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7 Most Disappointing Disney Vacation Moments

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Disney isn’t all Pixie Dust and Magical Memories people! I know, Disney and all the Disney bloggers, pages, and travel agents want you to think it is, but it isn’t. There are some disappointing moments that can happen on your Disney vacation. Today I am sharing 7 that you might come across (and how to handle them with kids).

1) Getting sick on your vacation. This is just awful! Nobody wants to be sick on their Disney vacation, but it happens. If you are on a Disney vacation, especially with a Disney package- and this happens to you, and if it is bad enough to need to cancel vacation, or miss several days on your park tickets- please talk to Disney management. While I can’t promise they will do anything for you, Disney tries their hardest to help out guests who fall ill during their Disney vacation.

2) Your child’s balloon pops or deflates or their souvenir breaks. This is such an easy fix. You paid good money for that balloon or souenir, and Disney knows it. Just return your Disney balloon to any balloon vendor, and they will replace it- Free of charge! So maybe the balloons are expensive, but they last a super long time, and if they don’t, Disney replaces them. (We love Disney’s balloons- here are 5 reasons why we think you should buy them.)
Souvenirs- Simply take them back with a  receipt for a replacement or refund.

3) A favorite ride is closed for refurbishment. So, in case you didn’t know this, you can check out the Disneyland and Walt Disney World park schedules online, and you can even see what rides are scheduled for refurbishment. However, that doesn’t always help prepare a little one for this sad sign. Be sure to prep your party for what rides will be closed. Get little ones excited about all the other rides that will be open during your visit.

4) A favorite ride is closed unexpectedly. (This goes along with number 3.) It happens. Especially to rides like Radiator Springs Racers. They seem to close unexpectedly, sometimes just for an hour or two, and sometimes for a few days. If you are in line for a ride (especially with a fastpass) and it needs to close, Disney will often offer you a fastpass that is good for any, or almost any, attraction. This happened on our spring visit, and we got one good for any ride except The Matterhorn. Luckily, Space Mountain (where we got it) re-opened and we just used it there.
If a favorite ride is just down, and a little one is disappointed, explain that they have to make sure the ride is working properly and that rides need time to rest, just like humans. Get them excited about rides that are open, and maybe try to avoid the area of the closed ride for a few hours.

5) Missing a height requirement. So you got your 4 year old all excited to go on Tower of Terror…only to realize, you misread the height limit and they are too short. Or maybe you didn’t realize when you measured little Johnny at home that he was standing on his tip toes, or the measuring tape wasn’t clear to the ground. Or maybe, you just forgot to check height requirements all together. A kid being told they can’t ride a ride is quite devastating. A few thoughts on this- Please do not try to “beat the system” on height requirements. They are there for a reason. Second,  Disney has listed height requirements, and then they have the rulers they measure by. Often times Disney’s actual rulers are a tad bit shorter then the requirement. We thought the Goof would be a 1/2 inch too short for Autopia on our October 2012 visit, only to find out he hit the height limit.  Prep your kids for the fact that there may be some rides they are not able to ride. Also be sure whoever sits out with them is willing to go do something with them while they wait. Almost all the rides with height requirements have kiddie rides near them. (We have a complete list of Disneyland height requirements HERE in our Disneyland 101 series)

7 most disappointing moments on Disney vacation
A cloudy, muggy day at Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure

6) Bad weather. Sometimes you can’t stop it from raining on your parade. Know the weather forecast for your vacation. Heading to Florida? Bring some rain gear and sunscreen. California- sunscreen (and depending on forecast, rain gear).  Understand that there are shows, attractions, and parades that may not run depending on weather. Explain this to your kids if there is rain in your forecast.

And finally, what I consider the most disappointing moment of your Disney vacation-

7) Having to end your Disney vacation! Nothing is sadder than saying goodbye to that magical place and heading home. For us Disney addicts, it is like leaving home. But the good news is, you get to start planning your next vacation (if you haven’t already).

What disappointing moments have you experienced on your Disney vacation? Let us know in the comments.

17 thoughts on “7 Most Disappointing Disney Vacation Moments”

    • April- Oh no! That happened to our friends on our Spring 2012 trip, but not at Disney, at the surrounding area hotel we were staying at. So sorry that happened to yoU!

