While you may know us to be quite the Disney World experts, trust us when we say we didn’t start out this way!
We actually had to figure out some stuff at Disney World through trial and error or after peril befell one of our family members (or us!).
That’s why our team wants to share with you a few lessons we learned at Disney School of HARD KNOCKS. Well, alright, we made that place up, but let’s just say, these are all true stories from some of our real-life misadventures!
1. Left Our Phones in a Rideshare or Minnie Van
How many times have you FINALLY arrived back at your hotel after a long day and are getting ready to check your messages only to realize you just left your phone in the backseat of some stranger’s car? No? Just us?
How to Get Your Phone Back From a Rideshare Service
Believe it or not, we have MORE THAN ONE personal experience on this matter! I was so excited about going to Disneyland once that I left my phone in the back seat of an Uber I took from the airport. I had to figure out how to call the driver WITHOUT my phone!
Luckily, I realized my mistake pretty quickly and it wasn’t THAT big of a disaster, even if it felt like that way at the time! 😉 I was able to log into my Uber account with my husband’s phone and use the “contact your driver” feature in the Uber app.
It got us in touch with the driver and he was able to circle back and drop off the phone for us within 20 minutes. Now, the Uber website states they’ll charge a “return fee” whenever this happens, but we weren’t charged anything (either this fee didn’t apply until more recently, or our nice driver spared us!). Either way, we provided him with a nice cash tip for his troubles!
How to Get Your Phone Back From a Minnie Van
If you happen to forget your phone in the back of a Minnie Van at Disney World (hey, it happens when you’re super distracted by all the magic that’s in the AIR!) you can call (407) 828-3500. If you’re traveling by yourself (and thus need to use a phone since you no longer have YOURS) visit the nearest Guest Services and they’ll likely be able to get a hold of your driver on your behalf!
Remember — time is of the ESSENCE! As soon as you realize your phone’s disappeared and you suspect you may have left it somewhere, reach out and CALL SOMEONE or go to Guest Relations! If you wait too long, you might not get your phone back, and that truly WOULD be a disaster!
2. Suffered a MAJOR Wardrobe Malfunction!
One of the most frustrating things at Disney World involves fighting with clothing that just can’t cut the mustard! You’ll be pushing your shoes, shorts, socks, and shirts to their absolute limits — and many of these every-day articles of clothing can buckle under the sheer brutality of Disney World’s conditions! 😉
How to Protect Thyself Against Chafing
Alright, ladies (and some of you fellas, too!) — you know what we’re talking about! Even if none of us want to fess up to the embarrassment of rubbing our “chicken tenders” (a.k.a. upper thighs) raw while walking through the parks, it happens to the best of us!
That’s why we love glide-on anti-chafe sticks! These look just like a stick of deodorant but you rub them on to reduce friction just about anywhere. These work well for shoes that are rubbing your feet the wrong way, runners use it for their arms, and there are lots of other applications.
If your legs are the primary problem, though, we’ve also been known to throw on a pair of bike shorts (like these!) to spare our thighs from being sacrificed to the chafing gods, too. Always make sure you test drive any shorts you’re bringing to Disney World with a long day at the zoo or mall first to see how they hold up to heavy walking!
Dreaded Melted Mickey Ice Cream Bars and Other Frequent Stain-Offenders
You might not realize something you’re snacking on has just dripped ALL over your shirt or pants until it’s TOO LATE! In our profession, this happens A LOT!
That’s why we highly recommend bringing a Tide Stain Remover Pen or a similar product to help pre-treat any stains you may encounter so that they don’t end up permanently ruining your clothes!
Did you know you can even wash your clothes at any Disney World Resort property? Each hotel is equipped with its own self-service laundry facilities for all guests. The washers and dryers also utilize an app called LaundryView which will text you when your clothes are done! How NEATO is THAT?!
There’s a Reason Why Travel Sewing Kits Exist
Several Disney resorts used to equip their rooms with cute little sewing kits back in the day (you can still sometimes get one from the front desk of your resort if you’re in need!). To cover our bases, we pack a small travel sewing kit! This handy Travel Sewing Kit sold by Amazon does the job nicely!
Throw in a few safety pins while you’re at it for any quick-fixes, too! Our mothers always taught us to have a safety pin handy “just in case” and you’d be surprised how many times that little tip has gotten us out of a bind!
You Can Never Bring Enough Hair Ties. Never.
Maybe you don’t normally pull back your hair in your everyday life, but trust us — if you’ve got medium to long hair, you’re going to get VERY hot walking around the parks! That’s why we always bring lots of spare hair ties to make sure we don’t overheat at the parks!
