Do you have a family Walt Disney World strategy? In 2022, your previous Walt Disney World strategies are worthless! Since Walt Disney World reopened, your approach to having a great time has completely changed several times. These are our all-new Walt Disney World Mistakes to Avoid in 2022. Follow these tips, and you will have a great time at Walt Disney World in 2022.
This guide was last updated in December 2021 with the latest information for 2022.
Not creating a plan
When Walt Disney World reopened, the removal of FastPass+ and Park Hopping meant that there was little planning needed to be done. You still needed to consider where you wanted to dine and your must-do attractions, but there was room for more spontaneity.
That has changed in 2022 with DisneyGenie+, Lightning Lane “a la carte,” Early Theme Park Entry, Extended Evening Hours, and Disney Park Pass. Walt Disney World planning has become serious business again! While systems have changed, not planning or planning too late will mean you miss out.
If you want help completing your plan, visit our Free Walt Disney World Vacation Planning Sheets.
Not booking a Disney Park Pass
FastPass+ used to be the essential Walt Disney World bookings to make before your vacation. However, in 2022 you must obtain a Disney Park Pass as soon as you get your ticket. You will need to book a reservation online through the Disney Park Pass System to access your first park each day, and during peak holiday periods, availability does run out.
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 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.
Purchasing Disney Genie+ for each day
Disney Genie+ is the paid replacement for FastPass+ but isn’t cheap. If you are on a short vacation, you might wish to purchase it every day, but it probably isn’t necessary for more extended vacations. Many of the attractions included with Disney Genie+ do not have long waits, and Lightning Lane isn’t required. Consider in your plan which days you want to purchase Disney Genie+ in advance.
Not being ready with Disney Genie+ at 7:00 AM
Once you have purchased Disney Genie+, you can book your first experience beginning at 7:00 AM on the day of your visit. Guests can either purchase in advance for their whole vacation or individual days from midnight on their visit. The most popular attractions run out of slots; make sure you are ready for 7:00 AM if you want to book a space for Slinky Dog.
Thinking you have to pay extra for Lightning Lane attractions
Some of the most popular attractions are not available on Disney Genie+. An individual fee is required to access the lightning lane for these attractions. Lightning Lane “á la carte” is available for all guests each day, including those who have not purchased Disney Genie+. You can buy up to 2 attractions each day, booked one at a time.
Disney Resort hotel Guests and Guests of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels and Shades of Green can make their first purchase starting at 7:00 AM on the day of their visit. All other guests can make their first purchase when the park opens.
Currently, the attractions which attract this fee are:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Magic Kingdom
- Space Mountain – Magic Kingdom
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – EPCOT
- Frozen Ever After – EPCOT
- Avatar Flight of Passage – Animal Kingdom
- Expedition Everest – Animal Kingdom
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Hollywood Studios
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – Hollywood Studios
However, all attractions also have a Stand-By line, and waits are not always long. If you have a long vacation paying extra for Lightning Lane admission could be unnecessary. These purchases will soon add up, at up to $15 a person per ride. However, for Rise of the Resistance and Flight of Passage it will inevitably save time.
Not purchasing Lightning Lane attractions early
There is a cap on the number of Lightning Lane passes sold each day, and they do run out. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is regularly fully booked when the park opens, with Disney World Resort guests taking advantage of their 7:00 AM window. If you are planning to purchase, you should book at the earliest opportunity; leaving it until later in the day could mean you miss out.
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 are two new services:Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours. We used to think Extra Magic Hours was a waste of time, but we believe these new resort perks are unmissable:
Early Theme Park Entry started on the 1st of October 2021. This new benefit is 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.
If you are entitled toEarly Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours, we think it would be a mistake to miss it.
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 checking out the new attractions
Walt Disney World was 50 on the 1st of October, 2021. Disney marked the date with the opening of several new attractions. The most anticipated of these attractions were:
- 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.
Other new attractions will be opening in 2022, including the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Visit our guide to all the new attractions coming to Walt Disney World in 2022.
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.
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 more than back 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 reading the latest advice on face masks!
2022 and we are in a different world. The advice on face masks has changed several times but is currently required indoors or on Walt Disney World transport. We expect this will continue throughout 2022. Don’t get caught by forgetting to bring one plus a few spares.
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, in our opinion, many guests 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 regularly change. 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 most 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 WiFi! We have even previously named it our Number 1 Walt Disney World Tip!
Plus, if you don’t have WiFi access, 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.
- Check on all the latest resort changes including any returning attractions.
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.
Thinking Walt Disney World Experience will be as you remember it!
Walt Disney World is getting closer to normal, but things have changed. Disney Park Pass, Genie+, Face Coverings are just some of the changes. You will still have a great time, but Walt Disney World won’t be quite how you remember it.
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 the 1st of October, 2021, we welcomed two fantastic new nighttime spectaculars to Walt Disney World:
- Disney Enchantment is a new show 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 is 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
Make sure you book dining reservations early. Not all restaurants are still open at Walt Disney World, and some have reduced capacity. Disney’s documented difficulties with cast member recruitments will likely lessen the capacity for the foreseeable future. A new 60-day Advanced Dining Reservation window was introduced when Walt Disney World reopened. Plus, remember if eating in a park, you must have both a valid park admission and a park reservation to dine.
Visiting on major holidays
Unfortunately, this might be unavoidable. However, don’t visit Walt Disney World during major holidays if you can avoid it. 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!
Our Guide to Beating Crowds at Disney World might help if visiting at the busiest times.
Don’t forget extra expenses add up.
Before you arrive, you will probably have paid for your hotel and park tickets, but remember that 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!
The world is a different place right now, but Walt Disney World offers the opportunity to escape. Relax, you are on vacation and have plenty of fun!
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.