These are some of the most common Disney mistakes we see Guests making at Walt Disney World all the time. But, with a little bit of homework, and perhaps the a little bit of help, you can avoid the same mistakes.
It should come to no surprise that planning a trip to Walt Disney World takes a lot of planning and thought. And even if you’ve done your homework, one can encounter a bump or two along the way.
And while I can’t even begin to try and address every single issue that may come your way, I can address a few of the most common.
So, before you set off for that trip to The Most Magical Place On Earth, learn how you can avoid these common Disney mistakes.
Forgetting to Book Table Service Reservations in Advance
If your magical vacation includes dining with Mickey, forgetting to book your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) is one of the biggest Disney mistakes you can make.
If there’s a sense of urgency in my emails to Clients when I remind them of their dining window, it’s for one reason. Booking early really is that important.
While this may not be true of all sit down meals on Disney property, many reservations do go quickly. And this is especially true for Signature and Character experiences.
The online dining window opens about 5:45AM EST, 60 days prior to your arrival. I absolutely recommend booking at exactly this time. If you wait until you’re on your lunch break that afternoon, you may already be too late.
This is why I offer to make these reservations for you. Because at the end of the day, I just want you to have that magical trip you’re dreaming of.
Not Using Mobile Order
Since Quick Service locations are cheaper than sit down meals, and doesn’t require a reservation, they get very busy. This is especially true if you plan to eat during peak meal times.
That’s why I always recommend using Mobile Order, on the My Disney Experience App.
Mobile Order enables you to order your food online, pay, and pick it up at a time you want it to be ready. You’ll get a text when your food is ready, so all you need to do is walk in and grab it.
Keep in mind that if you do plan on eating at popular meal times, your food may be ready a little later than expected. But, it’s still going to be much quicker than waiting in a long line.
Not Budgeting in Advance
Of all the Disney mistakes you can make, this is at the top of my list of what not to do. Disney is expensive. There’s no other way to say it. But, you shouldn’t be going into debt to pay for it.
Do your homework, set a budget, and stick to it.
If you’re not careful, you can rack up quite a bit of debt dining at all the best restaurants and buying up the latest merch.
Disney has menus for every Restaurant online, complete with prices. Check them out ahead of time so you can have an appropriate budget for the things you want to do.
Even things like getting Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes should be budgeted for ahead of time, if you know you’ll be buying them.
Once you determine what that amount is, consider putting all of those funds onto a Disney Gift Card. This is the reason we get to go to Disney as much as we do. It’s because we budget the heck out of our trips and put all funds on a Disney Gift Card.
If you only limit yourself to what is on that card, you’re less likely to impulse shop. So, you’ll have the funds for things you really want.
It’s important to pack the essentials: like sunscreen, moleskins, and anti-blister balm. But, don’t go overboard.
It’s easy to justify bringing multiple pairs shoes and Mickey ears. We need options for all those cute photos, right? But, trust me, you won’t wear it all.
This is where having a packing list comes in handy. It’s taken me years to realize that if I’m not sure if I’ll use something, chances are I won’t. When in doubt, it stays home.
Not only is it easier to travel light, think of all the room you’ll have for your brand new Disney swag.
Planning a Disney trip is unlike anything else you’ll ever plan. That’s why many Guests ultimately enlist the help of a Travel Agent.
One of the common Disney mistakes I see many Guests do is trying to overplan their schedule. You’re never going to do everything, so please don’t try. You’re just going to make yourself miserable.
Prioritize your Parks and top attractions. But, remain flexible. Weather and crowds can quickly derail your plans. Instead of getting upset, pivot towards attractions or activities that aren’t affected by the quickly changing weather in Florida.
And remember to rest throughout the day. You’re going to need it.
Not Paying Attention to the Weather Forecast
It’s Florida, so it’s going to be hot, right? Most of the time, yes.
But, Florida weather in unpredictable. And if you happen to go during the few days per year when it’s cool, you may find yourself having to choose between freezing and blowing your souvenir budget on warm clothing.
The forecast can change day to day, so continually monitor the weather in Orlando prior to departure. If you’re traveling during the summer, you’re likely going to need rain gear. And be prepared to pack a sweatshirt or jacket for cooler winter nights.
Visiting at the “Wrong Time”
To some, any time in a Disney Park is better than no time at all. But, if your plans are to visit when the crowds aren’t so intense, going during holidays, school breaks, and summer will certainly be one of those Disney mistakes you won’t soon repeat.
As a general rule of thumb, if kids are out of school, the Parks WILL be busy. And unless you’ve mastered My Disney Experience and Genie+ and know how to work the system to your benefit, you will be standing in many long lines.
If these types of crowds are too much for you and/or you prefer a more relaxed vibe (yes, it is possible), you’re going to want to visit during other times of the year when the crowds aren’t so intense.
Wearing The Wrong Shoes
While there’s nothing wrong with buying new clothes for vacation, you should not purchase new shoes. No one wants painfully blistered feet the whole trip. Stick with pairs that are broken in and comfy.
If you must get new shoes, properly break them in and put them to the test before bringing them to Disney.
My husband and I like to “train” for Disney trips ahead of time. There is a turtle pond approximately 2 1/2 miles from our house. So, starting a few months before our trip, we increase our trips over to the pond.
Our 1-year-old gets to see the turtles and we get to break in/test any shoes we’re thinking of bringing with us. Any shoe that doesn’t pass the 5 mile turtle pond test, doesn’t go with us on the trip.
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