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Disney World… You May Be Doing It Wrong!

Paula K

A Walt Disney World vacation can be overwhelming. Even seasoned Disney veterans will admit that a few days in Central Florida can be exhausting. It’s too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and make mistakes that will cost you time and energy. Here are a few things that you may be holding you back and some suggestions to make your next vacation the best one yet.

 

6. Not Doing Your Research

A successful Disney vacation begins long before you pack your bags. If you don’t know the parks well, study maps before you leave home so that you’ll have a general idea of where you’re going once you arrive. Learn about the rides, attractions, and restaurants, and make a list of which ones are the most important to you. Check the park hours for each day, and look for any special events going on. The more research you do at home, the less room there will be for bad surprises once you arrive.

5. Not Trying the Resort Restaurants

Too often people do not want to leave the parks for a couple of hours to have a nice meal. While there are great restaurants in all four theme parks, some of the best restaurants in the Orlando area are found in the Disney Resort restaurants. All are themed and unique, and the signature restaurants are headed up by world class chefs. It’s not hard to leave a park for a meal. The Epcot Resorts are within walking distance of Epcot’s International Gateway entrance. There is a walking path from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resorts are a short monorail ride away. Even the resorts that aren’t right next to a park are simple to get to by bus so you won’t have to move your car. If you want a meal that you will never forget, make a reservation at a resort restaurant and leave a park for a couple of hours.

4. Not Making Meal Reservations

Some people will make too many restaurant reservations. They will plan every meal 180 days in advance, and know where they want to eat and when each day of their trip. The opposite scenario is much more common. It’s easy to put off making reservations for an important meal. Six months is a long time, and you assume that Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant will still have openings. Other details of the trip become more important, and the dining reservations never get made. You end up at Disney with reservations at times that you didn’t want, or worse yet without reservations at the restaurant that you wanted to try the most. Make your important dining reservations as soon as you can. Otherwise, you might be left out.

One more word about dining reservations; if you can’t make it don’t forget to cancel as soon as possible. That will open up a spot for someone else. You’ll also be charged a fee if you don’t cancel your reservation.

3. Not Trying Something New

At some point during your Walt Disney World vacation, step outside of your comfort zone. Try something that wouldn’t be the norm back home. Wear a Mickey T-shirt instead of your usual striped polo shirt. Get in line for a ride that goes a little bit faster than you’d like. Take some silly pictures and post them on your favorite social media site. Volunteer for a show. Order a food that you’ve never tried before. Go water skiing. There are plenty of opportunities to do something different at Walt Disney World, so take advantage of them and try something new.

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2. Not Utilizing FastPass+

It’s easy to make mistakes with FastPass+. Here are a few suggestions for getting the most out of the system. First, make sure you make your reservations as soon as you can. That way, you’ll be able to know that you have reserved times for your favorites. Second, check your meal reservations against your FastPass+ reservations. You can’t be in two places at once. Third, if your choices allow it, make your reservations for as early in the day as possible. That will make it easier to get a fourth FastPass+. In order to do that, you’ll need to have used all three of them, you can’t have skipped one or a touch point. If your times are early enough in the day you can add even more after that. Head to a kiosk or log onto My Disney Experience. Remember, the most popular rides will probably be gone, but you may find something that you want.

1. Not Taking Time Off

You’re going to want to do as much as possible on your Walt Disney World vacation. After all, your ticket is expensive and you don’t want to waste a moment of it. Trying to do everything and not taking time off will lead to exhaustion, and that will ruin your vacation. If you and your family are tired you will all be cranky, and no one will have a good time. You don’t have to spend each day in a park from open until close. Plan a day off from the parks in the middle of your vacation and sleep in. Take a break in the middle of the day and head back to your hotel for a nap. Don’t try to do it all, you won’t be able to and you’ll end up disappointed. Give yourself and your family a break and don’t push yourselves too far. Save some of the fun for your next vacation.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.