The title of this post is a *bit* of a lie. One half of us – me – wasn’t a really a Walt Disney World rookie. In fact our October trip was my fourth trip of a life time. It was, however, my first staying onsite and since My Disney Experience and Fastpass+ have been a *thing*. So when it came to planning the trip, everything was new and it kind of did feel like my first time.
As a result, we made a fair few Walt Disney World rookie mistakes so I thought it would be fun to share them with you all in hope that they help you avoid making the same bad choices. So, let’s get to it!
1. Trying to do too much on our first full day
We underestimated two things; how early we’d get up and how tired the time difference would make us. We planned an early ADR at Be Our Guest and booked tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in the evening.
We really needed a rest in the afternoon which meant we didn’t arrive at Mickey’s Not So Scary until later and were ready to leave by 11 pm because we were so tired. We probably didn’t end up making the most of what is an expensive ticketed event so we’ll be booking it for later on in the holiday on our next trip.
2. Planning (or lack thereof) of nighttime activities
This could be down to the fact we were only there for a week, but we missed a lot of the night time activities during our trip. With Mickey’s Not So Scary being on, the chance to see Happily Ever After was limited and we actually missed it during our week onsite and had to go back when we were at Universal.
We also didn’t get chance to catch the Kilimanjaro Safari at night, Rivers of Light or the Star Wars Fireworks. We booked ADRs that clashed and just generally didn’t plan it very well. This is definitely something to keep in mind when you’re thinking about where and when to have your dinner as it’s so easy to miss all the fantastic night time entertainment at the parks.
3. Buying alcohol in the hotel shop
Another rookie error involving food and drink! We liked to have a few drinks in our hotel room in the evening but felt stuck with the options on resort. We ended up buying a few bottles of beer and wine each night in the shop at Caribbean Beach which at $8 a pop, cost us a lot of money. We’re going to do a Garden Grocer order next time to get our drinks at a much cheaper price.
4. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
I mentioned that we didn’t give ourselves enough time to make the most of this, but we also just didn’t plan it very well. We did no research beforehand and didn’t even realise there was rare character meet and greets so they kind of passed us by on the night.
We basically only ventured to Adventureland, Frontierland and Main Street during the night and missed out on so much elsewhere in the park. Our candy haul was pathetic too. I only realised after that Lotso was there – I would’ve loved to meet him – and didn’t know there was a special pin I could pick up. So yeah, we will absolutely plan this better next time to make the most of the rare characters and merchandise, as well as all of the extra trick and treat areas.
5. Using water and crisps as snack credits
In general, we didn’t really make the most of our snack credits – a massive Walt Disney World rookie mistake a lot of first-timers make I’m sure. As we didn’t have a car, we used a load of our snack credits on low priced items such as water and crisps which we could have easily got much cheaper had we caught an Uber to Walmart.
We wised up to this during our second week but used more credits than we needed to on these at Disney. We also didn’t realise there were water fountains all over the park until halfway through our trip – so keep an eye out for those!
6. Not going to a water park on ‘rest days’
We didn’t visit either of the Walt Disney water parks during our trip, even though we did have some downtime. We spent a morning at Volcano Bay at Universal Studios Orlando and had a great morning. As it’s included in your tickets, it doesn’t cost any extra and I think it would have been a really relaxing way to spend a morning. It also would have felt good to spend some time soaking my poorly feet!
7. Messing up on merchandise
I was a mess when it came to merchandise on our trip. I kept seeing things I liked, not picking them up thinking I could get them somewhere else and then not finding anything I liked in other stores. For some reason, I thought I could pick anything up in World of Disney and that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
There was a gorgeous Kate Spade bag that Carl offered to buy me for my birthday, and that I declined, that I still wish I’d got it because you can’t find it in the UK. I also bypassed the spirit jerseys and made some questionable pin choices because I panic bought. My tip? Scope out some YouTube hauls before you go to get a good idea of what you fancy, grab things you really love when you see them or at least make a note of them and the shop so you can go back later.
8. Not walking enough before the trip
I mentioned it above but my feet were in agony from day two because I just wasn’t used to walking over 20,000 steps a day. I tried not to let this impact my enjoyment but there were days – especially towards the end – where I could barely stay upright and was finding any area I could in queues to sit down. Not fun and it was a bit of a pain when Carl felt fine.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to get out walking before your trip to get your feet used to the distance. I know if I’d done some training I would have enjoyed my time that little bit more. I’m already working at this for our trip in September.
This post has already reached over 1,000 words so I think I’ll leave this one here for now.
Have you made any of these Walt Disney World rookie mistakes? Or maybe you made some different ones? We’d love you to share them with us in the comments!