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Top 10 Ways a Disney Vacation Can Be Ruined

By March 25, 2017 April 8th, 2019 No Comments

Congratulations, you’ve made it to Disney World!  The months of anticipation are here, you have been constantly dreaming about what to do and what you’ll see….and then it all goes wrong in a heartbeat!  The magic is ruined and you begin wondering why you even came in the first place.  You’re not alone.  We’ve all had those moments.  We’ve all had miscues and accidents that have made us utter those heart-breaking words – “This vacation is ruined!!”

Welcome to Believe Vacation’s “Top Ten” where today, we’ll look at the Top 10 Ways a Disney Trip Can Be Ruined.  For this list, we will look at general happenings with specific examples of unplanned changes to your vacation that will take a while to get over or adjust to.  But this won’t be a negative list; we’ll offer a suggestion for remedying the situation as fast as possible so you can get back to the magic.

10) Pointing out the obvious flaws

On my wife’s first visit to the Animal Kingdom, she took one look at the Tree of Life and said to me, “It’s fake.”  Let’s get some things out of the way here – Disney World is a place of magic, imagination and belief.  Sometimes, you just have to suspend reality to embrace fantasy.  And sometimes, even Disney cannot live up to certain expectations.  You don’t have to share that counter service food is nothing special – we know because it’s usually burgers and chicken fingers! Keep your snide comments about the price of everything to yourself – there’s a reason Disney makes a healthy profit every year and people keep coming back.  And don’t say your boy won’t like the princesses or your girl won’t like the pirates – let them have their own experiences.

What you should do:  Remember you are on vacation.  Ultimately, it is up to you to entertain yourself.  Disney has plenty of options to match  interests for all genders and ages.  If parks aren’t your thing, enjoy the spas or golf courses.  Hit up a 5-star restaurant like Victoria and Albert’s or simply grab a pizza at one of the resort food courts.  More importantly, sit back and watch your children smile.

9) Second guessing

I’m an over-planner to a fault.  I even use increments of 5 and 10 minutes to determine where my family will be at any time of the day during our Disney vacation.  But I know my family would rather have a confident planner than one who can’t make up his mind.  Second guessing at Disney cannot only lead to family fighting but could also mean the difference between a 10 minute or an hour wait in line.

What you should do: If you must, have a rain plan or option B.  Do not second guess your FastPass + or dining reservation selections.  Just go with it and find ways to enjoy your choices.  But always have an idea or 2 in your back pocket should something come up. Can’t get in to Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios?  Know you can always supplement one adventure for 3 by riding Star Tours, visiting the Launch Bay and buying a light saber at Tatooine Traders.

8) Rain

Speaking of rain plans, you may not know this but Orlando is in Central Florida.  Central Florida has rain.  Like, often!  And usually it just pops up out of nowhere.  So don’t be surprised to see drops from the sky at least once during a decent length stay at Walt Disney World.  Sure, you may get wet and you may have to purchase the infamous Walt Disney World poncho, but rain can actually provide wonderful detours you never thought of experiencing.

What you should do: Don’t leave the park if you do not have to.  If it’s a small passing shower, take the few minutes or so to eat or duck into a dark ride/show.  You may have never thought to experience the Enchanted Tiki Room, Ellen’s Energy Adventure or The Little Mermaid Live Action show before, but you will think of them immediately during a rain storm.  If the shower takes a while to pass, consider hopping on the monorail and visiting the resorts on the Monorail Loop.  Of course, you may just want to go back to the resort.  Know that Disney is all about the satisfaction of their guests so don’t be surprised if costumed characters like Baloo the Bear are waiting for you in the lobby!

7) Face characters just looks fake

Disney has an intense screening process to find regular human beings to portray their characters as perfectly as you saw them on TV and the movies.  Of course, this is impossible.  And sometimes, you may not get the best performance.  Sometimes Merida from Ireland just looks like Amber, a Junior Psychology major from William & Mary with a red wig.  Even worse, the picture you took of her and your entire family will live forever in your Facebook and Instagram albums for all your friends to see how amateurish she really was!

What you should do: If you are that high maintenance, get a quick peak of the character before you wait 15-45 minutes in line.  If you decide it’s worth it regardless of how he/she looks, have fun with these characters.  Remember, they went through extensive training to try to actually BE that character. Ask Aladdin about Abu, inquire about Wendy when you meet Peter Pan, and challenge Gaston to some strength contest.  Those moments will create more memories than someone looking slightly off.

6) Juuuuuusst short

It’s finally time to do one of the thrill rides. All the nerves are gone, the anticipation and build-up is over and some guy in a corny western costume asks you to stand next to the “L of Doom.”  Next thing you know, your child is in tears for not being tall enough.  Well, your child isn’t going to hit a growth spurt overnight so it’s obvious he/she will not be able to ride this trip.  And that stinks.  For the rest of this vacation, they will be labeled “too short.”

What you should do: First, damage control.  For some, it may require ice cream or a prize.  But don’t resort to expenses just yet.  Find another attraction you may have completely skipped.  Some of the best examples – Living with the Land if you can’t do Soarin’; Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor if you can’t do Space Mountain; It’s Tough to Be a Bug if you can’t do Expedition Everest; Muppet Vision if you can’t do Tower of Terror or Rock N Roller Coaster.

