Cast Members (Disney employees) are a WEALTH of knowledge when it comes to how to vacation at Disney. They see the mistakes (and fix the mistakes) Guests make on a daily basis. Here are nine things Cast Members recommend doing to avoid the most common mistakes on a Disney trip.
1. Drink water
This is one of the biggest mistakes made by Guests and can ruin a whole vacation. Drink a bottle of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic drink you consume. Is someone in the family getting cranky and tired? There is a good chance they are dehydrated. Especially on those hot and humid Central Florida days, hydration is key for a happy, successful day at Disney.
Tip: pack electrolyte packs in your bag. We are big fans of Nuun and Liquid IV. These have saved our Disney trips countless times
2. Wear the right shoes
Most people walk on average 7-9 miles per day while at Walt Disney World. PER. DAY. It is IMPERATIVE that you wear supportive, comfortable shoes. Flip flops or sandals will do you zero favors. Plus you want to protect your heels from all of the strollers rolling around the parks.
It may not seem like that big of a deal in the moment, but the long-term impact unsupportive footwear has on your body shows up in sneaky ways. Irritability, shin splints in the middle of the night, tiredness.
A trip to Disney is a marathon – not a sprint. And you wouldn’t wear flip flops to either of those.
3. Make conversation with Cast Members
Cast Members are what make Disney magical. They are the ones who have the power to personalize your trip. And unfortunately, they are the ones who are walked all over constantly – by Guests AND Disney leadership.
The BEST thing you can do to create a magical vacation for your family is to talk to Cast Members. Use their first name, ask about where they are from, how long they have been working for the company, etc. Personalize it.
Look them in the eye and tell them thank you. Watch their face light up with gratitude and surprise. There is a good chance no one has said that to them all day. The more you show them kindness and that you see them as a human, the more likely they are to go out of their way to add some pixie dust to your trip.
4. Make it obvious you are celebrating something
Celebrating a birthday? Anniversary? Graduation? Cast Members LOVE celebrating milestones with Guests. At the start of your trip, tell the person checking you in at your hotel. Get a complimentary celebration button at the front desk or any merchandise location. And wear your button ALL of the time in a place where everyone can see it.
It also helps to wear sashes, fun hats, or have your whole group wear fun and creative matching shirts. Cast Members love to create magic, so be flashy and they will be more likely to notice you are celebrating!
5. Get family pictures early in the day
The later it gets, the busier the crowds. If you want one of those iconic family photos in front of the park icons without 248 strangers in your pictures, get there early! The morning is also when the lighting tends to be better so the photos are a much better quality.
6. Use the restroom before you get in line
We have a saying around here – go when you can, not when you have to. Before you and the family hop in line for a ride, have everyone use the bathroom. There is nothing more awkward than trying to get out of line, use the bathroom, and then attempting to find your family in line again. The only queue in all of Walt Disney World that has a Guest bathroom is Flight of Passage. Save yourself the hassle!
7. Schedule downtime
Like we said – an average Guest walks 7-9 miles per day on the Disney “vacation.” REST is an important activity in order to fully enjoy the experience as a whole. Pick an afternoon to go back to the resort pool and relax. Maybe even sleep in one day, or schedule a sit down lunch in the air conditioning during a long park day.
If you are exhausted and irritable by the end of the day, it could just take the enjoyment out of the whole experience for everyone. You won’t be able to enjoy the fireworks or the little moments. Again – this is a marathon, not a sprint. Take it easy. You will be better for it.
8. Be flexible
Expect the unexpected. Disney is magical, but it is still real life and unexpected things happen. Rides go down, storms blow through, strollers break – the list is endless. But those things don’t have to ruin your entire trip. The beautiful thing is that Walt Disney World has ENDLESS possibilities. There is always something else to do.
Yes – have a rough plan and idea of what your days are to look like. But be open to adjustments and the unexpected! You never know what magic Plan B will bring you if you just embrace her.
9. Treat everyone with kindness
The beautiful thing about Walt Disney World is that it brings people together from all over the world. I love walking through the parks and hearing different accents and languages. Disney is a great equalizer.
Everyone at Disney wants the same thing – to have a magical time with their loved ones. If you are a parent, you probably will do whatever it is you can to put a smile on your kids’ faces. To see that glimmer in their eyes. There is a good chance that the people around you at a Disney park have the same motivation.
Be patient. Be kind. Get in conversations with the families near you in line. You never know who you will meet or the kind of fun you will run into.