Do you have a family Walt Disney World strategy? In 2023, your previous Walt Disney World strategies will not succeed! Since Walt Disney World reopened, your approach to having a great time has changed. These are our all-new Walt Disney World Mistakes to Avoid in 2023. Follow these tips, and you will have a great time at Walt Disney World in 2023.
This guide was last updated in March 2023 with the latest information for 2023.
Not creating a plan
Planning at Walt Disney World has long been a must-do activity. However, when Walt Disney World initially reopened, the suspension of FastPass+ and Park Hopping meant that little planning needed to be done. Guests still needed to consider where they wanted to dine and their must-do attractions, but there was room for more spontaneity.
That has changed in 2023 with DisneyGenie+, Lightning Lane “a la carte,” Early Theme Park Entry, Extended Evening Hours, and Disney Park Pass. Walt Disney World planning has become a serious business again! While systems have changed, the need for planning your Disney World Vacation has not. No 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 booking to make before your vacation. However, in 2023 you must obtain a Disney Park Pass as soon as you get your ticket. You must book a reservation online through the Disney Park Pass System to access your first park each day. Availability of passes jas improved, but during peak holiday periods, availability does run out.
To access your first park daily, 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 information 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 initially reopened but it returned in 2021. Unfortunately, it has lost some of the freedom that guests previously experienced.
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 a second. Guests can then enter a second park during Park Hopper Hours. Park Hopping Hours are subject to change, but they are currently 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. There are rumors that Park Hopping rules might soon change, and at Disneyland, hopping has recently been changed to start from 11 am.
Purchasing Disney Genie+ for each day
Disney Genie+ is the paid replacement for FastPass+, but it isn’t cheap, costing up to $29 a day per person. 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 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 at 7:00 AM on the day of your visit. The most popular attractions quickly run out of slots; make sure you are ready for 7:00 AM 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. Individual Lightning Lane is available for all guests daily, including those who have not purchased Disney Genie+. You can buy up to 2 attractions daily, 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.
The attractions that currently attract a fee are:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- TRON Lightcycle Run (starting April 4, 2023)
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Avatar Flight of Passage
The list of rides has changed several times since the introduction of Individual Lightning Lanes.
However, all attractions also have a Stand-By line or virtual line, and waits are not always long especially close to park closing. If you have a long vacation paying extra for Lightning Lane admission could be unnecessary. These purchases will soon add up to $25 a person per ride.
Not purchasing Lightning Lane attractions early.
There is a cap on the number of Lightning Lane passes sold daily, and they 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 plan 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 no longer available at 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 can gain 30 minutes of early entry to any theme park each day. However, you will still need a Disney Park Pass.
Extended Evening Hours are only available for guests staying at Deluxe Resorts. Guests staying at one of these resorts can enjoy extended evening hours on select nights in select theme parks. A valid Disney Park Pass is also 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. Extended evening hours are typically held at Magic Kingdom park on Wednesdays and EPCOT on Mondays.
If you are entitled toEarly Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours, we think missing it would be a mistake you want to avoid in 2023.
You forget the sunscreen
As Baz Luhrmann once said, “wear 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.
Know height requirements before you go
If the kids can’t ride Space Mountain, let them know in advance rather than getting turned away in 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.
We have created guides to Rider Switch and Height Requirements at Walt Disney World which contain further information.
You didn’t realize how much walking the kids had to do.
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. 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, if you decide to wear a face mask it will make you even 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 Queen Elizabeth II used to hire someone to wear in her new 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. Ensure 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 to put in your Walt Disney World park bag.
Not checking opening hours!
Walt Disney World hours regularly change, and often with little notice. The good news is that they are often longer than those initially advertised. 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 can access 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’s Wi-Fi.
Online access is essential at Walt Disney World. Don’t even consider entering a Walt Disney World Park in 2023 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 vacations. 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 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 closed attractions.
Walt Disney World encourages all guests to have downloaded the latest version of My Disney Experience on their mobile devices before entering parks. Also, they recommend having location services and notifications enabled. My Disney Experience has received several 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 during the reopening of Walt Disney World, but most have now returned. Also, the last few hours of park opening often attract much quieter waits at the most popular attractions.
Not booking dining reservations in advance.
Make sure you book dining reservations early, as they do get booked up. Disney’s documented difficulties with cast member recruitment will likely lessen the capacity in restaurants for the foreseeable future.
A new 60-day Advanced Dining Reservation window was introduced when Walt Disney World reopened. Remember, if eating in a park, you must have 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 closer 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 has changed a lot in recent years, but Walt Disney World offers the opportunity to escape. Relax; you are on vacation, so 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.
Linda Michael says
Thank you for all the information.
Masks are only required on buses and monorails….
Also currently there’s only 1 individual lightning lane fast pass in each park.
My little were turned away at Tower of Terror and ride switching was not allowed.
Out of date information!
Yes, a few bits need an update. I will be doing this over the next couple of weeks
However, ride switching should “usually” be allowed on the Tower of Terror
This was phenomenal. Thank you.