PlanningResortsThe ParksTipsUpdates

The Not-So-Magical Reality: 5 Harsh Truths About Disney

As we plan our trips to Walt Disney World, we are focused on all the magical experiences waiting for us. We look forward to hugging Mickey Mouse, crying during the fireworks, and that first ride together on that particular ride.

While many magical experiences happen each day during a Disney vacation, the harsh reality is that sometimes there are some not-so-magical moments as well. We want to bring these to your attention before your trip and provide suggestions for overcoming them.

Walt Disney World is magical, but the harsh truth is that you will also come across some not-so-magical moments.

magic kingdom entrance crowd
Credit: Fab 5

5. Disney Parks Are Busy

No matter what you see on the crowd calendars or social media, the harsh reality is that Walt Disney World is busy. No matter when you plan your trip, you will come across crowds and lines. The magical experience of being able to walk on whatever ride you wish is no longer a reality.

Even though the parks are busy, it doesn’t mean you won’t have a magical trip. Go into your vacation knowing that waits will happen and have a plan on how to deal with them.

If you are firmly against crowds, consider planning your Walt Disney World vacation for slower times of the year. Although the parks are busy all the time now, there are times when you can see a slight dip in those levels. Mid-September, late January and early February, and late April and early May are all times when Disney typically sees lower crowds. If you can, book your vacation around one of these times.

If you visit during a busier time, such as spring break or the holidays, take steps to get ahead of the crowds. When staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can enter the parks thirty minutes before the posted opening. This will allow you to get ahead of the crowd and check off more prominent attractions, such as Peter Pan’s Flight, before the wait time increases.

Couple looking at phone in front of Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

Consider looking into Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes for ways to battle the crowds. Even if you don’t purchase them every day of your trip, you may budget for this feature on a few park days to help manage the crowds.

The harsh reality is that Walt Disney World is busy, which means crowds and waits. Be aware of this before you arrive so you can show up with a strategy and plan.

Related: How to Avoid Crowds at Disney

Magic Kingdom Monorail
Credit: V Mills

4. There Are Not So Magical Guests

Unfortunately, this has become more harsh in the last few years. You will probably come across not-so-magical guests when you visit Walt Disney World. If you come across guests who aren’t pleasant to be around for one reason or another, don’t let them ruin your experience.

You will probably come across line jumpers while waiting in line. Instead of being confrontational on your own, seek out a cast member. They are trained on how to handle the situation.

Unhappy guests might also be something you come across. They might be upset at a cast member, family, or life. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the issue. Walk away or, if needed, find a cast member to help with the situation.

Also, this is an excellent time to remind everyone to treat cast members kindly. They work tirelessly each day to make the magic for us. A thank you goes a long way; you can even cast a compliment on the My Disney Experience app.

Not-so-magical guests are part of a Disney experience lately. Focus on the magic you can control, and don’t let their storm cloud impact you.

Walt Disney World Gate
Credit: V Mills

3. Walt Disney World is Huge

The harsh reality of Walt Disney World is that it is massive. A whole city on its own, Walt Disney World is a lot to take in on a vacation. Because Walt Disney World is so big, getting around can be stressful at first.

Our biggest tip here is to give yourself extra time. Walt Disney World provides free transportation throughout the resort. Guests can use buses, boats, skyliner, and monorails to get around during their vacation.

Disney Skyliner and Disney Monorail
Disney Skyliner and Disney Monorail

We love the free transportation but know that it takes some time. Before you arrive, take time to look over a map of Walt Disney World. Get familiar with where things are located and how you will get from place to place during your vacation.

By doing this, you will have a much smoother experience when you arrive.

Disney's BoardWalk Inn
Credit: Disney

2. The Elements Are Tough

We find Walt Disney World incredibly magical, but sometimes the elements aren’t. Because Walt Disney World is so big, you will walk miles daily. The harsh reality is that those miles will be difficult at the end of the day.

You will be hot, sweaty, tired, and possibly have furious and sore feet. This can happen during your trip, and be prepared for it. Plan in rest times either throughout the parks or at your Disney resort.

Taking breaks to get off your feet by having a nice meal, nap, or swim can make a huge difference. We also recommend bringing moleskin or other medication to help battle blisters. Doing this will set you up for success if your feet become sore.


1. Disney is Expensive

Finally, the harsh reality is that Walt Disney World is expensive. There is no denying that a trip to Walt Disney World is expensive. Instead of being frustrated with the cost of bottled water, meals, and the toys your kids want, head into the trip prepared.

The first step is setting your budget and sticking to it. Know what you are willing and able to spend before you arrive. Next, there are many tricks to help save money during your trip. Consider having snacks and water delivered to your Disney resort to save money in the parks.

If your kids are old enough, get a Disney gift card before you leave home. Put a set amount on it that your kids can spend on souvenirs, and explain to them that once it is gone, their shopping is also done. This is a great way to help them with decision-making and budgeting.

A vacation to Walt Disney World is expensive, but so are all vacations. Take time to budget and plan so you can enjoy the magic when you arrive.

Related: Hidden Costs to Be Prepared For at Disney

We believe that Walt Disney World is exceptionally magical and love visiting. The harsh reality is, though, that not everything is magical all the time. We hope sharing these five truths will help you head into your vacation more successfully and have a good plan if these concerns arise.

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.

Related Articles


Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker