One of our most popular articles EVER is called “120 Walt Disney World DO NOTs: Tips From Real People on How NOT to Screw Up a Disney Vacation!” By popular, I mean that as of January 2017, it has been read over 1,500,000 times. This piece gets pinned like crazy on Pinterest.
We had a lot of our readers leave comments on the article, because frequent Disney visitors love to give advice to friends, family, and even strangers who are planning trips. The DO NOT comments they left on the article will certainly not RUIN a Disney vacation if you do the opposite, but they can definitely add a lot to your trip, depending on the needs and wants for your group.
Take it from our readers… there’s a lot of planning that goes into Disney vacations these days. You might as well benefit from their experience.
1. DO NOT take the kids out of school
Shelby, “I would not take your kids out of school. They will be super excited to get out, but as soon as they get back to school, there will be a big load of stress. Especially with teenagers. If they’re already super busy with after school activities, their grades might suffer from the build up of assignments. Take them on the days when they won’t be worrying about the next big semester final!”
2. DO NOT hesitate to take the kids out of school
Christie, “With regards to taking or not taking kids out of school: We took our kids out of school for both of their Disney trips. Our school system allows for ‘educational absence,’ which for them consisted of writing a short story or essay about what they learned. And their teachers didn’t require it the day they returned, so they had a few days to decompress after getting back. They wrote their essays (and provided photos) of things at Epcot and Animal Kingdom, which are two very educational parks in my opinion. Test Track has all kinds of automotive info. while standing in the que, physics, energy, etc. And Animal Kingdom was just as fascinating for them. I would just suggest you check to see if your school system allows for these absences, provided you can ‘prove’ their educational experience.
#1 and #2 basically contradict each other. Take them out of school, but no, don’t take them out. What should you do?
Mel offered advice which is pretty simple: you know your kids and what they can handle.
“Some kids can NOT handle the stress of make up work (older grades), and some are totally fine. Some kids are hurt greatly by missing instructional time and feel very lost when they return; I know kids who get pulled out for various things and then they struggle for WEEKS to get up to snuff (and this is in 1st grade, so it’ll probably get worse later on), AND I know kids who always took a huge family trip for the entire week before school let out, which was during finals, and none of them had any problems with taking every single final a week early (with promising not to discuss it with friends). My mom is a teacher and she is a “Never take kids out of school for any reason” type. My husband remembers his mom checking him out of school to go skiing on a great powder day. My personal opinion is that as long as the same student isn’t being pulled out multiple weeks here and there for multiple trips to the point of excess, and as long as it’s not during a super important time (going to miss a concert, play, or other big event connected to their schooling), they should be fine. If many lengthy trips during the traditional school year is the lifestyle of the family, maybe homeschool or online school can come into play to allow for more family flexibility in scheduling.
You do what works best for your family, keeping in mind that when school is in session, Disney park attendance will be lower. How low can depend on how many people took their kids out of school too!
3. DO NOT do homework on vacation
Sue, “Never plan to do homework if you take your kids put of school; there is nothing like expecting your over stimulated, over tired children to do homework in the most magical place to ensure a meltdown. I’m not sure if I, as the parent, or my child melted down more. Do the homework prior to or after you return. Let the teacher know that it may not be complete when you return, but it will get completed. DON’T DO HOMEWORK AT WDW. We always take our kids out of school. It saves us money, and we enjoy it more due to the lower crowd levels, less time in lines and the atmosphere feels more special. I honestly don’t believe they miss that much and it provides so many memories.”
4. DO NOT skip the pools
Berkley,” There is a fun fact out there about how kids leaving Disney were polled, and most of them said that their favorite part of the vacation was the pool. As kids, we always loved afternoons and evenings at the pool, and it gives the adults a great chance to recharge. Especially if you are staying at a Disney resort where the pools have entertainment, everyone will appreciate some down time there.“
And a tip for you traveling with small swimmers.
