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Tips for First Time Disney World Visitors

Planning your first trip to Disney World can often initially feel quite overwhelming and scary! There’s so much to see and do, it’s hard to decide where to start! What follows are 14 tips for first time Disney World Visitors to consider. Hopefully, these will help to make your Disney trip go off without a hitch!

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Mickey and Minnie balloons at Disney.

Tips for first time Disney World visitors

Millions of families enter Walt Disney World gates expecting a magical vacation full of fun and entertainment, but many realize that they are ill-prepared for a vacation in Florida. Find tips on Disney World will help save time and headaches, common mistakes about entry into the parks, and how to spend less time waiting in line and more time enjoying the attractions.

1. Plan Your Disney Trip Ahead

Disney World can be a wonderful place for a family to enjoy time together and create memories of a lifetime. Plan ahead to avoid common problems related to travel, arriving to Disney World, and enjoying the wide variety of attractions. To make your trip to Disney even more exciting for the family, print these 30 day Countdown to Disney World trip with tips and facts. This countdown to Disney World includes 30 fun facts about Disney parks.

2. Tips For Disney World Vacation

When preparing for a trip to Walt Disney World, it’s important to come up with a plan or itinerary for the vacation. Fortunately, Disney offers resources to assist you in getting ready for this dream adventure! It’s easy to view vacation planning videos online that’s packed with tons of information to get everyone excited for the upcoming trip. You can also have someone take care of all this for you. Let an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, like OMC Blogger, Jeremie from Pure Magic Vacations help you plan your magical trip!

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Disney World – First Time Visitor TipsTips

3. Tips For Driving to Disney World

Those who plan to drive to Walt Disney World with small children should ensure that the vehicle is in good working order to avoid being one of the many vehicles that overheats or breaks down on the side of the road headed to the Magical Kingdom. Important basic items to inspect include:

  • Oil and filter
  • Tires, spare tire, supplies for changing tire
  • Windshield wipers (expect thunderstorms while traveling)
  • Radiator and hoses
  • Battery
  • Fluid levels.

Those who plan to fly to Disney World with reservations at a WDW Resort should carefully read the procedure related to check-in. Many resorts offer free services for delivering luggage directly to the resort room, but there is usually a three- to four-hour wait time before the bags may arrive. It is helpful to have a carry-on with essentials so that the fun can start upon arrival to the hotel.

Plan ahead to fight boredom while traveling. Sitting in a plane or a vehicle for hours can be quite difficult for small children and adults. When driving, plan for frequent stops in order to get out of the vehicle and stretch. Also when driving or flying bring a variety of fun activities to pass the time, such as:

  • Books and books on CD
  • Videos and movies
  • Music on CD, iPod, cellphone, iPad
  • Travel games, particularly ones that are favourites or new
  • Flash cards that are age-appropriate
  • Incentives for good behaviour while traveling

4. How to Spend Less Time Waiting to Get Into Disney World

Although many might wish that time would stand still so that the family may enjoy everything at all of Disney’s theme parks, reality dictates that much time can be spent standing in line. Planning a vacation during less crowded times of the year is ideal, but many must plan a vacation around school and work schedules.

Those who plan to park at Disney’s Magic Kingdom can expect to take a while to get into the park, even when traveling from a resort inside of WDW. The parking area is large and visitors must then board a ferry boat or monorail to get to the front gate at the Magic Kingdom. Bags must be checked before entry. It helps to pre-purchase tickets before arrival to the park to avoid waiting in yet another line.

Those who plan to utilize a shuttle bus or other complimentary transportation provided by the hotel or resort may find that the ride may take longer than expected. During peak times, guests may have to wait for the next shuttle to arrive.

5. How to Save Time Waiting and More Time Enjoying Disney World Attractions

Crowds and lines abound in Disney World, and it helps to have a clear plan for the day, with room for adjustments as needed. Children may be frightened by some activities at WDW. Sometimes cast members may be able to give some inside advice. For example, guests may find it helpful to see the Animal Kingdom parade from certain locations during the second pass.

Arriving before the gates open can help families to enjoy shorter wait times early in the day in addition to having the opportunity to enjoy the opening gate ceremony. Ride lines are often shorter during parades or the fireworks and often peak during early to mid afternoon. Single Rider lines offer shorter wait times as well.

Guests of the WDW resorts may take advantage of Extra Magic Hours in which only those resort guests may enjoy the rides during certain times. It is helpful to know the schedule for the Extra Magic Hours because the schedule rotates from park to park and from morning to evening, and some shows and rides may only be available during regular hours.


The other way to spend less time in line is to purchase the Disney Genie+ service. In addition to getting all of the great features that come with the complimentary Disney Genie service, the Disney Genie+ service will offer even more convenience and flexibility, for $15 plus tax (USD) per ticket per day.


