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.” (Updated December 2, 2019.)
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. Perhaps we should take the immortal words of celebrated thinker Justin Bieber to heart and “never say never.” On our last version of this list, we included “Christmas in November” and “Epcot on New Year’s Eve.” Those are two things we did last year, and had a blast with both…
In our defense, Walt Disney World has started celebrating Christmas earlier during the last couple of years, so it’s now possible to get almost the full holiday experience in mid-November. Previously, you’d only experience Magic Kingdom and maybe one other park–definitely no trees up at the resorts, among other things.
As for Epcot on New Year’s Eve…we still wouldn’t recommend it to the vast majority of readers, but we went in with a strong plan, low expectations, and had an absolute blast. However, we didn’t do a single attraction. We weren’t really interested in waiting 3-4 hours for Soarin, Test Track, or Frozen Ever After.
What won’t we do again at Walt Disney World? Here are the top 10 things in no particular order…
10. Pandora or Star Wars Lands Midday & 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 no longer will mess 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.
The Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge half of this is somewhat preemptive. As of our December 2019 update to this list, crowds for Star Wars Land have not been terrible. However, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens later this week, and that’s the land’s flagship attraction that is almost certain to pull in huge crowds and have astronomical wait times.
Between the lack of shade in Galaxy’s Edge, some narrow areas that are a recipe for congestion, and the lack of FastPass+ at both Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance, this land will be rope drop or end of night (when I absolutely love it–see below!) for us going forward. It helps tremendously that Disney’s Hollywood Studios has multiple nighttime spectaculars that pull crowds away from the other lands, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge included. Hopping in line at the end of the night is far and away the best strategy–and did we mention that Batuu looks beautiful at night?!
9. 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.)
For me, Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach water park is something that’s moderately enjoyable and I’m glad it exists, because it looks really cool and is a great water slide concept…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. 😉
8. “Improperly Pack” – This is somewhat of a blanket statement because it’s a mistake I’ve made repeatedly in different ways. Basically, I have a propensity to simultaneously under and over-pack, and bring clothing for the weather I want rather than the weather that’s actually forecast.
For example, I have a tendency to pack shorts and polos for winter trips–a mistake I’ve made as recently as last year, even despite having written our Winter Packing Tips for Disney. For early fall trips, I’ve been known to bring jeans and button-downs, even when the weather is still sweltering. Beyond that, I leave behind practical items I end up missing to avoid overpacking, while bringing pointless stuff “just in case” that I never use.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an elephant-caliber memory…or I try to convince myself that “it’ll be different this time” (for reasons unknown), only to have history repeat itself. In other words, I say this is a mistake I’ll never make again…but I almost certainly will. Fortunately, there’s now a UNIQLO at Disney Springs, and that store has bailed me out many times!
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.
5. Overpay – There’s no denying that Walt Disney World is an expensive vacation, but we’ve learned so 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.
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.
The reason we can be confident in this assessment is because Magic Kingdom actually does its New Year’s Eve fireworks show, Fantasy in the Sky, on December 30. On that night, Magic Kingdom will still be very busy, but not nearly as busy as it will be on New Year’s Eve.
We’ve done December 30 at Magic Kingdom several times (and will likely do it again this year!) and have made the mistake of doing actual New Year’s Eve there once. It was a pronounced difference, and from now on, we’ll do December 30 at Magic Kingdom and do the day of New Year’s Eve at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (which is usually far less crowded) and the night at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or maybe Epcot.
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 or seeing the fireworks in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge followed by slowly making my way out to hear all of the audio you normally miss (there are some funny conversations coming from the shops!).
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!
What things at Walt Disney World would you never do again? Is any restaurant, resort, or ride beyond redemption for you? Any time of year you’d never visit? Do you agree or disagree with our list? Would you do any of these things again? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!