Human neurodegenerative disorders are among the most difficult to study. In particular, the inability to readily obtain the faulty cell types most relevant to these diseases has impeded progress for decades. Recent advances in pluripotent stem cell technology now grant access to substantial quantities of disease-pertinent neurons both with and without predisposing mutations. While this suite of technologies has revolutionized the field of 'in vitro disease modeling', great care must be taken in their deployment if robust, durable discoveries are to be made. Here we review what we perceive to be several of the stumbling blocks in the use of stem cells for the study of neurological disease and offer strategies to overcome them.