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Everyone has the special ways that they do Disney, and we’re no exception. While we do try and write well-rounded content that isn’t too corrupted by our biases, there are plenty of things we just avoid at Walt Disney World at all—well, most—costs.
Some of these are “hacks,” where we have tricks to avoid things we don't like, but much of this list is just things we really don’t enjoy, and why we try and avoid them.
Also, fine, this list isn’t completely honest—but that’s mostly because we have a website to run. If we actually never did any of these things, we wouldn’t be in a good position to help people decide whether or not they should do them.
1. Wait In Long Lines
If you’ve read much (or any) of our content, this probably doesn't surprise you. We’re big FastPass+ people, and we really hate lines. We try to never wait in any at all.
There are a few exceptions, though. Sometimes the FastPass+ queue has a few (or more) people in it, and we’re forced to wait. And we'll deal with posted waits of 10, or even 15, minutes or less, as those usually are rounded up to begin with.
But you won’t catch us in any of these hour waits. The only exception we make for long waits are hot days when we want to be inside for a bit, maybe in the Toy Story Mania! queue.
We obviously have the benefit of experience—we’ve been on every ride multiple times, and we’ll likely get on them again (although boy do we wish we’d hopped on Great Movie Ride one last time).
We also are fans of the design of Disney parks beyond the rides. There’s a lot to be seen if you can find the time, so we’d rather take the time to walk around and observe. Typically, the time from about 11AM to 3PM is when lines are at their peaks, and we spend much of that time exploring, eating lunch, on attractions with no lines, and watching the in-park entertainment.
That said, given the number of times we visit in a year, the annual pass was the best way for us to save. And since we upgraded tickets bought from Undercover Tourist to our annual passes via “ticket bridging,” we didn't pay full price for the annual passes!
Hotel rooms are trickier. While we’ve had a few full-price stays, we try and do the bulk of our travel during deal season. We also book with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner who is sure to apply any deals that become available after we book. We have a post of ways to save on your Disney hotel room, but some of those will be unaccessible if you prefer to work with an agent, as we do these days..
Finally, before we were APs, we long used our Chase Disney Visa to save on food and merchandise. Read more of our 53 ways to save on your Disney vacation.
3. Arrive Early For Parades or Fireworks
We’re not fans of nighttime shows and parades. We’ll watch them, but we’re not plopping down on the street hours ahead of time for them.
We get why this works for families—you get to relax for a few hours, and the kids will enjoy the show. But we don't have kids, and even though we’re not tall, we still manage to find good views at the start of shows whenever we want them.
If we’re really interested in a nighttime show, we’ll try and grab a FastPass+ for it. Checking for FastPass+ space once you've finished the rides is a good idea for making the shows more tolerable. This will still require you to arrive a little early, but you’re at least guaranteed a good spot.
4. Ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
When I was a teenager, I loved Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. And that’s because it fills a very specific need in Walt Disney World—it’s a thrill ride for teenagers or for people who love a specific type of roller coaster.
Given that it’s a unique ride for the parks, it typically maintains a very long line. It even regularly competes with the much newer Slinky Dog Dash in therms of wait times.
We will ride it—sometimes even for enjoyment—if we can get a same-day FastPass+ for it. But we actually never wait in a line for more than 15 minutes for it. Almost the entire queue offers nothing of substance—you can spend an hour or more just navigating a cement box.
5. Rely On Buses
We do take the buses at Walt Disney World, but we never rely on them. If we need to get around Disney property quickly, we Uber.
If you’ve read any of our trip reports, you’ve probably seen me go on a rant about a bus wait that exceeded 20 minutes. Even though I’m never in a rush (or I’d be in an Uber), it just irks me that Disney can’t managed to get buses actually running on time.
Bus wait times at hotels are now available in the My Disney Experience app (provided you’re staying at the hotel), but the bus situation at the parks remains unimpressive. If you’re looking to accomplish a four-park day, for example, the inevitable bus to Animal Kingdom is going to be the weak link.
