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Walt Disney World Rookie Mistakes You Should Avoid

Walt Disney World Rookie Mistakes You Should Avoid main-street-mk-benjamin-suter-SlIS7WRmpeQ-unsplash

We’ve all witnessed or felt it: that glazed expression when you’ve grasped the enormity of Walt Disney World. You’ve given yourself three days to navigate 47 square miles, and you don’t want to miss a thing.

Relax; it’s not as overwhelming as it seems, but you’re going to need to set some reasonable expectations for what you can accomplish. These pointers should help you get ready and transition into a seasoned Disney enthusiast.

  • Plan Ahead – Take some time prior to your vacation to do some research. The DISboards Disney discussion forums are a great resource for trip planning.
  • Budget – Snacking your way around Walt Disney World can get expensive quickly. Take a look at the restaurant menus to get a realistic idea of the prices and set a daily budget.
  • Admission Tickets – Don’t make the mistake of getting the basic theme park tickets before looking at the available options. You’ll wind up wasting valuable time upgrading your tickets at Guest Services after you arrive.
  • Resort – We recommend staying at a Disney Resort if you want to be immersed completely within Walt Disney World. If you do select an offsite hotel, keep your transportation to the parks in mind. Ask about the off-property hotel’s shuttle service so you know what to expect.
  • Drug Store Items – Sunscreen, diapers, contact lens solution, over-the-counter medicines, camera supplies, etc., can be purchased at resorts and theme parks, but you will pay a premium price for them. Bring your own and save yourself some money.
  • Dining – If your little one has their heart set on dining with Disney characters, be sure to mark your calendar as Advance Dining Reservations are accepted at Walt Disney World restaurants 60 days in advance.
  • Early Theme Park Entry & Extended Evening Hours – Walt Disney World offers Disney resort guests Early and Extended Theme Park Hours. It’s essential to make yourself aware of the schedule ahead of time and make your plans accordingly.
  • Strollers – Walt Disney World is big. Consider renting or bringing a stroller even if your kids have outgrown it (guests walk an average of 10 miles per day at Disney World). We recommend Buena Vista Rentals.
  • Breaks – Commando-style park touring at Walt Disney World is not for amateurs. In fact, it can be challenging for experienced park-goers as well. While the temptation is to spend every waking minute in the parks, you’ll be better off planning some breaks. Head back to the resort for a swim or nap, or reserve a nice meal and relax.
  • Disney Genie+ – This is an optional paid add-on that gives you access to Lightning Lanes (formerly FastPass+). Get familiar with it, know the attractions that offer it, and calculate whether or not it will be worth spending the extra cash for.
  • Parks – The theme parks are big enough without you having to go from one section to another and then back again. Look at a park map and focus on one area at a time. Use the My Disney Experience app for an easy-to-use feature that will give you walking directions.
  • Weather – While entirely unpredictable, you should expect the unexpected. Before you go, pick up some cheap plastic ponchos at the dollar store. It gets cold in Florida on occasion, so remember to pack layers. Avoid purchasing an expensive Disney sweatshirt just because you’re cold and wet.
  • Characters – Not only can you meet the Fabulous Five at the Disney theme parks, but there are so many more Disney characters you can meet, too, and some of them sign autographs! Have your camera, autograph book, and pen out while you’re in line to meet a character so you’ll be ready when it’s your turn. It’s important to be ready for action the moment you arrive at a park. Photo ops come and go quickly.
  • Height Requirements – Before hyping any Disney attractions to your traveling party, especially kids, know the height requirements.
  • Sun – If you think you can only get a sunburn when the sun’s out, guess again. You’ll want to slather on the sunscreen several times a day when you’re outside in Central Florida – even on cloudy days.
  • Parades/Shows – Find a spot to watch early so everyone in your party can see the show.
  • Baby Care Centers – You don’t have to be perched on the end of a bench full of people trying to nurse or calm down a cranky baby. Each of the four major theme parks has a Baby Care Center for your use.
  • Backpacks – You found the perfect bag with zippered compartments for everything, but remember that Disney inspects all bags before you enter the parks. That’s right, every nook and cranny every time you enter a park. Bring a bag that’s easy for them to look through.
  • Animal Kingdom Theme Park – Keep in mind that this park is primarily meant to be enjoyed outdoors. If the weather during your visit is uncertain, opt for the day most conducive to outdoor exploration. This park offers minimal shade and can become exceptionally hot.
  • Just have fun! – That’s what Walt Disney World is meant for. If you can’t do it all, don’t fret about the things you missed. Be flexible, enjoy what you can, and plan your next trip when you get home.
Walt Disney World Rookie Mistakes You Should Avoid epcot-spaceship-earth-fountain-walkway

Feature Image by Benjamin Suter on Unsplash

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Senior Editor for the DIS and DCL Fan | Disney Vacation Club Member | Thrilled to have been a '13/'14 Disney Parks Moms Panelist (now planDisney) | Lover of all things Disney; the Magic of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise Line | ºoº


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