Rainy Day at Disney

You got your room reservations seven months in advance, your dinner reservations 180 days ahead of time, and made your all your Fastpass+ reservations as far in advance as possible.  Your daily itineraries were produced in triplicate and shared with every member of your party, and you downloaded apps to tell you exactly how long a wait to expect for every ride.

Unfortunately, despite your best laid plans, sometimes dumb luck can ruin even the most meticulously crafted Walt Disney World vacation plans. 

1. Unexpected weather

HurricaneLet’s start with the most obvious “dumb luck” concern: the weather.  Some of us are stuck with the reality that we have kids… and our kids have vacations… and school vacation takes place during the summer …  and summer in Florida is hot, wet, and stormy.

If you’re childless (or don’t really worry too much about pulling the kids out of school for a few days), you can attempt to schedule around the most likely weather hazards.  You can avoid the hottest months of summer, and choose a date that doesn’t include hurricane season.  But having cut summer and early fall out of your calculations – and, of course, the notoriously busy Spring Break season – you’re stuck with very few options.  Winter, many savvy visitors’ favorite time of year, can be lovely… but then again, it can also be really cold as well!  Few of us truly enjoy an outdoor stroll through Adventureland when the temperature is forty degrees and there’s a stiff breeze!

 2. Unexpected guests

Gay Day at Disney

You probably already know that summer, Christmas, and Spring Break are among the busiest times of the year.  And it’s possible to plan around those busy times.  But all too often even the savviest visitors discover that the “off” week during which they’re visiting is also…  MLB Spring Training Week!  Marathon Week!  Brazillian cheerleading competition day! And instead of the mellow, low key vacation you were expecting you find yourself in a massive crowd of unexpected visitors.

3. Room location

pirate suiteYes, you can request a particular room.  And yes, you can complain and moan if you don’t like the room you were given.  But unless you are willing to actually throw another family out of their room because you don’t like the walk, the view, or the ambience, you may be stuck with the Disney version of pot luck.  It’s certainly worth your while to ask for a transfer, and sometimes you’ll luck out and get one.  But just as often you’ll wind up with at least a night or two staying in a space that isn’t up to your hopes and dreams, and (at least in your opinion) isn’t worth the money.

4. The chance to become a “star”

Lots of Disney attractions include opportunities for lucky individuals to be part of the action.  The Indiana Jones stunt show is an excellent case in point as guests can actually become a part of the presentation. The Flights of Wonder show at the Animal Kingdom is another example where volunteers can come up on stage and interact with the animals.  But how do you ensure that you’ll be chosen to become the star of the day?  Sitting in the front row may help.  Waving your hand wildly and leaping up and down may or may not attract the interest of the cast member in charge.  When push comes to shove, though, it really is a matter of luck.



"...you may be stuck with the Disney version of pot luck" that statement doesn't make sense. Pot luck is like, when people bring stuff like food to a party. Did you mean like, Russian roulette?

Okay, first off, on #1 and #8 you're pretty much lucky or unlucky. But freak events are called that because they are very rare. That said, never travel at the time I do. I once spent a week in New Orleans in non-stop torrential rain, the biggest deluge in Anaheim history happened during my Holiday Tour at Disneyland, and you do NOT want to know how many rides at DL and WDW have shut down while I was on them. And as a result, by the way, I've been back stage so often because of the break downs that the magic is almost dead.

#2 READ THE BLOGS!! You can learn about official and official special events at the Disney parks. Some of them you'll want to avoid, but some you might actually want to plan to attend.

#3 Bad room? Be sweet, be civil, BE POLITE. Never demand, ask please, and suggest your stay would be more magical if... Also, turning back time to when you make you're reservation initially, ask the cast member's name, ask politely for your special request, admitting that you may not get it, thank them by name for any efforts they can do, and then do the survey after the call and mention them by name in it. We don't always get the new room, but when we don't we get goodies like a complimentary basket of fruit and cheese and a bottle of wine.

#4 It would be boasting to say that every time I go to Enchanted Tales With Belle I'm always chosen as a guard and that even time I go to Monsters Inc laugh Floor I'm the "guy with the urge to get up and dance". Crush has called on me, I've been the rebel spy, I was electrocuted once and had my arm sawn off another time at Universal. My secrets: Dressing the part but not exhuberantly (I always wear a Belle tee-shirt to her show), direct eye contact with the person doing the selection, following instructions (adults stand in the back when parts are selected for Belle), smiles, and shoot your hand to the sky but don't go nuts. Also (heavy sigh), yes, I take off me Eat Hat; they often want guests who look the part on stage, not generic tourists.

#5 For characters, simply ask a cast member, especially one with a badge that says Ask Me About Characters. But anyone nearby will do. Occasionally they have no clue, especially if its an erratic character like Goofy or Cruella DeVil. Also if you see a cast member standing at the end of a character line, facing out, know that this line is now closed, but you can politely ask when they'll be back. And never spoil the magic; never ask when the "next" Baloo will be out. And if the character is heading off stage or to a show, respect this. That said, I convinced a busy Evil Queen to give me a special moment by bowing to her. By the way, EVERY character handler cast member has a list in their pocket detailing every scheduled appearance of every character that day; if you ask nice they will tell you. I have even gotten the cast member outside Villains Tent in Disneyland during Halloween-time to tell me when the villain I wanted would appear.

#6 Guess I'm just the luckiest guy in Disney regarding neighbors (I had to be good at something). On our first Disney cruise our dinner table mates opted out every night and we had a table to ourselves. On our second cruise we had the most fabulous dinner companions ever. Karma? Be nice with whomever you get, and you'll get nicer and nicer ones every time.

#7 Ah the failing tech issue. This is I always travel with all my reservation (food, special events, fast passes) confirmations on hard copy and stored in My Disney Experience. That said, it took all of my will to not make a recent trip to Disneyland the most miserable trip in my life, when a glitch caused my fully paid Annual Pass to completely fail to let me into the park, and every cast member I talked to refused to fix it and blamed another department, until I finally asked for a manager and inisted on him printing me off paper tickets for the rest of my stay and for my entire next stay (in two months; yes, I need therapy). Just goes to show that sometimes you put your foot down, but always do it nicely.

Room location. Stayed at the Contemporary once...very pricey. Made our reservations 7 months out and were "marooned" in the farthest room in the farthest outer room on the property. Could literally have walked 5 feet straight into the lagoon...had to walk what seemed a quarter mile to get to the "main" bldg. to get any type of transportation or even a cup of coffee. It put a damper on the whole trip.

I'm a CM at Magic Kingdom Watercraft. As a boat pilot, I always tell guests to keep their parties together as I don't wait for the rest of the party to arrive! You may see one or two stragglers on the smaller motor launches or cruisers, but when we have several hundred people on board, the ferry boats are load and go! One way not to have dumb luck ruin your plans is to always be early. Disney Dining recommends allotting AT LEAST an hour and a half (yes, you read that right, 90 minutes) travel time to your destination when traveling within WDW property. If you make a reservation online, before your reservation is processed you have to select the box next to "I have read and agree to the Guest Policies" to move on. Make sure you read them. The travel suggestion is the second line.

In reply to by Ama (not verified)

Very good advice. I've always been early, yet I have seen so many people stressed out due to poor planing with transportation.
Thanks again for the advice!

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