Sean, “If you plan on going on water rides or in a pool with kids not potty trained, then make sure to bring swim diapers. A lot of places have strict rules on that. Especially with little kids who are not potty trained yet, do not forget to bring diapers (or Pull Ups), wipes, powder, and anything else you might need for a change. Remember, you can never pack too many diapers. When we went a while ago, my little brother was 3 and not yet potty trained. After day five out of seven, we ran out of Pull Ups (He went through a few Pull Ups each day and sometimes two at night) so we had to go to Wal-Mart to buy more.”
5. DO NOT force children to ride or do before they are ready
Julia, “I love Disney World, and I’ve been going with my family since I was four years old. I’m taking my son back again for the second time, (he’s two), by myself, and I was trying to refresh my mind with all the little kiddie to do’s and not to do’s. I went to Disney for the first time at the age of four, and I absolutely was the biggest thrill seeker in my family. I was tall enough for most of the bigger rides, so it was perfect for everyone. The Tower of Terror was by far one of my favorite rides and I loved it. Yes, as can happen, my mother was slightly worried that I would come off terrified because I literally was just tall enough. But I loved it.
Parents have to trust their kids a little bit when it comes to these scenarios. I do not recommend that people force their children into riding something simply because they meet the height requirement. However, if your child is tall enough and really wants to ride it, let them, but make sure you’re there for them every step of the way, and let them know that before they get on the ride. Tell them they can get out of line at any time and if they decide to ride it and get scared or decide they don’t like it, they don’t have to ride it again. I’ve been blessed to be able to go back to Disney World as much as I have, but not everyone gets to do that. It’s better to have tried something new and then decide you don’t want to do it again than to bring your child home who is upset because he or she didn’t get the opportunity to try something they might not experience again for a while!”
6. DO NOT dismiss getting a stroller
JD, “Don’t dismiss using strollers, even if you would consider your kids ‘too old’ in normal circumstances. My girls are ages five and seven, so both are far beyond using a stroller at home (it’s been years!) But during a trip to WDW, we rent a large ‘luxury’ double stroller from a local FL company. Here’s what we get:
- truly top quality with high weight capacity
- WAY more comfortable than the hard plastic double strollers they rent in the parks
- offer built-in shade
- convenient for mid-day or late night naps and general resting (from the 6+ miles of walking per day- totally cuts down on whining)
- you can take them back to your resort (VS the park rentals which must be turned back in to Disney at the end of the day),
- cup holders and cargo space for carrying everyone’s various snacks, water, backpacks, ponchos, goodies, purchases, etc.
- most rental companies offer a rain cover for the stroller and a soft sided cooler included with the rental
- most rental companies offer reasonably priced insurance, if something becomes damaged/lost/stolen –
- PLUS most rental companies offer free drop off and pick up to nearly all nearby resorts (Both on Disney property and off).
My girls probably can’t do the stroller gig for too much longer, but for us it’s been a life saver!”
7. DO NOT let the kids push the stroller
Nancy, “In the category of being considerate of others, please do not let your children push strollers. If they won’t rent a stroller to a child that age, there’s a reason for it.”
8. DO NOT forget adult stroller etiquette
Veronica, “We have a double jogger we fondly call a ‘Cadillac.’ It’s huge, but when folded, it fits nicely in the bus rows. Don’t hold up the bus lines getting kids out and folding those suckers up. Let others go while you do so, or have your kids out and ready before the bus pulls up. Even if the folded stroller stands on its own, it will fall on turns, so hold on to it so others aren’t hurt! If you are riding the monorail and it’s empty, the strollers can be pushed right in, which is great for nap time trips! And for the love of Mickey, be respectful of others while pushing your strollers through crowds!”
9. DO NOT skip the potty before long lines
Jill, “DO NOT go into attractions with long running times without taking kids for a bathroom break first. Attractions and shows like Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Finding Nemo The Musical, etc., will last at least 30 min., and there are no bathrooms inside. Know how long you might be in line or in a show to avoid missing part when you have to run find a bathroom!
