We have covered 12 things you should never do at Disney, including spending more than you have to, sleeping in, and bringing banned items. These are general rules for any first-timer to remember and are rules to live by.
But the more often one visits, the more they start to add to the list of NEVER’s. People make mistakes, learn from it, and take note. Never will I do this again. Here is our updated list, created through time and experience, of 10+ things I will never do again at Disney.
To which I earn a small commission, at zero cost to you!
Wait until the end of my trip to buy the souvenirs I want.
A lot of people live by the philosophy of “think about it overnight” before they make a purchase. While this is true in the real world, Disney isn’t the real world. It’s Disney World. And things fly off the shelf just as quickly as they are restocked.
You may not remember which store you found it in, it may be sold out, and Disney Springs doesn’t carry everything, despite popular belief. Park specific items, and ride specific items, are not available at Disney Springs.
It is best to get them while you can and return them at your hotel gift shop if you change your mind, then to wait and be disappointed later.
Be shy about requesting a room change
Especially if you have paid for something that you didn’t receive, but even if you didn’t, don’t be afraid to ask.
When we landed at Art of Animation a few weeks ago, I asked for a King bed instead of two doubles. The kids weren’t with us, and we didn’t need the extra bed. What I did need, however, was more bed space. Especially after long days in the parks. She said she would see what she could do and voila, she did it.
Now, this is never guaranteed and she could have easily been sold out of King-bed rooms but at least I asked.
Be in the parks from Rope Drop to Fireworks
Never say never because I will break this rule at least once per vacation but for the most part, open to close is a bad idea. Especially with kids in tow.
It’s hot, it’s crowded, and you will be too tired to appreciate most of your evening and a good part of tomorrow morning. It is best to know your limit and call it quits before you hit it. Come back tomorrow after lunch and finish where you left off.
The only time I can see this being a good idea is when you start the day with a quiet sit-down meal, and have another big break in the evening. This may be just the break everyone needs to recharge their batteries, cool down and get ready for the rest of the evening.
Make sure the kids have plenty of water and somewhere to rest while you tour, like a stroller. It’s always better to have one and not need it, then need it and not have it.
Miss my Fastpass+ booking window
While it is possible to get last-minute fast passes to popular rides, or even same-day passes, it is unlikely on the most popular rides like Flights of Passage and Slinky Dog.
Check and double-check when it is your turn to book fast passes and take the morning off of work. Make childcare arrangements. Do something. It is important for your holiday to make sure you have those fast passes lined up so you don’t have to queue as long when you get there.
Take transit when running late
I love taking the bus. Mostly because it’s free, but also because it’s so darn convenient. I don’t have to worry about getting myself there and back.
But when you are running late, the bus is so LONG. We managed to get lost taking the bus; sorry, the bus driver got lost. And it took us twice as long to get to our hotel than it should have. If this happens while you are running late, I can’t see restaurants taking too much sympathy with you.
You are given a 10 minute grace period for all dining reservations and Fastpass bookings but this is all up to the Cast Members discretion.
If you can’t be on time or earlier, considering hailing a cab or taking a Minnie Van to your reservation and at least ensure there won’t be any hiccups.
Overplan with the kids
While we always preach to make a plan on your holiday, overplanning is just as bad.
The kids are already overwhelmed with everything that is going on, they don’t need to be pressured into staying up late and getting up early just to “get your money’s worth” on the holiday.
Kids need sleep, whether they want to admit to it or not. And their little brains need a break from overstimulation. Having a pool day or long dinner reservation may be just what they need, even if that means “wasting precious park time”.
Go at the wrong time of year
Going during peak-time can single-handedly make or break your holiday.
Everything is sold out, all reservations taken and fast passes are fully booked. High crowds and high temperatures.
If you are able to go during off-peak, even shoulder season, do it. Not only will it be cheaper, but it will also be a lot more comfortable for everyone.
Save parade spot 1 hour in advance
Speaking of off-peak, when you book your holiday at the right time, you won’t have to worry about saving a parade spot 1-2 hours in advance.
You didn’t pay Disney prices just to sit on the ground and wait for a 15-minute parade for 2 hours.
Even during peak time, there is plenty of parade route to find a half-decent spot at the last minute. It may be at the beginning of the parade route and your photos won’t have the magic of the Castle in the background, but you were able to do 3 rides at half capacity because everyone else was waiting at the curb.
Wait in lines for Quick Service Restaurants
Mobile Order is the place to be.
While may wait in line and decide then what to eat, taking out our Smart Phone while already waiting in line for a ride and making your choices then is the best use of your time. Place your order, and notify them via the app when you are ready to pick up.
If the restaurant you are eyeing doesn’t have Mobile Order, maybe you should pick another restaurant because your time is more valuable than that.
Trust the weather network
While we all check the weather network before heading out on vacation to see what we should pack for the week, it’s best to take it all with a grain of salt when planning your day to day.
We were told that it would rain the entire week we were there. We were also warned that the incoming hurricane would land on Friday, and make everything else so much worse.
Not only did the hurricane wait until Tuesday to make landfall, the slowest moving hurricane I have ever heard of, but it barely rained the entire trip. One day there was a big rainstorm, but it lasted maybe 20 minutes. We took out our ponchos and kept going. We made it from one Epcot pavilion to the next and it was over by the time we finished meeting Anna and Elsa.
Wear Bad Shoes
I’ve mentioned this a few times throughout this blog but it is so important!
I packed my good shoes in my checked bag and wore my tennis shoes on the plane, for comfort. Well, I didn’t get my bags back until we went to bed at 9 pm and I spent all day at Disney Springs and doing the Monorail Pub Crawl. To say that my toes were sore that night is an understatement.
Your feet will hurt on a good day, in the best of shoes. Walking around for 6+ hours in the “wrong” shoes didn’t help my cause. They are great when taking the kids to the bus stop, even shopping at Ikea/Costco, but not Disney.
Wait in line to meet characters
I love Disney characters. I would wait in line all day to meet my favorite character. But that isn’t practical. I can’t expect my family to wait all day with me when they could be doing just about anything else.
Character dining and fast passing character meet and greets is the way to be. Fairytale Hall in the Magic Kingdom even offers 2+ princesses with a single FastPass reservation.
There is also ample opportunity to meet just about every character via Character dining throughout Disney World. Unless there is a specific character, or they are rare, there really is no need to wait too long to meet a single character at Disney.
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For Disney destinations, our preferred travel agency is Click the Mouse. They specialize in Disney destinations and will help you with all the details like dining, FastPasses, Magical Express, park days, etc. The best part is that their services are FREE when you book your vacation with them. Personalized service at no extra cost to you! To get a quote from a Click the Mouse travel agent, simply click on the quote button below and they will be in touch: