New visitors to Walt Disney World Resort may think they have done all the research necessary before their vacation, but no one is really prepared for the size, the crowds, the enormity of Walt Disney World until they arrive for the first time. Research is definitely important before your first trip (or a really good Disney travel agent), but research will not really prepare some for that first visit. Even after one or two visits, the enormity of WDW can still be overwhelming. Here are a few of the mistakes I often see “newbies” make:
NOT MAKING ADVANCED DINING RESERVATIONS
Listen to what everyone tells you and be sure to make reservations for those character meals or for the restaurants that you really want to try. You (and your children) will be extremely disappointed if you try to enjoy a character meal and most table service restaurants without a reservation. You will more than likely eat nothing but quick service meals should you visit without advanced dining reservations.
MAKING TOO MANY TABLE SERVICE RESERVATIONS
A little contradictory I know! Yes, Disney has some great restaurants and you want to try as many as you can. However, if you have table service reservations for 3 meals a day, you will spend most of your time sitting in restaurants and very little time exploring the parks and attractions. And – you are on vacation so why have such a strict time schedule. Some guests, especially first timers, plan on having more table service meals and less quick service meals or snacks. While Disney does have some excellent table service options, eating in a restaurant like this can easily take up a lot of your time.
EATING QUICK SERVICE MEALS DURING PEAK HOURS
Quick service meals will definitely not be quick when it’s a busy period in the parks and 12:00 noon! Eat a little earlier or have a mid-morning snack and eat a bit later. During peak times and meal hours, you can wait in line for quite a while waiting to order quick service food.
NOT MAKING FASTPASS RESERVATIONS (OR USING FASTPASS WRONG)
If you don’t make any FastPass reservations before your trip, you will definitely lose valuable time in the parks. Using FastPass can lower your attraction wait time significantly throughout the day, saving you several hours per day during peak times. When you do make FastPass reservations, don’t make them for near park opening when wait times aren’t quite so long yet. Don’t use FastPass reservations for shows or fireworks since most shows hold many, many people and fireworks – well, fireworks – look up – you’ll see them from almost any position in the parks. Also be sure to look at a map of the park before making your FastPass reservations. Don’t make reservations that will have you criss-crossing the park to get from one scheduled FastPass to another.
NOT USING DISNEY TRANSPORTATION
Disney has an outstanding transportation system that starts from the minute your plane lands in Orlando until it’s time to go home. DO NOT rent a car if you plan to stay on WDW property. The time it will take you to leave property to eat or shop due to traffic and trying to find your way around isn’t worth it. Once Disney’s Magical Express bus service delivers you to your resort, there are buses, ferries, trams, monorails and boats that will take you everywhere you need to go. Sit back, relax and let Disney transportation get you where you want to go!