The Walt Disney World theme parks are full of magic and excitement, but sometimes the fun is overshadowed by lines or crowds. We’ve compiled some of the negatives about Disney World for you, but don’t worry, we’ve also outlined how to fix them.
Waiting in Line at the Disney World Theme Park
Lines are a part of any theme park experience, and Walt Disney World is no exception. For new rides, and during peak times, wait times can soar. For example, when Pandora, the land of Avatar opened in Animal Kingdom, wait times for the two new rides could reach as much as four hours.
One of the most obvious ways to avoid lines for rides inside the Walt Disney World theme park is to use Genie+. Disney’s Genie+ allows you to essentially wait in line while doing other things inside the park. When you book Genie+ you will be given an hour window to return and enjoy the ride.
Walt Disney World is also using virtual line queues and new technology for some of the new rides.
Another way to avoid Disney World wait times for rides is to schedule your trip when there are lower crowds. This means avoiding holidays, long weekends, summer and common days where schools are closed.
Another good way to avoid lines is by staying out of the higher populated parks on weekend days. Currently, these are Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
On weekends, specifically long weekends, try to attend EPCOT or Animal Kingdom instead.
An Out of Control Bill
A trip to the Walt Disney World theme park is well known for being wallet draining. While the resort and theme park ticket purchases are easy to plan for, unfortunately, once you get into the parks, money seems to leave at a rapid pace. There are meals to buy as well as snacks, souvenirs, photos, and added transportation.
The easiest way to keep your bill down is to remove unnecessary expenses like photos, souvenirs, and even snacks. These may put a slight damper on your trip, but your bank account will thank you.
For resort discounts, Disney releases them occasionally during low traffic times. If no discounts are available, you can choose to stay in a value or moderate resort instead of a deluxe or villas resort. These resorts come with a lower price tag and lack a few small amenities. Here, we’ve outlined details on all the resorts and costs on the Walt Disney World theme park property.
For more details on how to save money during a Disney vacation, try our cost cutting guide, which can save you 28% or more!
Missing Out on Your Favorite Disney World Theme Park Restaurants
Tables fill up fast at the popular table service restaurants. A delicious character breakfast buffet is the perfect way to start the day at a Disney World theme park, and sitting down for a meal provides a great break during a busy day on your feet in the parks.
With so many vying for a coveted table, wait times can be long, and day-of or last-minute reservations are nearly impossible. If you’re anything like us, you’ve been looking forward to a meal at Biergarten or breakfast at Tusker House for years.
To ensure your group gets their much anticipated meal, advanced dining reservations are a must. Dining reservations can typically be booked 180 days in advance of your trip.
The reservations work in a similar manner to the FastPasses. They aren’t a hard reservation of a set table, but instead they place you front in line for the next available table that fits your party once you check in.
Click here for all the details and explanations about advanced dining reservations and how to make them.
Long Counter Service Lines
Quick Service restaurants are a great way to enjoy quality Disney food at a lower price and without reservations. Unfortunately, inside the Disney World theme park, some quick service spots draw in large lines. This is especially true during peak meal times.
On the My Disney Experience App, you can order your meal in advance at counter service restaurants. Think of it as a reservation, but instead of getting a table when you arrive, your food is ready.
It does take some foresight and some planning, but it’s worth it, we promise.
Prior to eating, and this can be several hours or more, you simply open up the app and select the option for mobile food orders. Create a new order, select your restaurant and time when you would like to eat. Then ordr the food for your party.
You’ll be asked to let the restaurant know when you arrive. This can be done through the app. When your food is ready, you’ll receive notice and be able to pick it up at a dedicated window removed from the long line of diners waiting to order their food.
The only caveat here is that you will need to have a credit card associated with your My Disney Experience account. This card will be charged when you place your order. If you want to pay cash, you’ll have to wait in the line.
Packed Disney World Theme Park Transportation
There is nothing worse than standing packed tight on a bus or monorail after a long day on your feet enjoying the Disney World theme parks. It seems the transportation is becoming more and more crowded every year.
A couple tips to ease this pain included using alternative modes of transportation or avoid travelling during peak times. To save money and avoid crowds, try to travel to and from the park when others are not.
