Friday Five: 5 things that could be disappointing with your Disney World vacation

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You spend months planning you Disney World trip from the planning phase to traveling. With all of that time spent, there are several things that could go wrong. The better prepared you are for the entire experience, the better you can manage the situation and calm the waters. Here are 5 of the biggest things (in my opinion) that can be disappointing:

1. Dining So you are 180 days before your arrival. Your (or your fantastic travel agent) get online at 6 am EST on the dot to grab a prime time Be Our Guest dinner during your stay. NOTHING! How is it possible? Well, the rule of 180 + 10 which means all guests can make their dining reservations at the 180 day mark. Those with existing resort reservations can make 10 days worth of dining reservations. It means that guests with longer stays have the ability to have the first pick over your. Don’t worry 100% as Disney seems to be holding back on some of the dinner reservations and while you may not be able to grab dinner, you can much more likely grab breakfast or lunch which is quick service but accepts reservations. You can always be on the hunt for a cancellation!

2. FastPass Let’s face it. The most difficult to get FastPass is Anna & Elsa. Because the experience is somewhat limited because both of the Frozen sisters take a decent amount of time with each guest (as they should for how long some guests stay in the standby line), it makes it a difficult grab. The best chance at success is planning a Magic Kingdom day toward the end of your trip. Similar to the +10 rule, on site guests can make FastPass selections 60 days in advance and can book for their length of stay. Other difficult FastPasses that may not be available are Main Street Electrical Parade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, and sometimes Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (may not be available at the 60 day mark but fairly easily available later in your trio). If you can’t get that elusive Anna & Elsa FastPass – LET IT GO! You may be able to piece together a family of 4 over the next 60 days, check the night before or the morning of your Magic Kingdom days as people finalize and change their plans for some options, or just use the standby line 1st thing in the morning. All are viable options to get you in the door if it’s Anna & Elsa or bust!

3. Magical Enhancements This is Disney’s world for “Melissa wants to throw her computer out the window”. Essentially someone broke the web site or they are doing some sort of emergency fix. Magical Enhancements is used by Cast Members when the system (any system – dining, reservations, etc.) goes down. By far it is my most frustrating experience with Disney. Many people may go an entire trip without seeing a single issue which is GREAT! I probably touch Disney’s web site or talk to a cast member 350/365 days a year, so I see issues more than most people. The only positive I have to say about things is that if you’re having issues, the person you’re up against to try and get a promotional offer, dining reservation, or FastPass selection is very likely having the exact same issue! Since the inception of My Disney Experience there have been issues (some larger than others). A huge benefit to my job is that I can save/shield my guests from most of that frustration!

4. Rain Needless to stay, rain can put a damper (haha, get it?) on any vacation, but especially Disney where you have to be outside. The best thing to do is to plan for it! If you’re traveling during summer, know that you’ll see some mid to late day showers. Bring a poncho, have some indoor options in your back pocket just in case. My best advice is go with your plan for the day! Head to the parks, enjoy what you planned, and a little rain never hurt anyone except the Wicked Witch of the West. As I mentioned in a previous post about rain – attractions usually only close in torrential downpours and when lighting is within 5 miles. So do as the ducks do!

5. Transportation A common concern/complaint I hear from guests all the time no matter where they are staying is that transportation takes longer than they expect it to. There is a good reason Disney says to allow up to 90 minutes of travel time when using Disney transportation. That rule of thumb is mostly used for Downtown Disney and when you have to make a transfer to get to a resort dining reservation, but Disney World is a large property and there’s not always a bus just waiting for you. Without dining reservations and FastPass, things used to be a little easier – you just hop on the first bus that gets to you and enjoy your day. Now with pre-planned schedules, I completely understand the frustration of seeing 4 Magic Kingdom buses, a Downtown Disney bus, and 2 Animal Kingdom buses before a single Epcot bus shows up and everyone waiting collectively thinks”FINALLY”! Just think ahead as you plan your days to make sure you don’t tax yourself too much to get to and from your end destination.

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

If you would like help planning your next Disney World vacation, I’d love to be a part of the process. Please feel free to contact me anytime for a free quote.he benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Disney World Tips & Tricks: Disney with a car

I know you’ve heard me constantly say that Disney transportation is great, but what if you have a car? Is it faster to drive and park than to take Disney’s bus service? Is travel around Disney property easy? As you probably know, parking is free at all the theme parks for resort guests, saving you a whopping $20 per day! (updated for 2016)

Driving vs. Disney Transportation

In most cases it is faster to drive than to use Disney transportation, especially if you are traveling for park opening/rope drop. Your park spot will be closer to the main entrance. If you are arriving later in the morning, you may have to use up some extra steps or wait for the trams that will bring you to the park entrance. Buses drop you off right at the entrance. The major exception to this rule is Magic Kingdom. Parking is at the Ticket & Transportation center which requires you to then take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom gates adding at least another 10 minutes to your travel time. If you plan on park hopping between Epcot and Magic Kingdom, this may be a viable option, but in any other situation, I’d advise against it.

Parking at any park besides Magic Kingdom is probably a 5-10 minute walk from the lot to the entrance gates. If you want to save some foot power, take the tram, it runs on a constant basis and just makes 2 stops.

Navigating Disney World in your own Car

Disney has great signage both in and out of the park. The bright purple signs provide great direction. You can also put addresses into your GPS, but be sure that you are putting in the address or coordinates of the parking lot! If you’re driving, be aware that you may need some cash for tolls to get to the Disney area.You cannot just rely on signage to get you from here to there. You’ll need some GPS or written directions to get you to one of the main roads.

Pros and cons of using your own car

If you’re traveling with little ones, it might actually be easier to take Disney transportation. No worrying about bringing a car seat if you’re renting a car, buckling a kiddo into a car seat, or trying to shove a double stroller into the trunk of your car. If you are taking Disney transportation and have a stroller, please be considerate to other guests and have your stroller folded up before the bus arrives. This saves a lot of time as people wait for you to board the bus.  Typically, driving will be faster thank taking Disney transportation, but it all depends on your location on property. If you are driving to Disney, enjoy the convenience of a car. If you are thinking about renting a car, ask yourself why you really want it. I might consider it if you are traveling off property for a period of time or if you have many dining reservations at resorts and it’s difficult to use Disney transport to get to them.

What are your thoughts on traveling through Disney?

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your next Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!