First time going to Disney World? Let’s run through a few common Disney World rookie mistakes, so you walk in like a pro – even on your first visit.
It can be really easy to not know everything about Disney World. There’s so much to know! But there are a few things you can avoid in the planning process of your trip, to minimize your stress and maximize your enjoyment of your vacation.
1. Buying tickets when you arrive.
Forgetting or neglecting to plan ahead can hurt you on many vacations – but it can also work out. My dad always took me to a theme park over the summer when I visited, and he always bought the tickets at the gate when we walked in. And that was totally normal, and not a problem.
On Disney World vacations, though, there is virtue in buying your park tickets in advance. The prices at the gate will be higher than anywhere else you can purchase them in advance. We always purchase tickets when we book our resort rooms.
2. Trying to walk in at restaurants.
There are restaurants in Disney World where a walk-in would be doable. Many restaurants in Epcot, for example, are large enough to take walk-ins, although the best of the restaurants will prioritize advanced dining reservations.
But if you have a kid in your party who’s dying to meet Winnie the Pooh or a foodie who can’t wait to try some of Disney’s best spots, you should make dining reservations in advance, as soon as you’re allowed to do so.
Remember: Even if you find restaurants that will take walk-ins, the wait could be long if the park is crowded.
3. Ignoring the crowd calendars and weather.
I use this Crowd Calendar to plan out my trips to Disney World, and I recommend you use one like it, or at least consider the general calendar when booking your trip. Your child’s spring or summer breaks might sound like a great idea, but that’s when every other family is taking their trip, too.
And yes, the Crowd Calendar will tell you that September is the best time to go to Disney World. It’s true, and it’s worth the risk – but it’s also hurricane season in Florida.
Just be prepared for whatever time of year you choose to travel!
4. Not factoring in travel time.
There are pros and cons to staying on and off property at Disney World. My mom and I always stay on property, because we love the bus system and the convenience. It’s worth it to us, especially if we’re flying and not driving.
But no matter where you stay, remember to factor in travel time. If you’re staying off property, consider the time it will take to drive and park at every Disney World park. If you’re staying on property, don’t forget that sometimes it can take 10-15 minutes for a bus to arrive – and there can be a long line at your resort or at the park.
Always err on the side of early in Disney World.