You’ve spent HUNDREDS, and maybe even THOUSANDS, of dollars for a perfect Walt Disney World vacation, spent *days* securing your dining reservations, and spent time packing everything you think you might possibly need while at the parks.
The last thing you need to spend energy on? Worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong.
So we did that for you!
Okay, maybe we didn’t think of *everything.* (Try as we might, we’re not psychic. Yet.)
But we definitely created a solid list of situations we’ve personally come across and had to find solutions for to keep our Disney vacays from becoming a total bust.
When It Rains, Rains, Rains
How many of us have been there — you packed all your sunny weather gear, got your sneakers ready to roll and then…::crash:: (That was thunder, OBV.)? The skies open up and just won’t. stop. We’ve been there. We’ve had ENTIRE trips that have been a total rain out from sunrise to sunset every single day (well, until it’s your day to go home, of course. OF COURSE.)! It happens. And if it happens to you, you want a plan so your trip doesn’t go down the drains (literally).
Wait it Out!
Orlando is notorious for spontaneous rain showers that last about 15-30 minutes, so try hitting up some indoor activities while you wait for a shorter storm to pass.
You’d be surprised to see how many Disney attractions are actually located inside show buildings.
Let’s take EPCOT, for example. The only ride that would need to shut down for the rain (at this time) would be Test Track. (Which, yes, stinks because Test Track is awesome — BUT fingers crossed it’ll be back up-and-running once the storm passes!)
Also, make sure you’ve downloaded a reliable weather app on your phone before heading to the parks so you can keep track of the weather radar throughout the day.
You don’t want to get in line for Test Track (OR Expedition Everest — Legend of the Forbidden Mountain in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, OR Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Magic Kingdom, OR…well…ANY outdoor attraction that’ll shut down for inclement weather) if it looks like the storm you’re in isn’t going to pass for the next hour or so. Lengthier rain storms or if lighting is present will close these outdoor attractions and you’ll have to exit the queue.
If it looks like the day’s going to be a total wash-out, you can always catch a flick (Do people say that anymore? “Catch a flick?” We’re going to say it — just let it happen) at the AMC Theaters in Disney Springs.
And if you’re in one of the parks during the storm, take in one of the many indoor shows! We never pass up an excuse to squeeze in a visit to the Hall of Presidents — when it’s open… And even when the show isn’t running, pop in a take a look at all of the historic memorabilia, and chat with the highly informative Cast Members!
Our one tip with this “go inside” advice, though? Maybe hold off on souvenir shopping. LOTS of guests will duck for cover in the first gift shop they see so you can bet spots like the Emporium in Magic Kingdom will be overrun with guests just standing around until the weather passes.
You know the old saying, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass?” Now it’s *your* turn to dance in the rain!
Crowds will be lighter during the rain, so if you don’t mind getting wet, JUST KEEP SWIMMING!
If you plan on staying in the parks during a rainstorm ahead of time, have ponchos and/or umbrellas ready to go for you and your party. (NOTE: Purchase these items BEFORE heading to the Disney parks to save some moolah! That’ll help you avoid purchasing overpriced Disney rain gear — unless you REALLY want a Disney umbrella as your souvenir!)
Even the EPCOT festival booths (whichever fest is going on at the time of your visit) will typically remain open during rainstorms. This means you can keep on enjoying your day if you don’t let a little rain get in your way!
We can’t overstate how much ground you can cover with little to no crowds if you don’t mind schlepping through the puddles!
When You Miss Booking That 7AM Rise Of The Resistance Boarding Pass
You’re up. You’re probably half asleep fumbling on your phone to get that elusive boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. The clock strikes 7AM and boom…they’re all gone. Tears ensue, and you decide to console yourself with a massive plate of Mickey Waffles and literally drown your sorrows in syrup. What, just us??
Disney Hollywood Studios’ newest (and most popular) attraction — Rise of the Resistance — over in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has TWO Boarding Pass distribution times on the My Disney Experience App: 7AM and 1PM.
We’ve got a bunch of great tips for snagging that coveted 7AM pass, but don’t count yourself out just yet if you happen to miss the morning window of opportunity — you still have another chance at 1PM!
Every now and then, technology may fail you. (WHAT?? Say it ain’t SO!) The My Disney Experience App has been known to GLITCH time and again, preventing you from securing that Boarding Pass you’ve rightly earned.
If your My Disney Experience is telling you something wonky (ie: You must be in the park to make this 7AM reservation when that is SO not the case anymore — or something along those lines that just doesn’t make sense), make sure to take screenshots!
Is this going to guarantee an immediate fix to your problem? Not necessarily. BUT it never hurts to take these concerns up to Guest Relations at Hollywood Studios and calmly explain what happened (with your photographic proof). You likely won’t be the only one!
Enjoy Batuu Anyway!
