5 Things I LOVED & HATED About Disney World

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Visiting Disney World for the first time was truly an experience. Like most things in life, nothing is ever perfect, especially not on this disastrous vacation. We had a lot of experiences that gave us the warm fuzzies and other experiences that left me wondering if I would even consider returning. Here’s the quick version of our love/hate experience at Walt Disney World.

The Crowds

Love – The people you bump into throughout the Disney parks are really quite the experience. There are folks from every walk of life, all ages, shapes and races. I think I heard at least a dozen different languages spoken during our time there, some of which I didn’t even recognize. It was truly amazing to experience all the cultural differences right in one place. Beyond that, people are crazy friendly and talkative. There wasn’t a single bus ride where we weren’t chatting with a family, learning about where they were from and talking about our park experiences.

disney world crowd in august 2012

Hate – Well, the crowds. We must have been in Disney World during one of the busiest weeks of the year because being in Magic Kingdom felt like swimming in a fishbowl with 5,000 fish. You could hardly walk anywhere without bumping into someone, getting your foot stepped on or tangled into a mass of people trying to get in or out of the park. At one point the crowd was so bad I felt like I was suffocating and had to duck into a shop just to breathe.

The Resort Options

Love – Port Orleans Riverside Resort was absolutely gorgeous! The landscaping, the buildings, the water, bridges, all of it. Honestly, I could have spent a week just hanging out on the resort property and been perfectly happy.  There’s dining on site, bike rides, boats and so much to do. And the gardens are such a beautiful place to sit and just look at. If we ever go back I would definitely want to stay at this resort again just because it’s so pretty.

port orleans riverside resort

Hate – Most of the resorts are so far from the Disney Parks that you’re forced to use transportation to get to them. The bus system is stinky, crowded and often involves a 20 – 40 minute wait for the bus to arrive and then you get stuck standing on the bus most of the time (at least we did). The monorail isn’t an option for the Port Orleans resort but there is a ferry ride which again, has a really long wait.

The Cast Members

Love – Character greetings were absolutely INCREDIBLE for not only our children but for us parents. I don’t care how old you are, meeting “Mickey Mouse” will give you the butterflies and giggles. The Disney Princesses (and Princes) were so adorable interacting with children, hugging, chatting, answering questions and posing so sweetly for photographs time and time again. Never once did you sense boredom or dis-interest even after chatting up 100+ kids. Cast members throughout our resort were especially friendly always saying hello and asking if we were enjoying our trip.

ariel and prince eric hugging

Hate – While most cast members throughout the park were cheerful and helpful, there were a handful that were just downright rude and grumpy. One older gentleman in particular working at the gift shop you’re pushed through after meeting Mickey in Magic Kingdom was particularly rude. He yelled at me! Loud enough in front of the entire store he says “Miss, can you try to watch your children at a little bit?” …. I stood there red-faced, mortified and confused. I was 3 feet away from my daughter asking her if she wanted some Minnie Mouse shoes when she knocked a soft toy on the floor. I had my back turned to her literally for 2 seconds to pick up the shoes to show her and he had the audacity to yell at me.

The Food

Love – Our sit-down meals were are really delicious. One of my favorite meals was at Tony’s Town Square in Magic Kingdom set in a Lady & The Tramp theme complete with a menu full of Italian options. I enjoyed a Chicken Parmigiana dinner and Tiramisu dessert that was just heavenly and came with portions so big I could have made two meals out of it.

tonys town square tiramisu dessert

Hate – Quick service dining options are pretty gross especially the hamburger, hot dog, chicken nugget scene. While all of our reserved sit-down dining experiences were good, you only get them if you make the reservations in advance which we didn’t get a chance to do for all of our meals. And as odd as this sound, with the Disney Dining Plan, all of your meals come with a dessert … not good if you don’t want dessert. I’d much rather have an appetizer be an option so money doesn’t go to waste.

The Weather

Love – Unlike the drought going on in Illinois right now, Florida has no shortage of rain showers. Every day of our vacation started with sun and heat, followed by a thunderstorm that cooled everything off for a couple of hours.

Hate – Simply put, the weather in August in Florida is downright miserable. It’s ridiculously hot day and night, and the humidity leaves sweat pouring off you within seconds of stepping in the sun. It really made everyone (except my husband) pretty miserable and dehydrated. I don’t care what the circumstances are, there’s no way I’ll ever go anywhere NEAR Florida in August ever again.

 

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  1. I LOVE the picture of of K hugging Ariel. Seriously, tears in eyes. Despite all the dislikes Disney is still magical. :)

    • It was the sweetest moment of our whole trip. Emma was all lit up inside and out meeting her favorite princess.

  2. I have never been but we are going in 2 years with the kids. I’m excited but I know I’m probably going to be miserable. I just want to see the characters! I lived in FL for 6 years, hubby loved the afternoon storms. Weather is Aug was horrible. I just gave birth to Gav and had to tote him in it, miserable!!

    • You poor thing, I honestly could not imagine living there. Hubby wants to retire in Florida … he may spend his retirement alone. LOL

  3. I am sorry that you had some downs to your trip to Disney. I really think a lot has to do with when you go. I live in Florida and rarely venture outside during the summer. It is absolutely miserable weather. It is also one of the most crowded times of the year for Disney. There are some yummier counter service options if you ever go back. Wolfgang Puck Express in downtown Disney is great as is the Japanese counter service option in Epcot. Hope you all had a great vacation overall.

    • I think we would have had a MUCH better time going during Florida’s winter or early spring when it wasn’t so hot. I would have handled the crowds a lot better if it weren’t for the heat and funk going on.

