Planning Your First WDW Trip – What To Expect

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So you’ve decided to go to Walt Disney World for your vacation – first off, let me congratulate you on making such a smart decision! So now that you know where you’re going, it’s time to plan – and if it’s your first trip, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the information that’s out there. So, here’s some tips on what you can expect for your WDW trip:

“Not Your Typical Vacation” – WDW is a fast paced, crowded world of Parks and Resorts, and for many its not exactly what you would call “relaxing”. That being said, there ARE ways you can relax and enjoy your surroundings – you can “Resort Hop” and check out the shops, take a stroll, and grab a drink at the bar of all the different WDW Resorts, or you can spend the morning at the Park and leave after lunch (when the Parks tend to get more crowded), for a nap and some pool time back at your Resort, or you can check out some of the lesser known WDW Restaurants and try some new and unique cuisine

The Weather – Florida weather can be….unpredictable at best. During the summer, its likely that it will rain most afternoons, so be prepared and bring a poncho along with you while touring the Parks. The heat and sun can be intense too, so I recommend lots of sunscreen and plenty of water to help you stay hydrated and happy! Basically, expect the unexpected and prepare for any/every scenario when it comes to Disney World weather

The Magic – This one is a little hard to explain, but there is a certain feeling you get while in WDW that I like to call the “Disney Magic”, and it comes from the fact that Disney creates such an amazing experience for it’s guests, that their theming is carried thoughout the rides, stores, characters, even the light fixtures and garbage cans are themed to the Park’s style! They think of everything and really go above and beyond to make their Parks an escape to a world where you have no worries, no responsibilities – except for one – to have fun! The Park employees, or “Cast Members”, are always in character, and polite and ready and willing to answer your questions, or take a picture for you, all of which just enhances that magical feeling!

The Food – WDW really has some amazing restaurants, enough so that there are full websites dedicated to just it’s food! Many of the restaurants are very popular, and Disney allows you to make Advance Dining Reservations for your sit down meals up to 180 days in advance. You can even opt for the Disney Dining Plan, which allows you to pre-pay for a certain number of meals per day at a discounted rate. No matter what kind of cuisine you enjoy, there are buffets, fine dining restaurants, family friendly restaurants, character meals (my personal favorite!), plus TONS of snack and quick service options – and don’t be fooled by the name “quick service” – this is NOT your typical ‘fast food’, we are talking unique dishes prepared with fresh ingredients right in front of you! Disney also does a great job of catering to those with special dietary needs

Planning – Like I said, there is a TON of information out there about WDW, and it’s easy to get caught up in planning out every minute of every day. As hard as it may be, I recommend staying away from the ‘micromanaging’ version of planning, and just think about the big picture – what Parks do you want to visit on what days? Factors for making this decision might be which Park is offering Extra Magic Hours (a chance for WDW Resort guests to enjoy more Park time!), or which restaurant you want to eat at that day, or which parade or fireworks show you want to see. Don’t overplan, because if you do, and you don’t get to do everything on your list, you might be disappointed, and who wants to feel that way on vacation? Not me!

“Disney Time” – One of the reasons you will need to be flexible in your planning is because sometimes things take a little bit…longer than expected at WDW – grabbing a fast lunch could turn into an hour search for food and a table, traveling from one Resort to another Resort could turn into a trip involving 2 buses, and a boat/monorail….you get the idea. Luckily, you’re on vacation, so there’s really no hurry, right?

My #1 advice for those of you venturing to “The Place Where Dreams Come True” for the first time? Take naps, and wear sneakers. Both are simple, yet highly effective

What about the other veteran Walt Disney World travelers out there – what advice would you give to someone for their first WDW trip?

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