Visiting Walt Disney World as a fist time guest can be really overwhelming, but have no fear, I am here to guide you through the process. When planning your first trip to WDW you may find yourself wondering how you can possibly see and do it all. The answer to that is simple; it is not possible. You need to plan a few things to do, see, and experience so you do not get worn out and really get to enjoy your trip!
The first thing you need to do when you arrive at your resort is to obtain a “First Visit” pin for each member of your party. You can do this at your Disney Resort check in or at guest relations at any of the parks. By wearing this pin not only will you experience a bit of extra magic, but cast members are able to recognize that you may not be familiar with everything and are likely to offer tips, suggestions, advice, and directions. Do not be ashamed to wear the pin! Look around, I promise you there are TONS of other guests wearing pins of some sort!
When you arrive at the parks, arrive early and arrive with a plan! I suggest doing a bit of homework before you get to Orlando. Decide which rides are the most important to your family. These rides should become your must do’s! I suggest having each member of your party pick 2 attractions per park that they MUST experience. You can use a service such as Touring Plans to determine the best order in which to see your top picks. Also be sure to check out some to get a better idea on what to expect and to do…
Between park hopping, eating, meeting the characters, and seeing the shows your body can get awfully tired. I see too many first timers stretching themselves to the limit. It is ok to take a break, in fact, if you are staying at a Disney Resort taking a break is almost as much fun as being in the parks. The themed pool areas and relaxing rooms are all part of the experience! Enjoy it!
As a first time guest, you may have heard some rumblings about advanced dining reservations (ADR’s) and may be wondering how important these are. Many first timers just assume that getting into a restaurant at Disney cannot be any more difficult than getting into your local Applebee’s on a Friday night. Think again. You may be able to get into a restaurant without a reservation, but chances are that you are missing out on some of the best dining experiences on property. Character dining books up fast, so if you want to eat with Mickey, you better get a reservation. Many of the popular dining choices also book up quickly so having a reservation will greatly reduce your stress. ADR’s also help you structure your daily plans and this can be a large help!
Now that I have stressed the importance of planning meals and which attractions you must do and even when to rest, I am going to suggest that you also leave your mind open to possibilities. Allow for the unexpected. There are so many things at Disney that you may walk past in a rush to the next thing on your list and you may miss out! Also, allow your family to enjoy their trip. If your little one sees something that is exciting to them it may be worth taking a moment out of your schedule to do this attraction!
Tickets are the next area that often stumps first timers. There are so many options and choices. Keep this in mind; you can always add more but you cannot take away. If you are staying for 6 nights you may want to start with a 5 day base ticket. This will allow you a visit to one park each day. You do not have to use the days consecutively, you have 14 days from the first use of the ticket to spend your days. If you decide that you want to upgrade while at the parks, as long as you have at least 1 day left on your ticket, no problem! Buy less to start out with and add options later if you need them. You may find the base ticket is perfect for your first visit and there is no need to spend the extra money on park hopping!
These are just a few of my suggestions to help you start on your way to planning a wonderful first visit! Do any of you have other suggestions or tips for first time visitors?
- Planning a Disney Vacation in Less than Six Months (chipandco.com)
- Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Dining at WDW (chipandco.com)
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