Maybe this is a rant, maybe it’s a call to action, but my friends…
I’ve seen too many people spouting off bad advice in Facebook groups and Instagram Stories over the last year and it’s time to set the record straight.
Planning for Disney World can be a lot of work, and can be sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed and I’m a Disney World blogger who goes there weekly.
So let’s talk about five of the worst offenders… 5 myths that can radically sabotage your planning efforts and your Disney World Vacation if you have the wrong expectations.
And if you don’t want myths… head over to these books that can help you legitimately plan your vacation
-Quick Serve is always faster than table service
Let’s start with an oldie but a goodie.
There is an assumption that ‘quick serve’, which is one of four options for food at Disney World, is the quickest option .
In reality, the name quick service is a misnomer, as it is not always the quickest option.
Quick Serve food eateries are plaqued by very long lines, confused customers, shortages of cashiers and sometimes food items. They are also swamped during standard meal time hours and often feature collectible items that drive up the wait time.
From standing in line (or mobile ordering) to recieving your food, you can expect anywhere from 10-40 minutes depending on the day, time of day and the season.
Likewise, Table Service, or the sit down equivalent (think olive garden or ruby tuesday’s) can sometimes be around 45 minutes long. Typically you have a reservation, you sit down and have a waiter, and you get your food. In those places where it’s a buffet or family style, my family can be in and out in less than an hour.
I’ve reviewed over 150 places at Disney World in my attempts to catalog them for those of use plagued with food allergies- many times I’m there longer than other people- but often times I’m eating and leaving with the people who came in at the same time I have.
Short and Simple. Unless you are bringing your food in, be prepared to wait in lines for food (or while seating in the a/c)
|Type of Eatery||Average time||Possible Time|
|Quick Service||35 minutes||45-60 minutes when considering order, recieving and eating|
|Table Service||35-60 minutes||Over an Hour depending on what was ordered (buffet and family style are quicker)|
|Character Meal||60 Minutes +||45 Minutes especially for family style and buffet meals where you meet characters as soon as you sit down|
-There is a perfect age to go to Disney World
I have seen more people anxious about wether or not their (insert age) will have fun at Disney World. Likewise, you see people assuming their 20 or 30 something childless relatives might not like it, or assuming that grandparents will be bored or want to stay in the room the entire time.
They think that their two year old, or that their five year old, or that their infant will be the “wrong” age to go to Disney World.
Simply put- there is no perfect age for Disney World and assuming otherwise is ridiculous. Disney World has made their park and adventure for all ages. There drinks flights in the evening for adults, and galleries/history/art and entertainment to be enjoyed. There’s playgrounds and toddler areas and rides that preteens will love.
While I have some strong opinions that there is a right age for Legoland (they are a 2-12 park by their own admission) and that Universal is more geared towards teens and adults, I do not feel the same way about Disney World.
All Ages will enjoy and delight in a Disney Vacation, and each vacation will be unique as ages change.
-You either need to go with No Itinerary or with a Minute by Minute Itinerary
The first time I ever went to Disney World as a parent, my husband and I brought our almost one year old to Magic Kingdom.
And while eating dinner at Tony’s, we were seated next to a family that was going absolutely bat shit crazy over their schedule.
I’m not joking. The Mom was so loud we heard the entire conversation about how the bathroom break took too long and the one ride was over the limit by 10 minutes so they had to skip it. The kids were crying over the skipped line (it was a ride they really wanted to do) and the dad was frantically going over several papers of itinerary trying to figure out how to squeeze the ride in.
After the end of their stressful meal, do you know what happened?
They were so involved and upset over their itinerary, they left their camera! My husband tried to chase them down, but they literally ran after they got their check.
And that my friends, is an example of what not to do, as now that family either lost those memories forever, or were fortunate to find their camera at lost and found (the server said she would send it over after closing if they didn’t come back to reclaim it!).
Sure, you should consider how many days you actually need to enjoy yourself in the parks, and you can think about specific activities based on certain age groups. But planning every second? That’s wild yall.
And you’ll see it when you go- I promise you. People cutting in line, people pushing other’s out of the way. People literally jumping through the bushes in Animal Kingdom to get in line for Flight of Passage. People running- like absolutely sprinting- to get to their next destination.
I’ve seen the flip side too, a multigenerational family on the bus back to the resort lamenting that they should have scheduled their time better as they missed a few of their bucket list items and forgot to get a family picture.
So where’s the happy medium?
Plan out your days with bucket list items and possibly some food reservations.
- Do not plan every minute, and if you plan every half hour, be sure to budget some extra time in there for mishaps.
- Do not go in without a plan. Make a bucket list by park, and include things like souvenirs or pictures you want to take.
- Enjoy this vacation! You’re here to enjoy family and the sights, please don’t get so caught up in the “must do’s” that you forget about your reason for being alive. Life is meant to be enjoyed.
Consider some things like what to do when it rains at disney world, and what you can do on an ‘off’ day from the theme parks when it get’s boring swimming all day.
Think about how you can make this vacation less stressful and more enjoyable by budgeting time for your family to relax. Plus consider how some of the simplest things are the one’s that your family will remember for years to come.
You have to stay on property to get the best Disney World Experience
Reality One: Only 25% of the people who visit Disney World Each Year stay on Property.
Reality Two: Anyone that says that you HAVE to stay on property is affiliated or related to a Travel Agent (and those agents get commissions and give kick backs to bloggers and influencers who refer them) (see this post about travel agents if you’d like an in depth dive into the world of Disney travel!)
Many People enjoy staying on property to enjoy the transportation, and many many people complain about how their isn’t enough transportation and it ruined their plans to be there at park opening.
Many many people love to stay in the Disney bubble, and others are so burned out by the sensory explosion that staying in a close by rented house is the best option for them.
There is no *one* way to do Disney World, but each set of circumstances is unique.
Like a multigenerational family would likely benefit from a 5 bedroom rented house.
Or a Budget Savvy Work from Home Parent waited to find the right DVC rental agreement for their budget since their dates were flexible.
Or someone who needs a mobility device (especially people that can’t transfer) would benefit from staying on the monorail loop as Magic Kingdom is the most friendly in terms of transportation and rides for those needing assistance.
Or a family that wants to actually relax and do one day at Disney and one day at Universal would enjoy a nearby hotel that has childcare and a lazy river.
AGAIN, there is no one way to do Disney World.
Disney World is Super Expensive
This next one is partially true, especially if you are planning on doing some really fun things (and there’s a lot of fun things that cost money!)
For comparison, a Disney World Vacation is not as expensive as a Disney Cruise Vacation, and you technically do ‘more’ at Disney World.
you can still enjoy Disney World on a Budget.
There are so many posts I could share with you, but for starters, remember these three rules.
- Package Deals are *almost* always a bad deal. 95% of the dining plan packages do not save you money. Most of the hotel deals are inflated. Disney gets you to buy more because they’ve market tricked you into thinking you are paying less.
- Food is the hidden achilles heal in your budget. You will underestimate how much your kids can eat, how much you will buy in snacks, and how many liquids you will need to consume to stay hydrated. Focus on the food because it is your greatest unknown.
- Purchase some (or all) souvenirs elsewhere. There’s target and walmart within minutes of Disney that have a great selection, the character warehouse and eBay. I love Disney merch like the rest of us, but it simply does not last. Quality has gotten so bad in the last few years.
How else can you enjoy Disney World on a Budget?
You can stay off property, you can buy more days in the park to get an overall lower cost per day (and lower stress level!), you can capitalize on freebies and you can limit spending by using gift cards instead of bringing your debit card or mobile wallet into the parks.