Disney World is a magical place and families all over the world often come back saying that it was their best holiday ever.
Whilst the draw of Disney is unquestionable, sometimes planning a trip to the Orlando-based park can be a daunting and intimidating one, especially for first-time visitors.
Deciding on when to visit, planning how you can avoid the crowds and queues for Disney World rides, and saving money on food and in the Disney World shop are all parts of the planning process.
So if you are feeling that planning a trip to Disney World Florida is just too much of a task, then think again; this guide will give you the ultimate tips that all first-time visitors to Disney World should consider, from buying special Disney tickets in Florida to making reservations for evening meals.
1) How long to stay
This is obviously completely dependent on your situation, but for first-time visitors we recommend a vacation of six to eight days will be sufficient.
Walt Disney World has four theme parks in total; Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Two days exploring Magic Kingdom and two days visiting Epcot are advisable, whilst Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom should take roughly under a day each.
If your family is after a longer holiday then a trip to Disney World can always be combined with some of Orlando’s other great theme parks. A Disney and Universal ticket could be perfect as they offer unlimited access to the four Disney theme parks, the two Disney water parks and both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
2) Stay Onsite
We enlisted the help of Theme Park Princess blogger Monet, who is an expert blogger when it comes to all things Disney World. Her first tip, and one we think you’ll want to know before you book anything, is to stay onsite.
“There are many advantages to staying on Walt Disney World property during your vacation. You can use Disney Transportation to get around instead of having to drive to every park, you can have packages sent to your room if you don't want to carry them throughout the park and resort guests get to enjoy extra magic hours, which are a few hours where only resort guests are allowed in the park.”
3) What to bring
Wet wipes– If you have children that like ice cream and other sweet treats then wet wipes should certainly be included in your day bag to avoid sticky messes.
Wallet in waterproof case – You need somewhere to safely keep your money and tickets.
Cameras - Cameras are a must as there are so many great photo opportunities at Disney World.
Ponchos - Great for water-based attractions as well as being easy to pack. You will also save yourself a pretty penny by bringing ponchos with you as they can be expensive within the park.
4) Make a list of must-see attractions
Planning an itinerary is vital and during your research first-timers should make a list of attractions. Make sure to visit the most popular rides in the morning, as this is when the queues are shorter.
Also, by planning the attractions you want to see you can discuss it with your children to find out what they would be most interested in, so no one goes home disappointed.
5) Utilise the FastPass+ System
Monet’s second top tip for first-time visitors was to use the FastPass+ System, which is also known as the My Magic plus service.
“Included with your Walt Disney World tickets is the ability to use FastPass+. This allows you to choose up to three attractions, per day, per park that you would like to wait on a shorter line for. Essentially, this 'holds' your place in line, giving you and your family the chance to experience more attractions throughout the day. If you are staying on Disney property, you can make these selections up to 60 days in advance. You can also choose to make these selections while in the parks at any FastPass+ kiosk.”
6) Make Reservations
Monet’s third tip was to make reservations at the restaurants that you and your family want to eat at during your visit to Disney World.
“If there is a restaurant you and your family are dying to check out, book your reservations as soon as possible. Dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance, and a lot of the more popular restaurants (Cinderella's Royal Table, Be Our Guest, Le Cellier, etc.) fill up fast.”