Tips for a First Visit to Disney World

Everybody has different ways that they attack the Walt Disney World parks.  As a result, there are a lot of different tips that they can share with others about how to handle a first-time visit to the World.  Today, I am going to share mine.  Compared to the trips that my family makes now, there was not a lot of planning that went into that first trip.  We bought and read through a couple of planning books and got our dining reservations but that was about it.  We just sort of “winged it” compared to how we plan now.  So, we’ve learned from that first-time experience.  Here are some of Dad For Disney’s Tips for a First Visit to Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World Isn’t Going Anywhere

Walt Disney World is still going to be there next year, the year after that, five/ten years from now.  Don’t feel you like you have do everything on that first trip.  My family fell into this trap.  We had a five-day vacation planned for our first trip.  We were going to one park each day that we were there.  Well, those plans quickly fell apart.  We never got to go Adventure Land or Frontier Land because we could never get past the carousel behind Cinderella’s Castle.  That carousel was our daughter’s favorite ride on that first trip.  It was also when we discovered that she could read a map.  We tried walking toward Adventureland and Frontierland but she was on to our game and quickly led us back to the carousel.

We learned that, at the time, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom were half-day parks for us.  That left us with the other half of the day empty.  Since we were stayed at The Contemporary, we would go to the Magic Kingdom at night which led to….you guessed it….more trips on the carousel.

My wife and I weren’t overly concerned about this since we had figured that a return trip was going to happen at some point.  In our mind, that trip was four or five years down the road not the 15 months it actually turned out to be.  So, if you have a smaller child and they like going on one or two rides all the time, don’t worry the park will still be there.

137Plan your days out but don’t overplan

We learned the hard way that it is important to have our vacation days planned down.  But, we also discovered that it is important not to over plan those vacation days.  Plan your days in broad terms not down to the minute.  Below is sample of how we plan:

Morning: Get up and arrive at MK for Rope Drop; visit Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square

Lunch: Depending on time, eat lunch at MK or return to Bay Lake Tower and have lunch at Contempo Cafe

Afternoon: Relax and go for a swim at the pool

Dinner: 5:25 pm dinner reservation at Via Napoli – need to leave room no later than 4:25.

Evening: Walk around World Showcase after dinner.  Then leave park before Illuminations or depending on everyone’s mood set up a viewing location for Illuminations around 8:15 pm then leave park after Illuminations.

There are some specifics in those plans but nothing down to the minute.  But still the plans have some flexibility to them depending on how long wait times are for attractions, how long dinner takes, etc.


Always Plan A Break

Going 16 hours in the park every day for five or six days straight is going to burn people in your party out.  It leads to the phrase, “I need to take a vacation from my vacation.”  The best way to combat this is to take break usually during the middle of the day.  You could use this time to relax in the pool, take a nap, or anything else that could help your travelling party recharge their batteries.  This is especially important in the summer because it can be used as a way to keep you and your party out of the sun when the sun and the heat are the strongest.  No one wants to spend time away from their vacation at a Disney First Aid station recovering from heat exhaustion or sun stroke.

Take a break, put your feet up, relax.  Like I said in the first tip, the parks will still be there.  Don’t feel like you need to do everything in one trip.  I’ll be making my seventh trip in five years to Walt Disney World in August and I still haven’t come close to doing everything that Walt Disney World provides.

Take Advantage of Free Water Especially in the Summer

Every Disney counter service restaurant has free water available.  You just have to go to the counter, ask for it, and the Cast Member will provide you with disposable cups of water with ice.  Disney doesn’t want its First Aid Stations filled with people suffering from heat exhaustion either.

Another tip for those that go during the summer, be prepared for humidity like you’ve never felt before especially if you live in a northern climate.  The north does have humid days during the summer but nothing can prepare you for going to Walt Disney World in the summer when the humidity is at its most oppressive.  It’s like walking into a steam bath.  We have pictures of my daughter from that first trip and after 30 minutes she looks like a drowned rat.

On these days, it’s even more important to stay hydrated because your body is sweating it out just as fast as you are putting it in.  Always stay hydrated.

These are just some of my tips for surviving a first-time visit to Walt Disney World.  What are some of your tips for a first-time visitor?  Feel free to share them on my Facebook page.  Or on my twitter account.  These groups are growing at a rapid pace and I thank you for its growth over the past couple months.  Please continue to share this group with your friends and family.

One of my articles from the month of June was selected for The Best of Disney Blog Carnival for July: Hidden Gem/Lost-Cost Table Service Restaurants 

Thanks for reading!

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