Even the most seasoned Disney World vacationers still make mistakes!
As magical as they are, Disney vacations definitely take a LOT of planning! So, no matter how many times you’ve been, you’re still bound to make some mistakes. And we’re no exception! Here are the biggest mistakes we’ve made in Disney World!
Not Making a Room Location Request
Believe it or not, your room location can have a pretty big impact on your experience, and a room request can help! Whether you want to be close to the lobby or elevators, in a certain building or wing of the hotel, or on a certain floor, many of the “unknowns” of your room location can be requested according to your preferences. And it can make a HUGE difference when it comes to your overall vacation experience.
Keep in mind there are certain room requests that come with an upcharge. Staying in a themed room like the Pirate Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort or selecting a specific view like a Water or Garden View Room will typically run you a bit more than the Standard View Room rate, BUT they come with perks like special theming or prime locations at your resort.
But there is a way to request a room location for Standard Rooms without an added cost — just keep in mind that you won’t be guaranteed a specific area!
There are two ways to make a room request before your trip. First, you can enter up to two room requests when you complete your online resort check-in through My Disney Experience.
Or, you can also contact your hotel directly about five days before your check-in date — that’s typically when rooms are being assigned!
You may want to consider requesting a room close to the lobby. The hallways at Disney hotels can be suuuuper long (looking at you, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge — Kidani Village!), and it can be tough to make it all the way back to the room after a long day at the parks! Simply requesting a closer room can shave a significant amount of time walking to and from your room each day!
Or, if you have some light sleepers or mid-day nappers in your family and you’re concerned about noise, you might not want to be near the lobby or pool areas!
Keep in mind that guests with mobility issues or families with strollers may want to request a first-floor room, especially if their resort doesn’t always have elevator access to upper floors (Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, for instance).
If you do find that your room location isn’t working for you when you arrive, you can speak with a Cast Member to request a new room. They’ll do their best to help you out, just keep in mind that they might not be able to relocate you immediately, especially if you’re traveling during a busy time!
Forgetting About the Minnie Vans
Minnie Vans are a private ride service available for guests to travel around Walt Disney World property and between Disney World and the Orlando International Airport. The vans seat up to six passengers with two convertible car seats available.
While the service is run through the Lyft app, the drivers are Disney Cast Members.
Now, Minnie Vans are pricey — each ride around Disney property runs $15 plus $2.75 per mile. So, this is definitely more of a splurge, but there are a few times that a Minnie Van ride can really come in handy!
If you have a reservation at Hoop Dee Doo Revue or Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, the Minnie Van can drop you off right outside the restaurant! This is a huge help, because guests normally have to navigate the resort’s internal bus system if they’re driving or taking a Disney bus to the resort.
They can also be super helpful if you’re cutting it close for an Advance Dining Reservation or FastPass+ reservation in another park! Disney transportation can be unpredictable at times, so having a reliable backup plan is a good idea.
Again, a Minnie Van ride isn’t cheap, so it might not be the best option for all of your Disney transportation needs. But requesting a Minnie Van when we were running late for reservations or on our way to a location off the beaten path could have saved us a ton of stress on past trips!
Waiting to Buy Must-Have Merchandise
Take it from us, if you’re walking down Main Street, U.S.A. and see something in a store window that you just have to have, it’s best to jump on it! There’s a chance it won’t be there if you come back later to make that purchase!
On top of that, not every location sells the same merchandise! So, if you’re park-hopping and see something you like, don’t assume that you’ll be able to find it on your next stop in a gift shop! Even World of Disney doesn’t carry some specialty merchandise.
Plus, Disney World has a super lenient return policy — you can return most items (with a few exceptions, like personalized items) at any Disney owned merchandise location on property. So, just in case you do end up with some buyers’ remorse, it’s usually not too much of a hassle to make a return!
If you’re concerned about having to carry your purchase around with you all day, you can always have the item shipped to your Disney World resort if you’re staying at a Disney-owned hotel. If you’re not on property, you can also have the item shipped home from any Disney World register.
Planning a Trip When Our Favorite Ride Was Closed
Has anyone else ever gotten soooo excited about their Disney vacation that they dive in head-first?? Because we definitely have!
And while rides will sometimes temporarily be closed due to weather or mechanical issues, there are attractions that have scheduled refurbishments for months at a time. Keep in mind that water rides like Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids typically go down for maintenance beginning in January every year, so you can plan around a few of these closures somewhat reliably.
