What to do when everything goes wrong at Disney

What to do when everything goes wrong at Disney

Disney is the most magical place on Earth, right? Well, not always. There are so many factors at play when it comes to having a magical Disney vacation. And sometimes things just don’t go right! So today we are talking about the one thing many people avoid. What to do when everything goes wrong at Disney! Read on to find out solutions to some of the most common issues at Disney.

Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

You have your trip planned, your flights booked, and your dining reservations made. What could go wrong? Well regardless of what some may have you believe… a lot actually. As a Disney Travel Planner and someone who has owned a Disney inspired business for a decade, we see a lot of things that go wrong. Here are some common things that might throw a wrench in your trip and how you can deal with them and save your sanity. 

One note I do want to make about this as we talk about issues that arise at Disney: please treat Cast Members with respect when bringing up an issue. Most of the time, they are not responsible for whatever the problem is and likely don’t have any more control over the situation than you do. Not only is being kind about your problem the right thing to do, but it will also likely get you better results. 

Disney All Star Movies Resort

You get sick or injured at Disney

Getting sick on vacation is the last thing anyone wants to think about. But the fact of the matter is that you’re more likely to get sick while traveling than you are at home. Changes in your environment, different types of stress than you may be used to, likely eating and sleeping differently and being in areas where there are just more people can all increase your risk of getting sick. 

The Fix: Depending on exactly what the problem is, you have a few options. In the case of needing actual medical attention, Disney offers free transportation to AdventHealth along with opportunities for Virtual Visits, Urgent Care and First aid within the Parks. You can read all about Disney’s heath care services here.

If you’re just mildly sick and don’t need an actual doctor, luckily there are quite a few delivery options in the Orlando area to help get you what you need. We have an entire post dedicated to getting sick at Disney and what you can do about it here

Disney All Star Movies Resort

There’s a problem with your room

Sometimes you get to your hotel room and it’s the most magical thing! Perfectly waiting for you to enjoy it. And sometimes, well, the opposite happens. Maybe the room actually has something wrong with it, like a leaky sink. Maybe it’s not clean. Or maybe your neighbors are too loud. Whatever the issue, it’s important to know that sometimes these things just happen. 

The Fix: If you’re upset enough about whatever is going on in your room that you’re willing to change rooms, make a phone call to the front desk, or walk up to the front desk and let them know your concerns. If it’s something that can be fixed, a repair person will be sent to fix it. If your specific request requires you to move, they will move you when they can. Disney cannot always move you, but when they can, they will do their best to make you happy.

What you don’t want to do though, is wait until you get home to contact Disney about the issue. Some people think they will be able to get a room comped or get some sort of discount towards their next trip. But this is generally never the case. There has to be a ton of documentation on Disney’s part for this to work. And it almost never does. Your best bet is always going to be to get the issue resolved in the moment and be willing to switch rooms if that’s all they can do for you.  

Disney in the Rain

The weather is bad

Let’s face it. The weather in Orlando is just not great. It just isn’t. It’s either too rainy, or too hot, or too humid, or too cold. There are a few months out of the entire year that most people would call the weather “nice”. This isn’t really just my opinion. People who actually choose to live there will almost always tell you the same thing. Obviously, this is a very subjective thing that’s completely a personal opinion, but one of the biggest complaints I hear from first time Disney goers is how bad the weather is. Yea, it’s often not great. But if you want to go to Disney, it’s a price you need to be willing to pay. 

The Fix: Plan ahead. Look to see what the weather is going to look like while you’re there and make sure you’re prepared. If it’s going to be hot and humid, be sure to pack electrolytes and water bottles to ensure you stay hydrated. Portable fans and cooling towels are great for keeping cool. And during rainier months, make sure you always have a poncho on hand. Yes, they sell these at Disney. But when it rains, it pours, plus they’re expensive. So having on ahead of time will save you money and heartache over drenched clothes. 

During the cooler months, don’t underestimate the cold! As someone who has lived in Ohio her whole life, trust me. I can walk around in a sweatshirt in 2o degree weather here. In Orlando, it hits the 50s and I feel like I could perish from hypothermia. It’s a different kind of cold. The kind that chills you to the bone. Or at least that’s what the maintenance man at the Disney Dolphin told me. Pack layers. Maybe even gloves. Be sure to pack appropriately for cold weather at Disney

Aside from planning what you pack, be sure to have a plan for rides and attractions that can help you get away from bad weather. Indoor rides and shows can give you a/c breaks or breaks from the rain. And planning a midday break at your resort is a great way to combat weather conditions as well. 

disney dining reservations

You have a bad dining experience

Sometimes having a bad dining experience happens. Even at Disney. Not everything can be controlled all the time. Whether you had bad service, or the food was not great, or had to wait over an hour to be seated, sometimes things happen that may make your dining experience less than magical. 

The Fix: You have two choices here. You can decide that it doesn’t matter that much and move on. Or you can do something about it. If you plan to do something about it, you need to do something then and there. Don’t wait three days and complain about it to a random Cast Member working at your resort. Because they likely can’t help you.  You can either choose to speak to someone at the restaurant. Or if that seems too difficult, you can head to Guest Services at that specific park and see if they can help you. 