10. DO NOT let smaller children buckle themselves in
Kimberley, “Do Not let your child fasten their own buckle on the rides, even if they can buckle themselves in the car. Most roller coaster seat belts/harnesses are too complicated for a four-year-old to figure out, and this slows down the loading/unloading process. Until your child is ‘efficient’ at buckling themselves in, please help them. This was also give you that extra peace of mind that when the ride goes down a big drop or upside down in a loop, your child is properly strapped in.
11. DO NOT neglect your parental responsibility
Ashley, “Don’t depend on someone else to watch your children.” Someone else could mean family but also includes mean strangers and Cast Members.
Sarah, “I just came back from my Disney vacation yesterday and was disgusted with people AND their children!
- On the bus to the hotel some guy just let his kid lay across TWO seats on a crowded bus where people were standing. The little boy kept kicking me and when the dad saw this, he just smiled at me as if to say “kids are kids.” Ah, no, let him sit up. He’s a human on a bus.
- There were nine-year-olds being pushed in strollers and other older kids pushing older siblings around the park nearly bumping into other people. If your older children are not pushing themselves around in strollers in your hometown, maybe Disney isn’t the place to do it either.
- When dining in quick service restaurants, there were children running around tables and laughing and playing tag while the parents had a child-free meal.
I enjoyed Disney so much but people need to do some serious parenting before they just come to the park.”
Dale, “We went to Disney World a few years back and we were in line for Buzz Lightyear (the outside part of the line). There was a small boy in line just going around hitting and kicking people, and his mother was allowing this to happen. I said something to the mother; she told me that he’s just a little boy and nothing he is doing can hurt you so get over it. So I went to the nearest Cast Member because he kept kicking and hitting my five-year-old daughter and addressed the situation. The Cast Member asked the mother nicely to control her child. She gave the Cast Member attitude, and I’m not sure if they were removed from the park or just removed from the line. This brings me to my do not…Do not give your children free passes to be disrespectful to others. They should be expected to show good manners to other people around you that might be experiencing Disney magic for the first time.”
12. DO NOT ignore your kids on your electronics
Diane, “Don’t ignore your kids by spending your time staring at your phone screen. One trip at the POFQ bus stop, there was a man staring at his phone screen while his young daughter was being ignored. He was playing video poker at 8:30 am while his daughter was desperate to talk about the day they were going to have. Unless you are waiting for an important call, turn your phone off and talk to your kids instead.”
Rich, “DO NOT forget to use your own eyes to witness your vacation. I see so many people who can’t put down their cell phones or iPads for a second and actually enjoy a parade or experience their children’s joy while it is happening. Besides, nobody else can see through the iPad held above your head.”
13. DO NOT forget your manners
Malum, “If you wouldn’t do it in front of your parents, don’t do it at Disney. Breaking the law, excessive swearing, inappropriate conduct, assault/battery (especially on a Cast Member) these can get you permanently banned from all Disney property worldwide. Don’t so something, get banned and never be able to bring your future children/grand children there. DO NOT PUT YOUR HANDS ON A SECURITY GUARD; it is an automatic felony. All security are certified (class D, if I did my research correctly) security guards. Use common sense.“
Jeanne, “Do not curse in the parks. My husband said bull s— in Epcot years ago to a Cast Member, and we were escorted out of the park! They employ state troopers and it will ruin your day.”
Allie, “Do not think nobody’s watching. Disney has hidden security workers everywhere. So if someone shoves you and you have to shove back, or you just want to get that little trinket that you ran out of money for, don’t do it. You can get banned from any Disney park for these small crimes. Not to mention, it would be embarrassing.
Going along with that common sense theme, Malum added another tip, “There are NO weapons allowed in any of the parks or resorts whatsoever. Knives, tasers, mace night sticks, bats, asps, etc.. will be secured for you and you may pick them up as you leave. I didn’t say guns for one reason; having one of these on your person will earn you an immediate conversation with Orange County/Osceola County. Off duty officers (REGARDLESS OF ASSOCIATION (FBI, CIA, NSA, ETC)) will not be allowed to carry as well. Disney property is all private property. Their land, their rules.”
