Eight Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Walt Disney World Trip

Planning a trip to Disney World can be overwhelming, to say the least. It’s also all too easy to make mistakes along the way, which is totally understandable and totally normal! 

Cinderella Castle

But with a few key tips to keep in mind, there are certain crucial mistakes that you can avoid, making your trip-planning process (and your trip!) much smoother! 

Don’t Over-Plan 

It’s easy to overdo it in Disney World. With so many things to do, see, and eat, it’s all too easy to slip into the habit of over-planning and overextending yourself in order to jam-pack your day with as much as possible. But this is easily one of the biggest mistakes you can make! 

Animal Kingdom crowds

By going non-stop throughout the entire day, all you’re going to do is end up exhausted and sore. Sure, you’ll probably go on a lot of rides and eat a lot of fun snacks! But you might wind up resentful of how tired it made you along the way. 

Disney Crowds

Nothing dims the glow of the Disney magic like an over-stuffed day, so take it easy, don’t over-plan, and enjoy the parks at a comfortable pace.

Don’t Blow Your Budget

New merch! Collectible MagicBands! Must-have snacks! Splashy dinners! There’s certainly no shortage of things to spend money on in Disney World, so it helps to come in with advanced expectations. 

MORE Halloween Merchandise

You’re on vacation in the Most Magical Place on Earth, so certainly you should treat yourself to some souvenirs and splurge-y meals, but it’s important to set a comfortable budget ahead of time, and stick to it as much as possible. 

The Disney Princess Line!

There’s nothing quite like the sinking feeling of looking at your bank statement after a Disney vacation and remembering how you spent a little too much at Disney Springs or ate one too many Mickey Pretzels. 

Not Spending Quality Time at Your Hotel

For so many guests visiting Disney World, it’s easy to forget that the Disney hotels are just as magical as the parks! 

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Not only are the hotels great for recharging and relaxing, but these beautifully themed spaces are as enchanting as Magic Kingdom, offering plenty of fun amenities, gorgeous pools, and some of the best restaurants on property! 

Stormalong Bay

Trust us, you’re gonna want to carve out time to appreciate your hotel as more than just a place to sleep. 

Not Booking Dining Reservations in Advance

No surprise here, but some of the buzziest and most sought-after restaurants in Disney World are also some of the hardest to get into! 

Cinderella’s Royal Table

That’s why Advanced Dining Reservations are a crucial aspect of any Disney trip, in order to ensure you have your best shot at snagging a table at Be Our Guest, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, or any number of coveted restaurants. 

Check-In Area at Yachtsman Steakhouse

Also, just because you don’t see reservations available at first, be sure to frequently check your My Disney Experience app to search for new reservation openings — you never know when an opening for Oga’s Cantina might surprisingly pop up at the optimal time! 

Ditto Park Pass Reservations

Even more crucial than making Advanced Dining Reservations is snagging a Park Pass Reservation for your park of choice. 

Magic Kingdom

Especially with the 50th Anniversary Celebration coming up, it’s going to be pivotal that you plan ahead and make a Park Pass Reservation ASAP so that you don’t miss out on the park you have your heart set on. 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Hot tip: Disney’s Hollywood Studios is still the hottest ticket in Disney World, and Magic Kingdom is sure to start filling up on the reg, too! 

Don’t Be Fooled Into Buying Merch

Disney World is a master at marketing its merchandise…and getting it in your face to buy it. Nowhere is this more evident than the gift shops at attraction exits, where guests are filtered through while on an emotional high (aka likely to be persuaded into buying ride-themed apparel). 

Tower of Terror gift shop

Making purchases in Disney World should be something you spend some time thinking about and prioritizing (see earlier point about sticking to a budget). So don’t feel obligated to make an impromptu purchase at a ride exit! 

Dinosaur Gift Shop

If you REALLY want that Tower of Terror bathrobe, you can always circle back later! 

Only Book a Park Hopper If You Know You’re Ready For It

Disney World is huge, immersive, and exhausting. Spending a single day in one park can take a lot out of you, so sometimes upgrading to a Park Hopper ticket option just doesn’t make a lot of sense. 

EPCOT Entrance

Considering the Park Hopper option really amps up the overall cost of your Disney trip, you should think hard about how you’ll use it and if it makes sense for you. Only book a Park Hopper ticket if you’re 100% sure you’ll have the time and energy to double up on parks in one day! 

Verify Park Hours

Especially as we enter the holidays, it’s becoming increasingly important to constantly verify park hours to ensure you aren’t buying a ticket for a park that isn’t even open that long. 

Magic Kingdom

For instance, Magic Kingdom has started scaling back its usual hours on select evenings to accommodate its Halloween Boo Bash, so if you were hoping to get a Park Pass for Magic Kingdom on a day when you can stick around until fireworks, you’ll want to book it another day and swap it for a park that is open later. 

Main Street, U.S.A.

There are lots of details that go into planning a Disney World trip, but with these simple tips to keep in mind, the process is sure to go a lot smoother, and guarantee a fun-filled vacation that won’t leave you exhausted, disappointed, or bankrupt!

Disney World Planning Tips No One Has Told You

What’s your best advice for ensuring the perfect Disney World trip? Let us know in the comments!

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