3) You don’t buy annual passes.
If you’re a Guest who only visits the parks once every few years, there’s no need for you to purchase annual passes, obviously. But if you and your family live in Florida and go to the parks all year long, it might be the best option for you. If you live out of state, but you and your family rush to your happy place in the parks every time school’s out for the summer, you may want to consider an annual pass. Why? There are several reasons. Annual passholders receive discounts on merchandise purchased in the parks—up to 20% savings. During certain promotions, you can get discounts on dining at specified restaurants in the parks.
There are also savings on tickets prices, if you play your cards right. For example, my family and I visit the parks every summer—usually in mid-June through late June or early July. We live in Dallas, but we stay in Florida for 2 to 2 ½ weeks. We have four children, so we need 6 tickets, and each one is a 10-day ticket. With the park hopper option, after tax, we can easily spend over $3,000 for tickets in one trip to the parks. In addition to that, we will pay $20 per day in parking. Ten days in the parks will cost us $200 in parking. Then we purchase Memory Maker, at $149. This doesn’t include any meals or souvenirs, both of which we purchase almost daily in the parks—and without annual passes, those meals and souvenirs are full price. Before meals and souvenirs, we’ve already spent $3,349, and we have no discounts on dining or merchandise. Plus, in 11 months when we return, we will have to spend the $3,349 again, and that’s if there’s no price increase. So the grand total for 2 vacations to the parks in one year’s time, without any meals or souvenirs, will cost us $6,700.
But if we purchase six Platinum Annual Passes to the parks, it costs just under $5,000. Parking is included. Park Hopper option is included, and we get the discounts on dining and souvenirs, which adds up quickly. Finally, as long as we take our next trip within 365 days of our first day in the parks this year, our park admission on next year’s trip will cost us $0. Parking will also be free. So with an annual pass, our family can take two vacations to the parks (which we would be doing anyway), and the cost before souvenirs and meals is just under $5,000. Right off the top, we’ve saved $1,700, and that doesn’t include any of the discounts we will be receiving.
So if you and your family go every year, you might want to consider purchasing annual passes. The savings can be substantial.
2) You’re taking a child too soon.
When you visit any of the four parks at Walt Disney World, you will see children of all ages—toddlers, preschoolers, young children and teens. And why not? Disney is for kids and for the “kid” in all of us. There are also lots of babies at Disney World—little ones who need their feeding and napping schedule to be followed as closely as possible each day. It can present a challenge for you if you’re in the parks with a young baby.
There are nursing rooms in each park, and restrooms have changing tables. But it can be a lot to handle when you consider you’ll need to push a stroller throughout the park, and you’ll also need the diaper bag and everything that goes in it, as well as the time and place to prepare bottles if your baby takes formula. It’s not the impossible task, but it can be very challenging, and only you can decide if being challenged is what you want on a family vacation.
That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t bring a baby to the parks, but when you consider all the items you’ll need with you for your baby, as well as the fact that your baby is so young and won’t remember going to the parks at such a young age, you may want to consider waiting a few years before coming. Or you might have the grandparents keep your baby while you and your spouse get away for a few days to your happy place in Florida.
1) You don’t enjoy the little things.
With all there is to do in the parks, it can be an overwhelming task to decide which attractions to enjoy, which shows to see, which parades to watch, etc. Everything Disney produces is worth experiencing. But if you visit the parks, and you don’t enjoy the extra little things, you’re really missing out.
On the World Showcase at EPCOT, take time to really enjoy each country’s pavilion—the art, the architecture, the culture. See the shows and entertainment offered by Cast Members native to each country.
On Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom, take time to look at the buildings up and down the street. It was designed to look like a town’s main street around the year 1900. Notice the exquisite detail in the architecture and design of each building. Hear the Dapper Dans quartet perform in front of City Hall, catch the train at the station just inside the Magic Kingdom, and ride through the different lands of Magic Kingdom.
At Animal Kingdom, take time to participate in the Wilderness Explorers’ (WE) activities all throughout the park. Look for animals, complete pages in the WE handbook and earn badges at each WE station. Take the train at Conservation Station to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and see live animals and their trainers. While you’re there, see where medical procedures are performed on the animals who call Animal Kingdom home.
When you visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, see the Citizens of Hollywood on the streets as they embody actors and actresses from the 1930s and 1940s, using improv to tell their stories as Guests walk by. Stay until after dark and take photos of the buildings at Hollywood Studios aglow in bright neon and fluorescent lights.