14. DO NOT bring a selfie stick
Heather, “Do not take a selfie stick into the parks. They have been banned as an annoyance for several reasons. The security bag inspectors will take it from you, tag it, and you will have to pick it up when you leave.”
15. DO NOT overlook talking to other people
John, “I’ve visited WDW since 1978. What truly surprised me through the years were the friendly responses of vacationers from around the world who visited our country. They were very polite and had a sense of curiosity about the American way of life through the eyes of a person of color. For my sons and their friends, it was the best education they ever experienced as each one spoke highly on what it was like being an African-American in the United States, going to WDW. It became obvious to my family that this probably would not have occurred in their lifetime had they not come to Disney. Over time, when we would visit again, my sons would ask visitors what country they were from and began a dialog with them.
After more than fifteen visits to WDW, now my sons and their wives and children are picking up the mantle as unofficial vacation greeters to those from abroad. Those experiences are the ones my family cherish the most while waiting in line, buying gifts or riding the bus, was a perfect opportunity to get to know our neighbors.”
16. DO NOT forget to pack hand sanitizer
Christy, “Don’t forget the hand sanitizer. There are thousands of people touching all of the railings, rides, tables, doors, and everything else. Sanitize your hands frequently, and wash your hands thoroughly before eating.”
17. DO NOT exit a ride too soon
Janice, “Please watch out for your children and DO NOT let them get away from you once the ride has finished. This can really turn into a dangerous situation for small kids. This goes for adults too! Wait until the ride has come to a complete stop before you bail out. This can be dangerous, and Cast Members will stop the ride, much to the annoyance of everyone else still on the ride.”
18. DO NOT forget safety
Jan, “One thing that is very important and was not touched on is safety. As a Cast Member, we are taught that safety comes first. Every day I watch people go over or under ropes that are there to block access to restricted areas. I watch people climb on railings and put their children on top of walls, fences and trash cans that are not bolted to anything. We know that you want to see the parade or show, but all it takes is someone bumping you and your child falls. Nothing ends a vacation on a bad note like a trip to the emergency room. There are restricted areas throughout the parks that still must be accessed by Cast Members so ropes are put up instead bars or doors in many locations. That does not mean it is okay for you or your child to go past those ropes. Often there is something dangerous in the area that is blocked, such as fallout from fireworks or equipment that is not meant to be touched. Don’t forget to make sure everyone in your party stays behind the ropes at all times unless instructed otherwise by a cast member. Don’t let your children sit or swing on the ropes. They are checked daily but when thousands of people do it repeatedly, they sometimes give. Cast Members want you to have a great vacation so sometimes we have to stop you from doing things that are not safe. Please listen to us. We do it because we care.
19. DO NOT keep it all for yourself
Naomi, “Do give a little Disney magic too! Hand out some glow sticks and bracelets to the kids next to you. When we buy a Mickey balloon, we usually carry it around for the parade and pictures. When we’re getting on a ride or heading to another park we find a little child heading in to give it a good home. Share some Mickey pretzels or a bottle of unopened water on your bus with a family that looks like they’ve had a long day and need a little smile to get back to their room. The average day is seven miles of walking; adding Disney magic to other people’s day will make it so much better for you and everyone around you.”
20. DO NOT Ignore the Cast Members
Brenda, “Do NOT miss a chance to interact with the Cast Members and DON’T hesitate to thank them for doing something above and beyond. They take a lot of garbage from the aforementioned Guests who expect the moon and extra stars, so a smile and a thank you from you will mean a lot… Trust me.”
Becka, “I agree with do not ignore the Cast Members suggestion. I’ve learned so much from them. Also if you are a pin trader, it’s a great way to start a conversation. I always say please and thank you even when not at the parks. That’s just a great way to appreciate the things they do.”
21. DO NOT let your kids ruin your budget
Briget, “Plan how much money you are going to let your kids spend and tell them. We keep our four kids money separated with different colored clips. I found it stops the ‘I want everything’ when they know they have to spend their own money. It made them make better choices.”
