Stop Wasting Time at Disney: Avoid These 5 Mistakes
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“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” – Vern Law
It’s crazy to me to think that just seven years ago, I was battling recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility, and then – just like that – I was celebrating our rainbow baby’s fifth birthday with two other tiny humans in tow! I spent the eighteen months leading up to her birthday researching what I had hoped would be an epic birthday for our firstborn, and epic it was. We spent ten days in April in sunny Orlando celebrating at none other than Disney World. All the planning in the world could not have prepared me for the madness, but had I not planned, I imagine my brain would have imploded and I would have had a gigantic meltdown right in the middle of Main Street on Day One. I don’t do well with crowds. Or chaos. Or clutter. It was sheer insanity from start to finish, and I’m happy to report we will be returning in just a few months for a Take-Two. Sans Insanity. Maybe. Hopefully.
While our first trip was definitely overwhelming and the logistical planning (mostly) paid off, there were experiences I had that I will not be recreating for our next adventure to the most magical place on earth.
5. NOT RESEARCHING TAKEOUT OPTIONS BEFORE OUR TRIP
Those eighteen months of research included literally hundreds of hours researching the best places to eat. I spent days combing through The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World reviewing statistical analyses of each restaurant, planning our days according to the Undercover Tourist crowd calendar, looping back to TouringPlans to determine where we’d be and when based on their recommended flow paths (this all occurred pre-Genie launch). Our plans looked more like something from a true crime detective series than a family vacation in progress. We did all the things with food in mind – including booking a DVC Vacation Club rental through Dave’s so we could save money on food on the days we decided not to tour. But the one thing I didn’t even consider looking into? Takeout. Let’s be real – when we arrived at our condo-style room, I was more than happy to prepare breakfast and pack lunches/snacks in our bento boxes. Still, I had absolutely zero desire to prepare dinner for our traveling party, which consisted of seven people. Not pre-researching takeout options proved to be a gigantic waste of our vacation time. Have you ever sat down to watch a movie with your significant other, scrolled through fifteen movies, and watched just as many trailers, only to throw in the towel and watch trashy TV because you’re so overwhelmed? Yeah. That happened. ON OUR VACATION! Usually, with little people that needed to be fed an hour ago and chewing through time, we could have otherwise enjoyed the pool or done literally anything else. Don’t do it. Don’t make that mistake. If you’re headed to Disney soon, find at least two takeout places you’d like to try (and that your traveling party will likely eat), then do yourself a *flavor* and save it in Google Maps. Don’t spend a single second more than you must navigating your phone. Life is for living.
The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2023 (Unofficial Guides)
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11/28/2023 04:55 pm GMT
4. HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
Every park is not for every person and Hollywood Studios is definitely not for me. In the slightest. Hollywood Studios was both overwhelming and underwhelming all at the same time. It honestly reminded me of a giant concrete parking lot. Maybe it was the fact that my youngest (10 months at the time) had a MASSIVE blowout in the security area on the way out, but yeah. No thanks. Let’s start with the fact that there were virtually no rides. There were seven. Total. Our crew only qualified for one due to height requirements. There were also miscellaneous shows, some of which were closed and others we just couldn’t make due to time constraints with naps. We did go into the Disney Junior Play and Dance and I could not have been more skeeved out. They had everyone sitting on the floor. Listen. I know Disney does a good job of cleaning and those Imagineers are hard at work every night. But are they disinfecting the floor? Probably not. I’ve seen enough clean room floors in my day to know that even THOSE are disgusting, forget a place where people have been traipsing through airports and walking around Orlando and then onto that floor. It’s amazing that the show hasn’t been a super spreader for any and all types of childhood diseases. Skeeve aside, I felt like the show was a high-speed conveyor belt – like I Love Lucy at the Chocolate Factory. We were barely in there for twenty minutes total, long enough to pick up a communicable disease, but not long enough for my kids to get comfortable and enjoy the show.
My takeaway is Hollywood Studios is great for character meet and greets that you can’t get elsewhere (IE Olaf, as well as Disney Junior characters like Fancy Nancy, Doc, and Vampirina), but that’s about it. From all the reviews I’ve read, the dining is terrible and since there just aren’t that many other rides, it’ll be a hard pass for my crew this time around. If you absolutely must go, go toward the end of your trip and plan for a two or three-day incubation time, so your kids are getting sick when they get home, as opposed to mid-trip or during your flight.
3. NOT BUYING A PARK HOPPER PASS
Let’s start with how INSANE park tickets are and some basic park math. For one day at Magic Kingdom, you’re looking at $159.00 for the day, just for entry. Disney is gracious enough to discount you $5 for children, so kids 3-9 enter for $154.00, despite not being able to access more than half the rides.
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