Everyone wants to have the best possible time at Disney, but there are a few things that can quickly ruin a Disney vacation. We want you to have the most magical time possible while you’re at Disney, so we’ve put together this list of common problems that can easily ruin your trip.
Along with the things to watch out for, we’ve included some handy tips of what you should do instead so these things are less likely to become a problem for you. Even the best-laid plans can go awry so even if you think you’ve thought of everything that can possibly go wrong, we want to just make sure that you have a fantastic Disney vacation!
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12 Ways to Ruin A Disney Vacation (And What To Do Instead!)
Not Wearing the Proper Shoes and Getting Blisters
Whichever Disney you’re visiting, whether that’s a park or a cruise ship, there will be at least some walking involved. Often quite a bit! Most of the Disney parks are pretty big, especially the colossal Walt Disney World. One of the worst things that can happen when you’re wandering the magical Disney, is to get blisters or sore feet from wearing the wrong kind of shoes.
We have put together a great list of recommended shoes for when you’re in the parks that you can check out. But what it boils down to is wearing comfortable shoes with a good level of support. Avoid wearing brand new shoes in case they need a little time to break in. And be careful when you’ve been on the water rides, as wet shoes is one of the leading cause of blisters.
Not Being Prepared for all of the Walking
As mentioned above, all the Disney parks are pretty huge and they require at least some walking. There are plenty of ways to cut down on the amount of walking if that’s what you’d like to do, but there will always be some level of walking involved.
Not being prepared for the amount of walking you’ll be doing can lead to a lot of problems. From getting blisters to missing reservation times, or just getting tired and grumpy, misjudging how much you’ll be walking can certainly ruin your Disney vacation.
Walt Disney World is by far the largest park and we have a guide for walking in Disney World specifically here. But all of the parks cover a vast area so you need to prepare for lots of walking. Wear good shoes, be careful with how much you’re carrying around, and give yourself plenty of time to get from one place to the next. Try and group sections of the parks in one go, rather than going back and forth throughout the day. And take plenty of rests if you need them, you don’t want to push yourself too much on the first day and have sore legs for the rest of your trip.
Not Being Prepared for Walking with Children
Maybe you walk for miles every day and run marathons on the weekends, walking around Disney should be no problem! That could all be true, and walking around should be an absolute doddle. But do your kids do the same?
For most adults, walking for most of the day shouldn’t cause too much of a problem, but being on your feet all day for children can be a lot of hard work and something they’re not used to. Letting your kids walk for some of your Disney vacation can be super helpful so you don’t have to worry about buggy parking or similar things, but it also can ruin your trip if you’re having to carry round a whining child the whole time. If you didn’t pack a buggy or carrier for your kids, then you can hire a buggy from nearly all the park entrances at all the parks. These are first come first served, but we have a helpful guide on buggy and wheelchair hire to help you out.
Overspending When You Don’t Have To
No one can deny that a Disney vacation is a pretty expensive thing. There are plenty of ways of cutting down the cost of your vacation to start with, from shopping around for deals and looking at off-site hotels. But once you’re inside the parks, it can seem like you have to spend even more money in order to have the best time.
This is simply not true. A Disney vacation is meant to be a magical experience for everyone and we don’t want it to be ruined for you because it’s well… ruinous! Once you’re inside the park, there are tons of free things to keep you occupied that will still let you have the most magical time. You can check out that list here!
Not Preparing for Heat in Summer
All of the Disney parks are located in places that get pretty warm, especially during the summer. I mean, who wants a Disney vacation where it’s going to be cold and wet the whole time? But if you’re not used to the heat, this can be something that easily ruins a holiday.
Disney put into place a lot of measures to stop their guests from overheating and if you are ever feeling unwell with the heat, the medical staff will be able to help you with this. But make sure that you’re drinking enough water, staying in the shade where possible and wearing sunscreen, particularly kids. Obviously the weather is not something anyone can control, but being prepared for the heat and knowing ways to beat the heat are a good way to make sure the weather doesn’t ruin your Disney vacation.
Being Unprepared for Rain at Disney
Too much heat isn’t the only weather than can ruin your Disney vacation. The opposite end of the scale, pouring rain, can be equally devastating if you’re not prepared for it. It can be a pain to always carry an umbrella ‘just in case’, but similarly rushing to buy a rain poncho in the parks can be just as annoying!
