In 2021, your previous Walt Disney World strategies are worthless! Since Walt Disney World reopened, your approach to have a great time has completely changed. Our previous blog post on Walt Disney World Mistakes You Must Avoid has been one of our most visited posts on Modern Life is Good. However, many of these tips are out of date, and we have now decided to remove this post. These are our all-new Walt Disney World Mistakes to Avoid in 2021. Follow these tips, and you will have a great time at Walt Disney World in 2021.
This guide was last updated in September 2021 with the latest information.
Not booking a Disney Park Pass
Forget FastPass+; the essential booking you must obtain as soon as you get your ticket is your Disney Park Pass. You will need to prebook a reservation online through the new Disney Park Pass System to access a park.
To access your first park each day, guests must present their park reservation and a valid park ticket. Guests who do not have either of these will be refused entry. Now that is a mistake you will want to avoid!
Not checking the latest infromation on Park Hopping
It is your final day, and you saw a must-buy gift in the Magic Kingdom, but you are in Epcot. Park Hopping wasn’t available when Walt Disney World reopened but has returned during 2021 in an altered form.
Guests will still need to make a Disney Park Pass Reservation for their first park each day, and they must enter this park before trying to enter another. Guests will then be able to enter a second park during Park Hopper Hours. Park Hopping Hours are subject to change, but currently, they are operating between 2 pm to close at all parks. Park Hopping will be subject to park capacity, and Disney advises you to check My Disney Experience for the latest information.
Not creating a plan
Now the removal of FastPass+ does make some of the Walt Disney World planning a lot easier. However, it would be best if you still planned where you want to eat, what parks you want to visit, and what your must-do attractions are. Failure to make a plan, and you might miss out!
If you want help completing your plan, visit our Free Walt Disney World Vacation Planning Sheets.
You forget the sunscreen
Yes, this was in our previous guide. However, a pandemic hasn’t suddenly made Orlando any less hot.
In summer, many of us will find our skin will burn & the Orlando Sun can be unforgiving. Apply sunscreen and wear a good hat when visiting the parks. Our Guide to Orlando Weather has plenty of tips and tricks.
Not booking Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
FastPass+ might be suspended, but you still need a reservation to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The rules of how virtual queue reservations are distributed have changed several times, but the current rules are:
Guests with a valid ticket or annual pass and a Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to request access to the virtual queue starting at 7:00 AM on the day of their reservation. This can be done before you leave your Disney Resort hotel or on your way to the park. The virtual queue will reopen daily at 1:00 PM for anyone inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios who wasn’t already able to join a boarding group earlier in the day.
Guests must be inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios to access this second virtual queue opportunity, and access to a boarding group is subject to availability and not guaranteed. Only Guests with a Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Guests visiting from another theme park will not be able to request to join the virtual queue.Walt Disney World
Ensure you are logged on to My Disney Experience before these times and be quick reservations go quick! If you are park hopping to Hollywood Studios, please note that you will not be able to join the Rise of the Resistance Virtual Line.
Not checking out the new 50th Birthday attractions
Walt Disney World is 50 on the 1st of October. Disney will mark the date with the opening of several new attractions at Walt Disney World. The most anticipated of these attractions are:
- Disney Enchantment a new nighttime spectacular at the Magic Kingdom.
- Harmonious at Epcot which is billed as the biggest nighttime show Disney has ever produced.
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open in Epcot. It has been delayed by over one year but it is going to be a big crowd pleaser.
Visit our Guide to Walt Disney World’s 50th Birthday to learn more.
Not taking advantage of Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours
Extra Magic Hours is not returning to Walt Disney World, and in its place will be two new services:Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours. We used to think Extra Magic Hours was a waste of time, but think these new resort perks might be unmissable:
Early Theme Park Entry will start on the 1st of October. This new benefit will be available for all Walt Disney World Resort guests and other select hotels. Guests will be able to gain 30-minute early entry to any theme park every day. However, you will still need a Disney Park Pass.
