Failing to plan is planning to fail, as they say. We think a Disney World vacation definitely follows that mantra. Technically you could just “show up” at Disney and have a great time. But to really make the most of your trip, be sure to avoid these ten planning mistakes…
10. Failing to Plan Soon Enough – If you are staying on-property, you can start making your dining and fast pass reservations 180 days prior to travel. Be ready to reserve when your 180 day comes around! Have a plan in place before that time, so that you can be first at the reservation party. Rarely will you find “last minute deals” for Disney, and if you do, guest services will most likely compensate you for any difference you may have paid in advance (if you call and ask for it).
9. Failing to Plan Your Budget – You know how much you have to spend for this trip. So take that total and carve out the amount for your non-negotiable items: airfare/gas, room(s), park tickets. Then you’ll know how much you can splurge on food, extra experiences and souvenirs before you even set foot on property. There are plenty of ways to do Disney from value-friendly to VIP. Finding the level that’s right for you (and sticking to it) guarantees more merriment in the long run.
8. Failing to Plan around EMH’s – Extra Magic Hours (EMH’s) are special times when the parks are only open for Disney Resort guests. It’s best to plan your park days around these EMH’s, especially if you are staying on-property. Check the EMH schedule online or on the My Disney Experience app.
7. Failing to Plan with a Map – Once you know which park you’ll be doing on which day, print out a map so that you are familiar with each park’s layout. Use two highlighters to mark your “must do” attractions and your “really want to do” attractions. Then create a potential route to hit them all efficiently.
6. Failing to Plan Fast Passes – FastPass+ is the best thing Disney Parks has ever done, in my opinion. Choose your initial three Fast Passes for each day based on your “must do” list, noting which rides tend to have the longest wait times. If you’ve done your planning work prior to the 180 day mark, you have a better chance of getting highly popular Fast Passes like Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Test Track or Soarin’, and Toy Story Mania.
5. Failing to Plan Dinner Reservations – There are plenty of places to eat at Disney—you won’t starve if you fail to make ADR’s (Advanced Dinner Reservations). However, if you really want to hit popular restaurants like Be Our Guest, O’hana, or Cinderella’s Table, be sure to sign up early. And if your plans suddenly change, be sure to cancel your reservations to avoid a fee.
4. Failing to Plan in Down Time – Some people love a marathon trip to Disney, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But for most of us “vacation” means that there will be some time to relax. Leave some time in your plan for swimming, golfing, fishing, shopping, and wandering. There’s so much to do at Disney outside the parks!
3. Failing to Plan Packing Your Park Bag – Packing your suitcase is pretty much a breeze, but some people falter when it comes to packing for a park day. Some must-haves include: sunscreen, water bottle, and cell phone. But there are other little things that you should consider. Here are 20 Things You Should Have In Your Disney Park Bag.
2. Failing to Plan for Weather – Most of the time the weather is beautiful in sunny Florida. And a little rain won’t send your vacation down the drain. (Check out some rainy-day tips here: http://www.howtodisney.com/8-things-you-should-know-when-it-rains-at-magic-kingdom/ ) But always check the extended forecast before your trip, since central Florida is hurricane country. If a hurricane is coming through, Disney will allow you to reschedule your vacation without any fees.
1. Failing to Plan For Spontaneity – As much as we love to advocate planning, try not to over-plan your Disney vacation. Half the fun of being at Disney is being able to go-with-the-flow when you happen upon a street performance or stumble into an amazing interactive exhibit. Once you get to Disney, be ready to throw intricate plans out if it means more magic for the ones that you love.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like MickeyTravels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!