STILL didn’t get that Boarding Pass after 2 tries? Don’t let it ruin your day! There are still PLENTY of things to do around the planet of Batuu that are a ton of fun!
Ride Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and try piloting the fastest “hunk of junk” in the galaxy.
Or maybe you want to find a unique souvenir over at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities.
The possibilities are plentiful! Don’t let ONE missed opportunity ruin the remainder of the day for you!
The Disney Genie in the Room
So the last option is a brand new one — and it’s one we haven’t been able to test out in the wild yet. Disney JUST announced Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and a slew of options ranging from basically FastPass but now you pay for it to paying a premium to essentially buy your way into a boarding group on some rides. It’s…honestly a lot to process and it’s not even available yet.
BUT, we do know Rise of the Resistance will be included in the “a la carte” rides guests can choose to purchase per guest to ride. This means that if you miss out on that morning virtual queue spot, you’ll soon be able to, if all goes as planned, just go buy your way on instead. Or skip the boarding group hustle entirely and just buy your way on without fighting in the virtual queue. The price per person has yet to be revealed and time will tell how well this works in the long run, but it’s a solid option that will give a lot of guests an opportunity to secure a spot on the ride each day.
When Disney World Transportation Isn’t Vibing With Your Itinerary
Ever notice how the bus YOU’RE waiting for at Disney World always seems to be the bus that NEVER shows up? Going to Animal Kingdom? 12 Disney Springs buses in a row drive by. Heading to Blizzard Beach? Nah, you’re not — but you could go to EPCOT and back 5 times in the time you’ve waited. Disney World transportation is…hit or miss. So what do you do when it’s a total miss?
Consider Other Options!
Although the complimentary park shuttle services offered to resort guests come in handy, the Disney buses aren’t always reliable.
If you have a dining reservation to make OR if you’re wanting to get to the park for rope drop and there’s…
- Already a REALLY long bus line or
- No buses in sight for the foreseeable future,
…then you may want to consider paying a little extra for a different mode of transportation.
If you brought your vehicle to Disney World and are parking at your resort, you can always drive to the parks and receive complimentary parking (since you’re already paying a pretty penny to park at your resort). PRO TIP: Annual Passholders receive free parking at the parks, so make sure you have your Annual Passholder card and photo ID on hand to save that moolah. Same applies to DVC members.
If you drove to Disney but are staying off-property, you’re still more than welcome to drive over and park at Disney, BUT you will have to pay $25 per day for standard parking or $45-50 per day for preferred.
OR you can look into a driving service (like Uber or Lyft) to take you to the parks that day — whichever you prefer to make it to the parks on time!
We know you’ve probably heard about the Disney Skyliner mishaps that have happened since it opened back in September 2019. So…yes. A few incidents have happened. Thankfully, most have been resolved very quickly with little to no issue. But we PROMISE you this isn’t the norm.
The Skyliners are a reliable and safe mode of Disney transportation. If you find yourself riding on the Skyliner when it’s slowed down or completely stopped in the middle of taking you from your resort to a park (or vice-versa), don’t worry! The Skyliner slows down frequently to help passengers on and off the gondolas.
If there’s any other reason for the delay, Disney will be ON IT. Cast members always have guest safety as their number one priority and have prepared emergency kits ahead of time in case the delay goes on longer than expected.
Disney World’s “Highway in the Sky,” the Monorail, runs into issues from time to time as well. Usually, the Monorail stops to wait for a station to clear but, from time to time, they can break down. This can leave guests stranded for a while. Again, when this has happened, Disney is lightning fast to react and get the issue resolved.
Basically, you can plan around the known variables like late buses or crowds at busy times, but for those not-so-common situations, just know Disney will do everything in its power to get you moving again soon.
When The Ride Breaks Down…With You Still On It
Oof this next one happens to the best of us. Rides break down often in Disney World. Sometimes for a minute, sometimes for a long longer, leading to a ride evacuation. You might know this drill — you’re flying over Neverland on Peter Pan’s Flight when suddenly…STOP. That ominous overhead announcement comes on saying the ride is broken down. Oh no. Cut to 5 minutes, 20 minutes later (who knows — time has no meaning on a broken down Disney ride) and you’ve now listened to Captain Hook yell “I’ll get you, Peter Pan!” for the 76 (or is it 77th?) time. NOT speaking from personal experience here or anything! 😉
Disney World rides work hard for LONG stretches at a time! They honestly deserve a round of applause — there’s no way WE could keep all our gears in solid, functioning order from rope drop until The Kiss Goodnight if we were working as hard as they always do! Seriously — imagine driving your car non-stop every day from sun up to sun down. It’s not a matter of if something will break but when. Even with constant maintenance, same with Disney rides.
So, every now and then, a ride WILL break down (some more frequently than others). When this happens, Cast Members are already working to get the ride back up and running, OR working on getting you evacuated as quickly (and safely) as possible.