  1. Oh…worst memory ever? My Aunt and Uncle took my brother and I to Disneyland when we were kids. I bought a mug for each parent, to bring back, with my own money. I tripped in the parking lot and my Dad’s mug was broken. I was devastated…lol!

  2. I’ve had at least 4 of these. The cast members couldn’t have been nicer after my son “got sick” on my wife. Four straight days of rain in December. My daughter was 1/4″ short on the rock-n-roller coaster, took us 8 years to get back there.

  3. Hi,
    You have a new reader here. Great blog! I did not know that you can get a replacement balloon if yours pops. I have not bought a balloon at WDW yet, but that is super cool for the kiddos. Does this hold true if your balloon floats away?

  4. I have heard (in the Disney blog realm) it is true for the balloon floating away, but I have no idea how that would work. Faith and trust maybe? I would think you would need a way to prove you had the balloon.

  5. We had one replaced once when my sister’s balloon floated away and she was sobbing over it. Not sure if they still do it, but I’d imagine for a crying child, they probably would. We have also had dropped ice cream cones replaced….b/c that is another one that usually happens. Gotta love Disney and their willingness to help.

  6. One of the most disappointing things to happen to us is having one of the parks (Disneyland or California Adventure) rented out in the evening from 5:00 to close, so we had to leave the park many hours before we anticipated. 🙁

  7. On our last trip (and our first to the Disneyland Resort) there were two things I was really geared into doing.

    1. See the characters walking around and acting as they should. This may have been the biggest bummer I experienced. After watching all the Youtube videos and being green with envy that it works much differently in Florida, I was really disappointed when getting into Magic Kingdom, there were no characters walking around. NONE. My husband asked a cast member in passing about this and she said that it rarely happens. T-T

    2. The Photo Pass+. In Walt Disney World, we have tons of great memories captured by the Photo Pass photographers. So while planning our vacation, I thought it was more than reasonable to pay for the Photo Pass + since, honestly, we don’t know when we will be back. It was first disappointing to see how little photographers were in the park and how inexperienced they were. My heart sank further when I saw the pictures and saw how horrible they came out. Calling the customer service representatives was like listening to a radio prank. The gentleman ignored the fact that I was unhappy and wouldn’t let me speak to another representative. Long story short, I got some kind of compensation out of it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone going to Disneyland.

  8. For some reason I tend to get sick on vacation.
    -I had the flu on my way to Disneyland when I was about 8. Which then got passed to my mom who was sick for the next 24 hours once we arrived in California.
    -I got really sick another time we were at Disneyland — I was trying so hard to have fun with my little nephews, because I mean it’s Disneyland! But I was struggling & spent a lot of time in the hotel. I was sick the entire time. When I got home I had to go to the Insta Care and ended up having a sinus infection, ear infection, a cold & strep throat. Awesome.
    – This year in April my husband and I went to Disney World for our honeymoon. Our wedding was Saturday night, we stayed in SLC that night and flew out to Florida on Sunday. I woke up at 3:00 am Monday morning, sick sick sick. I was sick all of that day — I was either in the bathroom, in bed or in the tub. I struggled for the next few days being sick but we still went to the parks and had a blast.

  9. The most disappointing moments of my Disney vacation were: bad service and below average food at “signature” restaurants, an overcrowded & oversold Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Oh and the terrible lingering feeling that I had been ripped off by Mickey Mouse (I felt this constantly).

  10. Hi! I can’t stress enough to make sure you know the height requirements. I used to work at a theme park and one of the worst parts of my job was telling a child that they couldn’t ride the ride they were so excited about or having the parents try to guilt me into letting the child on the ride anyway. As much as we want children to have fun, we want them to be safe most of all. Safety is number one! Fun is number two! Another fun idea is to go back to a ride when your child is finally tall enough and make a big deal out of it. Maybe even tell whoever is working at the time? When a child came onto my ride who was finally tall enough, we would all clap and congratulate them.

  11. I had my ice cream cone knocked out of my hand by a bird. I was given a new one but told to be more careful this time. I greatly appreciated the new cone but could have done without the careful comment. Watch your ice cream cone in Fantasyland as there are some sneaky birds back there.


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