Going to Disney World can be one of the most magical experiences. However, it can also be an overwhelming experience if you’re a first-time Disney goer. There is a lot to plan, a lot to see, not knowing what to eat, the list goes on. Luckily for you, I asked a group of Disney addicts who gave their advice for those who haven’t been to the park (or haven’t been in a long time). Here are some Disney World tips for first timers that’ll be sure to make your trip even more magical.
What are some tips for planning a trip to Walt Disney World
- Prior to experiencing all that Disney World has to offer, you must plan your trip of a lifetime. If planning gets your anxiety rolling, then I suggest using an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. There are a lot of benefits to using a planner. They have inside information and deals that’s not always known to the public. In addition, the thought of someone else taking that burden off your shoulders of planning is a stress reliever in itself.
- Give yourself several months to plan the trip (typically it’s good to plan at least around 200 days ahead of time). This way you’re not putting so much money upfront on such an expensive trip. Even if you’re using an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, allowing yourself time to pay on the trip will ease some stress.
- If you love to plan and take matters in your on hands, I recommend joining groups on social media that will help you along the way. Within the groups, you have people who have actually experienced the process of booking a trip themselves and often have some amazing tips to save money. I’m fond of the groups Ways to Save for Disney and Saving For Disney with C2D (the SavEars) on Facebook.
- Plan to stay on the property. I heard this from several past Disney goers. Staying on the property assures you get so much more DISNEY out of your trip. You’ll be ensuring transportation to-and-from the parks if staying on one of the properties. Not to mention, the overall Disney ambiance just from being there. You never know who may pop up in a Disney property. You can choose from one of the many properties of Disney to stay on, they have several that could work with all different budgets.
- Personally, I have had luck with using sites such as Hotwire and Hotels.com. If you are really trying to plan this trip yourself and save as much as possible, then check them out as well for your hotel. Also, Choosing a hotel that also offers breakfast can save a lot of money too.
What are some tips to save money for a trip to Disney World?
- As I mentioned above; joining some Disney travel groups on social media is a great way to learn how to visit Disney World on a budget.
If you don’t want to scroll up, here are the two groups I mentioned. Ways to Save for Disney and Saving For Disney with C2D (the SavEars).
- One of the first things you’ll notice people saying is to earn Swagbucks to do surveys that can help you earn gift cards. One of the most notable gift cards that people aim to get is a Disney gift card. Believe it or not, some people have mastered this and have paid for their trip entirely using the gift cards they earned from Swagbucks. Amazing, right?
- Purchase souvenirs offsite. There was a Walmart near Magic Kingdom when we went a few years ago. It was packed with Disney souvenirs. I got my son a Disney themed backpack (it was a small one, perfect for carrying around his bottle and snack throughout the park), a key chain and shirt. Also, I bought out ears offline before we went too.
What should I take to a Walt Disney World Park?
- You definitely want to bring a back pack. If you are traveling with kids, I suggest give them their own small backpack and have them carry their belongings. I’ve always done this with my son and it seems to always work.
- Bring a water bottle. You can ask the different restaurants and/or food carts for a cup of water. This will save you a lot of money versus purchasing multiple drinks.
- A few snacks. If you’re really on a budget, you may want to bring a few snacks with you, i.e granola bars, pieces of fruit. I grabbed a couple from breakfast at the hotel to being with us.
- Bring a cheap Dollar Tree poncho. Have you ever been to Orlando? You’ll need a poncho.
- Also pack; hat, sunscreen, battery operated fan (like the ones you can wear around your neck from the Dollar Tree).
- Dress comfortably, you’ll be walking a lot.
What to eat at Walt Disney World Parks?
- There are tons of options to eat at Walt Disney World. There are so many options to eat that all the options aren’t within the park. If you’re choosing to dine in the park, make sure you schedule your dining options well in advance to ensure your spot. Most suggested time to schedule your dining experience is 180 days before you travel (assuming you planned your Disney experience the suggested 200 days before you travel).
- If your budget is tight and eating on site isn’t an option. Orlando has tons of options to eat offsite. If I was you, I’d say eat breakfast at the hotel, take a snack, leave after the first parade to grab a bite to eat and then head back to the park.
- For the record, I head the Dole Whip is a MUST.
How to make a day at Walt Disney World enjoyable?
- Planning ahead before you go will make your day flow better. Disney World is huge and has a lot to offer, don’t go in thinking you can do it all in a day. Research the parks, areas within the parks and various rides so you can create a game plan.
- Have each member of the family chose their most important parts of the parks they want to experience, this way everyone will end up leaving happy.
- Don’t over plan. Planning is needed for a park like Disney, but over planning can kill your plans in general. When having your family choose what they want most out of the park, start by everyone picking their number 1 thing they want to do, the 2nd and so on and so forth.
- Look at the park map ahead of time to plot your course of action.
- Get there early! There are so many parts of Disney that is magical. Even rope drop/gate opening. From the experienced Disney goers, arriving at least an hour before the park opens is good practice. Depending on the park, some allow you to go in early, have a ceremony or even with the distance from the parking lot to the park it is good to arrive early to beat the larger crowd.
- Download My Disney Experience App. This will have maps of the parks, allow you to schedule your Fast Passes, and find characters and more. The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is to download it ahead of time, play with it, get comfortable with it so you can use it easily at the park.
- While we are talking about the Disney Experience App, you definitely want to schedule Fast Passes. Schedule them for the more popular rides that tend to have longer lines.
Disney is an experience of a lifetime. Remember that some will never have to opportunity to visit one of Walt Disney World’s magical parks. Make the most out of your experience, slow down, and enjoy the moment. If it rains, enjoy it. Let’s say that it is hot, enjoy it. Maybe the weather is cold, enjoy it. Take it for what it is, it’s the most magical place on the earth.
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