8 Mistakes I Made on our Disney World Vacation…and 3 things I did RIGHT!
Don’t get me wrong – we had a FABULOUS trip! And none of these “mistakes” adversely affected our trip. But with every trip you take, you learn something new!
So here are 8 mistakes I have learned from!
1. Booking Be Our Guest for breakfast too late.
I didn’t really have much of a choice – I took the reservation I could get. We had a breakfast reservation for 8:30 on a day the park opened at 9:00am. When we got to the park at 7:30 we weren’t allowed to get in the line for people who had pre-park opening reservations because they had decided to open the park at 8:00am instead because of crowd projections. So now our reservation was after park opening and not only did we not get in the park early, but we were way back from rope drop and there was a huge line at Be Our Guest when we finally got there – and we had to wait even with our reservation. (Personally, I think if you have a reservation, they should let you go through the bypass line just so you can get to your reservation without fighting the crowd – even if it’s just 2 minutes before they let everyone else in!)
2. Not sitting in the main dining room at Be Our Guest.
I learned on our trip that Be Our Guest has three dining rooms – each one unique. We ate in the West Wing for dinner – it was super fun! It’s the beast’s room – with the rose, and lighting flashing outside the window and the decor all slashed. Then there is the main dining room that looks like the ballroom from the movie and the Rose Gallery – where we had breakfast. The Rose Gallery is pretty, there are large pictures on the wall with scenes from the movie and a life-sized statue of Beast and Belle dancing in the center of the room.
I also learned that if you ask for a certain room they will accommodate you. I really wish I had asked to eat in the Main Dining room at our breakfast reservation.
3. Booking a Table Service Meal during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
We LOVE Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! But on our last trip a last minute reservation came up for Be Our Guest for dinner during the Halloween Party. The Beast is only present at dinner for meet and greets and since that was a bucket list item and MNSSHP was our last night and this reservation came up, I grabbed it.
But I won’t ever book a table service meal during the Halloween party again. Even though I enjoyed the dining experience, we paid extra to experience the Halloween festivities and we missed over an hour of them because we had a table service reservation.
4. Forgetting my portable phone charger.
I was having cell issues the whole trip and it was exacerbated by the fact that I forgot my portable phone charger to help keep my phone charged in the parks!
I had intended on bringing it. But it didn’t make it into the bags. Luckily Kristin is my best friend and she brought hers to me when we met up in the parks. She’s the best! (I also spent a little time resting in the Space Mountain gift shop where there are outlets to let my phone charge while the boys rode Space Mountain repeatedly. So if you need a place to charge – head over to Space Mountain and there is a small bench in the front of the gift shop with an outlet next to it!)
5. Trying to do Epcot in a day.
Epcot is NOT a one day park – I don’t care who you are. This was our first time to Epcot (even though we had previously been to Disney). We open and close every park on every day of our trip so I (foolishly) thought that if we were at Epcot from open to close we could do it all.
Granted, we get to partly blame it on the rain – we had about an hour of torrential rain and we missed most of Italy, Germany and Norway because of it. We had packed ponchos (yay for doing something right!) so we threw them on and navigated best we could from land to land when the rain would let up slightly (it POURED for the better part of an hour). We were able to double back to China (between Germany and Norway) after it stopped and meet Mulan (first in line too!)
But we missed out on Eating Around the World because the little outside stands that serve all the yummy ethnic snacks closed up. That was a bummer.
Besides the World Showcase you have the Future World area of Epcot with all the rides. We did that first and made our way to the World Showcase around lunchtime. But in the future I will definitely plan TWO days at Epcot. One to ride everything in Future World and the second just to enjoy the World Showcase (and maybe some of our favorite Future World rides again…like Soarin’)
6. Missing the Terra Cotta Warriors in China
The Terra Cotta Warriors in Epcot really are a well kept secret. But even though I KNEW they were there, I was so thrown by the rain, that even though we were just SITTING in China waiting on Mulan, I FORGOT ABOUT THE TERRA COTTA WARRIORS.
This was something my son would have LOVED. But I didn’t tell him because I wanted to surprise him. And since I forgot, I still haven’t told him they are there. Because then I would have to listen to him lament about not seeing them. Trust me, I feel bad enough already.
Also, Disney, a sign or two would be nice! Big letters – TERRA COTTA WARRIORS THIS WAY.
7. Eating dinner at Wilderness Lodge
This was another last minute, on the fly, plan change. We had a reservation at Whispering Canyon at Wilderness Lodge because we needed to use up a Table Service Credit. But when that last minute Be Our Guest reservation came up I had to drop one so I dropped Whispering Canyon. But on our last night at the park it was closing at 7 because of the Halloween Party (a night that we didn’t have tickets for) so I thought, well, it will be fun to ride the boat to Wilderness Lodge, look around and we can just eat at Roaring Fork, the Quick Service there.
Wilderness Lodge is a beautiful resort. And the food at Roaring Fork was good. But getting back to OUR resort at that time of the night was a hassle. That’s why I put this on the list of regrets. We had to take a bus from Wilderness Lodge to Disney Springs and then get on a bus to our resort and it really took us an hour from the time we started waiting on the Disney Springs bus at Wilderness Lodge until we got to our stop at our resort.
8. Underestimating the Heat in September
I am a lifelong Southerner – I understand heat. But this particular year we went was hotter than average. We went in late September – only about three weeks earlier in the year than we had gone 2 years prior. Mid-October weather that year had been perfect. Shorts-wearing weather but not miserably hot. I had expected late-September to be similar. But it was indeed MUCH hotter.
I was prepared for the heat – packed the right clothes, brought bottled water, planned for breaks, knew where all the cool rides were. But still in the back of my mind, I was thinking it wouldn’t be that bad so when it was, I felt foolish. I should know better.
Never underestimate the Florida heat!
So with all that said, there were many things I did right. But I’ll mention just three of them here.
All the time, people ask, “Is Memory Maker Worth it?” I was one of those people. Our first trip, I didn’t get it. Then I got home and saw all our wonderful pictures and ended up buying them after the fact. So this time, I just factored the cost into our trip budget and bought it before we left.
We took TONS of pictures using Memory Maker. And I know that they will take them with your phone or your own camera but the Memory Maker photographer snaps candids during the meet and greets whereas a cast member is most likely to just wait for everyone in the picture to be “ready” and snap a photo. I have so many extra memories because of Memory Maker and I didn’t have to worry about digging around for a phone or camera at character spots. I got to be IN the moment and enjoy it.
2. Rode the Monorail around Epcot
In my “planning for the heat and long days” I had scheduled us a bit of “rest” after our Chef Mickey lunch. We were going back to MK that night for the Halloween Party and knew we would need some down time and go back to our resort to freshen up and change. My son LOVES the monorail so after Chef Mickey’s we hopped the monorail in the Contemporary and got off at the TTC and got on the Epcot monorail. We had not been to Epcot on our previous trip so my son had never seen the Epcot ball (and neither had I!). The Epcot monorail takes you right around the ball before it drops you off in front of Epcot.
This was a fabulous first way to experience Epcot!
Then we hopped a bus from Epcot back to our resort.
3. Made a daily plan and took it with us.
I made an itinerary for the day with Fastpass+ info, dining reservations, order in which to do things, where to eat Quick Service meals based on where we would be at lunch time, back-up ideas, etc, etc.<
I printed these out and packed them in my backpack every day. Having an idea of what to do instead of wandering aimlessly was a much better way to enjoy our trip!
Now if only I had remembered to write down the Terra Cotta Warriors on my itinerary…..