Despite all of the carefully thought-out planning that goes into a Disney World vacation, something is bound to go awry at least once or twice.
When that happens, the most important thing you and your family can do is remain flexible and roll with the punches — and keep the following tips in mind!
What to Do When It Rains
Disney World is located in Central Florida, which is notorious for its regular rainfall. Rain will almost always come into play when you visit the parks, so it’s best to be prepared and assume you’ll get rained on at least once or twice during your trip (if not once or twice per day, depending on the time of year you visit).
If you travel during hurricane season, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for potentially more severe weather. If Disney World happens to fall in the path of a hurricane, it’s possible that the parks could close early that day or close for all/part of the day. When that happens, however, Disney usually arranges for special activities to take place at many of its resort hotels to help guests have some fun while they ride out the storm.
If it’s just a light drizzle in the parks, you may be lucky enough to catch a Rainy Day Cavalcade!
What’s important in the event of inclement weather is to try and make the most out of the situation, bring an extra pair of socks to keep those feet dry, and remember that the parks might clear out during the rain which could mean you’ll experience shorter wait times for some rides!
And be sure to check out ALL of our resources for conquering Disney World during storms:
- Click here to see what a severe weather day looks like in Disney World
- Click here to see 4 important tips for handling severe weather warnings in Disney World
- Click here to see what it was like when we wore a Disney World rain poncho on a stormy day
- Click here to see the best hurricane ready hotels in Disney World
- Click here to read our tips for planning a Disney World trip during hurricane season.
And check out our video below on how to survive Disney World weather and hurricane season!
When You’re Running Late for an A Reservation
Whether it’s for an Advance Dining Reservation or a FastPass+ reservation (when available), there are times where you need to be in a certain place at a certain time during your Disney World vacation. As we all know, things are bound to come up that could delay your plans, and you soon may find yourself running LATE to your reservation.
What happens next might depend on a few factors, including how in-demand the thing is that you’re running late for and just how late you are. Usually, if you’re just a few minutes late, Cast Members will generally try to do their best to accommodate your party, but remember that there is only so much they can do and they have guidelines that they must adhere to in situations like this.
If you find yourself running quite late, you may want to look on My Disney Experience to see if you can readjust that FastPass to another selection or another time.
Typically, there is a fifteen minute grace period when it comes to Advance Dining Reservations. If you know you’re going to be running late, you can always try to call the restaurant and let them know about the situation. You can also try to change the time of your reservation on My Disney Experience. Speaking to someone in Guest Services or Concierge in the parks or at your hotel can be a huge asset, too.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do to prevent issues with running late is to build in plenty of time to arrive in time for your scheduled reservation.
If your dinner reservation is in a completely different hotel or park from where you are during the day, plan on leaving at least an hour before your reservation time — yes, it CAN take that long to travel from point A to point B. And it can take even LONGER now due to COVID-19 capacity and distancing restrictions on Disney World transportation and transportation queues. Be sure to give yourself MORE than enough time to get where you need to go, you’ll be thankful to have that extra time (and potentially not need it)!
When Your Kid Has a Meltdown
A Disney World vacation is a BIG DEAL no matter what your age is, but it can be especially overstimulating for little ones. The combination of too much sugar and not enough sleep can lead to information overload very fast. And before you know it, you’re dealing with a full-blown meltdown in the middle of Magic Kingdom.
When meltdowns occur (not if…but when), it’s important to find a quiet spot in the parks to take your kid to and relax. You can scope out a bench that’s not on the beaten path, or, if you’re close by, you can even head to the designated Baby Care Center in the park.
Note that sometimes these Baby Care Centers can move around a bit. For example, the Magic Kingdom one recently moved to an area near Tomorrowland. Just be on the lookout for that!
If your kiddo has a meltdown about riding a particular ride, then it’s best not to force them into a situation that could be a stressor for them (or you!). We’ve seen and heard one too many screaming fits at the loading station for a ride because a kid was too frightened, or they just didn’t want to ride.
Click here to read about what we’ve learned (the hard way!) after bringing young kids to Disney World!
When You Get Sick or Hurt
As much as we would like to think Disney World exists in a bubble, sometimes real-world problems can creep in, including sickness or injuries. If you get hurt or sick during your trip, keep in mind that Disney World has First Aid locations in all four theme parks where you can get medications to treat most minor ailments. You can head there for basic necessities like bandaids or over-the-counter painkillers.
If you believe the ailment is more serious, you can use telemedicine services to help diagnose the exact problem and the proper steps to take from there. Disney actually recently shared how their partnership with AdventHealth is developing. Now, you can get information about a number of services offered by AdventHealth for Disney World guests (including virtual health care visits, prescription delivery to your Disney World hotel, and more) right in the My Disney Experience app.
There are also a number of urgent care centers close to Disney World (including some run by AdventHealth). If you require any more serious medical services, be sure to speak with a Cast Member or Security Officer. If you need to be taken to the hospital, you may be brought to Celebration Hospital or another nearby facility.
If you or someone in your family tests positive for COVID-19, there are a series of procedures in place to make sure everyone in your party is taken care of and other guests are kept safe. Disney notes that guests who experience COVID-19 symptoms during their trip and thus do not meet Disney’s health care acknowledgment criteria will be required to isolate and may be relocated or asked to leave property.
