It happens to the best of us: whether we’re aware of it or not, there are some bad Disney World habits that we’re all guilty of from time to time! That doesn’t mean that we can’t do our best to break them the next time we’re on vacation.
Here are a few of the worst Disney World habits that we need to break right this instant!
Forgetting there are other guests around you!
Some guests are often quick to forget that they aren’t the ONLY ones on vacation! While it’s tempting to do everything in your power to make sure your time in Disney World is perfect, it’s important to remember that there are thousands of other people looking for that same magical experience!
A good example of this has to do with shows, parades, and nighttime spectaculars. Remember that everyone wants to get a good view of the show, so be thoughtful before choosing your spot. Many on our team had stories of camping out well before a parade for a perfect front row spot only to have guests walk up and stand right in front of them moments before the show started. Don’t be that guest!
If you don’t want to wait for an hour+ for the best spots, take a moment to look around and see if there are other options, perhaps off to the side or just by standing back a few feet. In fact, when it comes to the Magic Kingdom fireworks, some of the best views are actually towards the BACK of Main Street, and not directly in front of the castle!
Another thing to consider with fireworks and parades is little ones who need to be hoisted up onto your shoulders to get a better view! Kiddos definitely need a good view of what’s going on; just be aware of your surroundings before you decide where to “camp out” so to speak for a show. You’ll likely hear groans around you if, seconds before the show starts, you toss a kiddo on your shoulders and the folks camped out behind you suddenly can’t see.
See if there are less crowded areas that could end up benefitting you and your kid as well! Standing off to the sides of the Magic Kingdom fireworks on the bridge to Tomorrowland is usually less crowded and you have a great view. Who doesn’t love a little more elbow room AND your kiddo can see from the ground!
Another great example of a seemingly innocent action that could ruin someone else’s experience are flash photos on dark rides. We totally get that we want to capture every moment of our Disney World vacation, especially those who don’t get to visit the parks as often, but flashes on massive dark rides rarely look any good and they’re a nuisance to others. Remember that many of the newer smart phones are equipped with cameras that perform very well in low lighting, no flash required!
Not being aware of your surroundings and aware of all the people around you is important to point out for your safety, too. Stopping in the middle of a walkway, especially on a busy day, could be bad news for you or for those walking directly behind you. Think of the walkways in Disney World as highways. You wouldn’t stop your car in the middle of a highway if you needed to grab something out of the trunk, right? Same rules apply in Disney World only, instead of getting rear-ended by another car, you might get your ankle demolished by a stroller!
Our last tip when it comes to being mindful of other guests in the park has to do with holding tables. It can be very tempting to grab an empty table at a quick-service restaurant or during an EPCOT festival while someone else in your party goes and gets food, but this prevents other guests that may be carrying trays full of food from sitting down and enjoying their food that they already purchased. If there’s a constant cycle of guests getting food, getting a table, eating, and moving on, holding a table is basically like throwing a wrench in a well-oiled machine. It messes up the proper flow of guests through a restaurant. If everyone waited until they actually had food to grab tables, it would actually be EASIER to find a place to sit, not harder!
Also, keep in mind that once you finish eating, be courteous to other guests and get up and leave your table. If you’d like to sit for a bit after eating, move on from your table and you’ll likely find ample seating opportunities in the area that aren’t keeping guests from having access to a table.
Setting unrealistic expectations!
The cardinal sin while vacationing at Disney World is setting your expectations too high. Disney World is huge, and most of the year it’s hot and crowded. Knowing those three facts before you arrive will save you a lot of trouble when it starts to rain, or the lines become super long, or you can’t be outside for more than 60 seconds without dripping in sweat!
These days, even some of the complimentary services we used to recommend to skip those long lines can be problematic! For instance, Disney’s Mobile Order service used to be a great lesser-known way to “skip the line” when ordering fast food around Disney World but, since reopening, it has become the primary way guests are encouraged to order their food, meaning that the wait times can be exceptionally longer than you expect.
In the situation of long wait times for food via Mobile Order, decide ahead of time when and where your party wants to eat lunch or dinner. You can order your food in the morning and select when you want to pick up your lunch at that time. That way, you know your food will be ready then and save you precious time! Making small planning steps like this can save several headaches during your upcoming vacation.
In situations where you are met with longer lines than you’d like, it sounds simple to say but harder to do: pack your patience. Especially in these current times, a vacation at Disney World isn’t quite what it used to be, and so it’s even more important to remember that not everything is available at this time or you might just have to wait in a line for a while.
Not budgeting properly or overspending!
It happens to the best of us. We go into a Disney World vacation with the best intentions to not overspend, but inevitably we check out of our hotel with a massive bill! (Anyone else get a distinct feeling of dread when you see that slip on paper at your door on your last day??) A lot of our worst financial habits like to show up while on vacation, and even the most frugal and responsible people can get lost in a sea of spending at the parks. While some indulgences are warranted when you’re in Disney World, it’s important to make sure you don’t let those habits get the best of you and you end up WAY overspending.
