When visiting the most magical place on earth, you want to make the most of every minute you have. It’s easy to make some beginner’s mistakes when visiting the parks, but we can help you avoid them!
I or a member of the MickeyVisit.com team are at Disneyland or Walt Disney World every single week to ensure our planning tips are up to date and that we are ready to share the latest news from the parks. We make sure you are ready to have an incredible Disney vacation. These are the most common ten rookie mistakes to avoid for your trip.
Forgetting to Take a Mid-Day Break
Remember that days at the parks are long, with hours of walking and potentially hot and humid weather. While you do want to make the most of every minute, that also means making sure that everyone in your party is energized and well-rested enough to truly enjoy the experience.
If you’re on a longer trip, consider taking a short break to cool off at the hotels or catch a short nap so that your family will feel refreshed and ready to go for the last part of the day. This will also help you to dodge the middle of the day when lines tend to be the longest.
If you don’t want to leave the parks, you can always plan for a stand-still experience like a parade, stop for kids to play at splash pads, or take some downtime to enjoy a treat or refreshing drink.
Not Accounting for Travel Time
You can have everything in the parks planned to a tee, but if you don’t account for travel time between your hotel and the parks, your entire day can get thrown upside-down.
Accounting for travel time is especially important for Walt Disney World due to its size, and you’ll need to plan for times on buses, boats, the Skyliner, or other forms of transportation to the parks. Especially if you’re planning on taking advantage of the short lines in the early morning to “rope drop” popular attractions, you need to make sure to plan travel time into your day and account for some extra time in case there are any transportation difficulties or delays.
Choosing Fashion Over Comfort For Park Touring
While there is no harm in looking your best for those priceless Disney photos, remember that it will be a long day of walking from place to place. Make sure to wear shoes with good arch support that are broken in, choose outfits that won’t dig or rub into your skin over the course of the day, and take into account what the weather will be like on your trip. Remember that you can always bring layers and take them off if it gets too hot or if you’d like to snap a photo in your base outfit!
Waiting to Make Dining Reservations
With so many fantastic dining options at the Disney parks, from character dining to dinner shows and more, you want to make sure you secure your experience ahead of time. The most popular dining locations fill up extremely quickly, so you want to make sure you don’t rely on walk-ups. During or after a busy day, spontaneously finding dining options can be an overwhelming and unpleasant experience.
Especially for longer trips, making reservations in advance will help you to keep your days organized and give you something to look forward to in the planning phase of your vacation, as you can choose the dining experiences that look most exciting to you!
Driving From Your Hotel to Disneyland
Parking prices are quite high at Disneyland, and many guests drive to the park to save money only to be shocked that parking in the structure costs $30 per day (and $50 per day for preferred parking). The transit from the parking structure to the parks also wastes precious morning times that you could be spending going on your favorite rides. Instead, take advantage of the shuttles that are offered at/nearby your hotel or opt for an Uber or Lyft for the short trip to the park.
Traveling During Holiday Weekends
Disneyland and Walt Disney World are extra busy throughout the year on holiday weekends and when kids are out of school. Surprisingly these shorter breaks often lead to the parks being even busier than the longer in Summer and around the holidays. The most crowded times at Disneyland are the middle weeks of October when kids have fall break and around the spring break period. Check out the most crowded times at Disney World here.
Dieting During Your Disney Vacation
While enjoying your Disney vacation, you want to take advantage of every opportunity, including the delicious food. There are healthy foods available at Disneyland, but there is also an incredible variety of heartier foods, snacks, and sweet treats that you won’t want to miss out on.
Your entire Disney trip is a treat, so make sure to be kind to yourself and embrace the experience!
Waiting to Buy Tickets Until You Get to the Park
To make the most out of your time at the Disney parks, don’t wait to buy your Disneyland tickets until you arrive on the day of your visit. If you do, you’ll have to stand in the long line at the ticket booth and waste precious morning time when standby waits are shorter. It’s not worth the hassle! We highly recommend that you buy tickets in advance so you can get straight to the magical part of the day. Read our tips on discount Disneyland tickets and discount Walt Disney World tickets.
Forgetting to Download the Disney Park Apps
The value of the Disney parks apps, Disneyland and My Disney Experience (Disney World), is not to be underestimated! Through these, you can track wait times for rides, access park maps, link PhotoPass pictures, see schedules for shows and entertainment, manage dining reservations and place mobile pickup orders, and more. You can also access Disneyland Genie+ and Walt Disney World Genie Plus through the Disney apps, where you can make Lightning Lane and Individual Lightning Lane reservations to skip long lines.
The Disney parks apps are crucial to staying organized and in-the-loop when you’re at the parks, so make sure you download them before your trip.
Being Underprepared For Your Disney Vacation
Between the rides, shows, parades, dining experiences, and more at the Disney parks, there is certainly no dearth of fun activities during your visit. While you certainly don’t have to make a spreadsheet for your Disney trip, it would help to sort out your priorities. Which rides are you most excited about? Do you want to see the Wondrous Journeys fireworks show? Are there any special holiday or limited time events you’d like to attend? Make a list of everything you want to do and see so that you make sure you don’t miss any fun opportunities during your visit, and make reservations in advance if necessary.
Falling Victim to Crowds and Long Lines
If you’ve planned for your big Disney trip all year and end up spending more than half of your day waiting in huge standby lines, the magic can be ruined. The best way to avoid this is to plan your trip date around when crowds are the smallest. Both Disneyland and Disney World have slower seasons where you can enjoy all the parks have to offer!
If you can only make it to Disney during the busy times, not to fear! Make sure to utilize Genie+ and use Lightning Lanes to skip the long lines, try out single rider, or take advantage of the mornings to get on your favorite rides with a shorter wait time.
Overplanning Your Trip
Even with all of our advice above about not coming underprepared to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, one big rookie mistake is overplanning and not having any time to stop and smell the roses (or churros). Come with a plan and then don’t be afraid to break away from it when there is something else interesting to do. The act of planning will help you to be prepared for your entire trip.
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