Extended Evening Hours is a new service for guests staying at Deluxe Resorts. Guests staying at one of these resorts will be able to enjoy extended evening hours on select nights in select theme parks. A valid Disney Park Pass will also be essential for guests taking advantage of Extended Evening Hours. However, guests may visit with a Park Hopper option as long as the park where they made their reservation has been visited earlier in the day.
Know height requirements before you go
If the kids can’t ride Splash Mountain, let them know in advance rather than getting turned away in the line. Disney does strictly enforce height restrictions. If the kids are too small, you can use a rider switch to allow the rest of the party to ride.
Not reading the latest advice on face masks!
2021 and we are in a different world. The advice on face masks has changed several times but is currently required when indoors or on Walt Disney World transport.
You didn’t realize how much walking the kids had to do.
Sure they don’t need a stroller when you visit the local park, but they will walk a lot more than back at home. Be ready to hire a stroller for all under 5s and some older kids too. Kids will get tired & grumpy in Orlando. Plus, cranky kids often lead to even crankier adults.
Not drinking and having rest breaks
Dehydration and sunstroke are easy to acquire but easy to prevent. Make sure you plan plenty of breaks during the day.
Not drinking enough is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make at Walt Disney World. Carry water and drink regularly. There are plenty of free water points throughout the parks. Remember, face masks will make you hotter.
Wearing new shoes.
Make sure your shoes are worn in and comfortable; you will be doing a lot of walking at Walt Disney World. Did you know the British Queen hires someone to wear in her shoes?
Not bringing park essentials
Make a list of what you need, e.g., camera, autograph book, poncho. Pack your bag the night before and recheck it in the morning. Make sure you have a device to access the park WiFi to use My Disney Experience.
However, many guests, in our opinion, bring far too much into the park. Remember, whatever you pack, you will have to carry all day. We have created a guide to what we would recommend putting in your park bag.
Not checking opening hours!
Walt Disney World hours are still shorter than usual, but they are regularly changing. The good news is that they are often getting longer. Click the link to get all the latest Walt Disney World Park Hours.
Not checking for refurbishments
Attractions do close for refurbishments, and these are usually advertised well in advance. While the majority of these closures will not ruin your vacation, would you be happy if Flight of Passage was closed?
However, perhaps more problematic is if your resort is undergoing significant refurbishment.
You can find out more about Walt Disney World Scheduled refurbishments here.
Not Using Disney Transportation
When you stay on-site at Disney, you have access to free transportation to the parks and Disney Springs. Disney offers a list of transport options from all resorts, and they will drop you at virtually the front entrance of all parks. To learn more about Disney Transportation, visit our guide.
We also think hiring a car is often an unnecessary expense. Visit our blog to see how we do Walt Disney World without a car.
You can’t access the park Wi-Fi.
Online access is essential at Walt Disney World. Don’t even consider entering a Walt Disney World Park in 2021 without access to Wi-Fi! We have even previously named it our Number 1 Walt Disney World Tip!
Plus, if you don’t have access to WiFi, you can’t use My Disney Experience.
Not downloading My Disney Experience
Make sure you have My Disney Experience available before you enter the parks. My Disney Experience is a free online guide to Walt Disney World that allows guests to plan their vacation. Through this free service, you can:
- Keep track of your plans & reservations including those of your family & friends.
- Make Disney Genie, Dining & Ticket Reservations
- Order in advance your food at select Quick Service Locations
- Access maps, wait times, showtimes, park hours, and a lot more essential information via the app.
- Grab a spot in the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance.
Walt Disney World encourages all guests to have downloaded the latest version of My Disney Experience on their mobile device before entering parks during the reopening period. Also, they recommend having location services and notifications enabled. During the reopening of Walt Disney World, My Disney Experience will be providing several new enhancements to promote social distancing and reduced contact.
