10 Things We Will Never Do Again at Disney World
Here you leave today and enter the world of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy. But sometimes, the dreams get in the way of reality, and thus the focus of a list that you should definitely take into consideration when you're planning a trip to Walt Disney World!
Here are the 10 Things we will never do again at Disney World
The first thing out of Jill's mouth when I started to talk about this topic was Beverly at Club Cool in EPCOT. Although it was marketed as an apertif (i.e. a drink served before a meal), we Disney fans, who were bringing friends and family to Walt Disney World for the first time, would often market it as the BEST drink in the world! After seeing the face that folks would make, usually a mix of "wow that's bitter" and "I need a shot of tequila after tasting that", we would often go into People Watch mode and see how many others would get set up to experience this tradition.
Beverly itself was discontinued in 2009, so every year that we make our way into Club Cool and actually see it as an offering...is a blessing in disguise. Oh, and I had the dump method down pat...so after pressing the sample button it was a queue for someone else to try it as well. While they were looking at the cup in order to not have it over-flow, I'd position myself right beside the garbage can!
Go to the Magic Kingdom WITHOUT Getting a Pack of Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom Cards
This is a simple one that is an easy one to correct. Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom is an attraction that allows guests to defeat villains at portals in a variety of lands while using cards provided by Disney. When you visit the park, you have to "open a portal" and then you're able to check in daily at the designated game locations (Firehall on Main Street USA and Liberty Square) to pick up a new pack of cards. Why you wouldn't do this is baffling, as it's a FREE souvenir that is a great conversation starter, awesome gifts for friend's birthdays and just a fun way to spend 5-10 minutes while you wait for a reservation!
New Year's Eve at the Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is by far and away one of the most magical places on earth...when you can walk in a straight line. When the park closes for capacity before noon, you're just asking for troubles and the stress will follow you through the 3-4 hour lines for attractions, hour long lines for lunch and the chance that if you leave the park midday, that you won't be able to get back in due to capacity issues.
In other words, just watch it on TV or (if you really want) you can purchase a fireworks package from the Polynesian or Contemporary!
If you're looking at getting the best Halloween experience, waiting until Halloween night is a huge mistake. Remember that Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party actually starts August 25th, 2017 and the first few parties are downright amazing! The cast members are still having fun, the characters haven't been burned out yet and the candy is still kinda fresh for not having been in boxes for an extra two months.
The big reason why we won't do Halloween night anymore is because of the pressure that guests put on that specific night, and how frustrating it is when the tickets sell out (as they do every year) months in advance! Also, the weather in late October isn't as nice as September...so we recommend the 3rd week of September as the optimal time to do Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
New Years Eve at EPCOT
EPCOT is home to some amazing events, and the holiday tags are pretty much the most epic thing that you can ever imagine. With New Year's Eve, the celebrations start early in the day. Why? Because the World Showcase is home to countries in many different time zones. China celebrates at a different time than Norway, which is a different timezone than Morocco and the USA. The reason why it's not as bad as the Magic Kingdom is the fact that there are two entrances (and thus two exits), it'll give you the chance to avoid the crowds after the party by going through to the Boardwalk or busing from a resort like the Yacht and Beach Club.
Opening Weekend at the Flower and Garden Festival or the Opening Weekend at the Food and Wine Festival
Any time that you have an opening of a festival at EPCOT, be prepared the lines. As seasoned travellers to Walt Disney World...we've learned a few things. First off, don't go opening weekend..because you'll be in a world of hurt due to the sheer crowd levels and the fact that the vendors haven't gotten into a groove yet. You may end up with lack-luster food experiences, under-informed cast (especially those who are covering shifts) and the worst...system bugs that have issues with opening day.
IF you do have to go opening weekend, treat it like any other day and go early, have fun and don't waste your time in giant lines without seeing if the product/service itself is worth it.
Disney Dining Plan
So this is a controversial one, as I am a huge supporter of the Disney Dining Plan as a concept, but in reality...it's become something that just doesn't have the value anymore. Let's look at numbers:
In 2017, the Regular DDP is priced at $69.36 per adult per night. This gets you a TS meal, a QS meal, 2 snacks per day and a refillable mug. If you are booking 180 days out for your ADR's, then you're gold! IF you don't get the top 10 ADR's or your group doesn't eat a lot, then you're possibly over-paying for food that you're not going to eat...like your dessert or snacks. As soon as this happens, it may be worth paying out of pocket for food.
The other thing to keep in mind when you're thinking about the DDP...is that the program does not cover gratuities (except for a select number of experiences). This is a huge cost that may price the DDP out of your budget!
Free Dining Promotion
Free Dining is traditionally a great deal, but let's look at the facts...it's got to make financial sense for you on all levels. The trade-off with "Free" is that you often have to give something in return, and this is no different. Disney provides you with the incentive of a certain level of Dining Plan in exchange for you to pay rack rate for your hotel room. Is it a good deal? Well, the typical 'room only' discount rolls around 30%, which could actually make the tickets and out of pocket food costs cheaper and better suited for your specific case.
This isn't always the case, but you'll see a lot of activity online and with Travel Agents around the Free Dining Promotion, and this is due to the fact that Disney's compensation package for TA's focus on commission for hotels (and not for dining or tickets). I'm a huge fan of asking questions first, and when people say it's 'too good to be true', this is a potential red flag.
Full disclosure - I went on a trip to WDW for Free Dining in 2015 and have the photos, the spreadsheets, and the receipts to prove that we actually would have saved money by getting a room-only discount, with annual passes and paying out of pocket for food. We actually ended up getting most of our desserts to go and having them as breakfast the next morning...because nothing's better than cupcakes at 7:30am:)
Super Bowl Cavalcade at the Magic Kingdom
It's 100% an advertising program to build the "I'm going to Disney World" slogan. Athletes are actually paid thousands to participate in the promotion, with a cavalcade going down Main Street USA the day (or week) after the Super Bowl with the MVP and characters dressed as football players. Why is this something that we'll never do again? Well quite simply...Disney Parks Blog and YouTube channel will get you the same show, with behind the scenes elements and better access to the parade than you'll get from staking out a spot in front of the Emporium.
Personally, as a casual football fan, I'd rather be IN the Emporium shopping for a new set of Mickey Ears or spending WAYYY too much money at the Art of Disney across the street than watching a walking/talking advertising slogan.
July 4th at the Magic Kingdom
Don't do it! Summer = hot and sweaty days in the parks, with the Magic Kingdom hitting capacity early...AND the kicker is that they do the "Fourth of July Fireworks" on July 3rd as well;)
Christmas Day at the Magic Kingdom
Perfection is the Magic Kingdom during any holiday celebration, but the Christmas lights and feeling in Disney World is by far my favourite time of the year! Here's the issue...you're being lied to each and every year.
The Christmas Parade that you see on ABC each year is amazing and magical. It's also filmed weeks beforehand during the calm before the storm.
On Christmas Day, more than 120,000 - 150,000 guests will try to get into the park...and most will be turned away at various 'capacity' closure intervals. So if you do feel the need to be at the Magic Kingdom, it's important to have expectations in check.
- You will not ride anything.
- You will be in lines everywhere, including lines to get into the washrooms
- You will not be able to walk-up to any restaurants, so ADRs are a must.
- You can't leave the park and expect to get back in...because capacity is capacity.
- Go slow, enjoy the atmosphere, people watch and enjoy getting a sun tan on December 25th!