As per the Disney World website “This new service, offered at more than 40 attractions and experiences throughout Walt Disney World theme parks, lets you select the next available arrival window for Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane experiences! You may make one selection at a time, starting at 7:00 AM on the day of your visit (experiences are subject to limited availability). If your theme park ticket includes the Park Hopper option, you can select Lightning Lane arrival windows across multiple theme parks.”

7. Rider Switch

Rider Switch can help families with children of different ages. If a ride has height restrictions, check with a Cast Member regarding how to utilize the rider switch program. This will enable one parent to stay with a child or children who will not be riding while the other parent rides with the other child or children. Then the adults switch, and the kids ride again with the other parent while avoiding waiting in the main line again. The Rider Switch program can be combined with FastPass+.

8. Forget The First-aid Kit

Packing for a vacation can be tricky. Obviously, it’s important to bring along anything you might need in case of an emergency, even when packing space is limited. At Walt Disney World, you don’t have to worry about many of the things you need to supply when vacationing elsewhere. Guest service stations throughout the park are happy to supply you with various first aid or hygienic needs. This includes Aspirin, bandages, tissues, hand sanitizer, and much more. So, leave the first-aid kit at home and simply concentrate on any prescription medications your family members need.

9. Tips For Visiting Magic Kingdom

Disney is a wonderful, magical place. It’s also super popular and often overcrowded, especially during the popular months. If you really want to make your trip one to remember, it pays to plan things out strategically. This is very true when it comes to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. You could spend an entire day at Magic Kingdom and still not do it all.

So, if you’re wanting to get the most from your trip, here are some strategic tips to help you along the way:

  • Skip some of the less popular attractions and shows:It’s just not possible to see everything in one go. You can skip the ones that aren’t as popular to you and your group.
  • Get up early: You need to wake early and get to the park as it is opening. Then you can check out the early morning attractions first, like Fantasyland.
  • More Attractions: After lunch, you can head for more attractions and if you plan your map order, you can take things in order so you’re not wasting time walking here and there, but instead, you’re getting the most time at attractions and shows.

With these Disney World first time visitors tips, you can plan your strategy for Disney’s Magic Kingdom, so you have the best chance of seeing and doing the most things during this visit.

10. Tips For Visiting Epcot

Epcot is a huge park and there is so much to see and do, it can be hard to fit it in one trip. If you can manage two days for seeing it all, then that is ideal. If you want to know how to visit Epcot in one day and get as much in as you can, here are some helpful tips.

  • Plan your path: You also want to research in advance to know what rides and attractions are available and which are the most popular. You can plan the ones you want to see the most, and then plan the order in which to see them so you can have time to get to most of them, or at least the most important ones on your list.
  • Go to World Showcase later in the day: It opens 2 hours after Future World opens. This helps you get to all the things you want to see and get as much into one day as possible. Choosing your order is important to getting more in.
  • Arrive before opening: The early bird gets the worm – and all the great attractions. It can pay off to arrive early, before the park actually opens.
  • Stay late: If you can stay at the park late in the evening, there will be more to see and experience at Epcot even after the sun goes down. Plan accordingly, eat well, and enjoy a long day at Epcot.
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Walt Disney World’s Monorail System.

11. My Disney Experience App

If you’re planning a Disney trip, one thing you’ll want to do is download the My Disney Experience app. This will help you make the most of your trip and take your family to see as many things as possible while on the trip.

Here are some ways you can use the My Disney Experience app to make your trip to Disney better:

  1. Use it to plan ahead and organize your trip before you go. You can use it to book your hotel, check up on parking hours, reserve dining, choose FastPass+ experiences and more.
  2. You can use the shortcuts in the app to help you pre-plan your family vacation by mapping out an idea of the places you want to go, things you want to see and do, and where you will want to eat. The app shows you wait times, popular and Spotlight attractions and more. You should always leave some wiggle room in your plan in case things change, but this allows you to create a solid game plan right from the app before you even go.
  3. It also lets you use your phone as a map. Once there, you can navigate the entire park from your phone. The app opens to the park map, so you can find whatever you need and the app can help you go to attractions in the right order so you’re not wasting time just walking back and forth to places.
  4. You can use it to pre-schedule your ride times with FastPasses, and you can use it to check on wait times for shows and attractions. It’s GPS-enabled so you can see everything in real time and there’s no need for a paper map anymore.
  5. The app helps you discover special events, too. Sometimes Disney has special theme days or events happening when you’re visiting that may not be on the regular schedule. The app will tell you about these special events, so you don’t miss out on anything.
  6. You can also find the professional photos that are taken at Disney events from the app. You can even purchase photos from your phone with the app.
  7. The app also has special games and activities for children. It can be a good way to keep them busy while waiting in lines.

