You won’t make the most of your Walt Disney World Resort vacation if you’re making rookie mistakes.
There are millions of Disney Park Guests who visit Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom each and every year.
Whether you’re taking in the sights of Cinderella Castle while walking down Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom, taking in a showing of Fantasmic! after a day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, taking in the thrills of Avatar Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or walking around the world at EPCOT, you’re sure to have a magical time.
But, there are certain things you should know about visiting Walt Disney World.
Here’s a look at eight rookie mistakes that Disney World Guests make while on vacation.
1. Not staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel
There are certain times when it simply doesn’t make sense to stay on-site at a Disney World hotel. Maybe you’re visiting more theme parks than just Disney. Maybe you’re also heading to Universal Orlando Resort and you want to take advantage of the epic benefits that come with staying on-site at Disney’s biggest competitor.
Perhaps, you have a very large group and you’re staying in a house off property as a way to be closer to one another, rather than attempting to rent several hotel rooms, or a large and expensive suite at Disney World.
But, for the typical Disney World Guest, it can make a massive difference to stay on-site.
There are currently more than 25 Disney Resort hotels to choose from in the Disney Resorts Collection, from budget-conscious accommodations to luxurious deluxe Resort hotels. You can see a full view of the Disney Resort hotels here.
Please note that prices for accommodations will vary, depending on the location and style of each Disney Resort hotel.
Disney Resorts give you a chance to stay immersed in the magic from the time you wake up all the way until you fall asleep at night. They’re a great way to relax when you need a break and they have complimentary transportation, which is a massive perk, especially for Magic Kingdom, because you can skip the Tram and Monorail lines and, instead, be dropped off right at the gates of Magic Kingdom.
2. Trying to do it all
It’s understandable if you don’t get to visit Walt Disney World very often that you want to try and enjoy as much as you possibly can. For some Guests, that means getting up and being in the Parks at rope drop and not leaving until the Park closes that night.
If that’s what you want to do, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you should beware.
One of the biggest reasons that Guests don’t end up enjoying their time at Disney is that they put too much pressure on themselves to try and do it all. Instead of just living in the moment and enjoying what they can, they end up attempting to do too much and tiring themselves out.
When you’re tired, you begin to become cranky. When you’re cranky and tired, that’s when bad Guest behavior occurs.
There’s nothing wrong with trying to get as much magic in as possible, but if it’s at the expense of you enjoying your vacation, you’re missing the point.
3. Not utilizing Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane to your advantage
Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Lightning Lane have been controversial issues among Disney Park fans since their implementation back in 2021.
The services aren’t going anywhere, so you might as well use them to your advantage.
Here’s how Lightning Lane entry through Disney Genie+ works:
What Are the Rules?
- Make sure you have valid admission and a theme park reservation to the same park on the same day.
- Disney Genie+ service Lightning Lane selections can only be made one at a time. You must redeem an existing Disney Genie+ service Lightning Lane selection or wait 2 hours—whichever comes first—before making another Lightning Lane entrance selection through Disney Genie+ service. Please note: the 2-hour wait to make another selection begins when the park opens, even if you made your first booking at 7:00 a.m..
- All attractions and experiences are subject to availability.
- Guests may be able to purchase Disney Genie+ service on the day of their park visit and make their first Disney Genie+ selection for Lightning Lane entry starting at 7:00 a.m..
Modifying a Disney Genie+ Service Lightning Lane Selection
If you would like to modify your Lightning Lane selection through Disney Genie+ service to a different experience or attraction, reduce the party accompanying you, or choose a different time, here’s how:
- In Disney Genie service, select either the Tip Board or My Day tab.
- Tap the Lightning Lane selection you wish to modify. A short menu will appear.
- From the short menu , select the type of change you want and follow the resulting prompts.
- Check to make sure the new experience, party makeup or time is correct.
- Tap “Confirm Change,” then “Done.”