22. DO NOT overlook the fun of a “middle of the night gift”
Kenzi, “I saw a post on someone’s blog a while back that stuck with me. You buy Disney themed souvenirs ahead of time for your kiddos (from Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, etc.) and package them up for each day of the trip. In the middle of the night you leave a souvenir by each child’s bed (kind of like the concept of a Disney tooth-fairy) with a note from Mickey Mouse telling them to have a wonderful day at Magic Kingdom or whatever park you’re visiting that day. It adds a little Disney magic; they don’t feel the need to buy souvenirs that day because they got a gift from Mickey himself, AND you don’t spend a fortune on Disney souvenirs. I thought that was a great idea! This particular family we know actually did give their kids a gift certificate for an actual souvenir from the park on the last day of their trip, but you still save money by limiting it to one souvenir.”
These are similar to what people call Tinker Bell gifts. Use this link for more info.: The Ultimate Disney World Tinker Bell Gift Guide
23. DO NOT buy wasted souvenirs
Mermaid, (gotta love that name!) “Don’t waste your souvenir money on ‘throw away’ items. I tend to stay away from merchandise I know I am only going to get a few uses out of, like balloons, pins, glow toys, holiday decorations, Mickey ears (I know, I know, please don’t stone me lol) and I tend to use my spending money on something I will use nearly every day. For example, five years ago on my last Disneyland trip, I bought myself a Little Mermaid tumbler and have used it nearly every single day since I bought it. Other things I suggest are mugs and cups, kitchen items that you will use often, key chains, bath and swim towels, cell phone covers, bags, and stationary items like pens, sticky notes, and paper. I am in no way saying you should not spend your money on Mouse ears (and the rest) if you want them. I personally just think it is more worth my vacation allowance to spend it on something I am going to get a lot of use out of and see almost every day. ºoº ♥”
24. DO NOT forget about Mousekeeping
Spero, “Never forget to tip Mousekeeping. They work really hard to make sure your room is perfect to relax in when you get back from the parks, so you should be thankful and leave at least a few dollars. On our last trip, my dad bought brightly colored envelopes and let me write “Mousekeeping” on them and then decorate them. I think this could be a good idea if kids get bored on the plane or car ride there and want something to do, and it will leave something nice for those ladies and men who work so hard everyday.“
Erica, “DO NOT forget to tip your Mouse keepers. We tip the person who brings our burger 15%-20%, but we often forget about the purple who makes the bed, vacuums the crumbs, and even scrubs the toilet. If you can afford $100+ a night for a room, you can afford to leave $5 with a thank you note on your pillow each morning.”
Jodi, “DO NOT forget to tip the Mousekeeping at the resorts. The general rule of thumb is $1 per person plus $1 per day.
And another tip about a Housekeeping perk you might not be aware of.
Clarissa, “DO NOT put away your kids toys in the hotel, keep them out on a bed. The Mousekeeping staff will set them up in fun ways for your return. My kids loved coming back to the hotel to see what fun their toys had while we were at the parks.
25. DO NOT schedule a character meal at any time but breakfast
Beverly, “The least expensive time to schedule a Character meal is at breakfast. You can save upwards of $20 per person by enjoying a character meal first thing in the day. Plus pancakes and waffles are yummy!”
26. DO NOT buy a balloon on the first day
If you do buy a balloon, Sandra has a tip, “Do not buy one of those silly balloons until the last day. If not you have a silly balloon in your hotel room for days for the kids to bug you with. Then when you drive 16 hours home, you have the silly Mickey ears in your rearview mirror. Another tip: if they tell you the balloon lasts 3 months, they are right and you are ready to pop them at their 3 month anniversary!”
Casey, ” I am not sure I would agree with this one; it sounds like the speaker has a great dislike for balloons! The balloons last a very long time – and if they pop during your stay, Disney replaces them. So I actually think it makes a lovely souvenir and see no reason to wait till the end of your trip to purchase one. But as common sense would dictate: not each of these opinions is applicable for everyone.”
