There’s a lot of planning to do when it comes to a Disney World trip these days. And, you might find yourself having some pretty bad ideas in the process!
Whether this is your first trip or 50th trip, it’s easy to end up making some big mistakes that cost you some of the fun on your Disney trip. So, let us help save you from yourself and avoid making these 8 mistakes in Disney World!
Waiting to book your park pass reservations
Right now, Disney requires that each guest have both a valid ticket and a park pass reservation for the park that they plan to visit before arriving – you’re basically reserving your spot in the park for the day. This is a HUGE change for seasoned park-goers who are used to making their plans for the day closer to their vacation dates, or even the day of. But, if you wait, you could end up finding that there’s no availability in the park that you want to visit on a particular day, or – even worse – no availability at any park at all.
We’ve seen park pass reservations book up months in advance for the really popular times of the year (think holidays and opening dates for new rides or restaurants), so be sure that you’re making your park pass reservation as soon as you purchase your ticket.
We recommend securing a reservation for one park even if you’re not 100% sure that that’s the final plan – you can always look to see if you can change your reservations closer to the date but you can’t get a reservation if there aren’t any left when you finally decide. As long as you have one park booked, you could choose to upgrade your ticket to a park hopper if you find that the park you really want to visit isn’t available (just remember that you’ll need to have entered your first park and then can’t park hop until after 2PM if you’re doing this).
Eating a heavy meal before riding Mission: SPACE
Unless you have a stomach of steel, you’ll want to plan ahead and time those big meals (or even alcoholic drinks) around your attraction riding schedule! Some rides are worse than others, but you could seriously end up regretting that tasty lunch if you’re not careful.
And, if you’re prone to motion sickness you also might want to think twice about riding attractions like Mission: SPACE or Star Tours — both of these can turn your stomach even if you haven’t filled your belly with Disney World goodies right before you ride!
Sleeping in (for the most part)
Yes, a trip to Disney World is a VACATION after all, but hitting that snooze button a few too many times can really cost ya when it comes to your park days. Especially if you’re purchasing Disney Genie+ — this can eat into the number of Lightning Lanes you’re able to secure in the day. Even Disney suggests starting early if you want to maximize your purchase!
Plus, if you’re staying at a Disney World Resort hotel, you can get a bit of an advantage in securing those Individual Attraction Selections too (if you’re opting to purchase them). You can make your lightning lane reservations starting at 7AM, and sleeping in could cost ya an earlier return time or even a Lightning Lane for a popular attraction (which could mean you’re waiting when you get to the parks instead of skipping the line).
Early Theme Park Entry can also be super helpful in hopping on those popular rides without a wait time (meaning you don’t have to pay to skip the lines if you’re not a fan of waiting), but you’ve got to be up and at ‘em because you’ve only got 30 extra minutes in each park in the morning.
But, that’s not to say that you can’t enjoy some extra snooze time – you’ll just want to think ahead and weigh the pros and cons. Maybe you choose to forego the parks one day of your trip and spend the day sleeping in and relaxing at the resort. Or, maybe you don’t plan on riding much at EPCOT so you can sleep in until all the food booths around World Showcase open – do what works best for you and your family!
Do You Need to Stay at a Disney World Hotel for the BEST Pay-Per-Ride Choices? Click HERE to find out!
Booking three table service meals in one day
It’s important to be reasonable about how much you can (and want) to eat – three BIG sit-down meals can be A LOT of food (and pretty costly)! Table service meals can easily suck up a couple of hours from your day so instead of stuffing your day hopping from restaurant to restaurant, prioritize where you really want to eat and save that time you’d spend sitting at a restaurant for exploring the parks!
We recommend narrowing down your list to dine at one table service restaurant per day (if that) and opt for quicker meals – there are a lot of great Quick Service restaurants in the parks and resorts, too. And, remember, dining reservations open up 60 days in advance – so have your list ready to go and book the harder to get ones first.
Thinking you’re going to use a pricey souvenir when you get home
There are a lot of souvenirs in Disney World and, yes, there are some things that you might use every day (like a coffee mug). But then there’s the stuff that you buy because, in the moment, it seemed like you couldn’t live without it. A lot of times, you stock up on the souvenirs that you’re “100% going to use all the time at home,” and then they get stuffed in a closet and you don’t discover them until you’re Marie Kondo-ing your house (if people are still doing that nowadays).
If you find yourself using this excuse to talk yourself into purchasing a pricey souvenir, turn the other way! Or, more practically, plan ahead by setting a souvenir budget and stick to it when you’re in the parks.
Using a bag that is too small to carry all of your park essentials
You certainly don’t want a heavy bag bogging you down during your park days, but you could end up really regretting leaving your rain jacket or sunscreen in the hotel room because you didn’t have room for it in your wristlet. Bring a bag that is big enough for you to fit anything that you might need for the day (including the weather!) and make a checklist so that you don’t forget anything!
You don’t need to overpack your bag, but you definitely want one that is big enough for your sunscreen, hand sanitizer, face masks, rain gear, wallet, and maybe even a small souvenir. If you forget any of these items or choose not to take them with you, you could end up having to pay the high park price because ya definitely need them!