Not checking the latest information on My Disney Experience
It seems almost inevitable that changes will happen throughout 2021. Make sure you don’t miss out if suddenly a show or attraction returns. Keep checking My Disney Experience for all the latest information, including park hours.
Forgetting to check out Disney Genie
Disney Genie hasn’t arrived yet at Walt Disney World, but it will be soon. Through My Disney Experience, the Disney Genie service will maximize your park time. It is promising to create personalized itineraries to design the perfect seamless days.
In addition, Walt Disney World will be introducing the new Disney Genie+ service and Individual Attraction Selections. This paid service will be the replacement for the free FastPass+. Visit our guide to learn more about Disney Genie.
We don’t know enough about Disney Genie+ yet to know whether purchasing will be a mistake, but we think using Disney Genie to navigate the parks is likely to be essential.
Thinking you will get the full Walt Disney World Experience
Sadly this isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Things have started to return more towards normal, but some services remain suspended. At the time of writing, the following are not available at Walt Disney World:
- Disney Dining Plan
- Character meet and greets
- Typhoon Lagoon
- Several shows including parades and some nighttime spectaculars.
- The majority of tours and special experiences
Although things are slowly returning to normal, it is likely to be some time until the entire Walt Disney World Experience returns.
Not staying for the night.
All Walt Disney World parks are even more magical at night. Make sure you don’t leave before it gets dark. Evening entertainment was postponed on the reopening of Walt Disney World, but it is now returning. Also, the last couple of hours of park opening often attracts much quieter waits at the most popular attractions.
On October 1st, we will welcome two big new nighttime spectaculars to Walt Disney World:
- Disney Enchantment will debut at the Magic Kingdom. This new spectacular features music, enhanced lighting, stunning fireworks, and, for the first time, immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A. Disney is promising guests will be taken “on a journey filled with adventure, wonder, and empowerment. Inspiring everyone to believe in magic.”
- Harmonious should have debuted at Epcot in 2020. However, now it will be part of Walt Disney World’s 50th birthday celebrations. The show on World Showcase lagoon features pyrotechnics, fountains, lighting, and media in new ways. It is the largest nighttime show produced for Walt Disney World.
Not booking dining reservations in advance
During the reopening period of Walt Disney World, not all restaurants will be open, and some will be subject to reduced capacity. A new 60-day Advanced Dining Reservation window applies. Make sure you make your reservations as soon as possible. Plus, remember if eating in a park, you must have both a valid park admission and a park reservation to dine.
Visit our guide to learn more about Dining at Walt Disney World in 2021.
Not using Mobile Ordering
Perhaps the most fantastic time-saver at Walt Disney World, order your food in advance at quick-service restaurants. Reservations are simple through the My Disney Experience app. Disney is encouraging all guests to use this during the reopening period.
Visit our guide to learn more about Mobile Ordering at Walt Disney World.
Visiting on major holidays
Unfortunately, this might be unavoidable. However, if you can avoid it, don’t visit Walt Disney World during major holidays. You will have a great time no matter when you visit, but fewer crowds mean less stress. Even with the Disney Park Pass reservation system, holiday crowds will be bigger as crowds return to normal!
If visiting at the busiest times, our Guide to Beating Crowds at Disney World might help.
Don’t forget extra expenses add up.
Before you arrive, you will probably have paid for your hotel and park tickets, but remember dining, gratuities, and souvenirs are not cheap. Do you need that extra pair of Mickey Ears?
Have you wondered who you should tip at Walt Disney World? This handy guide has the information you need.
Forgetting to have fun!
Walt Disney World might currently be very different than normal, but you can still have fun! Relax, you are on vacation.
Visit our Beginners Guide to Walt Disney World to learn more. Our guide includes all the latest information on the reopening of Walt Disney World.
This post is part of our “Road to 2021 at Walt Disney World” series. Check out the rest of the guides for the latest information.