Disney Genie+ service, attractions and experiences may vary by date, are subject to change or closure, are limited in availability and are not guaranteed and may not be available at all on the date of visit or at the time you make a selection.
4. Wearing improper shoes and clothing to Disney World
You’re going to be doing a lot of walking. Flip flops are most likely not going to get the job done.
Many people report walking upwards of 10 miles– sometimes more– per day while visiting Walt Disney World Resort. While they may look cute, you need to make sure you’re taking care of your body and that means wearing proper foot attire.
In addition, clothing is important. The weather in Florida sometimes changes by the hour. If you’re going in the summer, make sure to pack clothes that will help you stay as cool as possible, while also abiding to Disney’s dress code, of course. If you’re going in the winter, you may need a jacket– it may be freezing, or it may be very mild or even hot– so you need to pay attention to the weather.
There’s nothing wrong with bringing a poncho any time of the year, honestly, because pop-up rain storms are common in the area, so being prepared is important.
5. Not planning ahead before arriving at Walt Disney World
We can’t tell you how many Guests have gotten to the gates of their favorite Disney World Park over the last couple of years and then found out that they wouldn’t be let in because they didn’t make Park Reservations. Make your Park Reservations, they’re required.
In addition to Park Reservations, you’ll get the most out of your trip if you plan ahead. Look at Park Hours, make dining reservations (there are some excellent restaurant options in the Disney Parks), check out times for your favorite shows and nighttime spectaculars. Plan rest days if you have a lengthy trip.
If you go into your vacation with a plan, of at least some sort, you’ll come out a lot better. It’s not to say that a plan can’t be changed, but you should at least have some kind of an idea of what each day will look like while you’re at Walt Disney World.
Don’t expect to be able to make dining reservations later on. As soon as you’re given the opportunity to book those– 60 days in advance– you need to go ahead and book them. If not, they’ll sell out and many restaurants do not accept walk-ins.
6. Not getting a spot early for parades and nighttime spectaculars
Some Disney World Guests don’t have any desire to watch the parades, and that’s okay, but if you’re wanting to experience Festival of Fantasy, or Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade at Magic Kingdom, you need to make an effort to get their early.
Arriving five minutes before a parade is set to start will not end well for you if you want to see what’s going on.
Even if you’re not planning to watch them, knowing the times of the parades can be important for your planning, as certain walkways get blocked off and many areas get heavily-congested.
The same thing can be said for nighttime spectaculars. For example, if you’re planning to view Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll want to arrive somewhere between 60-90 minutes early– 90 minutes early for days with heavier crowding– to get a seat.
7. Running all over the Disney World Parks
One of the ways you waste the most time is by running all over the Parks. Enjoy an area, and then move on to the next area. There are sometimes when this can’t be followed exactly– depending on Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane reservation times, etc.– but it’s always better to save the steps and enjoy areas of the Parks rather than running all over.
If you’re going from one side of Magic Kingdom to another and back, you could end up spending more than a half-hour (or more) just walking back and forth that could’ve been spent waiting in line for an attraction.
8. Believing every Disney World trip must be done the same way
Rope dropping, for example, can be a helpful tactic for Disney World Guests wanting to get the most in on their vacation. But, that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to enjoy Disney.
There is no one way to enjoy Disney World. Every single family has different aspects that they enjoy most.
If you’re not a morning person, why make yourself miserable trying to get in lines at 7:00 a.m.? If you’re not a night owl and you’d rather relax by the pool in the evening than be in the Parks at 11:00 p.m., then do it.
The best way you can make Disney magic is by living in the moment and enjoying the time you have with your loved ones.
There is no “cookie-cutter” way to enjoy vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort, but the one thing we would make sure everyone should do is exactly what Disney states on its website: “Be the magic you want to see.”
Don’t let little things upset you. Don’t spend time focusing on the negatives. Instead, remember the whole reason you’re there to begin with and enjoy the moments you have while in “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”
What is the biggest rookie mistake you see while visiting Walt Disney World Resort? Let us know in the comments!