Magic Kingdom, Disney Princesses, Toy Story Mania, and Soarin‘… it’s what dreams are made of, but too many people make mistakes before and during their vacations that totally derail the fun train.
Fortunately, these mistakes are easy to fix, and I’m here to tell you how to avoid them.
1. Overspending on travel
Sure, it’s convenient to book your vacation through Disney World’s website, but you can save money by booking on third-party sites. This not only includes rooms at Disney resort hotels but also flights and tickets. Since travel sites and agencies can purchase large quantities at once, they can get better deals than individuals can get.
2. Overspending on accommodations
Disney Resort Hotels are divided into three categories: Deluxe Resort Hotels (including Deluxe Villa Resorts), Moderate Resort Hotels, and Value Resort Hotels. The Deluxe hotels are really fancy with high end amenities and equally high prices. Value Resorts offer motel-style rooms without being trashy or scary.
If you are planning to spend a week or more at Disney World and plan to be at your resort at lot, a Deluxe or Moderate Resort might be worth the money for you. However, if you plan to basically sleep and shower in your hotel room, you will be just fine in a Value Resort. They still have pretty nice amenities like a food court, fun pools, and cool themes.
3. Planning to see everything
There are four theme parks in Disney World, and they each have a lot to do. Magic Kingdom could easily take two days to full explore, and Epcot‘s Future World and World Showcase are like two parks in one.
Don’t assume that you can do more than one park in a day. You’ll only find yourself exhausted and frustrated. Instead, plan for one park a day and have an idea what you want to do before you arrive.
4. Not planning ahead
I’m not one to plan every second of my vacation ahead of time, but it’s a good idea to at least know what each park has and know what’s on your must do list because there’s no way you can see and do everything, even during a long vacation.
MyDisneyExperience is an app for Android and iPhone with a ton of useful tools including maps of all of the parks and resorts plus Disney Springs and the water parks. Checking out these maps and descriptions of some attractions and restaurants ahead of time will save you time once you arrive.
5. Forgetting to book FastPasses on time
Guests staying at one of the Disney Resort Hotels and some Good Neighbor Hotels on property can book their FastPass+ reservations 60 days before the first day of their trip, which means you could book more than 60 days in advance if your vacation is longer than one day, which is probably is.
Guests staying at any other hotel or local guests can book 30 days in advance without the extra days.
Regardless of your time frame, book on time. If you can’t get a FP+ for the attraction(s) you want, choose something and keep checking back. If you don’t choose anything, you’ll wait for attractions that aren’t tops on your list and for those that are tops on your list. What’s more, people change their FP+ frequently, so you just might get lucky and be able to find an attraction you want!
6. Not making Advanced Dining Reservations on time
Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) may seem inconsequential to you, or maybe you just can’t determine six months in advance what you want to eat for lunch on the second day of your vacation.
While I’m not big on making ADRs for every meal, mostly because selecting sit down restaurants can get VERY expensive. I suggest you plan for at least one special meal per vacation. This can be a fun character breakfast, a relaxing lunch halfway through World Showcase (you have to try the pizza in Italy!), or a romantic dinner for two. Whatever your style, you won’t regret making at least one ADR in advance.
7. Ignoring the real weather forecast
One of the biggest mistake people make that can make you super uncomfortable is assuming that Florida is always warm. While it’s true that summer days can get very hot and even some winter days can get pretty warm, mornings and evenings can get downright chilly in the winter months.
The easiest way to fix this is to dress in light layers, choose pants that will get you through the whole day, and layer a tank, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. Even if you don’t need your sweatshirt right now, pack it in your day bag just to be safe.
If you forget your sweatshirt, you can always buy a (very expensive one) at the nearest souvenir shop!
8. Leaving your patience at home
Regardless of when you visit, you will be dealing with large crowds and long wait times. When you combine this with heat and other weather phenomenon like brief but very heavy afternoon thunderstorms, and people can get pretty testy.
Remember: you’re on vacation, and a bad day at Disney World is better than any good day at work. Be patient, and be friendly; you’re all in this together!
9. Not budgeting for extras
There are two things you’ll probably indulge in while on a Disney World vacation: food and souvenirs.
If you do the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), which isn’t usually a good value, you might not spend much more on food, but there will likely be some special treat that you want to try or a restaurant that isn’t on your plan. In this case, you’ll have to pay out of pocket. If you aren’t on the DDP, you’ll most definitely need extra money for food. An appropriate estimate is $20 for breakfast and lunch, and around $40 for dinner per person plus a few extra dollars for the daily Mickey Mouse Ice Cream snack.
You will also be walking by a ton of souvenir shops and people who are carrying really cool souvenirs. You have to budget for a few items to take home, or you’ll find yourself very disappointed wishing you would have just bought the coffee mug at the end of your vacation. Believe me; I speak from experience.
10. Not asking for help
Disney Cast Members are friendly and always willing to help. Some will even go out of their way to make sure that you get exactly what you need or even want. Remember that coffee mug? I went back a year later and asked about it. I found a very helpful Cast Member, described the mug, which wasn’t displayed on the floor, and she went to the back room, searched for what felt like forever, and returned with the exact coffee mug I had been waiting a year for!
They can help with other things too like directions, wait times, dining, and much more!
What mistake have you made during a Disney World Vacation?