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6 Planning Mistakes We Make Each Disney Trip

We are pros when it comes to traveling to Walt Disney World. Walt Disney World is our happy place, and because of that, we visit it often. Even with all those visits, we make planning mistakes for each trip. We want to share these mistakes with you so you can avoid them as you prepare for your Walt Disney World vacation.

California Grill Fireworks
With sweeping views of Magic Kingdom fireworks from atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the re-imagined California Grill also features a new design inspired by mid-century modern California, and a new menu showcasing seasonal ingredients and a lighter touch. Known for its stellar wine list, the restaurant now boasts about 250 wine selections, 80 by the glass, an expanded sake list, eight kinds of craft beers and ciders and signature cocktails created by staff mixologists. Disney’s Contemporary Resort is located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

6. Forgetting to Make Food Plans

We love experiencing all the food and snacks throughout Walt Disney World. It is always fun to have something new to experience on each trip. With that, we often need to remember that we need to make a plan to enjoy the food.

If there are table service restaurants that you want to enjoy, make sure that you are making those reservations at the 60-day mark. Even though two months ahead of time might seem like a lot, many of the most popular restaurants throughout Walt Disney World book up that quickly.

For new experiences at top locations such as Topolino’s Terrace, Space 220, or the soon-to-be-opened Roundup Rodeo Barbecue, dining reservations will be essential for experiencing them.

Even if you prefer to eat on the go, make sure you take some time to think ahead. Walt Disney World is busy again, which means that lines form during those peak meal times. Don’t get stuck waiting in line for your lunch; instead, place your mobile orders ahead of time.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting until everyone is hungry to figure out where to eat. This can lead to long waits and frustration for everyone. Start thinking about those mobile orders early on in the day to ensure that you have a time spot selected and won’t have to worry about highly long lines.

No matter how often we visit Walt Disney World, we must remember to make a plan for dining. This is so important as it can be extremely frustrating if you can’t find something available when you are hungry. Don’t get stuck in this position. Make a plan ahead of time.

Topolinos Terrace
Credit: Disney

5. Dining All Over the World

Another mistake we make when it comes to dining is trying to do too much. There are so many fantastic options throughout the Walt Disney World Resorts, Parks, and Disney Springs that it can be easy to get wrapped up in wanting to try it all.

Don’t make the mistake of booking reservations that have you running all over Walt Disney World. Think about where your plans are located for the day and stick to that area for food.

Walt Disney World has so many excellent quick service and table service locations that you shouldn’t be jumping from place to place for meals.

WaltDisneyWorld Bus
credit: Disney Tips

4. Not Planning for Travel

It seems like on every trip we take to Walt Disney World; there are moments when we are frantically trying to rush to get to something. Maybe it is a dining reservation, a show, or a Genie+ return time.

Don’t be like us. Instead, consider Walt Disney World’s size and plan your transportation accordingly. Disney is obvious that transportation between Walt Disney World Resorts could take up to 90 minutes. And buses are only scheduled every 20 minutes to the Parks. When planning your schedule, make sure you add that extra travel time.

If you are in a rush, consider paying for a Minnie Van, Lyft, or Uber to get you to and from your locations faster. Overall, remember that transportation takes time at Walt Disney World. Give yourself some extra time, so you aren’t constantly rushing to and from all your experiences.

Memory Maker Magic Shot
Credit: Disney

3. Not Having Memory Maker

If you aren’t aware of Memory Maker, this is an additional feature you can add to your Walt Disney World experience. It gives you access to all your on-ride photos and any pictures you take with the amazing PhotoPass Photographers throughout Walt Disney World.

For each trip, we consider skipping the cost of Memory Maker ($169) when we first make our reservations. Inevitably, once we get closer to the trip, we reflect on how much we genuinely enjoy having these photos and add it to our package.

Don’t make this mistake. Go ahead and add Memory Maker to your package the right way. Then when you are in Walt Disney World, take advantage of all the amazing PhotoPass Photographers throughout the Parks. They will capture some fantastic photos for you that you will cherish forever.

EPCOT Spaceship Earth and Cinderella Castle
EPCOT vs Magic Kingdom

2. Plan Too Much

Even knowing that we will be back at Walt Disney World, we always make the mistake of planning too much during our vacation. We try to squeeze so much out of each day, which often results in exhaustion.

Instead of trying and failing to do it all during your trip, focus in on the must-do experiences. Look at your top dining, rides, and shows, and make sure those are top priorities. After getting those experiences, everything else is extra magic.

There is so much to see and do at Walt Disney World that you cannot experience it all. Don’t try to fit it all in, as you will get run down and exhausted. Focus instead on those top must-dos.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Credit: Park Savers

1. Not Enjoying the Resort

A major mistake we make each Disney vacation is that we don’t take time to enjoy our Walt Disney World Resort. These amazing Resorts are part of the magic, and we often don’t spend any time enjoying them.

Make sure you plan out your vacation to schedule time to enjoy your Disney Resort. Take a whole pool day or schedule in afternoon breaks. Whatever works for your family, be intentional about your time at your Disney Resorts.

From pool time to great food and activities, Disney Resorts have so much to offer as part of the magic. So often get warped up in rushing to the Parks that we need to remember to slow down and enjoy the Resort.

Those are the six planning mistakes we make each time we head to Walt Disney World. Please don’t make the same mistakes we do. Slow down, enjoy, and have a magical time.


Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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