We’ve all felt like the “rookie” at one time or another. But, we’re here to help you feel like an old pro while enjoying Disney World Parks! Here is our list of the top 10 rookies mistakes guests make at Disney Parks… and honestly – yes, we’ve made them all.
Editor’s Note: We understand that with the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, some of the advice in this article may not apply if you visit while park hours are reduced, capacity limits and physical distancing are in place, and some of our favorite experiences—fireworks, parades, and character greetings—are temporarily suspended. (You can read everything you need to know about the phased reopening by clicking here). We will continue to share articles that give guidance on a “normal” vacation to Walt Disney World, along with any special changes or instructions you may need to be aware of during the phased reopening to provide the best tips we can regardless of when you are visiting. ~ Chad & Cindy
1 – Filling up on Soda – not on Water
Rule number one in Florida is to remain hydrated! The heat at Disney World will have you wishing Queen Elsa would just go ahead and freeze things. If you’re like us, that refreshing Coca-Cola sign starts to call your name. But wait – don’t forget about WATER. Simple H2O is your best bet for a refreshing drink that serves the wonderful purpose of keeping you hydrated. Coke will only dehydrate you more, despite what it tastes like when drinking it. Don’t forget to especially keep an eye on what your kids are drinking. Plus, fountain water with ice from Quick Service locations is free… so drink up!
2 – Dressing for Looks, Not for Comfort
You are a princess or a prince regardless of what you stroll up in Disney wearing! We particularly feel terrible for the little girls that dress as princesses and wear those little heals… ouch, are they going to be hurting (as are their Dad’s backs from carrying them). Comfortable, cool clothing to match the weather and great walking shoes are a must-have when spending the day at a Disney park.
3 – No Dining Reservations
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, the dining booking window is 60 days.
Trust us, it’s not fun getting to a Disney park and wishing you could find a table service restaurant to sit down at, enjoy a meal, and relax – but instead, finding all of the restaurants you’ve tried aren’t accepting guests without reservations. That hunger and angry (hangry!) attitude kicks in, and you feel like turning into Wreck-It-Ralph. Do your best to book those dining reservations well in advance – 180 days, if possible. This will save that grumbling stomach in the long run!
4 – Trying to Do It All
Ok, we understand this one is super tempting for a rookie! This might be a once in a lifetime experience, and getting everything in seems like the only way to go. It’s Walt Disney World. There is no way possible to get everything done in one day. BUT – we do recommend creating a must-do list and being sure all of those attractions, shows, and entertainment on your family’s must-do list are conquered. Finish that handful of must-do selections and count everything else as icing on the cake.
5 – Not Bothering with FastPass+
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, FastPass+ is temporarily suspended.
The FastPass+ system can seem like an uncertainty for many first-timer Disney guests. But, we promise just a little bit of understanding the system can go a long way. If you still have no clue what to do for FastPasses, a Cast Member can guide you when you are in the park. Skip the long standby lines whenever possible and enjoy a quick way into an attraction without all the wait.
6 – Figuring Out the Park When You Get There
Spontaneous people – hear us out! We think you are fantastic and strive to be more like you every day. But, our type-A personalities tend to take control from time to time. While we think you must be spontaneous about some things at Disney, do yourself the favor of having a little bit of a grasp on the parks before arriving at them. Even if it’s studying a map on the bus ride over, you’ll be so thankful you have an understanding of the park layout and what it has to offer before arrival. Get that game plan organized, so when you enter those magical gates, you’ll feel like you’ve got this!
7 – Not Checking the Weather
Speaking of spontaneous… have you checked out the Florida weather?! It’s hard to guess each day what the weather may do as in the morning, it may say one thing, but by the afternoon, it’s completely different. We suggest preparing for rain with small Dollar Store ponchos you can throw into a bag. Have a weather app on your phone and check it periodically throughout the day so you have a handle on what might be headed your way.
8 – We Didn’t Expect the Crowds
Editor’s Note: During the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, crowds are limited and kept under control by a park reservation system.
Before booking the most magical Disney vacation imaginable, we highly recommend checking out the crowd levels at Disney. Check to see what is considered the peak season vs. the value season. Not only will this save you on expenses (especially with resorts), but the crowd levels will be much more manageable during value season. If you aren’t able to book during value season and must go during peak season, expect large crowds, and don’t let that put a damper on your vacation!
For information on crowd patterns and other considerations on vacation timing, check out these two articles:
9 – Forgot to Pack a Bag
Not every individual needs a bag to carry into Disney parks with them, but chances are if you have a family, you may need some supplies. Don’t forget some of the park basics like sunscreen, sunglasses, ponchos, snacks, chapstick, cell charger, Tylenol, and hand sanitizer. While most of these items can be purchased in the park, if necessary, you’ll save the wallet by bringing them along from home.
10 – Ignoring Cast Members
Cast Members are present at specific locations during specific times for a reason. It’s easy to get caught up in awe of Disney but try to focus on what the Cast Members may be asking you to do. Know how many people are in your party when entering an attraction. Move back or forward if they ask you to. And smile back at them when they smile at you! They really do want you to have a great time while being as safe as possible.
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