Unfortunately, not all moments are “magical” moments in Disney World.
Over our MANY years visiting Disney World, we’ve had a lot of unexpected problems pop up in the parks. From ride closures to illness to bad weather to lost belongings, if it could go wrong, it probably has at some point or another for someone on our team! And from all that experience, we’re sharing the seven problems you probably didn’t see coming in Disney World…and how to fix them!
Our first problem may seem kind of silly, but it’s a real thing you may have to deal with if your goal is to eat ALL the yummy Disney snacks during your vacation. That summer heat can mess with your appetite, or you may find that the portions are bigger than you expected — then you’re left with a list of untried treats. This can be particularly troublesome if you’re eating through a festival or you’re visiting during a time when there are a lot of exclusive holiday snacks.
So what do you do? Well, if your main goal is to eat a bunch of smaller-portion food items, then we recommend skipping those table service meals. Portions at sit-down restaurants in Disney World can be pretty hefty, and that doesn’t leave you with much stomach space during the day. If you still want to fit in some quick service meals, you can, but you may want to opt for ordering from the kids’ menu or splitting entrees with others to save room for more later. And when it comes to the EPCOT festivals, trust us — it’s incredibly easy to fill up after stopping at just a few of those booths!
Ahh, Disney transportation, the bane of our existence! Okay, not really…but seriously, transportation can cause a lot of problems during your vacation, and sometimes it even catches us (the seasoned Disney experts!) off guard. Often, Disney transportation moves a little slower than you may like, and buses can take a while to arrive at your stop. Unfortunately, you don’t have much control over that.
The long waits are less of an issue with the monorail and Disney Skyliner (except at park open and park close, when the line gets really long), but because buses run independently of each other, you may find yourself standing at the railing and getting your hopes up every time a new bus rolls into the station. Because of this, it may take you more than an hour to Park Hop, which can be an issue if you have a Lightning Lane or dining reservation to get to. It’s just a little unpredictable!
So what can you do? Well, first of all, we recommend giving yourself AMPLE time in the schedule to move from one park to another if you’ve got a Park Hopper ticket. If you’re worried about the buses early in the morning, arrive at the bus stop 30 minutes to an hour before you think you need to be there. And for a solution that gives you a little more control over the situation — you could always drive to the parks instead! In many cases, driving between parks is faster than using Disney transportation (except when you’re parking at Magic Kingdom and going through the Transportation & Ticket Center).
Complications Caused by Rain
You know what our ACTUAL nemesis is in Disney World? The rain! It comes almost daily during the summertime, and it can cause all kinds of random problems that you weren’t expecting. For example, you may be prepared and have packed ponchos to keep your clothes dry, but then you step in a big puddle and you’re left with soggy socks and shoes — that’ll make anyone grumpy!
In the past, we’ve even had instances where rain got into the charging port on our cell phone and we weren’t able to charge our phone until it dried, leaving us with a dead phone in a place where we’re pretty dependent on it. We’ve also seen many a soggy backpack in our day, and that’s one that doesn’t dry easily! Plus, you have to account for the fact that rides and shows you were hoping to enjoy may close temporarily when there’s lightning in the area.
So what can you do? Well, for starters, DO NOT forget to pack your rain gear! Even if it’s not on the forecast for the day, Florida’s weather can be unpredictable and random, and pop-up showers are pretty common. If you’re wearing close-toed shoes and socks, you may want to pack a change of footwear to put on when it rains or in case yours gets wet. (That *squish* when you step with a wet sock inside a wet shoe is UNcomfortable, y’all!)
Also, it may help to have plastic or waterproof bags to store your most valuable belongings and electronics inside. (This can be a helpful tip for water rides as well!) And as far as choosing your attractions goes — if it looks like it’s going to rain later in the day, do your outdoor rides as a priority in the morning. That way, you don’t have to worry when they’re all shut down for the storm!
If you fill up on snacks early in the day, you may find that you’re not hungry at dinner time, but then you’re REALLY hungry late at night. It can be very challenging to find late-night food options at the parks and resorts. Many restaurants in the parks close early (especially if the park isn’t closing until 10 or 11) and if you’re trying to use that time to do rides anyway, you may not have time to eat.
Even when you get back to your hotel, you may be met with limited options (especially at those value resorts where it’s just the one food court), and the likelihood that you’ve got a dining spot open late at night is low. In the past, we’ve even found ourselves grabbing snacks from gas stations or ordering Uber Eats.
So how can you curb that late-night appetite? Well, for starters, we recommend checking the operating hours for any restaurant you want to visit during your day in the parks. Especially with quick service spots, we find that those places sometimes close earlier than the park does.
Also, it may be a good idea to have some groceries delivered to your room when you arrive at the hotel, or to make a trip to the store early in your vacation to have snacks on hand. You can then keep those snacks in the room for early morning or late-night eats, or you can pack them in your park bag each day of your trip. “Hanger” is real, and it’s definitely something you want to avoid at Disney World.
Complicated Planning with Large Groups
Let’s talk about planning with a large group! Sometimes when you’re planning ahead of your trip, you’re trying to make a schedule for everyone at once, but it’s very likely that your group will split up if there are a bunch of you. Once you get to the park, everyone will have different priorities and people will get tired and/or hungry at different times. When there’s a large group of people at once, tensions can run high and make everyone a little cranky.
In the end, splitting up may be what’s best to avoid the stress of a large group of people all trying to make plans. If you want to spend time together, schedule meet-ups for meals, fireworks, or a show where everyone can sit together. Trust us, going with the flow a little bit will keep everyone much more “chill” and allow you to enjoy that pricey vacation even more!
Getting Tired & Cranky
And speaking of people getting cranky…we have to mention those mood swings! Listen, it happens to the best of us — you get into the park, and it’s hot — and you’re sweaty and tired and hungry. Then you have to wait in those long lines, and all you want to do is scream and/or cry. Don’t worry, we’ve been there! Even if you get 8 hours of sleep every night (good luck!) and get your morning coffee, there will probably still be meltdowns, tiring days, and cranky attitudes at some point.
Most people aren’t used to constantly running around a theme park for 13 hours a day, and you’re likely off your usual schedule for eating and sleeping, so you’ll feel more exhausted than you expected! Our main solution to this problem is to SCHEDULE those breaks when you need them. Make sure to plan time in your day to sit down, hopefully in the air conditioning, and take an intentional break. And if you’re slap exhausted, don’t feel guilty about heading back to the hotel for a little while. It’s most important to take care of your health first — only then will you be able to enjoy the vacation.
Some on our team have a running theory that 85% of people are dehydrated at Disney World at all times, and we would probably believe it! With the walking, the sun, the sweating, and the amount of physical exertion that you’re doing, you should be drinking a TON of water. Dehydration can cause headaches, drowsiness, low blood pressure, fever, and much more. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel if you just keep drinking water throughout the day.
How do you make sure to keep that water intake up? Well, first of all, it’s a good idea to at least drink SOME water with every meal at Disney World. Also, bring reusable bottles to the parks and refill them at bottle refill stations throughout the day, or with cups of free water from quick service restaurants. You’ll thank us later!
So those are some unexpected issues that may arise during your Disney World vacation. But don’t worry we are here to HELP! If you have any planning questions, please reach out. We can direct you to a post filled with all the information you need! Stay tuned to DFB for all the advice and updates you need to know before your upcoming trip — we’ve got you covered with the latest!
What’s the strangest problem you’ve encountered in Disney World? Tell us in the comments!