Top Five Newbie Mistakes.

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Even if you’re a Disney vet, you can still make some newbie mistakes. Here are some of the top five mistakes to avoid.

1.  You didn’t make your dining reservations ahead of time. If you’re reading here you probably know that you can make your dining reservations 180-days prior to your arrival, but did you? Hmmm?  Good. But for the rest of you (and yes, Disney has a file on you) get those fingers moving and make those ADRs!  Even if you just make two or three for a week-long trip, you’ll be happier knowing that you have a few incredible meals waiting for you.

2. You didn’t get a discount. If you paid full-price for your Disney vacation, raise your hand. Now look around the room. Seriously, I am shocked at how many of you there are. Go ahead and put your hands down.  Next time, keep in mind that unless you’re traveling during the weeks of Easter, Christmas, or Thanksgiving, moving your trip around just a little bit can mean a big discount.  If you read here, you’ll always hear about the latest discounts the day they come out. Apply them to your existing reservation (or your travel agent will do it automatically) and relax knowing that you saved hundreds of dollars that you can spend elsewhere.  Like in the parks.

3.  You forgot to pack something important.  Sure, you can replace it on property, but it will cost a lot more and the selection is really limited. And yes, there are Targets and drug stores close by, but do you really want to spend precious hours on your vacation roaming around a super store looking for sunblock?  Make a packing list and start crossing off items as you go. You can do this weeks ahead of time.  Right before you travel, put a list on the back of the door you’ll be leaving out of on the morning of your trip. Do this for things like phone chargers and medicines, stuff you can’t pack until right before the trip. Then just cross those items off the list as you go. Before you leave, check your list one last time.

4.  You lost your tickets!  Actually, this is easily remedied and yes, we know because we do it all the time. If you’re a guest of Disney property,  just ask to have them replaced at your resort (or any resort) concierge desk or at guest services in the parks. If you’re not a resort guest or if you are but you bought your tickets separately and not as part of a package, make sure you’ve made copies of your tickets. I like to leave a copy back home with someone who can get to them easily and take a copy with me.  Most of the time tickets bought directly from Disney will be in the computer and can b easily replaced, but this isn’t always the case.  This is especially important if you bought a discounted ticket as part of one of your benefits of running a Disney half-marathon. These tickets are very difficult to replace for some mysterious reason I am not privy to.  But I think it has something to do with elves.

5. You bought a park hopper that you didn’t need.  When someone who makes a commission selling you something tells you not to buy it, you know she’s telling the truth. Not everyone needs a park hopper and at $58 per ticket, not everyone can afford one on top of an already expensive vacation.  I always park hop, but if you are unsure, wait to add it. You can always upgrade a ticket by adding extra days or options like the park hopper once you get on property, just make sure you have at least one day left on the ticket.

Chris writes here and at Everything Walt Disney World. She’s also a travel agent and a member of the Mouse Chat podcast.  Contact her at or call 919-889-5281 for free Disney trip planning and information on how you can get free Disney gift cards and onboard credits when you book your next Disney vacation.

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6 thoughts on “Top Five Newbie Mistakes.

  1. The Park Hopper is great if you’re on the dining plan. Epcot has the best selection of sit-down meals but you won’t be spending every day there. The park hopper lets you spend the day at another park and then enter Epcot for dinner. Our family loves this option!

  2. I have done the park hopper mistake. We have always gotten them and used them but on the last trip we didn’t park hop one time.

  3. So if you add the hopper in the middle of your trip, do you pay for all days on the original pass or just the days left?

  4. I have made the mistake of paying a non-discounted price but that was years ago — I am now a much wiser Disney Addict.

  5. SO good to know you can add the Park Hopper! I didn’t know that and we have been debating back and forth about spending an extra $200 –something we wasted last time!

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