The Most Unrealistic Expectations People Have About Their Disney World Trips

Congratulations! You’re going to Disney World. If this is your first trip, you’re probably deep in the research phase trying to figure out everything you need to plan, how long to stay, what tickets you need to get, where to stay, what to pack, and more.

Cinderella Castle

You probably have some expectations about that trip, too, including what you want to see and do, what you want to ride, and more. However, many Disney World first-timers often have unrealistic expectations about their trip, so we’re here to tell you about those and how you can successfully navigate those expectations.

You can do everything

Disney World is MASSIVE, and we’re just going to tell you there is no possible way you’ll be able to do everything at the resort in one trip. There is SO much to see and do that you’ll just want to make future trips to come back and see even more. We go to Disney World every day, and every day, we’re surprised by something new.

You can’t do everything in Disney World in one trip

Make a list of your priorities and be realistic with them. Otherwise, you’ll just spend a lot of time running around trying to do the impossible.

You want to eat at a table service restaurant for every meal

We get it, Disney World has a lot of amazing table service restaurants, but you need to know that table service restaurants will generally eat up a lot of your time. Doing 2-3 table service meals per day could mean you’ll spend more time sitting at a table in a restaurant than anything else. You’ll also spend more money if you do that, so this isn’t exactly a budget-friendly thing to do either.

Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom

The general rule of thumb is to make one table service reservation per day and then count on quick service for the rest of your meals. Also, don’t underestimate Disney World’s quick service restaurants –– you might just find your next favorite meal at one.

Underestimating transportation time

Don’t get us wrong. Disney World’s free transportation system with buses, boats, the Monorail, and the Skyliner is very efficient and can usually get you where you want to go. However, it can often take more time than you think to get from point A to point B.

Disney Bus

If you have to be anywhere at a certain time, whether that be for rope drop or a dining reservation, make sure you add in extra time on waiting for transportation, as well as for the time it will take transportation to get you to your destination. We’d recommend giving yourself at least an extra hour if you’re taking Disney World’s transportation options.

You don’t have to plan everything

We’ve seen folks recommending that you plan every minute of every day of your Disney World trip. It used to be pretty common to see folks with binders and spreadsheets with detailed itineraries (now, you can do all that on your phone). Don’t do this. Don’t plan everything.

You don’t want to miss out — so don’t overplan

If you plan out every single thing, you’re going to end up missing out on so many spontaneous things that happen in Disney World. You’ll also just run yourself ragged, and where’s the fun in that? Don’t forget: This is a vacation. Leave your grueling schedules at home with work.

Staying from park open to close

We get it — you want to spend as much time in the theme parks as possible to get the most out of your money and time. But we can’t reiterate this enough: you are on vacation. Act like it. Take some downtime every day (this is especially true if you have children).

Spend some time at your hotel pool

Take a midday break and go back to your hotel for a swim or a nap. You’ll feel SO much better and won’t wear yourself out as much. You can look at it like this: Yes, you paid big $$$ for this vacation, but part of that IS for your hotel, so take advantage of that, too.

Using Genie+ means you don’t have to stand in any lines

There is a bit of an expectation when it comes to purchasing Genie+ (soon to be Lightning Lane Multi Pass) and Individual Lightning Lane (soon to be Lightning Lane Single Pass). You might think you won’t have to wait in ANY line for rides, but that’s not the truth.

Lightning Lane signage in Disney World

You’ll still have to wait in the Lightning Lane for rides, but purchasing this service means you’ll wait less time than you would in standby lines. It means shorter waits, not no waits at all.

You can just ask for Magical Moments

You’ve probably seen a ton of social media posts about folks visiting Disney World and just having some magical spontaneous moments with Cast Members and characters. So you might think this is something you can just ask for. NEVER ask a Cast Member for a magical moment.

Don’t ask Cast Members for magical moments

A magical moment is SUPPOSED to be a surprise, so please don’t be one of those entitled people who feel they have the right to ask for certain privileges over other guests. Magical moments happen when you least expect them, and that’s why they’re so special. Trust us, you’ll get plenty of these magical interactions throughout your trip.

Underestimating how much everything costs

We’re sure you are already aware of how expensive a Disney World vacation can be, but make sure you leave room in your budget for expenses when you get there.  If you’re eating at table service restaurants, you’ll need to remember to leave extra $$$ in your budget for tips. You might also be shocked at the general cost of food and souvenirs, too.

Don’t underestimate the price of food

There are ways to save money in Disney World, don’t get us wrong. But it’s best to overestimate how much you’ll spend on things like food and souvenirs, rather than underestimate. When it comes to food, you can also look at restaurant menus on the Disney World website or My Disney Experience app to get an idea of what you might spend.

If you have some of these misconceptions, it’s okay. We were all Disney World first-timers at some point. What we like to do, though, is prepare you for your trip so that you can have the most magical time possible

Check back with AllEars again soon for more.

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What unrealistic expectations have you had about Disney World before? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Replies to “The Most Unrealistic Expectations People Have About Their Disney World Trips”

  1. My advice is as follows: eat breakfast in your hotel room (pack it in your luggage or buy it in the hotel shop). It will save you time and money. The only park you should plan on doing in one day and not leaving and returning is Animal Kingdom as it closes early and can be done in less than a day. Plan a dinner in another resort using the Disney Transportation system. Lots of great restaurants you easily can miss. I never do everything I want, but I love the sights, scenes, beauty, and ability to , believe it or not, relax and forget about day to day life and politics and so forth. That is why I start looking forward to my next visit even before I get home. I have never , in 30 years, left Disney and said ” That was a drag. I’m glad its over.”

  2. I just came back from a bust for the first time in 18 years. I am now handicapped and worried how that would be but Disney was fantastic. I use a scooter and was able to get around with ease. All transportation was available and even some of the rides. My room at All Star Animation was even accommodating. What a wonderful vacation.

  3. Totally agree about transportation time budget. Especially the bus. You will inevitably get to the bus stop 1 minute after a bus departs and will be waiting for the next one. I wish they would incorporate a way to track when the bus will be at a stop on the Disney app.