6 Mistakes People Make When Planning Walt Disney World Vacations

6. Too short/too long vacations

I think that it’s really important to research a Disney vacation before you decide how long you’re going to stay in Disney for. To some guests, everything they want to do in Disney can be done in a couple of days at the most. For others, two weeks doesn’t even seem like enough time. I generally do some research to see how many things I really want to make sure I do during my vacation, and I also factor travel time into the length of the trip. If I live a two hour car ride away, I wouldn’t mind only going for the weekend. However, if my commute to Disney includes a ten hour plane ride, I’d like to stay for at least an entire week.

5. Not using Fastpass+

Some people find the new Fastpass system to be a little bit too micro-managing for their vacation style, and they therefore decide to forgo using Fastpasses at all. I think this is a mistake simply because having Fastpasses already booked basically makes you better safe than sorry. Reserving Fastpasses really is not time consuming at all, and it can help you in the long run if you arrive at the parks to see that they’re surprisingly crowded and the wait times for your favorite attractions are longer than you expected. To me, it’s better to make some Fastpass reservations and have them just in case, than to not have them and be disappointed that I’ll have to wait in a long line to experience any attractions.

4. Purchasing packages you won’t need

When planning a Disney vacation, it’s really important to choose a package that includes options you know you’ll actually use. If your vacation package includes a bunch of extras that you know you won’t be using, compare the price to a vacation where you book each thing you’ll definitely use separately and go with the cheaper option. The same logic should go for dining plans. Determine which plan, if any, is best for you based on the price and how much you’ll actually eat. The deluxe plan might seem like it offers the most savings, but if you know you won’t really want to eat that many quick service meals, this plan would not be worth the money spent on it.

3. Choosing the wrong time of year

Without properly planning and researching a Disney vacation, you can find yourself unexpectedly in the midst of spring break season or the holiday craziness that tends to take place between Christmas and New Year’s. Some people, believe it or not, actually plan to go to Disney between Christmas and New Year’s because they assume the parks would be quiet—they think that most people would be home celebrating the holidays with extended family rather than visiting a theme park. On the contrary, this is actually one of the most crowded time to go to the parks. A little research in this area while planning your trip can definitely go a long way.

2. Going without any dining reservations

Disney is definitely an easier trip to plan when you know you’re guaranteed to have a table at some of your favorite restaurants. Some Disney restaurants fill up quick, so make sure to book those reservations far enough in advance that you’ll be able to eat at some of your favorites. I don’t mean to sound discouraging—I’ve had plenty of luck finding restaurants where I can easily walk up and be seated without a reservation, but depending on the time of year and your party size you might not be so lucky. Having advanced dining reservations will add some structure to your trip, and you’ll be relieved to know that there are at least some days where you’ll eat at table service locations knowing you’ll be able to get a table.

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1. Not planning enough

The biggest mistake anyone can make when planning a Disney vacation is simply not planning enough. The biggest part of this is doing your research. If you absolutely need to be close to the Magic Kingdom and stay at a deluxe level resort, don’t be upset when you realize the Yacht and Beach Club is closer to Epcot and you could have stayed at the Contemporary instead. Doing your research also means making yourself familiar with what the parks are currently like. If your last trip to Disney was ten years ago, or if you’ve never been, planning some things you’d like to do before your trip, and learning about what might be different since you’ve last been will be very helpful once you arrive at the parks.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.