I write in a positive voice more often than not, sharing my thoughts on what you can do to have a magical Disney vacation. But let’s face it, there’s some stuff you just shouldn’t do. This stuff makes your crew cranky and probably stresses you out, too. While I love spouting ideas for things you can add to your trip to make it the “BEST DAY EVERRRRRRRR!!!!” here are a few things you should take out of the equation.
Here are the top 5 ways to ruin your Disney vacation:
1. Plan Every Minute
Obviously we know you can’t go in blind, but I can promise you if you tell your family they only have three minutes and 28 seconds for a bathroom break at 11:42 A.M. before being allowed a two minute and 54 second walk to Dumbo, you’re in for it. Seriously, no one likes the clipboard-o-fun (bonus points if you know the reference!!) except the OCD planner who made it. And even that OCD planner has a conniption when no one heeds the wisdom of the clipboard, so do everyone a favor and leave it at home. It is a vacation, after all, relax.
2. Plan Nothing
I don’t want you to go overboard, but don’t stray too far in the opposite direction, either. The parks are big. They’re crowded. There are lots of options. And if you arrive at the gates with no idea what you’re doing, they’re going to eat your lunch. At the very least, know how to utilize FastPasses, a cool spot to take a break and where to get sustenance.
Get Park Wise: If you’re going in the summer or at Christmas, I beg of you, do a little extra planning. Unless your goal is just to exist inside a Disney theme park, you’re going to need it. Take a gander at dining reservations, learn the FastPass system and prepare yourself for the crowds.
3. Have Unattainable Expectations
Disney is a magical place. It’s true. But it’s also smack dab in the middle of the real world where things don’t always turn out to be glitter and rainbows. I’m the first to admit that I hold Disney to a high standard (that they set for themselves, I might add), but cast members are human, machines are fallible and you’re in the presence of thousands upon thousands of fellow human beings who aren’t paid to make your day sparkle. By all means, speak up about the big things that are within Disney’s control (resort room maintenance issues, rude or untrained cast members, unsafe conditions), but if a bird swipes your french fries, chalk it up to a funny vacation story. Don’t go whining to guest services that they owe you a refund for your entire meal. They say life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react. So is your vacation.
4. Look for Trouble
Again, on the flip side, don’t go in looking for shortcomings. I see this all too often around the Disney online community. Fans complaining about how things aren’t like they used to be, newbies asking what to avoid, threads about the worst thing you’ve seen at the parks. If you go in with a skeptical mindset, you’ll see all the negatives, and you will have a lame trip. You’re going to Disney, for Pete’s sake. Slip on your rose-colored shades and have fun. If things aren’t up to par, you can deal with that later. But have fun while you are in the parks.
5. Focusing Too Much on Money
I fully understand having a vacation budget and remembering that you have very real bills and obligations to return to after your week in Fantasyland, but don’t spend your entire trip counting pennies. Not much sucks the fun out of your day faster than worrying about whether or not this Mickey bar will break the bank. Save what you can on the outset (discounts, staying off property, driving instead of flying, etc.) Consider pre-paying for some of your trip whether this equates to a dining plan, putting dining and souvenir money in envelopes or on gift cards or setting up a Disney account. That way there’s no wondering if this purchase will put you in the red since you’ve already accounted for it.
What vacation mistakes have you learned from?