Not budgeting properly and overspending can show up when we make those major vacation purchases, like flights and hotel accommodations, but they can also show up in the smallest of purchases that add up over time, too! It’s SO important to do your research and shop around before you book flights and select your hotel. There’s really no reason to be spending full price on a Disney World resort! There’s almost always a deal to be found.
It’s also tough to resist purchasing every souvenir you see (trust us, we deal with this on the regular!), but it’s critical you set a budget, especially if you or someone else in your party is prone to overspending. Any of those “in the moment” types of impulse purchases can add up super fast, especially if you’re not monitoring your bank accounts and budget heavily while on vaca. First, it’s just one pair of Minnie Ears for $29.99, but then you need a matching spirit jersey for $79.99, plus those super cute Alex and Ani bracelets for $45.99, a matching pair of earrings, a few new face masks for the whole family at $9.99 each…you get the picture. We’ve been there where we THINK we’re only spending a little bit but once that register rings everything up…yikes.
Obviously, in the moment, you NEED that item. But will you feel the same way once you get home? A lot of the more popular souvenirs you see in the parks, like ears and spirit jerseys, can be found at multiple locations on property, so some of those items might be worth waiting and see if by the end of your trip you still need that t-shirt.
Remember when we mentioned those small purchases? Make sure those don’t add up, either! Whether it’s taking Uber or Lyft everywhere on vacation or getting Starbucks every morning, you’ll soon realize that your vacation dollars are being spent the wrong way! Think about it: say you’re two adults spending one week in Disney World. You each want a Venti Sweet Cream Cold Brew in the morning. Two Venti Cold Brews for seven days in a row can easily add up to what you would spend on a lunch or dinner (those $4.50 drinks don’t seem too bad til you realize you spent about $63 bucks in a week just on coffee, huh?).
Don’t let those surprise fees or charges add up, either. Remember to cancel Advance Dining Reservations that you don’t intend on using so you aren’t charged a no-show fee of $10 per person. Look around for ways to find free things to do as well (yes, there are still lots of things you can do in Disney World for free!). And, as always…don’t buy bottled water if you can get away with it! Disney is happy to give you ice water for free!
New 2020 bad habits to think about, too!
This past year has brought along a whole new world of bad habits that we actively try to avoid when we’re in the parks! Before 2020 these wouldn’t be considered bad habits at all, but they’re definitely habits you want to avoid doing while Disney World is in its phased reopening with their health and safety guidelines in place.
First off, there’s “line spacing.” What do we mean by that, exactly? By now we’re all familiar with those stickers on the ground reminding us to stay six feet apart from the parties in front AND behind us. Those markers are all over the place in Disney World! Not only is it important that you stay on those markers, but if you’re a larger party of four or more (especially four adults), Cast Members may ask you to break the party up into smaller groups for safer social distancing.
You may not realize it, but larger parties can easily “spill” into the space behind them, and before you know it, you’ll definitely be standing within six feet of the party behind you. Like we mentioned above, there are thousands of other guests on vacation at the same time as you. Even if your party feels more comfortable standing somewhat closer to strangers, others may not feel the same way. Try to be mindful that you’re not encroaching on other guests’ personal space. They may be too uncomfortable to speak up and confront you!
There are lots of rules surrounding face masks that we need to be mindful of, too. Disney is still very strict when it comes to their health and safety protocol surrounding face masks, and they may have more rules than what you’re used to seeing in your local community. You won’t be able to eat or drink “on the go,” so remember to stay socially distanced and stationary before you remove your face mask, even for a brief moment, to take a bite of food or a sip of your beverage.
“Vacation brain” is something we’re all familiar with, but it’s super important these days to remember these health and safety guidelines. If you’re sitting down at a restaurant and need to head to the restroom, put your mask on first before getting up from the table! Mask chains help immensely so if you DO forget (it happens) you’ll have your mask at hand and ready to pop back on. Don’t forget to pack extra face masks, hand sanitizer, and even wipes if you want to be extra careful.
Being mean to Cast Members!
This last point was true before the closures, but more so now after the closures. We cannot express enough how indispensable Cast Members are at ensuring that each and every guest experience is as magical as it can be. Without them, there is simply no Disney World.
With that in mind, it is SUPER important that we remember to break what could be a bad habit of “taking our problems” out on the first Cast Member we see or ignoring them when they tell you something. Cast Members are there to help you and make your experience as memorable as possible, but things are bound to go wrong in some form or fashion. When things DO go wrong, certainly talk to a Cast Member about it — they can often help — but don’t unload your anger onto them!
If cast members share rules or ask you to do (or don’t do) something, please listen. They’re doing there jobs to keep everyone safe — they’re not out to get you! Working together with Cast Members ultimately ends up creating magic for all parties involved. There are countless stories out there of the guests being the ones who have made a Cast Member’s day memorable for all the RIGHT reasons! Be that guest that brings a smile to a Cast Member’s face!
By being mindful of these bad habits, your next Disney World vacation can end up going much smoother and with less hassle! Bad habits can quickly add up and cause more trouble than they’re worth. In our experience, practicing kindness and being considerate of Cast Members, other guests around you, and even yourself can make a world of difference!