Everyone’s idea of a perfect Walt Disney World vacation is obviously different. But there are certain universal tricks that will make your trip to the most magical place on earth even more magical. Conversely, there are some mistakes commonly made by people who aren’t familiar with the parks that could derail your vacation. Luckily, they’re easily avoided once you’re in the know! Here are some signs you might be doing Walt Disney World all wrong.
1. Spending All Your Time in Parks
Yes, you probably came to Walt Disney World for the theme parks. But you shouldn’t spend every waking moment in the parks! If you do, you’ll miss a lot of fantastic sights, eats and experiences that are often as enjoyable as the parks themselves. Take the time to enjoy your Disney resort (especially important if you’ve paid the big bucks for a deluxe resort!). Explore the grounds, check out the pools, dining and any special activities that are offered. Resort hopping is another fabulous way to make the most of your time out of the parks – you can find a dizzying array of options, from carriage rides to horse-back riding to boating – offered at different resorts. And don’t forget Disney Springs – you could easily while away days checking out the entertainment, shopping and food here!
2. Not Preparing for the Weather
It’s tempting to think of Orlando as perpetually sunny. But the weather here can be temperamental, ranging from oppressive heat and humidity to downpours and even hurricanes. You’ll want to prepare for all kinds of weather when you visit. Layers are always a great idea, as it will be cooler early in the morning and at night. Bringing a rain poncho is the best way to stay dry during a sudden shower, and try to get out of worst of the scorching mid-day sun by heading indoors to eat, or watch a show – and remember to wear sun protection and stay hydrated!
3. Your Feet Hurt After 10 Minutes
We cannot overstate this: you will walk A LOT in Walt Disney World. The parks are massive, and even if you aren’t retracing your steps, you’ll be on your feet much of the day – and that doesn’t even count the walking you’ll do around your resort! As cute as they are, this is NOT the time for those new heels or flip-flops. Make sure you pack your most supportive, comfy walking shoes, no matter how sensible and boring they are – your feet will thank you for it.
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4. Not Staying on Property
With more than two dozen resorts in Walt Disney World to choose from, there’s a resort to suit every personality and budget. You can certainly stay off property, but that means extra travel time, parking costs, vehicle rental and traffic to contend with. Not to mention, there’s something special about having the magic of your Disney vacation extend to your resort and room! You also receive extra perks for staying on property, such as Extra Magic Hours and early FastPass+ booking.
5. Your Meals are Bankrupting You
While there are certain special dining experiences you may want to splurge on in Walt Disney World (Yachtsman Steakhouse and Victoria and Albert’s come to mind), you shouldn’t be dreading the cost of your next meal. There are plenty of inexpensive meal choices throughout the parks and resorts – check out quick service options for surprisingly affordable options, and avoid the character buffets, which are always exorbitantly pricy. Another trick is to bring your own snacks from home, or grab some cereal or grab-and-go items at your resort for breakfast, saving you both the time and cost of a sit-down breakfast.
6. Spending All Your Time in Line
Ok, it’s not possible to visit Walt Disney World and avoid lines altogether. But you also shouldn’t be spending hours each day in line for just a few attractions. If you are, you should revisit your FastPass+ selections, making sure you reserve these for the most popular attractions, and then when you’ve exhausted your three selections, you can always choose another. Hit any popular rides you couldn’t get a FastPass+ for outside of peak times – try first thing in the morning, or during meal times.
7. You’re Exhausted by Mid-Day
We admit it, Walt Disney World can be a bit like running a marathon! But you shouldn’t be completely exhausted. If you are, you might not be taking enough breaks. This is easier said than done, especially with kids, who will want to be on the go all day long. But trust us, you will all enjoy the day much more with strategic rest breaks! This could mean a cool drink in the shade, ducking into a show to get off your feet, or returning to the resort for a pool break. Then you’ll be rested and ready for more fun!
8. You Didn’t Prep
While it is possible to make a spontaneous trip to Walt Disney World, it’s certainly not advisable. You’ll pay more for everything and won’t get most of the dining reservations you want if you book last minute. It’s best to book as far ahead as possible. Watch for deals on Disney resorts and theme park tickets, which fluctuate throughout the year. Once you know when you’ll be visiting, you can book your dining reservations six months ahead of your trip, and your FastPass+ selections 30 days in advance, or 60 days if you’re staying on property.