In order to make sure you can keep yourself feeling good throughout your trip, be sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. You may also want to take breaks and remember not to push your body beyond its limits. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and will likely be dealing with high temperatures (particularly during the summer months).
One of the most important things you can do during your trip when it comes to your health is to just be aware of what you’re feeling. If you’re thirsty, drink water. If you’re tired, rest. If you feel nauseous from all those corn dogs, sit down for a bit and seek help if necessary. Don’t try to ignore how you’re feeling and push through with your trip as that could result in you feeling even worse!
Click here for more tips on what to do if you or someone in your family gets sick while in Disney World.
When You Lose Something
Most of us will bring a bag filled with treasured items with us to Disney World, including our sunglasses, phone, wallet, lucky hat…you get the picture. Every now and then, those items may go missing. Disney World has updated their system over the last few years to help guests reunite with their lost items.
When you lose an item, you simply put in a request on an online web form. In our experience, this system can be hit or miss, but Disney does provide updates as they search for your item. If they are able to locate the item, Disney will generally mail it back to you free of charge.
If you want to try and avoid losing things in Disney World (or avoid losing something irreplaceable to you) take a good look at what you’re packing. Maybe don’t bring that necklace that’s been in the family for generations, and consider packing that cheap pair of sunglasses you have rather than bringing your most expensive pair. And try to take regular stock of what you’ve got in the parks each time you leave a ride, restaurant, etc. so you can keep track of what you have with you!
When You Lose SomeONE
Losing items is one thing; it’s an entirely different scenario when you’re separated from your travel party. Unfortunately, this happens all too often in Disney World. The good news is that because it does happen so frequently, Disney World has their system down when it comes to reuniting families.
If you’re separated from your child, tell a Cast Member right away. They have a system in place to alert the entire park so everyone will be informed of who to look for. In most cases, parents and kids will be reunited at the Baby Care Center (they’ll send you to the “Lost Parents” area, which is a really nice way to bring some lighthearted humor to an otherwise scary situation).
Be sure to prepare your kids ahead of time for the possibility of getting lost. You can talk them through what they should do if they get lost — talk to someone in the park wearing a Disney name tag. If the kids know how to identify Cast Members, it can make that stressful situation a little easier to deal with. You could also look into having your kiddos wear a necklace, bracelet, or something else that has their name and your name and number on it to help them reunite with you even faster.
When a Ride Breaks Down
Disney World’s rides operate constantly, seven days a week. Temporary downtimes are not only common, they’re to be somewhat expected throughout the day. Most of the time, these interruptions only last for a few minutes and the ride is able to restart. In some cases, you could be stuck on that ride for a while (we’re talking over thirty minutes if the problem persists), or (if you’re not on the ride but were hoping to get on it) you might not be able to ride the attraction for a while.
In most cases, a ride has a system built in where Cast Members will have the guests safely evacuated off of the ride. When that happens, you could get a FastPass+ to return to that ride at a later time of day (this doesn’t always happen!). Remember Fastpass+ is not being offered right now.
Experiencing a ride breakdown can sort-of be like getting a peek “behind the scenes” at Disney World — sometimes the work lights will need to be turned on, giving guests an entirely different and pretty rare view of the ride. Have you ever seen Test Track with the lights on? It’s actually really neat!
Check out our video below all about how to handle emergencies and evacuations in Disney World.
When You Don’t Like Your Food
There are hundreds of restaurants and dining locations across Disney World, so it makes sense that there is a meal in the parks and resorts for just about everybody. However, that doesn’t always mean that all of the food will be to our liking, or that every dining experience will go off without a hitch.
If your food doesn’t taste good and you simply don’t like it, or if it comes out wrong, let a Cast Member know. Of course, you will want to be polite and reasonable about the situation. Cast Members will generally do what they can to help fix the situation.
If you have specific dietary needs or allergies, you may encounter a different issue — which is where you might not see anything on the menu that you can eat. In those cases, a Cast Member can generally give you an allergy-friendly menu or they can talk with you to see what they can make in the kitchen.
The most important thing here is to voice your needs in a calm, polite way to give the Cast Members the information they need to best help you and make your meal as great as it can possibly be!
Click here to read about times when you hated what you’ve eaten (we’ve all been there) in Disney World.
When Something About Your Hotel Room is Off
Finally, you may check in to your Disney World resort hotel and find that something about your hotel room is, well…off. If there’s a reason the room doesn’t work for you (that doesn’t have to do with the cost of the room) you can call the front desk and request to be moved to a new room. You can’t call and request a change simply because you don’t like the view or the amenities you paid for, but if you have a special situation, the Cast Members will generally do what they can to move your family to an appropriate room or fix the situation.
If something in your room is broken, like a light switch or a lamp, you can call housekeeping or maintenance on your room phone and they will generally send someone to fix or replace it, or otherwise resolve the situation.
If you spend any length of time in Disney World, you’re likely to find out that not everything will run as smoothly as you may have predicted. The biggest pro-tip when it comes to things going wrong is to just go with the flow and remain flexible with your plans! That way, you’ll be able to bounce back from a tricky situation and carry on with your vacation (and enjoy it!).
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What is your go-to tip for when things go wrong on your Disney World vacation? Share your thoughts in the comments!