If it does happen to rain while you’re at Disney, follow our tips that you can find here. Importantly, remember to try and keep your feet dry as much as possible, and use a waterproof buggy and/or bag cover if possible – it’ll save a lot of hassle later! In general, rain at Disney doesn’t last too long and you’ll dry off quite quickly in the heat but the weather can be pretty temperamental and being unprepared can lead to a disappointing trip.
Over or Underpacking your Disney Park Bag
There’s nothing more infuriating than needing that one thing and realising that you left it at home. Except maybe lugging that huge bag around with you all day to realise most of it never even got taken out once!
What you pack into your park bag is something that is way more important than you might think! While you may think you can just nip back to your room if you forget to bring something with you, in actual fact that’s a real pain to do. Similarly, being over prepared can make your day, and your back, unbearable! What you’ll need in your bag will depend on what you have planned for the day, and what kind of group you’re with. But you need to think carefully about what’s necessary and what’s unimportant. We’ve got a helpful guide to packing your Disney bag that should hopefully help you out!
Not Making Any Advanced Dining Reservations
Disney goes all out on everything it does, that’s what makes it all so magical, and the restaurants are no different. This is why we don’t want you to miss out on some of the more unique dining experiences and ruining your Disney vacation by not booking in advance.
Some restaurants will let you walk in and take a seat and there are plenty of quick service options if you’re just looking to grab something quick to eat. But if you want a full Disney dining experience, you’re likely going to need an advanced reservation. You don’t need to book for every single meal but to make the most of your time and get the best experience, it’s good to get a few.
Underestimating the Crowds
A trip to Disney is a wonderful experience for everyone but it can really make a difference when you go. Some people like to go for special events, such as Halloween or Christmas, and some choose to go when the kids are off school in summer, and others just go whenever they feel like it! Whenever you’re going, it’s good to have some kind of idea of what the crowds are going to be like.
If you’re going during a holiday, you need to be prepared for larger crowds, whereas if you can go during term time in a cooler season, you can get a much quieter park. Either way, you want to prepare the level. This can mean making more advanced reservations or utilising the fast pass system more. Check out our Walt Disney World crowd calendar and our Disneyland crowd calendar for a good indication of the crowds when you want to visit.
Not Using A Way To Skip The Line
The different Disney parks have slightly different “skip the line” systems and we have some helpful guides about the different ones – but in general, there is a system that is available to everyone, free of charge, that can make your Disney vacation so much better.
Missing out on your favourite rides can really ruin a Disney vacation so being able to utilize a system such as Genie+ to guarantee a ride is a great way to stop this. You don’t necessarily have to spend any money to use fast passes, although there are different options available if you’d prefer that. But even just getting a few passes each day can be the difference between a ride on your favourite coaster and not.
Not Understanding the Layout of the Parks
As we’ve previously mentioned, the Disney parks are huge! But they all are handley separated into different themed lands and once you know you’re way around the parks, you’ll soon pick up shortcuts that make seeing everything you want to see so much easier.
You don’t want to have to walk all the way across the park in between each ride so understanding how the park is laid out and the quickest way between lands is a great way to avoid ruining your Disney vacation, and your feet. Check out the Disney maps here or alternatively the different Disney parks have apps you can use that give you a map too! Having a good understanding of where you’re going is a sure way to save you time in the parks that will let you have even more fun!
Not Understanding Height Restrictions
What can be even more heartbreaking than not having chance to ride the ride you’ve been dying to ride, is getting there and not being able to. A lot of the rides at Disney have a certain height requirement that all riders must meet in order to go on the ride. This is a legal requirement and is for the safety of all passengers.
Disney cast members are very strict about this so even if you’re an inch too short, they will not let you ride. It’s a good idea to check the requirements before you go and have a good understanding of the heights of the people in your group, to try and avoid any disappointment while you’re there. That being said though, the final decision is the cast members so even if you’ve measured them at home and the cast member is saying no, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s best to be aware of this before you go so that being turned away doesn’t result in your trip being ruined.
Hopefully nothing will happen that will completely ruin your Disney vacation as there are so many wonderful and magical things to do that one bad thing shouldn’t ruin it all. But it’s good to be aware of potential pitfalls so you can prepare for the worst and hopefully have the best time!