Disney Destinations Planning 101 Vacation Planner Walt Disney World

5 Common Mistakes First-Time Guests Make

January 27, 2020

There a common mistakes that every first time Guest makes.

And that’s because they all go to Walt Disney World with the same objective. We all want to do and see as much as possible.

But, if you are aware of these common mistakes ahead of time, you may just end up looking like a pro…even when you’re not.

5 Common Mistakes First-Time Guests Make

1. Not Doing Your Homework

Walt Disney World is a lot larger than most first time travelers think it will be. 

And while I am not suggesting you should plan every second of your vacation with activities, there are basic things that everyone should know ahead of time.

Woody at Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios


Walt Disney World has 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water Parks, and a shopping district called Disney Springs.

I don’t expect everyone to memorize each map. But, you should also have a basic knowledge of the Parks you’re visiting.

If you’re heading to Hollywood Studios and you tell your kids they will be seeing Harry Potter, they’re going to be very sad when they can’t find him. (Trust me, it happens)

Skyliner over looking Resort Rooms at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort


Since many Guests fly to Florida, they rely on Disney’s free transportation to take them where they need to go.

But, with all the different transportation options there are now, you should understand how each works and know how you will get from Point A to Point B.

What transportation options are there from your Resort to the Parks? Will you need to make a transfer somewhere?

Even if you will be you’re driving your car/rental, there are some things you should know ahead of time. Where can you Park your car? How will you get from the Parking Lot to the Park? Magic Kingdom doesn’t have its own Parking Lot, so you will need to know what your options are.

You could just follow the crowds. But, it will be much less stressful if you know these options ahead of time.

And remember, Disney Guests now have to pay an overnight Parking fee, so you will need to calculate that into your budget.

Opening your Resort Door with your MagicBand


If you will be using MagicBands, you should know what they are and how they work.

We have a whole post dedicated to MagicBands and Frequently Asked Questions that Guests have.

Frozen Ever After Entrance

The Attractions

Due to Florida weather, many of Walt Disney World’s rides are indoors. There is general health information at the entrance to each attraction.

But, if you have a child that is afraid of certain things, it would be a good idea to know which attractions to avoid before getting in line. Because even some rides with no height restriction can be a little too scary for some children.

YouTube has lots of on-ride videos, so I always suggest checking some out before you leave for vacation.

Popsicle Stick Wall in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

2. Overbooking Your Days

Packing your schedule with every activity you can is one of the most common mistakes any Disney traveler makes. It’s so common that even seasoned travelers struggle with this.

As much as we want to pack our day with all the wonderful activities that Disney has to offer, it’s also one of the best ways to accidentally ruin your vacation.

Since there is no possible way to do and see everything that Disney has to offer, focus on what matters to you most.

Is your priority the attractions? Then, maybe Quick Service restaurants is the way to go to get your nourishment. This way if there is a temporary short queue for a ride you’ve been looking forward to, you don’t have to miss it just so you make it to dinner on time.

Are you a foodie? I would suggest scheduling your meals and staying flexible with your activities. See if there are any fastpasses for attractions near your next dining reservation or do what has the shortest lines. You’re already in the area, so you won’t feel as rushed.

If you plan too much, you’ll miss out on the simple joy of just being in a Disney Park. Some of my best memories are things that I didn’t plan on doing, but I’m so glad I did.

Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World

3. Not Looking For Deals

Many Guests feel like that once they put down a deposit, that price is set in stone.

Since Disney releases new promotions all the time, you’re able to apply new promotions to existing reservations. But, if you aren’t using a Disney Travel Agent, you must call Disney directly to have the promotion applied to your package. They won’t do it automatically.

Just remember to call as soon as possible. Disney only sets aside a certain number of rooms per promotion. Once those rooms sell out, you will no longer be able to able to get the discount, even if there is still availability at that Resort.

Maui statue in the lobby of the Polynesian Resort

4. Ignoring Activities Outside Of The Parks

I get it, the Parks is the main reason for going to Walt Disney World in the first place. But, one of the most common mistakes is thinking that anything that what goes on outside of the Parks could be any less magical.

In fact, if budget is tight, you can downgrade your Park days in favor for some less expensive, or free experiences.

The Resorts have amazing activities for everyone to share, regardless of whether you’re staying there or not.

Can you imagine sitting on the beach at the Polynesian, Dole Whip in hand, and watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks?

Maybe you’d enjoy watching Chip and Dale sing camp songs at Fort Wilderness or watch African animals roam through night vision goggles at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Character Dining with Lilo at Ohana

5. Not Asking For Help When You Need It

Before I get into the spiel of the benefits of using a Travel Agent, I just wanted to put it out there that I am probably as independent as they come.

Asking for help isn’t something that comes easy to me, even at my own house. It drives my husband crazy. He’ll occasionally catch me juggling multiple tasks and ask, “Why didn’t you just ask me for help?”

Well, because that’s just not me.

But, sometimes even I know my limitations. And trying to plan my first disney vacation was it.

I thought I knew what I was doing, until I spoke to my Travel Agent. At first, it was just to see if I could get a better deal than what I had been seeing. But, after speaking to her, it became apparent that I actually needed help.

If you don’t have time to be the researching deals all the time, have questions, or you simply need suggestons, that’s where the magic of having a Travel Agent comes in. Best of all, it’s completely free!

ExploreWithCatherine.com is not authorized or endorsed by, or officially connected with The Walt Disney Company, or any of their affiliates. For official Disney information, visit http://www.disney.com.

Hawaii Destination Specialist

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