  4. Prince Eric has some tight pants there. I love those moments. Gavin was so in awe when he met Mickey. We went the week of his third birthday. What a perfect age. I’m glad you finally got to see it yourself.

  5. Denise B. says:

    We love Disney World. We have been going there for years. We love Florida and Disney so much, we moved down here; and we live behind the castle.

    However, you have to research and learn how to get the best experience.

    Never ever go during tourist season or holidays. That’s usually from the first spring break in February up until school starts again. During this time, it’s almost always jam packed day in and day out. The heat also gets too uncomfortable to enjoy yourself. We go any time furing the period from the end of September to mid-February (not during holiday times).

    You have to take advantage of the baby swap on rides your children can’t go on. They’re good for up to three people, and you get to go through the fast line. You also need to learn how to work the passes from the machines that let you access the fast line. They tell you what time to return and at what time you can access another pass from any machine. If you are doing baby swap, you can work that to your advantage with the machine passes to get on rides quickly and multiple times.

    We always do the character buffets. It entertains the children so we all enjoy our meal in peace. The buffets may seem expensive, but we’re so filled up from the meal that we don’t need to buy any more park food which can add up to more money if that’s the way you choose to eat.

    For newer rides that you want to go on, get your fast pass out of the machine first thing when you get in the park. They can run out as early as 10:00 a.m. like it usually does for the Toy Story arcade ride in Hollywood Studios.

    The more you visit, the more you’ll get the hang of it and learn all the tricks. :)

    • Oh wow, I sure could have used all those tips before we went. We really should have waited until Spring when it was cooler.

  6. yup it all sounds about right :)

  7. Is it sad that I remember the food being gross when I went back in HIGH SCHOOL?! Glad to hear the sit down dinners were nice as we didn’t do that when my parents took us down there.
    Love the princess hug pictures … made me want to start planning a visit with the kids now even though I know we are waiting a few more years!

    • That doesn’t surprise me. You get what you pay for there and you pay out the butt for the sit-down meals but they’re worth it. Although I’d love them more if they cut the prices and portion sizes.

  8. Diane says:

    It really is about when you go..Never ever go during Spring break and always go after the Florida kids go back to school :) Makes life much more pleasant that way :)
    We have gone 30 plus times and will be going again next Spring ! We took the kids so much when they were little that they would ask to go somewhere else:)..I would always tell them how so many kids are begging to do to Disney that they should just enjoy it !
    It’s my number one favorite vacation place and I will never get tired of it !
    This next Spring will be the first time we go with our grand-kids I’m so excited and can’t wait!
    I’m glad you got to see it though even with all the “down” times from being sick to being yelled at ..I have never ever heard of an employee yelling at anyone over the years someone needs to have a nice Chat with that man !

    • Yeah, we did hit bad timing. We weren’t sure when the kids there would go back to school and our start tomorrow so we were on a tight schedule with out timing.

  9. You were so brave to attempt it in August. That would be just so brutal, and I’m not sure there are too many times of the year when crowds aren’t heavy, particularly in the Magic Kingdom.

    You’re definitely right about the food being much, much better at the reserved dining experiences.

    • Brutal … yes that’s a good word for the weather in August. :P

      The Magic Kingdom was definitely the most crowded. We had a much better time in Hollywood Studios and Epcot where the crowds were pretty thin.

  10. My family and I have only been to Florida once (except my sister who has gone several other times with her ex and his family) and we ALL said the same thing about the weather and we went in the Winter months! o.O

    It’s definitely an interesting place to visit, but I’d hate to live there.

    • Ugh, it was bad in the winter too?

      We went to Florida in December once and it was pretty chilly in the mornings, certainly not swimming weather but short sleeves.

  11. Kristi C says:

    We took the kids this year during the third week of May. The crowds weren’t bad. However, we decided when we go back we will go in October when the kids are on fall break. Not nearly as crowded and the weather is more bearable.

  12. Thanks for sharing both the pros and cons of Disney World. I’d love to visit with my kids someday.

  13. Donna George says:

    Yep, August in Florida is BRUTAL!! Between the intense storms, the high temps, and the humidity, BAD month to go. Early June is usually very nice, and spring break weeks can’t be beat. A lot of Floridians go over Christmas break, when it isn’t as hot. Mostly, we just stay inside in August.

  14. I avoid the parks in the summer. We usually go back in the fall for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival (LOVE!) and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

  15. I don’t think I have anything bad to say about Disneyworld. I love every minute of it…. I’ve been 4 times in the last 3 years. Crowds may be a problem at certain times of year…but I have never experienced that. Weather is always nice – with a short shower here and there. I will be back ASAP hopefully this December 2013. I’m an adult – but this place has won my heart….. and I will keep going even when I’m old and wrinkled. The magic can’t be beat.

  16. 1st time at disney was last week 10/27/13-11/2/2013, one of the best vacations of my life and I am 25 years old. I proposed to my girlfriend, the weather was 83-85 and sunny everyday, the people were friendly, and the crowds were not bad at all. the food, parks, resort was incredible. we crushed the parks with our magic band fast passes and key to the world card fast passes. cant wait to return

    • Awww … how sweet! I hope she said yes!

      I think we just picked one of the busiest (and hottest) months of the year to go. I think we’re going to give it another go November 2014.

  17. Anthony says:

    It sounds like you had a good time overall, and I’m glad! I love it there, and now they have altered the Dining Plan so you can pick an appetizer or desert.

    Also, you must come back during either Halloween or the Holiday season. The decorations and festivities are amazing!

    Lastly, next time you come down try The Wilderness Lodge resort. It’s the cheapest deluxe resort, but it is awe inspiring.

    Any plans on coming back soon?

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