! Remember the magic and wonder you felt as a child and enjoy every last moment of pixie dust at Disney. Skip down Main Street with your child. Sing along to the Carousel of Progress. No one will judge you. Disney is for the kid in all of us – embrace it!
Do Not Plan a Budget: There a many temptations at Disney Parks; food, drinks, souvenirs, photo packages, and so much more. Go into the parks with a budget and stick to it! It’s great to bring home tangible memories, but it’s not great to bring home unwanted debt. Try giving each child a budget by putting a certain amount on a gift card for them. Once the money is gone, that’s it. It’s a great way to teach them to be responsible with their money, while still allowing them to take home some treats and toys. Also, plan for large purchases. I know that I am always tempted by the Dooney and Bourke bags and it is very hard for me to leave the parks without one. Because of this, I plan for that money in my trip budget. That way, if I bend to temptation, I won’t feel guilty about the purchase, and if I don’t end up with a bag, that’s just that much more money that I can take back home with me or use toward something else.
Act Like You’re the Only Family on Vacation: Everyone at Disney Parks is on vacation. Maybe you’ve been waiting ten years and the next family comes every six months, but you are both still on vacation. If a character is taking a lot of time with the family before you, do not get impatient and huffy. Instead, think about how that means that they will probably be willing to spend more time with your family too. Take that extra time to get the camera ready and autograph books out.
Expect to Do It All: Walt Disney World is massive. I’m taking BIG. Do not expect to do it all in a week-long vacation. I don’t even think you could do it all in a two week long vacation. Do not run around like the White Rabbit saying “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.” Instead, take time before your trip to research and plan your don’t miss attractions and events. That way, you know that you won’t miss out on anything you really care about, and you’ll still have time to sit back and enjoy the moments
Spoil the Magic: Even if you are on and adults only trip, or your children are now teenagers, please remember that there are small ears everywhere! Take care not to point at character flaws, or discuss the logistics of how Tinker flies from the castle while in the parks. Childhood is such a short amount of time – help to keep the magic alive for as long as possible.
Be Inappropriate: Similar to the previous but also very important. Use caution with your language while walking around. Not only is it just good manners, but nobody wants to hear your expletive laced tirade about your flight delay on the way to Orlando. In the same vein, holding hands in great, and sharing a kiss while watching kisses is romantic. However, having a full on make out session on the Pirates of the Caribbean boat is tacky. Save it for later.
Pack without Caution: I have seen so many people in the parks with bad sunburns, blistered feet, and uncomfortable looking outfits. Remember, you are there to have fun, not win a beauty contest. Pack sensible shoes that you can walk (a lot!!) in. Pack sunscreen and apply it regularly. And consider that Animal Kingdom may not the best venue to break out your new Channel jacket.
There is so much to do and see at Disney Parks no matter what time of year you visit or which park you choose. Just remember to have fun, be flexible and considerate, and you will have an amazing trip. Can you think of any other Do Not Do tips? Have you made any of these mistakes in the past? Let us know in the comment box below!
Monica is an Alumni of the Disney College Program. When she is not walking down the middle of Main Street USA you can find her wandering the World Showcase, or enjoying a Dole Whip while racing to her favorite attractions. When she is forced to endure life outside of Walt Disney World, you can find her in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she lives and works.
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