Typically the buses, monorails, and boats see peak traffic an hour before and after opening and closing of the parks. To evade the crowds, try to get to the parks well before opening, or at least an hour after. Also, leave before the final fireworks or closing show of the park to avoid the mad dash to the transport options. If you really want to see that show (and who doesn’t), consider hanging around for a half hour or so after the show. You can snap some photos or stop in a store while other guests are making the mad dash to the transportation point.
If you have it in your budget, try using a Lyft, Uber, or Minnie Van. This will give you the opportunity to avoid crowds and stay inside the parks as long as possible. But be aware, occasionally these options are booked tight during peak times.
To learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the many types of transportation available, you can check out our Disney World transportation comparison. Here we review the speed, efficiency and overall experience of both complimentary and paid forms of getting to and from the parks.
Walking and Walking to the Bus Stop
We all know resorts inside the Disney World theme park can be sprawling. It’s a positive when it comes to offering enough rooms and amenities. But it often means walking great distances to places such as the bus stop.
When booking, you can often request a room, or building you would like to stay in. We recommend looking at the resort map and booking a room near the bus stop. This will expedite your journey to the parks in the morning.
Another thought to keep in mind is whether or not your resort has more than one bus stop. Many value and moderate resorts have more than one pick up and drop off point.
If this is the case, you will want to reserve a room located closer to the first bus stop to be picked up. This will ensure you always have a seat on the way to the parks, and you will be dropped off first after a long day inside the Disney World theme parks.
Battling Crowds for an Iconic Photo
Does your trip to a Disney World theme park really count if you don’t take the perfect Instagram photo? We don’t think so, but getting the perfect photo op can be really difficult.
If you’re wanting the best group photo, or just a photo of you that’s not a selfie, try one of the Photopass photographers. They are there to take photopass and photos for the Memory Maker, but will take a photo with your phone at no cost. They often have the best locations for photos as well.
For scenery and photos of décor, it can be hard to obtain them without people in the background. One of the ways to combat this is to book a dining reservation for breakfast inside the park prior to opening.
You’ll be allowed into the park before anyone else, and after dining, will have fifteen minutes or so to get many photos with minimal or no guests in them, even the castle.
Taking advantage of early entry also provides resorts of Disney hotels the chance to capture iconic snaps with no one around.
Another option is to take photos from rare angles. Everyone has a picture of Cinderella’s castle from the front, but what about the side, or the rear? These angles will provide a unique point of view as well as the opportunity to capture the photo minus guests.
Souvenirs inside the Disney World theme park have inflated prices, but you often feel left out without them. You don’t want to be the only person without Mickey or Minnie Ears, or without Disney themed light-up Christmas accessories.
These small purchases can completely derail your budget, and saying “no” can cause a tantrum that will derail your magical day. However, many Disney themed souvenirs can be bought offsite or online ahead of time.
While this might not be as much fun, it can save your budget in the long run. Many handmade and unique Mickey and Minnie ears can be purchased from small businesses on Etsy at a large discount over Disney’s.
Disney stuffed animals and children’s costumes can be purchased ahead of time and given anytime during your Walt Disney World theme park trip. Just think of the hero you’ll be when you pull out those one-of-a-kind special items.
Getting Through Main Street USA
Main Street USA inside of Magic Kingdom seems to work as a bottle neck when it comes to guest flow. You enter through many turnstyles, walk under the train tracks and are funneled into Main Street.
This problem is exacerbated during parades and closing time. To make your way to your first ride quickly, we often move our group into a single file line and weave a bit. Trying to navigate this tight space as a side by side group is nearly impossible, and if you do, it blocks everyone behind you.
Another tip to combat the Main Street craziness first thing in the morning, is to cut through the Emporium shop, Disney Clothiers, and Casey’s Corner. These shops interconnect and inside you’ll be dodging more clothing racks than people, which is a bit easier.
Be sure to stay on the left side of Main Street USA when traveling through this Walt Disney World theme park in the mornings. On the right side is the bakery, which in the mornings often has a long line of people waiting for Starbucks. The line will clog up the sidewalk on busy days and completely block the flow of traffic.
We were able to find 9 not so great things about the Walt Disney World theme park. But there are too many good ones to list. Luckily for us Disney fans, the negatives are fairly easy to fix with a little Walt Disney World vacation planning and a bit of patience.