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7 Rookie Mistakes People Make In Walt Disney World

Taking a vacation to Disney World is a completely unique experience and it does require some know-how. I have learned so much about what to do and what not to do when visiting Disney World since my first visit. Here are 7 common rookie mistakes that guests often make when taking their first Disney World vacation.

7. Not Staying on Property

If you want to make the most of a Disney World vacation, staying on property is a must do. There are so many benefits to staying on property. Disney does cater to different budgets, so if you’re under the impression that staying on property is expensive, check out the Value Resorts or look at taking your vacation when Free Dining is offered (typically the fall). There are also a couple of times during the year that Disney offers a discount on the room rates. One of the major benefits to staying on property is the transportation system and the proximity to all that Disney has to offer. That doesn’t mean that you can walk everywhere, and depending on your destination for the day, you may still be a 20 minute bus ride away, but imagine how far you would be traveling if you were staying off property. The buses also drop you off just steps from the front gates. As a guest at a Disney resort you also get the advantage of Extra Magic Hours. Each day, a different park will either open an hour early or be open later, and these extra hours are only for those staying at a Disney resort. There is also the added bonus of being fully immersed in that magical Disney experience throughout your entire trip.

6. Sleeping In

It’s only natural that you would want to sleep in on your vacation, but it is a big mistake when at Disney. Arrive early at the parks, and aim to be there for the rope drop. This is a common piece of advice among Disney fans, and it’s very good advice. At Magic Kingdom they countdown to the opening of the park with all your favorite Disney characters, a song and dance and even some fireworks. It’s well worth getting up early for. The crowds are also much lighter early in the day, so you can often walk right onto a couple rides right off the bat. The Florida sun isn’t as hot early in the morning, which makes a huge difference when you’re preparing for a long day at the parks. If you’re worried about getting overtired, head back to your resort for a nap or a dip in the pool after lunch when the sun is the hottest and the crowds are bigger. After your break make your way back to the park recharged and ready for more fun and magic. Being an early bird at Disney definitely has its advantages and allows you to get more out of your day at the park.

5. Buying Park Tickets for Each Day

It makes sense that if you are going to be at Disney World for seven days you need seven days of park tickets, but that may not be the case. Check when your flights arrive and leave Florida. If your flight doesn’t arrive until 5pm, and you don’t arrive at your resort and get checked in until after 6pm, it may not be the best idea to purchase a park ticket for that first day. There are so many things you can do at Disney that don’t require a park ticket. You could go mini-golfing, swimming, venture over to Disney Springs for shopping and dinner or hop on the Monorail and take in the beautiful sights of Disney property. The same goes for your last day at Disney. If you have an early flight you may just want to hang out by the pool or have breakfast at Chef Mickey’s before heading out. This is also a great way to experience more than just the parks at Disney.

4. Not Making Dining Reservations

This is another common piece of advice and often the first thing I tell people who are planning a trip to Disney. The food and table service restaurants are a huge part of the Disney experience and if there is a particular dining experience you want as part of your vacation, make your dining reservations as early as you can. If you are staying on property you can make reservations 180 days in advance. Character dining experiences are a truly magical experience, especially for the little ones, and they absolutely require a reservation so keep that in mind when making your dining plans. It’s great not having to think about where you’re going to eat while at the parks, especially if restaurants aren’t taking walk-ups and often they aren’t.

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3. Not Booking FastPass+

Once you have made your dining reservations, you’ll have a good idea of which park you will be at each day, so take that into consideration when booking your three FastPass+ selections each day. This is a fantastic service that reserves a spot for you on a ride or at an attraction, and you’ll have an hour to play with. FastPass+ might make it seem like you don’t have much flexibility during your day but that isn’t the case at all, in fact it frees up a great deal of your time so you can explore the park. If you or someone in your family absolutely must meet a popular princess or a particular mouse, there are FastPass+ selections available for those character meet and greets. FastPass+ allows you and your party to have more time in the park and spend less time waiting in lines.

2. Trying to Do it All

There’s a reason Disney fans continue to visit Disney World again and again, because you just can’t do it all in one visit. There is always something you won’t be able to fit in and there are always new things to discover at the parks and resorts. Take your time and enjoy each Disney experience, especially if it’s your first visit. It can lead to disappointment if you’re worried about fitting in all the attractions, or if you push yourself and your family too hard to make it from rope drop to the goodnight kiss at Magic Kingdom. It’s important to have realistic expectations when visiting Disney World and to not get upset if you don’t get to everything on your list, it just means you’ll have to visit again!

1. Not Planning

A Disney vacation does require quite a bit of planning, such as making your dining reservations and your FastPass+ selections, but it’s also important to plan your budget. Disney isn’t an inexpensive vacation, but it’s doable on all kinds of budgets, especially if you do some research and save. It’s also important to look at which attractions you and your family want to do and see so you can make sure you don’t miss out. Also, plan for the weather. Bring a poncho, an umbrella and a sweater in the cooler months. Reserve your spot on the Magical Express and make sure you get your luggage tags and MagicBands in the mail. If you’re visiting during a special event, check to see if you need a ticket for the event in addition to your park ticket, as is the case with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Little mistakes or missteps can be avoided with a little planning and some simple online research. But each time you visit, you’ll learn new tips and tricks for your next vacation!

About Lauren Repei

Lauren lives in Hamilton Ontario, but dreams of one day moving to Orlando to be closer to the Magic Kingdom. She loves the atmosphere, the history, the magic of the parks and Dole Whips, so she’s always in the midst of planning her next vacation. In the meantime, she spends her days working for the family business as a baker, and as a travel agent specializing in Disney with ClicktheMouse. Lauren’s most memorable Disney moment by far, is when she became engaged in front of Cinderella Castle making it her best Disney vacation to date.