Some of the gift shops sell hair ties, but it’s much cheaper to bring them from home. Pack them in your suitcase as well as in the bag you’re bringing with you to the parks and bring MANY! The more, the merrier! That way, in case a few break, you’ll still have plenty of back-ups!
3. Our Glasses Just Flew Off on a Ride
It can be pretty traumatic losing your glasses on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, especially if you need them to SEE! This has happened with our sunglasses, too (and hats…and Minnie Ears…)!
How to Get Your Glasses Back
Depending on the ride (and where they flew off), Cast Members might be able to help you retrieve them, but more than likely you’re going to have to wait out until it’s safe for someone to go get them. That puts you (and your vision) out of commission for a long time if you didn’t bring a back-up pair (which we highly recommend you have a spare if you need them to properly see!).
If you don’t have a back-up pair of glasses, consider bringing a sports strap to secure them to your face! You can also take your glasses off and put them in your pocket before the ride starts, too! 😉
4. Our Kids Were Terrified of Rides
If your kids are young and it’s your first time taking them to Disney World, you might be very excited to introduce them to some of your favorite rides such as Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, or Pirates of Caribbean…but here’s why that’s not always the best idea.
Ease Your Kid Into Thrill Rides and Dark Rides
Even if your kid has been to other amusement parks, they’ve never seen anything like Disney World or Disneyland! The Disney parks can be truly overwhelming — and maybe even a little frightening!
And even though some Disney rides seem really tame to YOU, through a child’s eyes they can be MUCH scarier! That’s why some younger kids need help working up to bigger attractions.
You know your kid best, but our best advice is to start with some tamer dark rides such as Peter Pan’s Flight and it’s a small world. Once they’ve mastered a few of these milder experiences, THEN you can ramp them up to bigger stuff!
For example, after you ride it’s a small world, you can explain Pirates of the Caribbean is very similar but does involve a teeny, tiny drop in the dark. Riding Pirates of the Caribbean first is risky because your kid might think all of Disney’s rides have an unexpected “element of surprise” to them, which simply isn’t the case at all! Learn from our mistakes — start mild and work up to wild!
5. Someone Got Dehydrated
The struggle is real to stay well-hydrated at the parks, especially if you’re drinking lots of coffee, soda, and the occasional alcoholic beverage. Signs that you’re getting dehydrated include fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, lack of sweat, and confusion — all things you should be constantly on the lookout for, especially on hot, sunny days.
Drink Lots of Water
If it’s a million degrees and you’ve been pounding nothing but Starbucks drinks and beer, it’s time to slow your roll and drink plenty of water.
Even if you’re drinking plenty of liquids, that doesn’t mean they’re hydrating your body. Coffee and alcohol actually dehydrate you! If you’re enjoying lots of these beverages, make sure you’re increasing your water intake as well.
Bottled water is available throughout the parks as are drinking fountains and even bottle refill stations. You can also ask for cups of free ice water from any quick-service restaurant by asking a Cast Member. Some dining locations throughout Disney World also provide free self-serve dispensers of ice water, so be sure to look around.
If Someone’s in Trouble, Get Help
Dehydration can happen quickly with adults, but it happens even faster with kids. Plus, kids might not realize they’re getting dehydrated until things start to go downhill fast. Always monitor how much water your children are drinking, and at the first sign of trouble, find a Cast Member for help.
You can head directly to any First Aid Center (which are located at every park) or find a Cast Member nearby. They will assess how severe the situation is and will help you by any means necessary. Whether it’s providing food, drink, or a cool place to lie down and rest, they will be there to assist you.
6. Someone Got Heatstroke
Heatstroke is another dangerous situation that can creep up really fast at Disney World — and it’s super-serious. If your body temperature goes above 104° (usually due to prolonged exposure to the sun), you start to get a swirly, dizzy feeling that might eventually lead to passing out!
How to Avoid Heatstroke
You can help prevent heatstroke from occurring by wearing clothes that are lighter in color (darker clothing absorbs light whereas light-colored clothing will help reflect the sun’s rays better). Limit your time outdoors and take frequent water breaks.
Even if you just take a quick trip through an air-conditioned gift shop, it will help cool off your body temperature.
Make sure you’re eating regularly, too. You’ll probably want to consume more calories than you’re used to (we know, how cruel of us to suggest!). Since you’ll be burning a lot of calories walking around, your body will likely need more energy than it usually does.
Need some ideas about where to get those extra calories from? Click here for our ranking of the lands in Magic Kingdom by their snacks!
What to Do If Someone Faints
If someone loses consciousness or looks like they’re about to, you must get them cooled down as fast as you can and seek help! Things can go from bad to awful really fast, so you want to act swiftly.
In fact, some of us have experienced heatstroke before or seen family members pass out and know it can happen out of the blue! Each time a Cast Member has swooped in and helped us get through the whole ordeal.