You can get the app for yourself here in the iTunes store and here on Google Play.


Look at the weather reports to get an idea of the averages for the month you are going. In Orlando, the winter months are very varied. You can have one day that is pretty cold by many people’s standards and would require layers or a heavier jacket. On other days, it might seem like a summer day to some. Think about what you like to wear during those temperatures and bring that.

The best thing to do is to bring a variety of clothing for your Walt Disney World trip. Also think about the times you will be at the Disney parks. If you will be out after dark, then the temperature can drop significantly. Cold fronts come in quick and can change the weather by ten or twenty degrees in a single day.

One great idea is to bring a lot of layers on your Walt Disney World trip. You can even wear shorts under your pants or bring them so you can change. You might want to wear a short sleeve shirt, but then bring a jacket to wear over it. The parks have lockers that you can rent so, if you do not want to carry around the extra clothing, you can also store it there.

13. Don’t Expect To Try Everything

During a day visit to a typical theme park, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect to ride every ride and see every attraction. However, with everything Walt Disney World has to offer guests, this is no easy feat. You need to wake early and get to the park as it is opening. Then you can check out the early morning attractions first, like Fantasyland. Skip some of the less popular attractions and shows.

Even when you’re visiting for several days, keeping up the pace and trying everything can be exhausting. Just remember that you’re on vacation, so it’s best to relax and get to what you can comfortably. If you’re able to see everything you want to, that’s great. If not, there’s always next time.

14. How Not To Lose A Child At Disney

Unfortunately, one of the most frequent times that people may lose a child is upon entry into the park. Many people are awed by the sight of the theme park, and children can easily wander out of sight. Families with young children visiting WDW should have a clear plan about how to keep from losing a child at Disney World and should discuss that plan several times throughout the day.

It is very important that you have physical contact with your child in every circumstance. This is especially true for younger children. If you have an infant or extremely young child you have the advantage of a stroller. This will keep your child locked into one location where they cannot move without you being part of the moving process. Some parents use toddler leashes once the child has learned to walk. The problem with this is that they can come loose and lead to separation from your child.

Regardless of the Disney parks, it is imperative that you maintain physical and visual contact with your child at all times. Younger children should have their hands held, especially in situations where there are buses, vehicles, and other dangerous objects that could hurt the child. It requires that your child respects your authority and does not try to go off on their own journey when at Disney World.

If your child is also of age to use a telephone, you have the option of getting them a prepaid cell phone. This should only be used in emergency situations of separation. This provides your child with some degree of independence, while still making sure that you have contact should they get into an uncomfortable situation that they cannot handle. If they become physically separated from you, they have the option of calling you and choosing to meet you at a predetermined location at Disney.

It is important that your child knows basic information about themselves. You should include in this information, their parent’s cell phone numbers, home address, hotel they are staying in, and the complete name of both of their parents. If they cannot remember this information, they should always carry it on their person at all times. This is the best way to protect your child in unfamiliar surroundings at Walt Disney World.

These are just a few (of many) tips for Disney World first timers to keep in mind, before you spend time with Mickey, Minnie, and all their pals! After you get one Disney trip under your belt, the next visit will be even more magical! Before you know it, you’ll be a seasoned guest with enough experience to dole out advice of your own!

What are some of your favourite memories from your first Disney trip? Share below!

Lyne Proulx
Lyne Proulxhttps://ottawamommyclub.ca/
Lyne Proulx is a Certified WEBB Bodywork Pet Practitioner, Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. She loves all things Disney and is an avid teaholic and chocoholic. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa and Toronto. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the City of Ottawa Mayor's City Builder Award.

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  1. My son’s experience wan not to good, he still remembers and that was many years ago and he has not been back. We went to see Mickey not sure where it was (what room) but anyways we walk in and there is Mickey with his head off. My son was so upset.

  2. On my first Disney trip I asked my parents if we could to move to Orlando, so I’d be able to visit as often :). I still remember it as if it were yesterday and believe it or not I still have my souvenirs.

  3. It’s good to go with a plan because it’s overwhelming if you don’t know where you want to go or what you want to do

  4. I really want to take my daughter sometime in 2020..I never even considered being able to book a time for the rides!! Thats pretty amazing..and time saving!! I can actually plan our whole day using that as my tool!! And considering I probably wont get us on every ride, I can avoid average “boring” rides..lol if there is such a thing…but we can do swings anywhere..ya know? id rather take her on fun and exciting rides if we are only gonna do so many..and use our time for things we couldnt do here at home! and i also never would of thought to leave first aid home! thats usually the first thing I pack!! Anyway If I do pull this trip off Im sure you will hear from me at least once beforehand! LOL thanks for the tips 🙂


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