6. Watch Fantasmic!
People love Fantasmic!, and we get that. Overall, the show itself is pretty good. The problem is the staging. People start lining up hours ahead of time, only to be ushered down a lengthy, narrow pathway to the Fantasmic! ampitheater.
After the show, a mass exodus occurs, with thousands of people forcing themselves down the same narrow passageway, this time in an even less organized fashion. It’s a nightmare (but thousands of families will do it and have a great time this year, so don’t let us discourage you).
It’s actually been years since we watched the show, honestly. In all likelihood, we will watch Fantasmic! again, but a few bad experiences really turned us off to the whole thing.
7. Order Too Much Food
This is definitely in the “almost never” category. We’re small people with no passion for food, so we try to always split food when we can.
If you’re snacking throughout the day, don’t be fooled into getting the full-size meal you’d order at your neighborhood Applebees for dinner. At Sanaa, even with three people we struggled to get through bread service and two entrees.
One particular place we always split a meal is Pecos Bill. There could be an entire post written about the “Use and Abuse of the Pecos Bill Fixins Bar.” We think people have crossed a line when they bring their own base (e.g. tortillas and meat) and then load it up at the Fixins bar.
But we think that ordering an entree and then loading it up and splitting it is just fine. For this reason, we’re the kind of people who never get the Disney dining plan, either.
8. Ride Test Track
As with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, the truth is that we ride it a decent amount, we just never would wait in line for it. It’s a fine option as part of your Epcot rope drop and FastPass+ strategy. It also has a single rider line.
Unlike Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, I actually do like the queue for Test Track. Having sped through it many mornings at open, I’m sure it’s not the worst space to kill an hour or more—the ride just isn’t worth that wait.
Test Track is far surprassed by its Disney California Adventure cousin, Radiator Springs Racers, which is everything Test Track should have been.
The old storyline had you going through the rigors of the testing of a prototype automobile. In the new storyline, you design your own car and see how it measures up. It’s a fun change, sure, but it doesn’t do much by way of narrative.
The old version of the ride was better. That they changed it, and that the technology finally found its place in the California attraction, demonstrate the problem with the ride—it lacks an identity beyond the short, 65 mph zip around the outside.
9. Pay for Water
You can get a free cup of ice water at any quick service establishment. Just ask.
10. Drink Around The World
“Drinking Around the World” is the activity of visiting each World Showcase pavilion and having a drink at them. Overall, it equates to 11 drinks in about 12 hours—a manageable feat with proper eating and choice of beverage, to be sure.
We’ve accomplished it once in tandem, splitting drinks, and Emily accomplished it on her own this past June (I tapped out at beverage 9 or 10). Generally, we don’t advise it.
Simply put, we don’t find it a good use of time at Epcot if you’re at all limited. Epcot’s World Showcase offers a host of great snacks that are a better use of money than the relatively uninspired drink offerings. Future World also definitely deserves a good chunk of time.
11. Start Our Day With a FastPass+
There’s always one. You head into the park, right at rope drop, and as you head right onto a ride with no wait, someone is next to you tapping and using their first FastPass+ reservation of the day.
Dude. What happened? Unless it was Flight of Passage and your only option, using a FastPass+ first thing in the day is awful. Heck, even if it's Flight of Passage, you should never be using a morning Fastpass until the end of the hour. Get through those short morning lines!
12. Ride Mission: SPACE (Orange)
Our problem with Mission: SPACE (Orange) is really just a sign of our age. We just can't take the motion anymore. We'll be trying again in a few months, but we're just crossing our fingers that we're able to hold down our lunch.
For those who can’t hack it, the ride offers a Green version that is the same attraction without as significant motion. It’s a fine alternative, but not a standout experience.
Is there anything you always avoid at Walt Disney World?
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.
Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
When it comes time to book we’ll help you find discount Disney World tickets. Decide whether you need a dining plan in our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans! And at 180 days out it's time to book those Disney World Advance Dining Reservations!
Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.
Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.