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5 mistakes I’ve made when planning Disney World trips

Home5 mistakes I’ve made when planning Disney World trips
5 mistakes I’ve made when planning Disney World trips

In years and years of planning Disney World trips, we’ve made some mistakes.

And you will too.

You can read and research to plan your trip but some of what you learn will be gained just by going there and figuring things out in person.

But, there are a few mistakes we’ve made that you can learn from.

Here’s 5 of the most common mistakes made when planning Disney World trips and what you should do instead.

Mistake #1: not allowing enough time for transportation

You may read that the distance between any 2 points at Disney World is just a few miles so you might assume that it’ll just take a few minutes to get there.

Trust us:

Nothing at Disney World takes a few minutes.

When using Disney transportation, allow for at least 60 minutes (and 90 minutes is even better!) to get anywhere. It may not end up taking that long but oftentimes, it does.

Bus at Port Orleans

Shannon remembers:

On our first trip, we had young children so I planned an afternoon break each day but a dining reservation around 5. By the time we left the parks around 1 or 2, got back to the hotel, laid down for a few minutes it was time to go again!

Because of that, we suggest considering taking a taxi or Lyft/Uber or even a Minnie Van to alleviate some of the long travel times.

Times when taxis/Ubers make a lot of sense include:

  • Traveling between many resorts
  • After a nighttime show when the bus line is really long
  • When your schedule is tight and you need to save some time

Mistake #2: eating all over the place

There are a LOT of places to eat at Disney World.

Our mistake was reading about a fun place to eat and adding it to our plans without considering where it was located.

That’s why we suggest making your daily plan (step 3 in the planning process) and then choosing your dining based on where you’ll be located each day.


Mistake #3: planning too much

The top thing that we recommend to people is that they pare down their plans.

It’s super tempting to want to do it all but you won’t. It’s important to be realistic and allow some free time to be flexible.

Planning too much means you spend your trip being frantic to get to the next thing rather than enjoying things as you do them.

Italy World Showcase

Mistake #4: not using PhotoPass photographers

After our first Disney World trips, we realized we didn’t have many pics with our entire families in them.

Now whenever we go with our families we make sure to seek out the handy PhotoPass Photographers so we can have pictures of everyone all together.

Photopass photographer

Learn more about PhotoPass photographers.

Mistake #5: booking flights based on cost alone

This is sort of a general mistake but after getting stuck at Ohare well into the wee hours of the morning after a Disney trip, we really suggest not doing this with your Disney trips.

Most people book flights based on cost which is why the airlines know they can get away with not offering much seat space or any extras.

If they do offer extras and charge more, people will still always be looking for the best deal.

Flights really need to be chosen based on a combo of things including schedule and price.

If you can book direct flights, do that. That reduces the possibility of delays and allows you to start and end your Disney World trip with less stress.

And, when looking at flights, make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

To learn more about booking flights for your Disney World trip, read my article on finding the best flights.

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Shannon Albert


Monday 18th of September 2017

Can anyone tell me how long check-in at Magic Kingdom takes if you get there 1st thing in the morning?

Noelle Wilds

Friday 21st of November 2014

Mistakes 2 and 3 - GUILTY as charged! So many things I would have done differently if I got a do over. Mainly I would have made a better daily plan that allowed us to prioritize things accordingly.


Tuesday 25th of March 2014

ProTip: when using the Photopass services ask them to take an additional photo with your camera (you can do this without paying for Photopass, but I don't, because it's nice having 2 copies.)


Thursday 3rd of October 2013

We are traveling Nov 14-18 and I booked 3 hours of downtime after lunch - this includes travel from a morning park and then to an afternoon park. Basically one hour of round trip travel and 2 hours to rest. Do you think I need to add more time? We are staying at Pop.

Shannon Albert

Friday 4th of October 2013

Yeah, I allowed for 4 hours and still found it a bit tight.


Tuesday 1st of October 2013

Will We make it to dinner on time? I have reservations to stay at the Caribbean beach Resort March 18 to 25,2014. I was looking for a fun place to eat for dinner the day we arrive. Jut for the three of us. So I've read fun reviews about T-Rex Cafe at downtown Disney. I booked a reservation at 4pm because the only other one left was 9:30pm. We don't want to have dinner at 9:30pm much to late. Anyway our plane lands at 1:55pm at MCO . If all goes as planned we should be able to make dinner at 4pm. I do have the phone number for T-Rex if their is a problem. What do you think?