Guests enjoy time at Magic Kingdom Park, Oct. 1, 2021, on the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

STOP: Don’t Make These Walt Disney World Planning Mistakes

We want you to have a fantastic Walt Disney World vacation, but you might feel overwhelmed by all the pressure of Disney planning.  To help you out, we have some Disney planning mistakes you won’t want to make as you prepare for your Walt Disney World vacation.

Not Planning

The days of just showing up at Walt Disney World for a Disney vacation are long gone.  It takes some time and effort now to have a successful and magical vacation.  Don’t make the mistake of not planning anything for your vacation.

After you have determined where to stay and have purchased your Walt Disney World tickets, don’t think that you are done.  Walt Disney World is requiring all Guests to have a Disney Park Pass Reservation.

Disney Park Pass Reservations are reservations into one of the four Disney Theme Parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios) for each day of your vacation.

These are required to get into a Theme Park and do fill up so you will want to snag them as soon as possible.

We understand that not everyone wants to have an hour by hour schedule on vacation, but we feel that a plan of some sort is key to a good Disney vacation.

Sit down with those traveling together and determine what the big goals are for everyone.  Figure out what rides, snacks, and experiences are important to each person so you will know where your focus should be when you arrive on your Disney trip.

Having an overall plan can be extremely important to getting a lot done and feeling successful during your vacation.

Oga’s Cantina (Credit: Disney)

Not Thinking Ahead About Food

Park Passes aren’t the only reservations that are needed in Walt Disney World.  Those wanting to experience table service meals during their vacations are going to want to plan ahead and make a dining reservation.

Guests are currently able to make dining reservations 60 days prior to Resort check in.  For those highly popular locations such as the new Space 220 Restaurant, California Grill, and Oga’s Cantina, Guests will want to be ready to go right at the 60 day mark, as they fill up quickly.

We have seen the majority of table service locations have limited availability so planning ahead is essential.

If Guests aren’t wanting to experience table-servicing meals, it is still important to think ahead when it comes to dining.

Quick service locations now require Mobile Ordering through the My Disney Experience app.  Don’t be surprised by this expectation, but instead be prepared and ready to go.

You need to have a credit card on file and you should look over the Mobile Order feature on the app ahead of time so you will know how it works.  This will make dining go a lot smoother and won’t result in people being hungry.

Not Knowing Disney Lingo

Disney seems to have a language all of its own.  To make sure you aren’t confused the whole time you are on vacation, take some time to familiarize yourself with the Disney lingo.

We have a whole article dedicated to terms you should know before your vacation so you will be better prepared.  Take a look at it for a starting place when it comes to Disney phrases and words to know before your Disney World trip.

These phrases are important to understanding where to access information and what advantages are out there for Guests to use.

Right now, important lingo includes My Disney Experience, Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Lightning Lanes.  These are phrases that you will hear often on your Disney vacation, and you will want to be educated on what they are prior to your visit.

Not Understanding Transportation Options

We have mentioned a lot in previous articles that Walt Disney World is huge.  With four Theme Parks, two Water Parks, Disney Springs, and many Resorts, it can be challenging to get around.

As you are planning, make sure you think through how to get from point A to point B during your vacation.

Overall, getting from a Disney Resort to a Disney Park or Disney Springs is simple.  Disney provides buses, boats, the Disney Skyliner, or even the monorail as options.  Just look into which of these is provided at your specific Disney Resort.

If you are traveling between Resorts, this is where it can get tricky.  Know that there aren’t direct buses between Disney Resorts so you will need to make a plan.  You don’t want to get stuck after a magical dining experience not knowing how to get back to your Resort.

We have a good article about all of Disney’s transportation that might help you out along the way.

Credit: Disney


We know we have spent a lot of time discussing how not planning for things can lead to issues, but over planning can be a mistake as well.

When planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, you want to make sure you have an overall guide for your time, but don’t schedule every minute out in detail.

As we mentioned earlier, know what the must do experiences are for each member of your party, and the rest is extra magic.

If you try to schedule out every moment of the day, you will end up missing the magical experiences happening right in front of you.

The best planning method is to be educated in the Disney lingo, have an overall plan, and prepare ahead of time for experiences like dining and Disney Park Pass Reservations, but then leave room for flexibility.

Going about your planning with this strategy will set you and everyone in your group up for success.

We hope that knowing about these planning mistakes will help you avoid them as you prepare for your magical Walt Disney World vacation.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.