Many guests are under the assumption that they can make a complaint with anyone on Disney property to get their problem resolved. And this is generally not how that works. Not only are some restaurants not even operated by Disney, but rather a third party. But there is no way to verify your statements when you wait to speak to someone. 

Now, if for example, you get food poisoning or something that you may not know about until later, obviously you don’t have the choice to fix the problem in the moment. But in that case, it’s always best to head back to the original restaurant anyway so they’re aware of the problem.  Regardless, you’ll get the best results by handling the situation in the moment. 

Mickey at Tusker House

You miss out on something you really wanted to do

There is so much to see and do at Disney. We have a whole post around planning your Disney Days to avoid disappointment. But the fact of the matter is, it’s unlikely you’ll get to do everything you want while on your Disney Vacation. Unless you have a fairly small list.  

The Fix: The solution here is really a two part-er. First, make sure you have a plan. Like an actual plan with specific things you want to achieve each day. We usually recommend each person in your group choose the most important thing to them each day so you can prioritize

Secondly, and this is the most important part, you need to have the right mindset. Did you get to meet every single one of the princesses? No? That’s ok, because you did get to meet your favorites. Did you miss out on a dining reservation to Chef Mickey’s? That’s ok, because maybe you did have a super fun character meal at Tusker House. As someone who has traveled a lot, and who has helped many families travel to various places, here is my words of wisdom for you. You will almost never remember the things you didn’t get to do. Because those aren’t the things that make up your memories. What you will remember is the laughs, the funny stories and the unexpected things that happened during your trip.

You often hear stories about guests planning their “one and done” Disney trips, only to later return to visit annually or every few years. And this is one of the reasons why. There’s so much to do at Disney. You will likely miss something you wanted to. Going into the trip with a flexible schedule and a realistic mindset will help dramatically reduce any disappointment about not getting it all done. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up planning a return trip back!

Haunted Mansion Halloween Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Ride Overlay

You have a bad party experience at Disney

Maybe you’ve been dreaming about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for months. Or maybe you’ve made a special trip to Disney just for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. And then, for whatever reason, your party is ruined. The insane amounts of rain meant many party specific activities were cancelled. Maybe someone in your group got sick during the party and you had to leave. Or maybe something else entirely that just ruined your party experience.  Since Party tickets are nonrefundable, this can seem like a no-win situation. 

The Fix: Stop by Guest Services as soon as possible. It is always up to the discretion of the Cast Member whether or not they’ll give accommodate you. But in my experience, if you have a valid issue and ask very nicely, you can often receive a partial refund, a ticket for a new party date or will sometimes be issued a gift card. 

Disney Buses and Transportation options

You miss the bus for Early Theme Park Entry

In comparison to other scenarios, this may seem like such a small issue. And let’s be clear, it kind of is. However, the amount of irate parents I’ve seen over this one warranted its own section in this post. If you want to make it on time to Early Morning Entry, you should plan to be at the bus stop 1 hour before you want to arrive at the park. Read that again- a full hour. Yes, that may seem extreme, but getting to the bus stop 30 mins before Early Theme Park Entry starts is not going to get you any time in the Park during that small half an hour window. 

There are also usually a lot more guests trying to get to the parks at this time, which means busses fill up much faster. Allowing more time than you think you need is always the best strategy. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Sometimes getting the kids up and ready can be a challenge. Or getting breakfast took too long. Whatever the case, being late for or completely missing Early Entry does happen sometimes!

The Fix: There are really only two options here. And both of them require taking some personal responsibility for the situation. I’ve heard guests think they can get anything from a comped night at the resort, to free park tickets to a boatload of other perks because “the bus took too long”. And I am here to tell you that 9.9 times of out 10, you will actually get none of those things. Arriving to the bus stop early enough to make Early Morning Entry is your responsibility. And Disney rarely gives compensation for something that is technically free anyway. 

So you can do two things here. You can call an Uber, which will generally take 15 mins or so to get you to the Parks, and cost around $10-$12. Minnie Vans are also an option here for a higher fee. Or you can accept the fact that you won’t make Early Morning Entry and still make it a great day. Technically, you have the third option of wasting your time at Guest Services for the slight chance that a Cast Member will be sympathetic to your situation. But personally, I’d rather just get into the Parks and get on with my day. The choice is up to you. 

Shiki Sai Restaurant Epcot, Japan Pavilion, Sushi Restaurant Disneyworld

You’re late for a Dining Reservation at Disney

Planning days at Disney can be tough! Everything always takes longer than you want it to. It’s crowded. Everyone is tired. Making it to your dining reservation may be a little bit more challenging some days. Though you should always try to make it on time to your dining reservation, being late is not the end of the world.

The Fix: It’s important to note that Disney offers a 15-minute grace period for guests to arrive before considered “late”.  So if you’re just running slightly behind, don’t stress! If you’re running really late, it’s best to try to contact them when you can. This is not always the easiest feat since many of the phone numbers published do not connect you directly to the restaurant. But if you’re working with a Disney Travel Planner, this is the kind of thing they can likely help you with too by calling on your behalf while you worry about getting to your destination as soon as possible. 

What to do when Things Go Wrong on a Disney Trip

Hopefully this post has been helpful for you to navigate the things that can go wrong at Disney and how you can fix them! What issues have you encountered while on your Disney adventures?

When things go wrong on a Disney Trip

Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website

Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .


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