Last Updated on August 25, 2023 by Happily Ever Park Hoppers
5 Mistakes to stop making on your Walt Disney World vacation
Heading to the Walt Disney World Resort for the first time and wanting to hit the parks like a pro? Maybe you’ve already been and want to avoid making the same mistakes twice? Below are five easy tips to use to help improve your Walt Disney World Resort vacation.
What are the 5 mistakes to avoid?
1. Paying for Water
The first mistake you should absolutely avoid is paying for water in the parks. Not only is paying for water in the parks a large added expense to your budget, it is completely avoidable. All of the Quick Service locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort offer FREE cups of ice water. When you pick up your food at the counter, all you have to do is ask a Cast Member for X number of cups of ice water, and they will happily give you how many ever cups you need.
There are a few water refilling stations where you can refill a reusable water bottle.
Magic Kingdom Water Refilling Location(s)
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Water Refilling Location(s)
- Near Expedition Everest ride entrance
- Near the Flight of Passage ride entrance
- Near the Na’vi River Journey ride entrance
- Jambo House playground
Epcot Water Refilling Location(s)
- Near the restrooms by Starbucks in World Showcase
- Epcot Experience
- Odyssey Events Center
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Water Refilling Location(s)
- Near the Slinky Dog Dash ride entrance
- Near the exit of Smugglers Run
- Near the restrooms in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- At the bus stops/Skyliner station, outside the park
2. Not Sharing Food
Disney portions are HUGE. One big mistake many guests make, is by over ordering. You can easily share most meals at Disney because the serving sizes are gigantic. Especially when traveling with several little kids, most meals can be shared between 2 (maybe even 3) kids.
Alternatively, some of the kid’s meals have more than enough food for an adult. Kid’s meals are generally half the price of adult meals or a few dollars less but they come with a small water bottle and snack (like a cutie mandarin orange). Some of the food is also really heavy. Having a couple chicken tenders and fries could be more than enough for myself.
Sometimes my husband and I will even share an appetizer and an entree, especially if we’ve been snacking around the World Showcase. We love having a Mickey Pretzel or Churro, but those snacks can be very filling or something to hold us over until we sit down for a meal. Again, sharing food in the parks is a great way to cut down on food costs and stay under budget.
3. Skipping Rope Drop
Another big mistake first-time guests make is skipping Rope Drop. If you don’t know, Rope Drop is a term used at Disney parks. And is when you arrive at the parks before the posted park hours. Guests will be allowed to enter the parks and will be held at the entrance of the different lands with a rope. Once the park officially opens, the rope will be “dropped” (removed). During the first hour or so that the parks are open, are when the parks will be the least busy, lowest crowds and/or shortest lines throughout the day. This is when you can expect to be the most productive without having to pay extra for Disney Genie+ or an Individual Lightning Lane. If your plan is to Rope Drop the top ride in any given park, I suggest you get in the park plenty early.
It’s important to know the Park Hours of each park so you know how early you should arrive. Depending on where you are staying, you should plan accordingly for the transit time and security lines. Since reopening after the pandemic, the security lines have improved significantly and it doesn’t take nearly as long to get through the security lines. However, you should still plan for it to take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour if you’re staying on property. Some of the Disney Resort Hotels have multiple bus stops, or if you’re attempting to Rope Drop, there might be a long line for the Bus or Disney Skyliner, first thing in the morning.
4. Forgetting to pack a Portable Charger
One little tidbit that most people don’t grasp before their first Walt Disney World Resort vacation, is just how much you’re going to be on your phone. And by doing so, your phone’s battery is going to run out, and run out very quickly. Between checking the wait times, booking Lightning Lanes and using Mobile Order, you’re going to need to charge your phone at some point throughout the day. Not having a portable charger in your park bag is a BIG rookie mistake.
In case you forget to bring one with you, there are Fuel Rod stations in the parks, but they will cost you $30 for one charger! The do come fully ready to use and include a couple different cords. You can buy them online for much cheaper. These Fuel Rod stations are also great if you do buy them ahead of time and the one you have is dead. Locate a station and you can swap out your dead Fuel Rod for a fully charged one.
5. Only using the Express Monorail
Finally, the last mistake you should avoid on your Walt Disney World Resort vacation is only using the Express Monorail line. At the end of every night, after the fireworks show, there is a mass exodus leading to a GIGANTIC line waiting for the Express monorail.
Most people assume that if you are not staying at one of the Monorail Resorts, you can’t use the Resort Monorail. This is completely UNTRUE. Anyone, Disney Resort Guest or not, can use both Monorail lines. The Resort Monorail will stop at the Disney Resort Hotels located on the Monorail Loop, but the time you spend waiting in that massive line will take 3-5x longer than if you just took the Resort Line. The Resort Line will go from Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort and then to the Transportations & Ticket Center.
You can also take the Ferry Boat to the Transportation & Ticket Center or one of the Resort Boat Launches. The walk from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort isn’t too far to the parking lot of the Transportation & Ticket Center. Just make sure you are getting on the correct boat. I suggest to scope out all the different lines and see which is the shortest and don’t be afraid to ask a Cast Member how long they expect until the next boat/ferry will be.
Spreading magic one post at a timeKristin