Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation takes some thought, some work, and most of all some time. However, there are times when mistakes can be made, and in some cases, you learn the hard way. You want every part of your trip to be absolutely magical and wonderful. So, today I’m going to share with you 10 Mistakes People Make When Planning Their Disney World Vacation. Hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid these mistakes, or even chime in with some friendly and helpful advice for others!
Mistake #1: Staying off site at a Good Neighbor Hotel. First, don’t get me wrong. Good Neighbor hotels can be wonderful for many people. However, these can add unplanned costs to your trip. You may need to rent a car, their transportation is often scheduled whereas Disney’s runs continuously, and some have nightly parking fees, and you ‘ll need to pay a parking fee at the theme parks. Staying on Walt Disney World property is one of the best moves you can make when planning your trip.
Mistake #2: Not making Advance Dining Reservations. Even if you don’t get your reservations made at the 180 day mark, try to make some for your trip. You’d be surprised what becomes available the closer you get to your travel time. Could you imagine, with all the popular restaurants and the crowds, what a mess the Disney parks would be if they didn’t take reservations? ADRs can be a huge timesaver as well. The time you spend going from restaurant to restaurant trying to get a walk up table could be well spent sitting down and enjoying a nice meal.
Mistake #3: Not utilizing FastPass and FastPass+. With all the fun and fuss surrounding FastPass+ recently, you’ll want to utilize these options when in the parks. FastPass+ can easily be changed at kiosks in the parks, but it’s a good idea to add some FastPass+ to your Magic Bands prior to your arrival. MagicBands and FastPass Plus are part of Disney’s very near future for guests, so you might as well utilize them.
Mistake #4: Entering the parks without a plan. Disney makes maps very readily available on their website, and if you are working with a travel agent, they should provide you with park maps prior to your visit. Take some time to look at them, and be aware of what attractions are in which areas of the parks. If you want to do Goofy’s Barnstormer, and Pirates of the Caribbean in one day, that’s doable. But don’t go from Storybook Circus ALL the way over to the other side of the park towithout enjoying the attractions in between. Our family will often do Storybook Circus, and Fantasyland at the front of our day. After some lunch or a resort pool break, we’ll come back and enjoy Adventureland and Frontierland in the evening. Our last activity is usually the Main Street Electrical Parade and/or Wishes. With a good spot on Main Street USA, you can enjoy both of these and then make a quick exit of the park.
Mistake #5: Arrive at the parks after 10 am. If you arrive at your first, and possibly only, park of the day after 10 am, you’ll be in for long lines, crowds, and the possibility of missing out on that all important mid day break at the pool. The earlier you can get to the parks, the better off you will be. Even if it’s for just two or three days of your stay.
Mistake #6: Not using a Disney Travel Agent. I know a lot of people who don’t use travel agents-particularly Disney travel agents-and I used to be one of them. After 5 vacations of planning my own, I finally turned it over to one and I’m so glad I did. They are someone to bounce ideas off of, get itinerary suggestions, watch for dining reservation times, and not to mention the discounts we all love and wait for! In fact, I just heard from a friend the other day who booked through a large commercial travel agency, and she didn’t get Free Dining. She got their agency discount they offer for Disney vacations, but it was nowhere near the money she would’ve saved had she sought the help of a Disney Travel agent.
Mistake #7: Not utilizing Extra Magic Hours. Another great perk of staying on Walt Disney World property is taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours. The late night hours are our family’s favorite. Staying at Magic Kingdom, well past bedtime, is so much fun! Seriously, our kids love it. And so do we! This is a great idea, especially if you’ve taken advantage of the all important midday hotel/pool/shopping at Downtown Disney break. Getting into the parks early, like at Animal Kingdom at 8 am, can be awesome as well. You can easily tour Animal Kingdom and be done by early afternoon if you get there for morning Extra Magic Hours.
Mistake #8: Renting a stroller directly from the Disney parks. As a visitor to the Disney parks many times, the strollers can be annoying for others. They’re bulky, they don’t steer well where there are parade tracks, and for what you get they’re expensive. Consider Kingdom Strollers, or another outside stroller rental company. They’ll bring the stroller directly to and pick it up from your resort for you. They rent name brand strollrs-such as City Mini and BOB-which are way more comfortable than the hard plastic ones at the parks.
Mistake #9: Realize that you can’t do it all in one trip. I’ve been 5 times, and I still have yet to see the Nemo show at Animal Kingdom, enjoy Fantasia Mini Golf, and yet to enjoy breakfast at O’hana. Disney parks aren’t the size of your local Six Flags or Knott’s Berry Farms. They’re huge! Not to mention the fun to be had off site, like at Downtown Disney or the Boardwalk area. Narrow down your top attractions or restaurants before you go. That will allow you to have time to do other things, yet feel good that you accomplished and visited the attractions on your “must do” list.
Mistake #10: Asking everyone and their brother for Disney travel advice. I think that asking for Disney advice is like asking for potty training advice. You get too many opinions, and before you know it, you are just as confused as you were when you started. Ask a few trusted friends, sites like here on Chip and Co, or even again a Disney travel agent. It’ll keep you focused, and then your brain isn’t swimming with everyone else’s thoughts and opinions.
I’m always ready to help you plan your next Disney vacation, to offer advice, and even save you some time and money. Let me know how I can help you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook!