Much like every fan has a bucket list, there are things that we never want to do again at Walt Disney World. This isn’t like our list of easy first-timer blunders. This list is personal, containing things we’ve done and after which said to one another, “wow, that was a mistake.” (Last updated November 25, 2018.)
Truthfully, there are very few things at Walt Disney World that we’d never do again. Not only are our bucket lists far longer than our “never again” lists, but most things are worth of a second chance. Menus at restaurants change, hotels are redecorated, and attractions are tweaked or re-imagined over time.
In fact, since we originally published this a few years ago, a lot has changed. In the original incarnation of this post, both DisneyQuest and Stitch’s Great Escape made the list. Neither of those exist anymore…and now you know who to thank for that! Kidding, of course, because if things I disliked cease to exist at Walt Disney World, Dino-Rama would’ve been wiped from existence years ago. We’ve also removed “Spending July 4th at WDW” from the list since we have done that again, and it was a much better experience.
Still, there are some things we think are beyond redemption that we won’t be doing again. (Lesson: just because something looks awesome in the free Walt Disney World vacation planning video doesn’t mean it actually is! 😉 )
Unfortunately, we don’t have elephant-caliber memories…or we try to convince ourselves that “it’ll be different this time” (for reasons unknown), only to have history repeat itself. So maybe this list is one of those ‘do as we say, not as we do’ type of things.
What won’t we do again at Walt Disney World? Here are the top 10 things in no particular order…
10. Pandora Attractions Without FastPass+ – Nothing struck me as a more “important” new entry than visiting Pandora without FastPass+. We know the importance of making FastPass+ in advance, so we usually don’t mess with popular attractions without FastPass+ as it’s just not worth it to us.
Nevertheless, there have been times when we couldn’t score Flight of Passage FastPasses, so we decided to do the attraction at rope drop or at the end of the night. Both experiences were chaotic, and not something we intend upon doing again. While it is possible to experience Flight of Passage with minimal wait at the beginning of the morning, it’s just too much of a hassle. We’d rather be more dedicated to playing the My Disney Experience “refresh game.”
We’ve never even messed with Pandora during the middle of the day, aside from Satu’li Canteen for lunch. The warning sign outside of Flight of Passage that there aren’t restrooms in the line should be enough of a clue that it’s not worth it. This is doubly true when it’s the summer months and the line spills out into the outdoor queue, which seems like it’d be a brutal experience.
Going forward, this advice is likely going to apply to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, too. It will be utter insanity, and you very well may not even be able to enter the land (period) without a FastPass.
9. “Christmas” in Mid-November – I am most definitely not one of those people who loudly proclaims “Turkey Before Tree!” (I won’t call them Thanksgiving zealots, but I also wouldn’t chastise anyone who wanted to call them that in the comments.) I absolutely love Christmas, and if it were socially acceptable, I’d put up our tree on November 1.
Each year, we’re inevitably faced with the dilemma of visiting Walt Disney World in mid-November to attend a less-crowded Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or to wait until all of the holiday offerings have started. The week starting immediately after Thanksgiving used to be our go-to, but we’ve chosen mid-November a couple of times recently.
Never again. Not only have we missed out on Epcot’s Christmas entertainment and some resort decorations, but both trips have been downright warm. I might complain about it at the time when I pack only shorts and polos like a doofus, but I love celebrating Christmas in chilly weather–and that holds true to Florida.
It just feels right. I love putting on a coat and taking an early morning walk around Crescent Lake or Seven Seas Lagoon, enjoying a cup of coffee as steam rises from the cool lake water. I love warming up in front of a Wilderness Lodge fireplace…without having to pretend that it’s not 85º outside.
(November 2018 Update: We’re here now for a late-November Christmas at Walt Disney World, and it is spectacular. This year almost everything started early, so you could miss most of the Thanksgiving-week chaos and still not miss everything, but many of the resort hotel decorations have just gone up in the last day or two.)
8. Summit Plummet – This is the only attraction on this list, and the reason for that is that we think people should judge attractions for themselves, because everyone has different preferences. (For example, there are probably a few of you who don’t like Country Bear Jamboree.
That’s fine–some people don’t like masterpieces like The Godfather and Citizen Kane, either.) Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach water park is something I enjoyed to a moderate extent…but once was enough. From the insanely long line to the feeling of pure terror to the crazy wedgie, I’m good on it for one lifetime. Actually, I’ll probably do it again when I’m 65 just to fool myself into thinking I’m a badass. 😉
7. Food & Wine Festival on a Weekend – We want to start out by saying that we really enjoy Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival…but we don’t love it on weekends. Ever been to a UCF frat party? Well, if you answered “no”, it’s not too late!
Weekend evenings are prime time for college students with disposable incomes to descend upon the Festival to get sloshed. For them, it sure beats drinking Old Style in a dank basement (like we did in college), but that atmosphere plus the huge crowds can make this the least pleasant time to be at Food & Wine Festival.
Weekdays during the festival are far more enjoyable. It’s also far more enjoyable to attend Food & Wine in mid-November when the temperatures and humidity are more bearable, but we invariably attend in September because that’s usually when we visit for Halloween.
6. Rainforest Cafe – How this restaurant still has multiple locations around the United States, much less multiple locations in Walt Disney World, defies logic. The food is awful, and the ambiance reminds me of 1980s-relic ShowBiz Pizza Place, but “modernized” for the 1990s and devoid of character/charm.
The dark cloud that hangs over Rainforest Cafe almost extended to cast a shadow over T-Rex Cafe for me. Fortunately, I gave that a chance because dinosaurs, and was pleasantly surprised. If you are thinking, “but our kids love Rainforest Cafe!” consider taking them to T-Rex instead.
5. Overpay – There’s no denying that Walt Disney World is an expensive vacation, but we’ve learned soooo many ways to make it cheaper since our first time going as adults. This is such a vague one, but it’s really important to us now, especially as costs rise across the board at Walt Disney World.
In terms of specific things we do or recommend doing now, purchasing park tickets from an authorized vendor and buying discounted Disney gift cards to save 10% off all vacation costs and renting Disney Vacation Club points, and much more are all highly recommended. While it’s not “Disney” directly, we also use Airfarewatchdog alerts for airfare, and pretty much plan our travel dates around when we can find bargains on airfare. That has enabled us to effectively fly for half price (as compared to average fares).
By the way, we cover all of these tips in our free 54-page Tips for Saving Money at Walt Disney World eBook, which you will receive when you sign up for our free monthly newsletter. Upon confirming your free newsletter subscription, you’ll receive a link to download the eBook!
4. Chef Mickey’s – We do a lot of things that we’d otherwise have no interest for the sake of blogging about them. Sometimes–like with Cinderella’s Royal Table–we are pleasantly surprised. Other times, the experience defies our lowest expectations and manages to be even worse than anticipated.
Such was the case with dinner at Chef Mickey’s. We rarely feel ripped off at Walt Disney World, but we certainly did with this meal. If we ever give this restaurant another shot, it’ll be at breakfast.
3. Epcot on New Year’s Eve – I won’t be surprised to see New Year’s Eve, generally, in the comments, but we actually love New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World. Just not at Epcot. Alcohol exacerbates other annoyances (geez, we probably sound like bitter teetotalers), like lines for restrooms and those infernal noisemakers they hand out to every guest. We love you, Epcot, but we will spend New Year’s Eve next time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or the Top of the World Lounge at Bay Lake Tower.
(November 2018 Update: Literally two days ago, after seeing the superlative IllumiNations: Peace on Earth tag, we started talking about return for the last New Year’s Eve of IllumiNations. So I guess we might end up doing this one again, but in fairness, that’s in large part because it’s the farewell run of IllumiNations, and we plan on seeing it as much as possible before our favorite fireworks show at Walt Disney World is replaced. Can you blame us?!)
2. Go to Bed Early – Nighttime is when the parks come alive with beautiful lighting and enchanting ambiance. It’s also when the weather starts to cool and lines start to die down. One of my favorite “attractions” is strolling through World Showcase after IllumiNations, just soaking up the ambiance, listening to the background music, and seeing the stunning architecture.
If I had to choose, I’d rather do this for an hour than spend 8 daylight hours in the park. Same goes for wandering along the Rivers of America in Magic Kingdom. The corollary to this is “sleep in,” but we seem to stress that so much on the blog that it’s probably becoming cliche. Basically, we would never not be tired at Walt Disney World again. 😉
1. Value Resort During Pop Warner – When the Pop Warner Championship is in town (first weekend of December), there are literally thousands of teen football players and cheerleaders staying at the Value Resorts. Assembling this many under-supervised teens in one location is like feeding a Gremlin after midnight.
There’s some sort of chemical or hormonal “thing” that happens, and then all hell breaks loose. Due to the reputation and complaints over the years, Disney security has done a better job in dealing with the teens in recent years (midnight football games are quickly broken up so I no longer have the need to literally yell “get off my lawn” to the kids), but this is still a scene to be avoided.
Beyond a couple of other restaurants that are blacklisted (for now), attractions we avoid for personal reasons, and lands that are dead to me *cought*Dino-Rama*cough* that’s about it. Hopefully you can learn from some of our mistakes…or find solace in knowing that we have made these same mistakes as you. Think of this as a support group for those who have been awoken at 2 a.m. at All Star Sports during Pop Warner or who have dropped $200 on a family “dinner” at Chef Mickey’s. Share your own “NEVER AGAIN!” items in the comments–venting can be therapeutic!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Do you agree or disagree with our list? Would you do any of these things again? What things would you never do again at Walt Disney World? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!