In fact, Cast Members are stationed throughout the parks so that someone can quickly respond if an emergency should arise. And if hospitalization is required, Cast Members will arrange to get you and your family out of the park and to the emergency room.
Of course, if it’s less serious, they can provide you with a place to cool down and get your blood pressure back to normal before you’re back up and walking on your feet again.
7. Someone Got Sick
If a member of your family feels like they might be coming down with something or forgot to bring their prescription medication along, there are a few ways to get the medical treatment and medicine you need.
See a Doctor
Many practitioners now offer virtual doctor’s visits. Check with your family’s doctor to see if they offer this feature, otherwise, for most minor symptoms, you can talk to a doctor using an app. These virtual doctor’s visits are often at least partially covered by most major insurance carriers, so we recommend checking with your insurance to see if they recommend one before your visit.
Doctors can call in prescriptions you may need for a variety of ailments. And here’s another tip — if your kiddo gets the flu while you’re out of town, you can usually get prophylactic tami-flu for yourself through a virtual doctor visit via an app. Note — we are NOT DOCTORS, but this was our experience.
Most resorts sell common over-the-counter medications for pain relief, upset stomach, and cold and flu; but for other stuff, you can take a Rideshare service to a nearby pharmacy or have the medicine brought directly to you.
Turner Drugs is a local pharmacy near Disney World that specializes in delivering prescriptions to travelers. They will deliver any prescriptions to your resort for a fee (it cost us around $9, but it was well worth it not having to disrupt our vacation too much).
Turner Drugs will also deliver prescriptions to the FIRST-AID LOCATIONS INSIDE THE PARKS! Note that Turner Drugs does NOT file with your insurance, so you may have to pay significantly more out of pocket for your prescription. BUT they do provide documentation so you can submit a claim to your insurance company once you return home.
Just remember — when you’re picking up your prescription at the First-Aid location in a park, you’ll need to have the actual prescription there to give to the cast member.
If you’re sick with something contagious, the best thing you can do for yourself (and others) is to stay in your room. Order some room service or have food delivered. Relax, watch some Must Do Disney, and get the rest you need!
Once you recover, you can hit the parks again. And if you’re not contagious but just having a bad allergy day or asthma-related issues, still try to take it easy until YOU feel better! Don’t over-do-it even though you want to experience everything Disney World has to offer! You might end up making yourself too sick to enjoy anything!
8. Mishaps Leading to Injuries Occurred
Disney World is a truly magical place, but that doesn’t prevent slips, trips, and spills from happening. You can still fall flat on your face in front of Cinderella Castle!
What To Do if Someone Gets Injured
Whether you scrape your knee getting out of the pool or get rammed in the shins by a rogue stroller, you might get injured on vacation — accidents happen!
Any minor injuries such as cuts, scrapes, and mild abrasions won’t require much more than a little antiseptic spray and a band-aid. We like to carry a travel-sized first-aid kit with us, but you can also ask for bandages and more at any First Aid Center or at Guest Services!
More severe injuries (like hyperextending your leg, breaking your wrist, or stitches) will most likely require extra care. If something happens, Cast Members can call other Cast Members over and form a circle around the injured person to provide the guest with some privacy while they assess the situation. They can then arrange transportation out of the park for you or your family member should you need to get to a hospital or urgent care center.
9. We Became Lost Parents
This is the polite term Disney uses for when you accidentally get separated from your child, which can happen in an instant!
What To Do if Your Child Is Missing
First of all, it’s important to teach your children about what they should do if they get separated from you. Make sure they have your cell number memorized (If they’re too young to remember a phone number, many parents swear by these temporary tattoos you can write your number on!). Tell them it’s very important to find a Cast Member and let them know that they are lost. You can tell them they can identify a Cast Member by looking for their oval name tags.
All Cast Members are trained to bring any lost children under the age of 10 directly to the Baby Care Centers in the theme parks to wait for their parents while kids over the age of 10 are brought to Guest Relations.
Although this is every parent’s worst nightmare, try to stay calm. Believe it or not, this happens ALL THE TIME in Disney World and, in our experience, the parents get more freaked out than the kids!
Locate the nearest Cast Member and they will work quickly to report the lost child. Make a mental note of what your child is wearing each day (or snap a picture!) so you can provide a description if necessary. Disney World is a BIG and crowded place, so trust the process and Cast Members will reunite you as soon as they can.
We know we’ve just rehashed some very unhappy times from some of our most MEMORABLE Disney trips, but rest-assured these are worst-case scenarios only! Your Disney World vacation is MUCH more likely to go off without any major hiccups, and even if it doesn’t, Disney’s wonderful Cast Members have got your back!
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Has disaster ever struck you or your family at Disney World? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!