Unconventional Disney World Planning Strategies

We all love to think we’re Disney World pros, especially after a few trips around Epcot. But even the most seasoned park-goers sometimes ignore key pieces of advice, thinking they know better or that the tips are simply not worth their attention. Unfortunately, overlooking these recommendations can result in missing out on a truly magical experience. Here are ten often-ignored pieces of Disney World planning advice that you really should be following.

1. “You Shouldn’t Stay On Property”

Orbit One Vacation Villas (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Why It’s Ignored

People often think that staying off-site will save them money, giving them more to spend on experiences.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

Staying on Disney property can offer certain perks like extended park hours, free transportation, and a more immersive experience. It might cost a bit more, but the convenience can be worth it for some vacationers. That being said, make sure that you’re booking a property that makes sense for your group. The All Star resorts are great for those who are looking for a less expensive room or large groups, while the Contemporary is best for those who’d rather spend time at the Magic Kingdom than by the pool.

2. “You Should Eat at ‘x’ Restaurant”

Flame Tree BBQ at Disney Animal Kingdom (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Why It’s Ignored

You may think that all Disney food is the same burgers or hot dogs, or you might opt for more popular or hyped-up restaurants (cough, cough, Space 220, cough).

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

Disney has a habit of swapping up their menus, chefs, and snacks, meaning that a previously “bad” restaurant can turn around into a hidden gem. These under-the-radar restaurants can offer excellent food and shorter wait times, elevating your overall dining experience. Don’t shy away from signature restaurants either – they might seem pricy, but they often have a lounge where you can still go for a drink or appetizer to “test” the restaurant before committing to the full dining experience. Ultimately you need to consider your group and your day–don’t book a signature restaurant with little kids if you have a lightning lane reservation in 30mins. But you might want to opt for a table service when your group has been on their feet all day in the hot sun. Do what makes the most amount of sense.

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3. “You Should Go on Less Popular Attractions”

Why It’s Ignored

The hype surrounding new or blockbuster attractions can overshadow lesser-known rides, or you might think that a certain kind of ride isn’t for you.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

The less popular attractions often have shorter wait times and can be just as enjoyable, offering a different kind of Disney magic. Did you know that the Barnstormer is only a few miles per hour slower than Space Mountain? Space Mountain just seems scarier because it’s in the dark! So if Space Mountain has a 60 minute wait, head over to Barnstormer and get a similar experience. In all seriousness, going on the less popular rides is a great way to kill time between Genie+ reservations and make you feel like you’ve had a full park day.

4. “You Should Buy ‘X’ Souvenir”

First Visit Mickey Ears at Disney World (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Why It’s Ignored

You might think some suggested purchases, like Memory Maker or Mickey Ears, are unnecessary expenses, and let’s face it – they can be expensive.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

These add-ons often enhance your vacation by capturing moments you’d otherwise miss, making them well worth the cost. Souvenirs don’t need to be pricy (like decorated buttons that cost less than $10) or even impractical (there are lots of “useful” Disney souvenirs like bagged coffee or tea, clothing, or pet accessories). Sometimes having something to remember your trip is just as nice as having been to the parks in the first place.

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5. “You Shouldn’t Order Pizza in Room Service or Uber Eats”

Why It’s Ignored

It can be expensive to order in, and people often prefer to dine in the parks or more ‘themed’ resort restaurants.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

After a long day, sometimes a simple room delivery is exactly what you need. Disney food can be limited, especially if you have dietary preferences or restrictions which put hot dogs and hamburgers out of your diet. Food at Disney World has gotten better in the past few years, but certain parks (like Magic Kingdom) have a harder time catering to diverse diets. Plus, it gives you a chance to relax and recharge for the next day.

6. “You Should Take a Resort Day”

Disney Boardwalk (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Why It’s Ignored

The temptation to use every moment for park hopping is strong.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

Taking a day to explore your resort or other resorts on property and unwind can make your vacation more enjoyable and less stressful. Not to mention, by renting that hotel room, you’re paying for the amenities, so why not take a day to sleep in, visit the fitness center, and play in the Arcade? Often the resort staff will have events through the day, such as pool trivia and movies in the courtyard to keep folks entertained during their resort stay.

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7. “You Should Skip the Pool and Do More Parks”

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort Pool (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Why It’s Ignored

With so many attractions, who has time for the pool?

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

Many Disney resort pools are incredibly themed and offer a perfect mid-day break from the park crowds. If the pool is a part of the reason why you chose a specific resort, you should take the time to enjoy it. Different resorts will have different pools, and some of them are way cooler than others. Beat the Florida heat by chilling in the pools.

8. Budgets

Glow Products at Disney (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Why It’s Ignored

Vacation mode often makes us forget about budgeting, especially at Disney!

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

There’s nothing worse than coming home to a huge credit card bill. A well-planned budget can help you get the most out of your trip without financial stress. Plan a limit for how much you’d like to spend on things like snacks and souvenirs, or consider if the Disney Dining plan (when available) is right for you. Check out the menus of places you’d like to eat at so that you can get an idea of how much they cost before your vacation, so you’re not shocked by the prices when you’re down there.

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9. Live Vicariously Through Your Travel Agent’s Idea of a Perfect Vacation

Why It’s Ignored

We often want to plan our own perfect trip.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

Travel agents are experts in Disney vacations and can offer tips and tricks you hadn’t thought of, making your trip more magical. If you’re reading this site, you’re likely open to ideas about what to try when you’re on vacation. Good travel agents will ask you what kinds of things you’re hoping to do or see, and the kind of vacation you’re looking to have and can make suggestions around that. If you’re using a travel agent, ask them what they enjoyed most about their recent Disney trip and see if it’s something you’re interested in trying. You might surprise yourself!

10. Document Every Moment

Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Why It’s Ignored

The desire to “live in the moment” means that we don’t document our trip.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

Taking photos and jotting down memories can make the trip more memorable and give you something to look back on. Now, we’re not saying that you have to record the parade or the fireworks in a 20minute-long video that you’ll never look at again, but there are some things you might want to look back on. Instead of recording the parade or fireworks display, see if you can get a shot of your travel companion/family reacting to the parade. You can have everyone write down their favorite thing about the day, or the best thing that they ate. By then end of the trip, you’ll have a bunch of photos and daily recollections that you can scrapbook with, frame on your wall, or toss in a digital album.


Ignoring advice could cost you valuable time, money, and most importantly, happiness during your Disney World vacation. Talk to friends who have been to Disney recently and ask them what they enjoyed the most, ask your travel agent what to avoid, and of course, keep clicking around Steps to Magic. Your future self will thank you!

Dustin Fuhshttp://www.stepstomagic.com
I’m Dustin Fuhs, a theme park fanatic that has created this platform to showcase my passion, tools and opinions to create a fun and interactive experience for everyone who visits. My goal is to help you and your family have the most magical experience at Walt Disney World. In reading my articles and ideas, I hope that you can find some fantastic ways to bring your dreams into reality!

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