12 Rookie Mistakes That People Make At Walt Disney World

Are you planning your first trip to Walt Disney World? If so, congratulations, you will have the time of your life. Walt Disney World is huge, and it can be confusing. If you want your trip to go smoothly, you will need to avoid these 12 rookie mistakes. Of course, you don’t need to be a rookie to make one of these errors. Even Walt Disney World veterans make some of them from time to time.

12) Not Leaving Room for Souvenirs

Packing for a Walt Disney World vacation can be hard, because you probably won’t have any idea of what you will really need. Don’t over pack. Instead, save room in your suitcase for the souvenirs that you will buy. Here’s a tip, bring a minimal number of shirts. Buy a T-shirt at some point each day of your vacation, and wear that the next day. You’ll save room in your suitcase, and you’ll end up with some great souvenirs.

11) Wearing the Wrong Shoes

While at Walt Disney World you will do a lot of walking. You don’t want your feet to hurt your whole vacation because you wore the wrong shoes! Everyone in your party should wear broken in shoes that are comfortable for walking. If you’re visiting during the rainy season you might want to pack extra shoes. No one wants to wear wet shoes for an entire vacation.

10) Not Using Sunscreen

The Florida sun can do a number on anyone, and in a short amount of time. Everyone in your party needs to wear sunscreen, even if you do not normally burn. A sunburn will ruin your vacation, so don’t chance it.

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9) Not Learning the Parks

Before you leave home, it is a good idea to have a general concept of the layout of each park. You can find maps online. You will also want to read ride descriptions, including height requirements, if applicable. Find out about the restaurants as well, so that you won’t end up eating the same thing each meal.

8) Going Only to the Parks

There is more to Walt Disney World than four theme parks! Don’t forget about the two water parks, Disney Springs, the resorts, the golf courses, and more. Some of the best times that you’ll have on a Walt Disney World vacation could take place outside of the four theme parks, so make sure you explore.

7) Leaving Early

The four Walt Disney World theme parks all come alive at night. The lighting is incredible, and there are special shows that can’t take place during the day. If you leave before the fireworks or the nighttime shows, you will be missing out.

6) Arriving Late

If you have never visited Walt Disney World before, you are going to want to experience as much as you possibly can. The parks are the least crowded when they first open. Plan to arrive before rope drop, and you will be amazed by how much you can get done before the crowds arrive.

5) Not Making Dining Reservations

Walt Disney World has many world class restaurants with menus created by astounding chefs. Many of these restaurants are extremely popular, and chances are slim that you will be seated quickly without a reservation. You can make dining reservations up to 180 days in advance at most full service restaurants, so do it. You can cancel later if your plans change. When considering full service restaurants, don’t forget about the resorts and Disney Springs. Some of the best Walt Disney World restaurants are not located in the theme parks.

4) Underestimating the Weather in Florida

Chances are, the weather in Florida is quite different from what you experience back home. Some of the spring, all of the summer, and part of the fall will be hot, humid, and there will be a chance of a storm most days. The rest of the year can be anything from still hot to downright chilly. Check the forecast daily starting 15 days before your vacation, and plan accordingly. Once you’re in Florida don’t forget to drink plenty of water. The heat and humidity can take a lot out of you.

3) Not Taking a Break

Hitting theme parks from open to close several days in a row will wear you out! The Florida heat will make it worse. You need to take breaks to recharge. Head back to your hotel in the middle of the afternoon for a nap, then return to the park for your dinner reservation. If possible, plan a day off in the middle of your trip so that you can sleep in and then relax for the day by the pool. You’ll enjoy your time in the parks a lot more if you and your family aren’t constantly exhausted.

2) Not Using FastPass+ Correctly

With FastPass+ you will be able to wait in three shorter lines per day. You can make your reservations up to 60 days in advance if you’re staying on property, and 30 if you aren’t. Make your reservations for as early in the day as possible. When you’ve used your third reservation, you can make a fourth one. Use the My Disney Experience App, or find a FastPass+ kiosk in the park. When the fourth one has been used, make another. In theory you can keep adding new selections until the park closes. You may not be able to get a top choice for your fourth FastPass+, but anytime you can wait in a shorter line is welcome.

1) Stressing

This is a mistake that almost everyone makes at some point, it’s not just made by Walt Disney World rookies. A vacation is supposed to be fun, so don’t let stress get to you. If you see on the My Disney Experience App that the Wait Time for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is down to 60 minutes but your daughter wants to get a picture with Winnie the Pooh, stop and get that picture. You’ll treasure it later. Realize that souvenirs and food are expensive, and don’t complain about the prices. Remember that you won’t do everything on one vacation. If you miss the bus, enjoy the break that you’ll get while waiting for the next one. You’re on vacation, you’re supposed to have a great time. Don’t let stress get the better of you. Instead, let your inner child come out and play. While you’re at it, buy your inner child a Dole Whip. That will melt your stress away.

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.