Disney World vacations require quite a bit of planning!
You’ll have to make resort reservations, dining reservations, and theme park reservations, plus add in the research of deciding what you want to do in each park. But, things don’t always go according to plan once you arrive. Today, we’re discussing the times that the unexpected happens in Disney World!
Health and Safety Measures
Ever since Disney World reopened, we’ve seen a fluctuating array of health and safety measures. Things are constantly evolving due to the pandemic, so if there’s a spike in case numbers, guidelines could quickly change to reflect the necessary precautions. We saw this happen when masks became mandatory indoors again (shortly after allowing them to be off) at the end of July 2021.
So, what can you do to prepare? Well, make sure to bring some face masks along with you just in case. Things could always change, as we’ve seen a LOT in the past year, so staying as informed as possible is key. Also, stay up-to-date on current case numbers (especially in Florida) leading up to your trip…that way you’re not blindsided if something changes! Lucky you, we keep you posted on all the latest changes in Disney World so just stick with us. We’ll keep you in the know.
The most predictable thing about Florida weather is that it’s unpredictable! Seriously, it changes basically every 5 minutes. So when you’re planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, it’s important that you pack for all kinds of weather circumstances — hot, rainy, windy, cold, and everything in-between.
We recommend getting a reliable weather app and checking it often: before your trip, while packing, and each day of your trip throughout the day. You’ll also want to ALWAYS have rain gear on hand while visiting, even if the forecast says it’s going to be dry. Sometimes the forecast is wrong and those Disney ponchos in the gift shops are definitely overpriced! (Seriously, we’ve been in the parks on a day with 0% chance of rain and lo and behold a lil’ raincloud just appeared…right on top of us. It was gone minutes after it appeared, but just goes to show how FAST weather can sneak up on you!)
But if you find yourself unprepared for the weather coming your way, just take the time to do some indoor attractions. Many people leave when it rains, so you may find that wait times go way down if you stick it out!
It’s easy to get cranky and overwhelmed at Disney World, especially when things aren’t going your way. So, you’ll find that it’s actually quite common for kids (and adults!) to have meltdowns in the parks.
Been there too, friends. We LOVE Disney World but even we get stressed when a lot of family is in tow. You’re trying to make sure everyone is having fun, happy, and getting the most out of the expensive trip you planned. That pressure combined with weather (ahem…see above), crowds, and more can leave you a bit, well, crabby. If things are getting to be too much, find a quiet corner to sit down away from everyone else, maybe grab a snack or drink. Better yet, if you can swing it, go back to your room for a swim or a nap. Something to help hit the reset button can sometimes be all you need. Don’t be afraid to take the time to slow down! It’ll be totally worth it to relax for a bit as opposed to pushing everyone further than they can handle.
One of the unfortunate things that could happen unexpectedly during your Disney trip is that either you or one of your party members gets sick. In today’s climate, the first thing you’ll want to do is monitor the symptoms and get tested for COVID-19 if necessary (because that’s a whole different problem you’ll have to deal with).
The best thing you can do for yourself when you’re feeling ill is to hang back at the hotel and get some rest — it may cost vacation time, but it’ll save you in the long run. It doesn’t benefit you or others if you force yourself to go into the parks while sick, so we recommend just don’t do it. If you’re looking for over-the-counter medication at Disney World, you’ll likely be able to find it at the First Aid Center in the parks or the gift shop/sundries location at your resort.
And if it’s something that you need medical attention for, you’ll be happy to know that Disney recently announced a partnership with AdventHealth. Now, you can use the Guest Health Care Services feature in the My Disney Experience app to get help with virtual doctor visits, prescriptions, transportation to an Urgent Care clinic, and more.
Along the same lines as sickness, there are some things you should note if you’re injured at Disney World. If you’re injured in the parks, you’ll have to use your discretion to determine how serious the injury is. Is it an injury that the First Aid Center in the park can handle or is it an injury for which you’ll need to call an ambulance?
If it’s something life-threatening or particularly difficult, Cast Members nearby should know what to do in an emergency. Just note that if you involve Cast Members and they determine you’re not in the right shape to get yourself to First Aid, they might request emergency services for you anyways. And if you need to seek medical attention, you’re welcome to use the AdventHealth resources or speak to the front desk at your hotel to get pointed in the direction of the nearest professional.
When you’re walking 20,000 steps a day through the hot and humid Florida weather while also munching on incredibly messy snacks, you’re bound to have a wardrobe malfunction at some point. Whether it’s chafing, blisters, or spills — it’s best to be prepared!
We always recommend breaking in your chosen shoes before your trip to Disney World. Also, it may be beneficial to bring a backup outfit if you’ve never tested yours out for long periods of time in extreme weather. Emergency supplies like band-aids, moleskin, and more can be a life-saver in a pinch too. Plus, if your wardrobe malfunction is more of an emergency (think like you ripped your pants or something) talk to a Cast Member, especially those at Guest Relations. They often have safety pins and other quick fixes on hand and can help.
One thing that you should know before your visit is that rides go down all the time in Disney World for a variety of reasons. We’ve seen technical difficulties, weather problems, or even closures due to kids getting sick onboard.
If a ride closes down while you’re in line, you may get the chance to continue waiting. The choice is up to you, sometimes you’ll get a return pass, and sometimes you won’t. This can be very frustrating, but just remember to be patient — the closure is not the Cast Members’ fault, so don’t take it out on them. Disney does everything they can to get rides operational as fast as safely possible, but patience is key here. Note that if you’re stuck on a ride and going to be late for a dining reservation, try to speak to the Cast Member at the check-in podium when you arrive and explain what happened. This is a pretty common scenario and, if they can accommodate you, they’ll work to fit you in as soon as they can.
Crowds can be pretty unpredictable in Disney World right now. So if you happen to visit on a crowded day or during a crowded season, do your best to arrive at the parks as early as possible…this will help you get more done!
We also recommend scheduling your activities at unusual times. Do rides during lunch and dinnertime, early in the morning, and late at night, if possible, to avoid the longest lines. Eat your meals during off times, like the middle of the afternoon or an hour later or earlier than most other guests.
It will also benefit you to do some planning in advance! Book your Mobile Orders early in the day (before you leave your hotel room is often best!), or get on the Walk-Up Waitlist first thing in the morning. This is why we suggest making dining reservations and park passes at the earliest possible opportunity — that way the crowds don’t ruin your day.
Finally, don’t forget that if the crowds get to be too much, you can hop to another park (with a Park Hopper ticket) or take a break at your resort in the middle of the day.
Experiencing a Delay
And finally, there’s the chance that things could take longer than expected during your vacation. This is especially true with Disney transportation, but you could also experience delays with getting on a ride or getting stuck on a ride.
If things are running late, remember to be patient (sensing a theme here? LOL). If it’s a dining reservation, you can try talking to the Cast Members at the restaurant when you do arrive to let them know what’s going on. Or, if you’re in need of other assistance, you can speak with a nearby Cast Member (the Guest Experience Cast Members at the stands around the park are very helpful!). When in doubt though, Guest Relations is your friend. They deal with this situation all. the. time. It’s not a guarantee that they can magically fix all your woes, but they are certainly a good place to start.
No matter what happens, keep the big picture in mind — if you’re just a few minutes late one time, it’s likely not going to ruin your vacation. Try to go with the flow, because you may not be able to control the situation.
There you have it — the unexpected issues you may encounter on your Disney World vacation! Stay tuned to DFB for the latest planning advice and tips for your next trip.
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What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve encountered at Disney World?