Walt Disney World First-Timer Mistakes to Avoid!

Are you ready to bring your children to Walt Disney World for the first time? Even you repeat visitors might pick up a good tip because Disney changes it up constantly!

These are the top 10 rookie mistakes that I have witnessed on my visits to Walt Disney World and Disneyland. As a travel planner, I love to help Disney guests navigate these happy and magical places!

1.) Making too few or too many dining reservations.

It is VERY important to pre-book the dining locations that are super popular. However, it is equally important to not make too many. Young children might be too exhausted to push through and sit through another dining reservation at the end of the day. Disney will charge a $10 per person cancellation fee if you are a no show. What is the magic number? It depends – each family is different!

2.) Waiting in long lines for counter service meals and snacks.

Use the mobile ordering feature on the My Disney Experience or Disneyland app. The line to get a popular snack might be 20 plus minutes long! Peak lunch time lines can be 30 plus minutes. If you order on the app, you can select your arrival window, pay on the app with your credit card or dining plan credits and swoop in and pick up your items! Walt DisneY World

3.) Wearing the wrong shoes!

Please put your children in tennis shoes or shoes that you know are comfortable enough for tons of walking. Even if using a stroller, there will be times when the kids have to walk and stand. Closed toe shoes are a good idea, too! I feel like they are safer to climb stairs and climb in and out of rides. Keep in mind that your feet might get wet, too! There are water rides and typical afternoon rain showers.

4.) Not putting your children in a stroller!

Many parents feel like their 4, 5 or even 6 year old children are too old for a stroller. Not in Disney World! There is SO much walking that they really need one, at least for part of the trip, to keep the joy! Plus, you can move more quickly if they are tucked in the stroller instead of walking slowly behind. You can bring your own or rent one.

5.) Not sticking to your little one’s typical schedule.

If your child MUST have a nap everyday, schedule that in. It is ok to go back to the room for a break and then return to a park in the evening.

6.) Not bringing cash.

Yes, you can usually charge to your room via your MagicBand but there are some items that will require cash at the resort and in the parks. Those eye catching Disney balloons, your resort bell services cast members, and in case of a MagicBand system failure are some of the reasons that come to mind and require cash. Pack pennies and quarters, too, if your kids enjoy making the pressed pennies from the machines that are in the parks and resorts.

7.) Not pre-selecting fast passes before heading to Walt Disney World.

If you don’t have time or don’t know what to choose, book your vacation through a travel agent who is well versed in Disney planning. These agents understand the fast pass system and can start you off with the best fast passes to match your family’s ages and style! The team at Castles & Cruises Travel Company will manage Disney plans for guests at no additional cost to you.

8.) Not packing a mobile cell phone charger or back up battery pack.

You will use your mobile phone to manage your plans that day, check wait times, snap photos and more. You will be stressed out if you don’t have a reliable mobile charger! There are fuel rod machines available in the parks to purchase chargers if you forget so ask a cast member for the nearest fuel rod vending machine if needed.

9.) Not starting your day with a solid plan!

You (or your travel planner) must map out a weekly plan and even a morning plan of where you will start each day. This makes your day much more pleasant!

10.) Not packing your patience!

Yes! Disney World and Disneyland are magical and happy! There might be unexpected lines, weather and changes that steer you off course! Be ready to pull out your patience and go to plan B if needed. I like to have the attitude that it is a family adventure (not a vacation!) and the unexpected sometimes leaves us with the best memories!

Have a wonderful trip!

Marissa Prejean
Marissa is the proud mom of three blue-eyed boys. She graduated from Loyola University New Orleans and spent her early career years in public accounting and pharmaceutical sales. She traded in her full-time corporate gig to stay home with her boys until the baby started school full time. Never expecting to work again, Marissa’s love for family vacations planted the seed to turn her hobby into a vacation planning service. Thanks to this world full of internet overwhelm and automated processes, old fashioned customer service served her well. She quickly grew her company, Castles and Cruises Travel Company, into a full service travel agency specializing in Disney and family travel. You will also find her chauffeuring children, volunteering at school, playing tennis, shopping a good sale, and drinking lots of coffee!


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