Laura, “To add to the balloon tips: If you are flying home, don’t buy a balloon. Or buy it deflated and inflate it at home. I have flown through Orlando a lot, and the saddest sight ever is watching TSA deflate Mickey while the poor kid has a complete meltdown.”
27. DO NOT forget stuff in a hot car
Patti, “Don’t leave your kids monogrammed ears in the back window of the car. Your ears will melt!”
Terri, “Do not leave Chapstick or crayons in your parked car in Walt Disney World in the summer. They will melt.”
28. DO NOT spend a lot on iTunes
Kathy, “Everybody loves Disney music, but it’s expensive. Go to YouTube, search for ‘Disney Area Music’ and convert them to MP3s for free. You can’t buy these on iTunes anyway. I did this for ‘Wishes’ and listen to it when I get the Disney blues after my trip.”
Scott, “If you want Disney tunes to listen to on the way to Disney here are 2 viable trouble-free options:
1: If you own any Disney DVD’s record the audio from the DVD audio track to an audio recorder such as Cool Edit. Cooledit demo versions can be downloaded from oldversion.com and will allow you to edit and compress into mp3’s(or leave as WAV files if you have the space) for playing on a CD, MP3 player or car’s internal entertainment system.
2: Amazon sells MP3’s of various Disney albums and these can be had for a little over a buck each. You can piece together an entire album of Disney music for about $10.
Having these to listen to will make the time pass more quickly and make the little ones happy.”
29. DO NOT order anything but water in restaurants
Charlene, “Skip the mug, skip the Coke, and stick with water. Not only is water better for you, it’s free. We save a lot of money this way, except on the days I just NEED a Coke to keep me going.”
Alena, “Don’t skip out on your drinks while on the dining plan! We aren’t soda drinkers so we still ordered water, which is ‘free.’ We didn’t think anything of this until our amazing waiter at the 50s restaurant informed us that we could bring a milkshake with us since we ordered water! We always ask for a beverage such as tea, milkshakes, or juice in a to go cup for later on. At quick service restaurants we order a cup of free water and use our drink part of the credit on a bottle of water for later. Always nice to fill up the cooler with bottles that won’t spill on rides! Drinking the free cups while sitting at a quick service restaurant is fine with us. Sounds cheap but drinks in the park are so expensive and you’re paying for them if you have the dining plan.”
30. DO NOT order alcohol at the parks
Gina, “DO NOT order alcohol at the park. You are so hot and sweaty, it will be a complete waste because you will not feel the ‘relaxing’ effects of it. I had two vodka oriented drinks there, and I have a pretty low tolerance. I felt nothing, and wasted 18 bucks. I should have opted for Minnie Mouse ears instead.”
I thoughts this was really an interesting tip, because a lot of adults drink at Disney these days. They “Drink Around the World” at Epcot, and now table service restaurants at Magic Kingdom are serving alcohol. But just because you can drink doesn’t mean you should, especially in the hot Orlando summers.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, which offers information about addiction, provides information about alcohol and heat.
Alcohol interferes with balance, coordination and judgment. These effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat. This means that you can put yourself at risk during hot weather activity even if you don’t have much to drink. An added risk during all forms of hot weather activity is heat illness. Alcohol is a diuretic–meaning that it promotes dehydration–and interferes with your body’s ability to regulate its own temperature. “Alcohol also dilates your blood vessels, as does warm weather, and therefore makes you more susceptible to passing out. Also remember that even moderate drinking–up to one drink per day for women and two for men–can put you at risk during hot weather activity. Your safest bet for summer fun is to stay alcohol-free.
It’s important to remember your drinking can affect other people.
Janice, “Once, I was walking along the street at night in Epcot, and I was happy with my mom and dad, but as we were walking, these drunkards came and pushed my mom down. A Cast Member saw it, but she was so busy so she couldn’t do anything, and the kids who she was working with got cranky when she tried to help us. Anyways, my dad got mad, but the drunks pushed him and grabbed me and pulled me away, then pushed me onto the ground and laughed. The Cast Member gasped and ran all the way to us. She had called some security by then, and she helped us and told the man he was never allowed to drink alcohol in Epcot ever again. She took a picture of him and they escorted him out! The moral is, don’t be afraid to let CM’s help you. They will ALWAYS be there to help.“
The other moral I took from that story is do not let your alcohol consumption ruin someone else’s trip, be that family or strangers.
