Disney World Quick Tips – Don’t Make These Newbie Mistakes!

If you’re reading Chip and Co you’re probably a Disney Addict and could come up with a list of things to avoid in your sleep, but for those who aren’t, let’s talk about the most common mistakes Disney newbies make.  Here are the ones we see over and over again–we’ve even made some ourselves:

1.  Fastpass? What’s that?  Don’t wait until your third day to figure out what a fastpass is.  And yes, I’ve done this.  Oops.

2.  Not making advanced dining reservations.  I’m not saying you have to plan out every meal, but making a few ADRs ahead of time will guarantee you get a chance to experience one of the best parts of Disney World–the food!

3.  Take a sweater.  Florida weather can be very unpredictable.  Even during the hottest months of summer, pack something  light to throw on at night or in cool restaurants.   Layers are your best bet in the winter, when even on mild days it can get very cold by early evening.  Bring a jacket if you’re visiting from November through March.  Last December, we experienced daytime temperatures in the 40s and in the 80s all during the same week. That’s a pretty dramatic range of temperatures!

4.  Not checking for room and package discounts.  I only pay rack rate after I’ve exhausted every resource.   You can always try to apply a discount to your existing reservation, so be on the lookout for them.  One of the first places I look for discounts?  On the discount sub-forum of the resort board at Disboards.  When free dining came out a month ago, posters on this forum were the first online source to confirm it, hours before many travel agents were notifying their clients.  Since discounted rooms/packages sell out quickly, it’s important to keep up with it.

5.  Not bringing a poncho from home. Yes, you can buy one in the park, but they’re expensive and ill-fitting.  Invest in a small, packable raincoat before you leave.  I have one that folds as small as a pack of cards.  I just toss it in my purse.

6.  Not understanding how Disney transportation works.  Last December we spent about 45 minutes waiting for the express monorail, which had broken down.  Now, we could have just caught the resort monorail, since both the express and the resort stop at the Ticket and Transportation Center, but the crowd was so bad we couldn’t get through it to leave.  Once we got on the monorail, we started talking with another family who was staying at the Contemporary.  I asked if they knew they could have walked over and they replied that they had no idea.    When we got off, I realized they weren’t behind us because they had mistakenly thought the monorail would take them to the Contemporary, so I asked my husband if we should turn around and tell them, but again, the crowd was too thick to get through.  The lesson here?  Know the basics of Disney transportation. It’s very simple and effective, but not always logical.

7.  Expecting EVERYTHING!   No one needs a towel animal everyday, parents don’t need to drop $150 at Bibbity Bobbity Boutique, you don’t need to stay at the most expensive resort, and your trip won’t be ruined if a cast member forgets to make note of your special occasion pin.  Let Disney magic happen in unexpected places.  One of my favorite Disney memories is the result of something that could have been a small disaster.

8.  Trying to do everything.  You’re the guy with seven character breakfasts, spreadsheets, and timed potty breaks.  At some point, expect a mutiny from your traveling companions.  Remember, Disney is always going to be there. Save something for your next trip. If you’re like most Disney fans, it will happen sooner than you think.

9. Forgetting how hot it can get in Florida. Bring your own sunscreen from home. The stuff they sell in the parks is fine for those who don’t burn easily, but if you’re like me and Caspar looks tanned next to you, invest in the best, non-greasy sunblock you can find.  Oh, and bring a hat.

10. Do the math on how much you’ll save by staying off site. There are some gorgeous off site properties just minutes from Disney World and in general, you’re going to get more space for less money, but do the math.  What are extra hours in the parks worth to you?  How about free transportation or the ability to use the dining plan?  Don’t forget to add in the cost of transportation; that $14 a day for parking can add up.

What are some lessons you have learned? Let us know in the comment box below.

  • Disney to reduce evening park hours for hotel guests (chipandco.com)
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – A “Must Stay” (chipandco.com)


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6 thoughts on “Disney World Quick Tips – Don’t Make These Newbie Mistakes!

  1. Thanks for sharing these tips! We were there for our first trip in February, never realized there was an express monorail and a resort one? We just hopped on whatever monorail came next to get back to TTC. We got lucky twice because we ended up on a monorail to Contemporary once, and Polynesian another day without getting lost. I love the tip for the discount on disboards! I have used disboards, but never saw the discount page. As always, you are a wealth of information, where would we be without Chip & Co? Eventually lost on a monorail not stopping where we need it to apparently lol!

  2. Do NOT expect your annual pass to discount almost any of the non table service restaurants. Unlike Disney Land, where you get the discount virtually any place that’s not a movable kiosk, almost none of the places gave the discount.

  3. We were lucky & on our last trip didnt really need the fastpass option as it was a true “off” time in February, we hardly waited in any lines at all – But our next trip we have already talked about tips we’ve read here to make the most of FastPass& our time in the parks. Thanks for all the Wonderful Advice!

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