My husband, daughter, and I just returned from our third Disney vacation!
Last time, we spent a magical week over Christmas, and it was truly perfect. I am an avid planner and spend a great deal of time researching routes, analyzing the best rides and attractions, looking at crowd predictions, obsessing over the weather and reading articles for those who have just visited to learn tips and tricks to make my experience a smooth one.
Nevertheless, I made A LOT of mistakes this time around. I am sharing in the hopes none of you will repeat the same ones. These were all things I could have avoided!
- Never leave your poncho at your resort
Everyone knows that summer in Florida brings daily thunderstorms and unsettled weather. I knew from my research ahead of time that it typically rains every day, usually in the afternoon.
On our first day, we headed home in the afternoon to swim and cool off before heading back to the park for the Fantasmic. I checked the forecast on my phone, and there was a 20% chance of rain with blue, clear skies. My husband and I decided to leave our park bag complete with ponchos and umbrellas back at the resort as we wouldn’t need it.
WORST DECISION EVER! As soon as we arrived, grey and dark clouds rolled in. We found ourselves stranded for an hour before finally making the decision to walk back to the shuttle in the rain. We were soaked and kicking ourselves for leaving our supplies at home. Lesson learned.
- Bring at least two pairs of running shoes
This relates to mistake number one. After leaving the park in a torrential downpour, we were soaked from head to toe, including our shoes. Since our trip was a short one, we each only packed one pair of running shoes. By the time we got back to our resort it was late and didn’t leave enough time for our shoes to dry fully. This meant putting on slightly damp shoes the next day which is not the best way to keep your feet comfortable and dry. Make the room and pack another pair of good walking shoes!
- Consider room requests carefully
I usually spend some time researching each resort carefully and reading various blogs for tips on room requests. I know that there are no guarantees, but we have found that often at least one of our requests is usually put into place. We headed to Saratoga Springs for the first time, which really was a positive experience.
I loved the room, and the kitchenette was such a great bonus to have! What I didn’t consider what the shear size of Saratoga Springs.
We were in the Carousel section which is near the entrance. I had requested the ground floor as I wanted to be able to avoid the elevator and save us a little time each day. For my family, I should have requested near the lobby. It was a fair hike from our room to the lobby. We did have the option of taking the shuttles but in retrospect, we would have preferred being close to the action. Do your research and read multiple articles when making room requests.
- Give yourself time to enjoy the resort
This is something I plan on doing the next time we visit.
Our focus this time was on maximizing a quick vacation. We spent on average 12 hours each day in each park and did as many attractions and rides as possible. There was some time spent in the pool and checking out the grounds, but mostly we focused on doing as much as we could in a short amount of time. On our last day, we spent the morning swimming before heading over to Disney Springs and finally off to the airport to catch our flight. I wish I would have scaled back our time at the park and instead just had time for my family to watch the Movies Under the Stars or checked out the campfire. Next time, I will make sure we spend more time relaxing on our trip.
- Orlando has two main airports
We were able to book a fantastic deal on airfare for this past trip. I booked our flights at the beginning of June as the trip was sort of last minute. We were flying out of Michigan into Orlando on a discount airline. I realized after I had booked that we were flying out into Sanford Orlando Airport not to be confused with the main Orlando airport. The biggest challenge with flying into Sanford is that you are not eligible to use Disney’s Magical Express. We had to pay to take a shuttle to the resort and had a 50 minute ride. When booking flights, make sure you check the airport details carefully!
Every time I go, I learn something new for the next visit.
What mistakes have you made when visiting Disney? What would you do differently next time?
~Guest Blogger Meg