Here’s a tip on one more vice that can be hard to handle at Disney World.
Charlie, “Never, never, promise to give up smoking at or just before visiting Disney! Not only do none of the Disney parks not sell cigarettes/tobacco – but they don’t even sell tobacco replacement gum/vapor cigarettes. I – and my poor wife – learned this last year. Seriously, don’t do it. If you must give up, do it at least 1-3 months before hand, otherwise, explain to your partner/family, that you want the trip to be great, and giving up smoking shortly before or during the trip may result in a holiday (or at least one very bad day) no-one wants to remember. If you are a smoker/ex-smoker, make sure you take your own smokes/smoke replacement gadgets with you.”
Rock, “If you’re travelling with a smoker, make sure they know, they absolutely cannot smoke in their room. Disney is very strict about this, and they will charge $250 environmental clean-up fee.”
31. DO NOT rent a wheelchair in the parks
Michelle, “Instead of renting a wheelchair at the parks, have a wheelchair delivered by a service to your hotel to save money.”
Jenn, “Definitely rent a stroller from an outside source. You can get really nice ones delivered to your hotel for the entire week for $50 as opposed to the uncomfortable hard ones at the park for $30 a day.”
32. DO NOT rent a wheelchair from a source outside the parks
Ali, “I disagree. We rented a wheelchair for my mom and it was only a $10 rental- much cheaper than a stroller and she and my daughter shared the ride!”
So #31 and #32 are opposites. We suggest you do you research on rental companies both outside and inside the parks before you make a decision. There are positives and negatives to both options.
33. DO NOT miss out on discount shopping
Michelle, “Shop at the outlet mall nearby for Disney items. They sell last season’s stuff that is still good, and it is much cheaper.”
34. DO NOT order the entire counter service meal
Brandi, “You can order just an entrée at counter service locations without all the sides/fries and a drink. I do this to avoid the extra calories. I bring my own sides like fruit. I save money and stay healthy.”
35. DO NOT forget to use PhotoPass
Paige, “It may be pricey, but those PhotoPass photos are excellent. It takes away a lot of worrying about my poor skills with a camera. Now I know at least somebody got the shot. I’ll skip buying a couple t-shirts to pay for this, because kids grow up fast.”
36. DO NOT use PhotoPass
Tim, “Call me cheap, but I’m not paying a hundred dollars for pictures. My digital camera gets the job done.”
#35 and #36 are opposites. Is there a best option, using PhotoPass over taking your own photos? That will depend on your skill with a camera and your vacation budget. Not every family can afford to purchase PhotoPass photos.
V had some thoughts on this as well, “When it comes to PhotoPass, I’m a firm believer of both do and don’t. It doesn’t cost anything to get the card and have photos put on them by the Cast Members. It only costs to buy them afterwards and you will have a month to decide. Take pictures yourself at the same time, the Cast Members really don’t mind! Then you can decide when you get home which looks best. You can also ask the Cast Members to take pictures with your camera, even if you’ve used the Photo Pass. During Meet and Greets, I had both my parents and the Cast Members taking pictures. Also, if you have any computer knowledge you can print screen the previews as they have no water marks. They won’t be great quality, but they can make good snaps, especially for Facebook.
Vickie, “You do not have to have a photo pass. The people who take the photos will use your camera or phone and take a picture for you and it is free as long as they use a your equipment. We did this got some awesome picture.”