Other rides will occasionally go down for construction as well. Disney makes a note of any scheduled attraction closings on their interactive park hours calendar.
So learn from our heartbreak — check the calendar for refurbishments as soon as you start planning!
Rope Dropping the “Wrong Way”
For those of you not in on the Disney lingo, “rope dropping” is getting into a park as SOON as it opens to take advantage of lower crowds and shorter lines. But, in order to really get the most out of rope drop, you’ll need to get to the park at least 30-45 minutes BEFORE the posted opening time.
Cast Members will usually begin allowing guests into certain sections of the park before the posted opening time. So, even though they can’t actually get on any of the attractions, they can get a head start on lining up before the park even officially opens! And since early mornings can be tough even at Disney World, we’ve definitely been guilty of being a little slow on our rope drop arrival.
Another important thing to keep in mind — guests tend to head for the super popular attractions for rope drop. So, the wait for rides like Slinky Dog Dash in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Flight of Passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can easily be an hour or more just a few minutes after the park opens!
The line will still be shorter than during the peak of the day, but if you’re looking for a walk-on at rope drop, you probably won’t find it at a headlining attraction unless you were at the front of the pack.
Looking for even shorter waits than rope drop? Click here to learn more about the Disney After Hours events!
Missing out on a Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group
Here’s another early morning task we’ve dropped the ball on before! Rise of the Resistance is the new MEGA POPULAR attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Given the popularity of the ride, the only way to experience it is by getting a boarding pass as soon as the park opens. And we do mean AS SOON as the park opens!
The boarding groups are distributed through the My Disney Experience app, but there are a few important tips to follow if you want to secure one!
First, be sure to get to Hollywood Studios at least 45 minutes before the scheduled opening time. In order to get a boarding group in the app, you will need to be inside the park — meaning through security AND the front entrance — before the park opens!
The boarding groups are usually fully distributed within just a few minutes of the park opening, so if you aren’t there ready and waiting with your phone in hand, you’ll probably miss out!
On a related note, we suggest using a rideshare service (or driving yourself to the park if you have a car!) instead of taking Disney transportation. While in theory the buses and Disney Skyliner should be running early enough to get you there on time, they have been known to experience unexpected delays. And you don’t want to miss out on a boarding group while you’re waiting on a bus!
Also, make sure your entire party is connected in My Disney Experience before you head to the park — only one person needs to grab boarding passes for your whole group (but remember, everyone still has to be inside the park to qualify!).
And last but not least, take screenshots of the entire boarding group process. That way, if a glitch does pop up, you’ll have proof of the timestamps, which will make it easier for a Cast Member to help you out!
Not Budgeting Enough Time to Get to Our Reservations
Ah, here’s a mistake we’ve been guilty of making multiple times! It can take a lot of time to get around Disney World property. So, if you have an Advance Dining Reservation or FastPass+ reservation in another park (or even on the other side of the SAME park!), you need to give yourself enough travel time to get there!
Disney transportation can experience unexpected delays, and that goes for the buses, Skyliner, monorail, AND ferry boats! You might be waiting around for your transportation to arrive, and there could be delays en route.
You might be able to make it to some places in under an hour, especially if you’re traveling between the World Showcase at Epcot and Hollywood Studios using the Skyliner.
BUT to be on the safe side, give yourself two hours to make it from one park to another for a dining or FastPass reservation!
Don’t forget how much time it could take to WALK from one side of a park to another as well as other in-park slowdowns you could run into. You don’t want to be running from Spaceship Earth to the Japan Pavilion in Epcot (that’s like a mile of ground you have to cover!) with minutes ’til a dinner reservation at Teppan Edo, or stuck behind the barricade for the Festival of Fantasy parade in Magic Kingdom trying to get to Liberty Tree Tavern for a late lunch reservation, so plan ahead!
If you’re cutting it close, Cast Members will often grant you a few minutes of grace time after your reservation (usually about 15 minutes). But if there’s no way you can make it in time, be sure to pull up your My Disney Experience app to see if there are later time slots available or try to call the location!
Yes it’s true, even Disney super-fans still make mistakes! These are some of the faux pas that we’ve fallen victim to in some of our recent trips! Hopefully you’ll learn from our errors and avoid these Disney World pitfalls. But if (or should we say, when!) things don’t go according to plan on your vacation, just remember that we’ve all been there — and making memories with our loved ones is what really counts!
What mistakes have you made on your Disney World trips? Let us know in the comments!