There’s a lot that goes into a Disney World Vacation, and there’s a lot of noise out there about how to get the perfect trip.
Most people try to cram as much as possible into their vacation thinking they have to do it all- but the truth is that you can’t do everything Disney has to offer, even if you stay here for two-four weeks. Disney World is all about the ‘surprise and delight’ plus new options which means your vacation is always changing!
What’s the number one mistake people make when planning a Disney World Vacation?
The biggest mistake is not planning a can’t miss list/bucket list of things you want to do at Disney World. Creating a list will lead to more happiness and less stress, plus you’ll feel like your money was well spent. When people go in without a list, they have a lot of regrets after their trip plus frustration with too many choices. A short list of things you want to do is the best thing for a successful Disney World Vacation.
Let’s look at 7 other mistakes people make when planning their Disney World Vacation, plus tips to avoid those mistakes.
Assuming New Lightning Lane and Genie + is easy and fast
Move over FastPass… Genie is here to play.
The number one complaint I here about Lightning Lane and Genie+ is that it’s too complicated… well there’s more. It’s complicated, it’s very glitchy, the directions aren’t clear, and there’s too many options.
Even with entire guides devoted to Genie+, visitors are still lining up at guest services to get assistance because they have paid for a product that they are barely getting to use as many of the selections are unavailable.
There’s actually so much to do at Disney World, you could easily skip the rides on vacation. Not that you need to, but it’s always helpful to know that you don’t have to stand in line the whole day to ‘have a good time’.
Moral of the Story: Research it before you buy it, and if it doesn’t work, talk to guest services. You do not have to have Genie+ to enjoy your day!
Planning lower crowds because it’s ‘slow season’
Goodbye Slow Season… hello revenge travel! The crowds are back at Disney World in full full force. Even with the recent comment from higher up Disney Staff saying that the park reservation system is in place to prevent a strain on the parks, we are still seeing a huge increase in people!
There is no ‘slow’ season right now. So pack your patience and consider what is and is not worth your time (as time is money!)
Moral of the story: There’s no slow time anymore. Pack your patience and try to do early morning, late nights or extra days. A realistic trip, where you know there will be lines, is the best approach to a low stress Disney vacation.
Thinking that your souvenir budget is enough
Disney World has a lot of Merch… but they have even more invested in Marketing! Everything from the layout of the store, to the fancy way they hide prices by giving them colorful names (literally, a tag with ‘amethyst’ and you have to go check the price that way!), to the memories they are trying to invoke.
Disney is in the game of getting you to spend money on items that are not high quality… and I’m not trying to sound bitter. I’m happy I purchased balloons, bubble makers and souvenirs for my kids. I’m also kinda glad they all broke within the month and I didn’t have to worry about keeping up with them!
But if this is a once in a lifetime trip, or your headed there on a budget, you want to use your money to full capacity. Consider these hacks for low cost Disney Souvenirs, or take advantage of the free things at Disney World!
Moral of the Story: Decide on your souvenir budget, then add 30% to that.
Assuming that Disney World is a relaxing vacation
Disney World has never been a truly relaxing vacation with all the options and things to do at the resort.
But even more so now, with the FOMO and longer lines, and new attractions (and the heat which makes everyone more grumpy) there is nothing really relaxing about a standard vacation.
If you want your vacation to be relaxing, you’ll need to plan intentional downtime! consider one or several days outside the parks, or head to the water park for a few hours to enjoy some light play, typically lower crowds and lounge chairs before you jump back into the hustle and bustle of time commitments.
Moral of the story: Many all inclusive resorts or cruises are going to be more laid back that Disney World. You need a planner in your family group (or a trusted travel agent) to make the most of your trip.
Not making park reservations, meal reservations, or making last minute tickets
These really all fall under the same category… and I get it. For whatever reason, be it a busy schedule or difficulty making decisions, some people put off purchasing and reserving their vacation.
in 2020, Disney introduced a Reservation system. This system is still in effect and is not going away. The reservation system is not a park ticket, dining reservation or hotel reservation. It’s a FOURTH reservation system to use your ticket to get inside the park. These are frustrating, yet mandatory.
Do not do this in 2022. Things are going lightening fast, and this will build up to a much bigger issue. While I don’t always recommend travel agents, this is one area where they absolutely shine!
Real Talk: Finding a travel agent you mesh with and using their free services is a good call if you don’t think you can make these reservations yourself.
Moral of the story: Lot’s of reservations required. If you aren’t planning your vacation at least 100 days in advance, you’re already behind most visitors which means less options for you.
Not taking advantage of breakfast times
In 2023 there is no down time and every time feels busy.
So if you make some assumptions about breakfast it could really impact your day. Let’s cover a few.
Assuming you can just get breakfast at the parks.
In 2023, many breakfast options are not fully operational, offer a limited set of items, and have very few items for dietary needs (hollywood studios seems to be the one exception).
Assuming breakfast at the resorts or the parks is going to be quick is a bad idea.
Will it be quick? Very possible. Is it guaranteed to be quick? No.
I have one word for you. Lines. Even with mobile ordering available, there is still a wait time as the good folks in the kitchen work to make orders and get the food out to all the Disney visitors.
Plan wiggle room with Breakfast so that you start your day on the right food (or take breakfast into your own hands and have food in the room ready to go)
Assuming that breakfast reservations are easy to get
In reality, these are likely the hardest reservations to get! People love to get breakfast reservations as the pictures are better, especially with characters, as you’re not exhausted from the day. Breakfast at the parks is also a budget option while still providing a large amount of food. And breakfast is a great way to hack the system so you can use Disney transportation.
Moral of the story: Plan breakfast ahead of time, know where to go, and check the times in the app to make sure it’s open plus has food items you’ll enjoy
Throwing away receipts
I take a picture of every receipt I get from Disney. The big reason? They have an amazing guest recovery program.
Meaning that if you purchased a balloon at the beginning of your trip, and it’s deflated by day three, you can go get a replacement balloon! Same thing applies to those bubble makers for kids, and other items… like that ice cream you purchased and then promptly dropped onto the sidewalk (true story, it’s happened to me twice).
Moral of the story: Take a picture of every receipt- it could save you a lot of time and frustration
There’s more Disney Mistakes to avoid, but those are the top ones for your next vacation
Disney World is not the same as it once was. Yes, I still think it’s worth it for most folks, and I still enjoy going myself and with my Family. But it does require more work, it is more ‘nickel and dime’ style, the Cast Member (employee numbers) aren’t back to where they need to be to handle the large crowds.
If you go this year, go with moderate expectations of quality time and fun adventures.