*Please* don’t complain about a breakdown to the Cast Members who are trying to help (they want to get you moving too!). And DON’T, for the love of all that is good and decent in this world, TRY TO EXIT THE RIDE YOURSELF.
Wait for a Cast Member! They want to keep you and your party as safe as possible during the evacuation procedure. And make sure to LISTEN TO THEIR INSTRUCTIONS! Don’t put matters into your own hands! We can’t even IMAGINE trying to evacuate ourselves out of the ride during that one time we were stuck on Test Track! Yikes!
Also, remind the people in your party to stay calm. Ride breakdowns might be kind of scary for kiddos who don’t know what’s going on. Explain the situation and try to make light of it while you wait. Maybe a game of “I Spy” will help pass the time?
Look On The Bright Side!
Some Disney fans LOVE being evacuated off the rides. Why?
Because if you’re evacuated, you get the opportunity to see the ride from a unique angle most guests don’t get the chance to experience.
As much as we love the ride, we thought it was pretty neat when we had to evacuate Rise of the Resistance and be taken through the backstage exit for the first time.
Another plus? Cast Members *usually* issue you a way to ride the attraction later once you’re safely off the ride. These will be good to redeem for another ride of your choice (with possible limitations) OR for the same ride once it’s back up and running (IF it’s able to get back up and running that day).
When Members Of Your Travel Party Are Being “Grumpy Gills”
It’s hot. You’re all tired. Your feet are KILLING you. And now your kids look like they are one poke away from turning into MMA fighters while in the neverending line for Splash Mountain. Or tensions are flaring, you’re starving, and you’re suddenly at your significant other’s throat for something they totes can’t control. Meanwhile, your great Aunt is STILL complaining about how much that cheeseburger from three days ago cost. Soun familiar? Again, like all these others on our list…it happens. Here’s how to avoid nuclear familial meltdowns.
Here’s the dirty, rotten truth: You WILL get hot. You WILL get tired. You WILL get hungry and grumpy. For the penny pinchers in the group: it IS expensive. Also, yes, we know, Uncle Henry — it’s VERY crowded. You said that 4 times now.
Try not to take your bad mood out on the rest of your party, and vice-versa. Listen to each other. If someone’s hot, find an air-conditioned shop to browse through for a bit. If someone’s tired, go see one of the shows and rest your feet. If someone’s hungry, break for a snack (and we have ALL of the snack recommendations for you!).
If one person in your group has an issue pop up like a bad mood, achy feet, and more — we recommend DEALING with the problem if possible. Avoiding it or “powering on” won’t help anyone in the long run and will likely lead to a bigger meltdown later.
It helps to plan your breaks for the day ahead of time.
For example, if you’re at the Magic Kingdom, pencil in a time to make your way over to Adventureland mid-afternoon for a Dole Whip pick-me-up and an air-conditioned show in Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
If you don’t take ANYTHING else away from this post, at least remember this: The heat and stress of a Disney day can be more than you — or others in your party — are expecting. Plan more breaks than you think you may need during park days. Consider scheduling a rest day in the middle of your park days, just to rest up for the second half of your vacation. Heck, even a couple of hours of “chill time” by the pool can work wonders for morale. We know there’s a TON you want to see, but there’s no need to make yourself — and everyone else in your party — miserable trying to cram it all in.
Plus, you’re paying for all of those hotel amenities (if staying on site), you may as well use them! Take advantage of the pool, the ambiance, the ability to nap on a whim — it’s all included with your resort fees!
Consider Splitting Up!
Don’t feel like your party has to ALL stay together at ALL times. In fact, you may benefit from taking a little time away from each other if you feel the tension in your group starting to rise.
This may be a family vacation, but if some members of your party want to experience the thrill rides while others don’t, it’s OKAY to go separate ways and regroup later. For those traveling with littles, familiarize yourself with the Rider Switch option at most of Disney’s more intense attractions. This could provide that little break you may need from each other while also allowing some family members to get in some of their favorite rides!
The same goes for people in your party who may want to take a nap back at the resort, while others may want to stay and continue playing in the parks. It’s OKAY! Just split up for a bit! It’s a better alternative than getting burnt out and killing the Disney mood for the remainder of the trip. Splitting up just for a bit can save so many headaches and fights. It’s so hard to do for some families that are dead set on being TOGETHER the whole. entire. trip. But it can work wonders.
Feel empowered to make your vacation work for YOU! Just because Aunt Susan or your Disney expert co-worker has their approach, doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit for you and your family. We’ve seen the biggest obstacle to enjoying a Disney vacation is when guests try to fashion their plans after another individual’s expectations. No Disney vacation will go exactly as you planned. (Haven’t we said this before? We’re starting to get deja vu…) But the best stories rarely come from a vacation that follows your “dream” itinerary To-a-T. 😉
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Do you have any additional tips for when your Disney plans have been foiled?! Let us know in the comments below!