5) Uncooperative family members

Not eating the whole meal, pitching a fit to buy something, pouting because we can’t go back on a favorite ride…and that’s just the adults!  But we’ve all been on vacation with one or more individuals who just will not stick to the plan.  Sometimes, in the case of a stomach bug, lice, or other illness, you cannot help it.  But we’re talking about the ones who make you want to walk away and join another family.

What you should do: Luckily, The My Disney Experience app allows you to split up your group with regards to rides, dining and other items on the itinerary.  During the planning stage of your trip, decide which members want to go where and set up those times.  But if it’s a kid and you can’t just make another plan for them, it’s tough to have a time out at Disney.  You must find a way to remove your child from the fun and if it means a break from the parks, so be it.  Just remember to be courteous to others who have spent their money on a vacation as well.

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4) Phone Dies

Teens will read this and say “Don’t even joke!”  But with all the checking of waiting times, reservations and constant interactions with the My Disney Experience App, you’ll drain your battery before lunch.  Prepare ahead by bringing a phone charger and charging any chance you get at an outlet or purchase a battery charger. Switching the power mode and brightness to a lower setting also helps.

What you should do:  Believe it or not, Disney can still accommodate as if we were still in the pre-cell phone era and may actually show you what made Disney World so memorable in the first place.  Cast members can assist with locating people, finding rides, telling you the time and other answers to your questions.  Plus, you can actually look at the Information Board that still exists in the Magic Kingdom.  Embrace the technology break and immerse yourself into your vacation!

3) No nap

One of the most common mistakes made by Disney World vacation-goers is trying to cram too much entertainment in and not enough rest.  But we get it – you don’t want to waste time catching transportation back to the room, getting rest and catching transportation to return.  So you mentally tell yourself to keep going and soon, no nap equals pains and aches that will force you to get rest.

What you should do: Not that we would want to disrespect any of the attraction at the theme parks but some are just too perfect to catch a few Z’s.  Stop inside one of these comfy and cozy dark attractions, sit in the back and try not to snore too loud:

Magic Kingdom: Disney’s Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree

Epcot: American Adventure, Ellen’s Universe of Energy

Hollywood Studios – Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Animal Kingdom – Finding Nemo

Disney Springs – Buy a movie ticket at AMC Theatres

If you want to stay in the fresh air, find a nice bench, rocker or even let the kids nap in the stroller.  One of my personal favorite places is in the shade outside the Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom. It’s a happy place!

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2) Refurbishment

Remember when Clark and the Griswald’s get to Wally World and the whole theme park is closed for maintenance?  Well, while punching a moose may not be the best way to express your disappointment, the struggle is real.  Sometimes, rides just need updating.  That’s one of the (only) disadvantages of planning so far out – some rides may announce a refurbishment that needs to happen during your trip.

What you should do: Try to check online refurbishment schedules regularly as you book your vacation.  If there is just no avoiding a refurbishment time (i.e., winter months for Splash Mountain/Kali River Rapids), find suitable replacements.  Each park has a number of exciting attractions that will more than satisfy the disappointment of not spinning on a tea cup!

Honorable Mention

The Jungle Cruise skipper messes up the lines – You had one job and even I can do the spiel!

Space Mountain with the lights on – Some people may think this would be awesome. But without the dark and the stars, you’re riding the world’s blandest roller coaster.

A room at a value resort during the cheerleader competitions – No!  Let’s not dwell on this anymore.

1) No plan

For any vacation, you have a basic outline of what restaurants you’ll try to go to and what activities you’re family will try to do. Now imagine 50,000 people trying to do the exact same thing at the same location of the world at the same time?  That’s why we and every other Disney vacation site stresses having a plan.  It starts with booking your trip and lodging at least a half year before so you can make dining plans a full 180 days from the start of your trip.  60 days before your trip, you get to make Fast Pass + selections and from there, plan your daily itineraries.  Without these basics, you will have a negative experience all around and probably claim you did not get your money’s worth.

What you should do: Stick to one park a day.  No sense in park hopping when you are not sure what each park has to enjoy.  Get to that park early enough and ask cast members questions about what rides, restaurants and activities to visit for the day.  Ask where you can set up your daily Fast Pass + selections and then take off!  Head towards the marquee rides in the park you chose.  Only you know how long you want to wait per ride.  If you get to a ride and the wait is within your window, enjoy!  If not, there is usually a mid-level ride in the same area with a limited wait you can enjoy.  Eat your meals during off hours and take in a show (or two!). And keep track of everything on the My Disney Experience App.  Remember, there once was a day when we only had our imaginations and basic ideas of what we wanted to do in our minds, so doing Disney without a plan is possible.

Want to make sure your vacation is planned to a tee? This is where a Disney Vacation Planner comes into play. One of the Vacation Planners with Believe Vacations will help you plan your trip – from booking resort reservations, to dining reservations, to making FastPass+ selections. They will help take most of the stress away from planning your vacation. The best part is that our services are completely FREE!

Did we miss anything?  What is the one thing that could ruin your Disney trip? Leave your comments below and as always, there’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow!

Brian Pavlick

Brian Pavlick

Brian Pavlick is a husband and father residing in Maylene, AL. His love of Disney goes back to his early memories of watching the New Disney Channel on cable, occasional vacations to Orlando Florida and attending Disney Institute Management Training classes. He keeps up with Disney news and updates by reading numerous websites, experiencing attractions by watching YouTube videos and introducing his family to classic and timeless Disney movies, attractions and songs.