Ann, “I totally agree with using both Photopass and your own camera when possible. Cast Members will take a picture with your camera, so that you can get in the shot too! Sometimes there are settings that my camera is not as good at capturing. It is always good to get a good castle shot (if you can now with all the hub construction) with Photopass. Also they add some special effects: holding Tinker Bell in your hand for example. Honesty the last trip we took, I do not think I ordered any of the photos that were taken on Photopass. They do not seem to have been as good lately. Not sure if there is a way to tell if you are getting a more experienced photographer or not. It can depend on how much time and patience they spend on the shots. We actually had photos taken at one spot and they did not show up on our pass later. They searched for me but were never found. They can get some cool night shots that you may or may not be able to capture on your own camera. So, I would definitely take both. Like someone said, you do not have to purchase if you do not like the Photopass shots. Now, last thought…I had a friend who would utilize every Photopass opportunity possible and then buy the disc in the end. She said she felt it was worth it.”
37. DO NOT pay full price for Disney kids’ costumes
Heidi, “I don’t have $65 for a gift shop princess dress for my daughter. But I have $20 to buy a used one on eBay. You can find them at yard sales, and I also bought several from friends. They probably would have given them to me, but slipping them a little $ made sure they didn’t go to another friend!””
38. DO NOT forget extra clothes
W. C., “If you have a child who is prone to have potty accidents, bring more than one change of clothes and multiple undies. I think a pack of three pair of undies in the park is $20-30. Put them in a plastic bag, so you have somewhere to place wet clothes. If you start running out of outfits because of accidents, run to Wal-Mart at night and grab more pants. You’ll feel more confident going to the park with three pants for $10 than feeling like this is the last pair of clothes they own and praying they don’t have an accident.”
Morgan, “Always take winter and summer clothes with you when you go to Disney. Last time my family and I went it turned out cold, but we only had summer clothes. We ended up having to spend a lot of money in gift shops.”
Kimberly, “Remember that all the Disney parks have a code of conduct including appropriate attire guidelines. If you violate these, you can be asked to purchase something that is appropriate to wear or leave the park. Inappropriate dress does not just mean risqué garments, it can be something printed on your clothes as well. Check out the guidelines before you go so you don’t get surprised.”
39. DO NOT forget a towel for the Disney water parks
Stacey, “I cannot tell you how many people think that towels are available in the water parks. The line at the gift shop is a mile long with people buying expensive Disney towels. My son bought a towel once, just because he liked it. Although they are a good quality item, towels will cost you about $24.”
40. DO NOT forget to look into travel insurance
Ashley, “One thing I always suggest is that if you can afford the trip, insurance get it. We travel in the winter from Colorado and you never know when a winter storm might hit! Also, traveling takes its toll on your immune system, and nothing beats having a doctor come to you in the middle of the night when something unexpected pops up! The $150-$200 for insurance is much cheaper than a trip to the nearest ER/urgent care.”
41. DO NOT think Disney is just for kids
Angela, “Don’t think that Disney doesn’t have anything to offer adults. It’s crazy to me how many people say they don’t go because there is nothing fun for grown ups to do!”
42. DO NOT hesitate to go back
Meaghan, “Do NOT hesitate to go back again if your kids were too young the first time. My only trip to Disney World was when I was 2 1/2 years old. The only way I remember anything is through videos and photos. I wish my parents would’ve taken me back when I was a little older so I could remember some things.”
Alyssa, “Don’t vacation like you will never be coming back! No one will have any fun trying to remember everything and going crazy all day every day. With Disney, you always need to be able to say ‘we’ll see that next time.’ Next time doesn’t have to be soon, but just plan to hopefully return someday.”
43. DO NOT expect DiSnEy MaGiC 24/7
April, “Do not go in expecting magic to be handed to you every single second of the day. Often times, the real magic lies in your attitude and your interactions with others. We were once stormed on an entire week, yet we had a GREAT time because we embraced the sogginess and thus walked on quite a few rides.”
44. DO NOT shy away from the fun
Paige, “Don’t be afraid to have some fun! And don’t worry about what other people think. You’ll probably never see them again.”
Be sure to stop by the original article: 120 Walt Disney World DO NOTs: Tips From Real People on How NOT to Screw Up a Disney Vacation! The tips there really can ensure you and your family have a fantastic time on your pricey Disney vacation.
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Amanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.
Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast.
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