Don’t Do These Eight Things at Walt Disney World
I always say that you can’t go wrong when you visit Walt Disney World, and I genuinely mean that.
Honestly, the statement involves a bit of hyperbole, though. The truth is that you can make some mistakes in and around the parks if you’re not careful.
Today, I’m going to list eight things that you should NOT do at Walt Disney World.
PS: If you disagree with any of them, that’s totally fine. Everyone vacations differently.
Forget Sunscreen and an Umbrella
Let’s start with the obvious topic: Florida weather. It’s more mercurial than a two-year-old.
One moment, you’ll feel the heat blaring down on your neck, desperately hoping for some shade.
Seconds later, a rainstorm will appear out of nowhere and shower you with unwelcome wetness.
Such is life at Walt Disney World, a place where the weather turns on you faster than a pro wrestling tag team partner.
So, you need to prepare with two items. You’ll need to bathe in sunscreen before you head out to the parks.
Then, keep some spray sunscreen with you. This item is necessary because of the random rain. It’ll wash off your sunscreen!
Of course, you can avoid that, at least partially, by carrying an umbrella or rain slicker with you for your park visit.
I’m not saying these items will solve all your weather problems, but they’ll help.
People who forget that will have two choices: suffer through inclement weather or pay high prices for sunscreen and umbrellas at park stores.
Go on a Wet Ride First
Let’s continue the theme here. This topic has proven a bit controversial over the years, which surprises me.
Some folks love the idea of heading straight to Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids first thing in the morning.
I guess the strategy makes perfect sense if you don’t spend much time getting dressed in the morning.
If your hair isn’t perfect, you’ll have a built-in excuse when other park guests notice that you’re dripping wet. You just got dunked, right?
Well, that’s an approach that just doesn’t work for me. Parks are coldest in the morning, which can be a problem at various times from October through February.
So, getting wet right off the bat strikes me as a poor idea on its own. That goes double if you’ve dressed up any for park pictures.
You’ll negate all your best intentions by losing a battle on Kali River Rapids. All your hard work at the hotel room goes for naught when you pick a wet ride first.
Ignore the Resorts
Disney hasn’t constructed its hotels randomly. Park officials have spent a staggering amount of money to create cathedrals at Walt Disney World.
The strategy here involves siphoning some guests out of the parks by persuading them to spend some time at the resorts.
I understand the desire to maximize park time. In fact, my wife and I used to be like that. Then, we started spending more time at the hotels.
These experiences proved life changing. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but they were vacation changing.
You’ll find so many amenities at resorts that rival anything at the parks. To wit, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge features animal habitats, too.
During a visit here, you can enjoy many of the same benefits of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, only the areas won’t include the same crowds.
At hotels like Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, you can walk on the sand and relish a couple of hours of beachy living.
Plus, the food at the resorts rivals and often surpasses your options at the parks.
Ignore Disney’s official resorts at your own peril!
Leave Your Phone Behind
Okay, this topic has turned into a hot-button discussion for many.
Old school park guests prefer to take in all the wonders of Walt Disney World without the distractions that come from smartphones.
That’s a respectable philosophy, as it enhances the immersion of a park visit.
Alas, Disney executives know that the parks run more efficiently when people use their phones for admission, meal orders, and purchases.
As such, the My Disney Experience app drives much of the park experience these days.
When you need directions to a bathroom, information about wait times, or details about park operating hours, My Disney Experience hooks you up.
As such, you really need your phone to maximize a park visit.
Ride the Orange Version of Mission: SPACE
Okay, I’m only calling out one ride here, but I feel pretty strongly about it. Don’t be a hero at Mission: SPACE!
Imagineers constructed this ride to include a centrifuge. That’s a hardcore G-force experience that isn’t for everyone.
When you ride the Orange version of Mission: SPACE, you could easily grow nauseous and ruin your next few hours of park time.
If you want to experience this attraction, choose the Green version instead! The ride doesn’t include a Martian landing, but you do get to circle the Earth.
More importantly, the centrifuge never activates on the Green side of the ride. So, it’s much less stressful on your body.
You can ride Mission: SPACE without risking your health and potentially feeling miserable afterward.
Spend a Holiday at a Disney Park
Again, some folks will strongly disagree with this statement. To them, a Disney holiday visit has evolved into a family tradition.
Also, holiday trips enable guests to visit the parks without wasting as much valuable vacation time. I totally appreciate all these things.
Even so, I strongly encourage you not to visit Walt Disney World on/around Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, and New Year’s Eve/Day.
Annual park calendar data suggests that these are the most crowded dates each year.
Larger crowds mean longer lines, which mean you’ll have to spend more time waiting to ride your favorites.
The trade-off here isn’t worth the benefit of saving an extra vacation day or two.
Go in February or September instead. You’ll get much better value from your trip. Also, since Disney employs tiered pricing now, you’ll spend less money, too!
Stay in a Large Party All Day
This one drives me crazy, as it demonstrates how little some people understand the mechanics of a park visit.
I’ve been parts of groups of 10+ people many times, including recently. And I’m here to tell you something obvious.
You need to split up into smaller groups at times. Otherwise, you’ll face issues getting seated at restaurants. Also, you’ll cause crowds in attraction line queues.
Plus, you’ll all try to huddle to hear one another talk, creating bottlenecks for other guests trying to walk past you.
When you’re going to be with 10+ people, take a more practical approach. Split into groups of four or five and then pick a few places to switch up.
In fact, don’t be afraid to rotate the people in your groups so that you can spend time with everyone.
That strategy works much more effectively than trying to keep everyone in one place for an entire park day. That’s even worse than herding cats!
Wait More Than an Hour for a Ride
Okay, here’s one that you won’t want to hear, but I’m giving you some solid, practical advice here.
Some Walt Disney World consistently require wait times of an hour or more.
The usual suspects include Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Test Track, and (especially) Avatar Flight of Passage.
Unless you arrive at Rope Drop, you’ll notice wait times of this length for most of the day.
However, you should resist temptation! All three of those entries are at different parks! As such, you can utilize a pro tip to avoid that nonsense.
When you get in line for a Disney attraction during park hours, you’ll get to ride it no matter what.
So, the best approach involves showing some patience. Wait until the final hour of the park day. Then, head to one of these lines.
The crowd thins out around this time, meaning that you’ll experience an E ticket attraction without spending a sweaty, grueling hour in line.
You can always find something worth your time at a Disney theme park.
Don’t feel like you need to suffer in the longest line to experience something!