5 Ways to, YIKES, Totally Wreck a Disney World Vacation

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate Princess.com

Disney World is extremely expensive, and if you are not one of the lucky ones who gets to visit multiple times a year, then you are saving money and planning your trip, maybe for years. So if you make all these plans and pay all this money, how could you possibly screw it up?

Easy. People do it all the time and this is how.

  1. Don’t have any idea where you are going or what you are doing.

Walt Disney World is huge. Resorts, theme parks, water parks, mini-golf, Downtown Disney, and so on. It’s usually too much for you to do in one vacation. There is an entire row of travel books dedicated to Orlando and WDW in Books-A-Million. Why? Because going to Disney these days requires planning and reading and scheming. What was manageable when the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971 is now a race to do it all, see it all, and survive to tell the tale.

  • Do your research.
  • Know how tall kids need to be to ride certain rides.
  • Know what parks you want to visit, times they open/close, where to eat, and what to see.
  • Again, do your research.

Most anyone will tell you that with the big bucks and high expectations involved with a Disney vacation, it pays to be prepared.

  1. You don’t rest enough.

Yes, I know the general Disney notion is to arrive when the parks open and stay all day long. My dad followed this touring plan when I was growing up in the mid-70s, and by midnight we were all exhausted. I had a blast, but getting up every morning was brutal. I really don’t suspect my mom had much fun at all. I know she was always exhausted, and they haven’t been to Disney in 20 years, so what does that tell you? I’ve spent enough time in the Disney parks as an adult to see some of the biggest meltdowns from both kids and adults I have ever witnessed in a public place. Yes, I know you paid a lot for the trip.  Yes, I know you are not sure when you’ll come back. But take a cue from your family, and if they can’t handle 16 hour days in the parks, day after day, change things up.

  • Go to the parks early in the morning, go back to the hotel and rest or swim, and come back late that afternoon.
  • Sleep in, do Downtown Disney mid-day or swim, and go to the parks late that afternoon.
  • Skip the parks and resort hop or swim.

True, this may not give you as much park time as you had hoped for, but it’s better than tears, frustration and shouting. I’ve seen it. Vacation Melt-down Syndrome is ugly.

  1. You went to WDW during the worst possible time to go.

Yup, you planned your trip for the worst time of year to go, thinking it was the best. When someone tells me they hate Disney and never wants to go back (high school students I teach say this occasionally,) I immediately ask when they went, and it’s nearly always Christmas or the hot summer.

  1. You didn’t “train” for the amount walking involved.

If you think you’ll be casually strolling a couple of miles a day, you need to do some more Disney research. You will walk your little tootsies off and so will your kids. They had better be training as well. I actually paid my own children $.10 a mile for one Disney vacation when they were younger. Think that’s crazy and indulgent? It cost me $20 at the most and saved me stress, headaches, tears (theirs and mine), and it saved my back because I didn’t have to carry them through the parks. That was well worth $20 to me.

5. You are going to do everything, see everything, ride everything, no matter what the group wants to do.

Yes, I know Disney is expensive. Yes, I don’t know when you might go back either. But if you want to have good memories from this vacation, you’ll need some flexibility. Plans change, even plans that were made 6 to 11 months in advance.

You won’t do it all. You won’t see it all. You won’t make everybody in the family happy by the choices you make, but you can head off a lot of trouble on Main Street just by planning ahead.

What do you think, Disney Moms? Did I miss any other ways to wreck a Disney vacation? We’d love to know what you think, so leave us some comments.

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate Princess.com

Come see us at Disney’s Cheapskate Princess on Facebook and Cheapskate Princess on Pinterest.

11 comments for “5 Ways to, YIKES, Totally Wreck a Disney World Vacation

  1. 28 April, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Reblogged this on julianmartin13.

  2. 28 April, 2012 at 8:03 am

    One of the reasons I am so glad that as Frequent Disney World visitors, the only way we “do” WDW these days is leisurely. 🙂 It was certainly the theme of our just completed trip … http://disneyworldreports.blogspot.com/2012/04/spring-trip-day-1-disneys-hollywood.html

    • 28 April, 2012 at 8:23 am

      What a neat blog- your photos were outstanding! Thanks for stopping by the Disney Moms.
      Amanda from mouzekateerz.com

  3. 29 April, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I think that if you do #1- plan and know what you are interested in doing, the rest of it will fall in line- not knowing where and when things are will make everyone tired, sore-footed and turn a magical time into a vacation death march. When people tell me that too much planning spoiled spontaneity, I expect them to return with ‘oh, we never saw that’ or ‘it was too crowded’ comments. They always plan better next time.

  4. 29 April, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I think some 1st timers think that planning will ruin those spontaneous moments. No. Planning keeps a leisurely trip from turning into a sore-foot death march while you circle a huge park looking for a place you can go without reservations and just missing a parade, character meeting or show.

  5. 29 April, 2012 at 9:31 am

    TOTALLY agree with all of this! My husband’s first Disney World experience was Thanksgiving last year. He had fun, but the crowds and wait times got to him a bit. His favorite time was when we went to Animal kingdom at night just to walk around. Of course the park was fairly empty and the ride wait times were 15 minutes or less. We plan on going again in October 2013 and I keep telling him it will be a world of difference. Even though fall is getting more popular, it is STILL so much less crowded than a holiday week!

  6. 29 April, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I’m so sorry- I didn’t think the first one posted- please delete some of my foolishness!

  7. LynnS.
    1 June, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Mine got screwed up when I broke my elbow on Tom Sawyers Island 45 minutes into our first day of seven at WDW. My 6 year old tripped me while walking across a foot bridge and I landed on my elbow breaking in 4 places requiring 3 screws to repair it after we got home. Disney was great though. They gave my sons each a stuffed character because they had a tramatic day. We got lots of free fast passes for each park so we didn’t have to wait in lines and all the places we stopped to eat or get a drink would give me ice for my ice pack. It taught me to plan for the unexpected and don’t let it ruin the entire trip. We did the rides I was able to and will have new ones now to ride the next time we go. Disney did all the could to make a scary time into one as fun as it could be! It really is the most magical place on earth!

    • 1 June, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      Yikes!! This could have only been worse if the 6-year-old ran off in fear and got lost!! Thanks so much for reading, and take care on the bridges…

  8. Melinda
    12 December, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Took my 6 yr old during Star Wars weekend, it could have been a horrible experience, but because we planned and planned and planned we had a great time. We didn’t expect the monsoons (silly on my part) but we bought ponchos and on our way we went. We plan to go back in October 2014 and we’re already planning.
    On the flip side, a coworker went just 2 weeks before we did and had a horrible time due to lack of planning and researching even though I had shared all my sources with her, including this site. She has vowed not to go back anytime soon.

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