After many months of learning how everything works at Disney, and experiencing it with my own eyes, I have compiled a list of 10 Disney Travel Tips for Adult First-Timers I’ve learned along the way that I wish I’d known before taking my first Walt Disney World trip!
From the moment I saw my very first Disney movie, travelling to Walt Disney World instantly became a beautiful dream I couldn’t get out of my head. I wanted to vacation there so badly, in fact, that I’d watch the promotional travel VHS tapes on repeat as a child, and hope that I’d someday be amongst my favourite princesses and Disney characters! (Not to mention, those promotional VHS tapes had the best songs to sing along to!) Unfortunately, upon realizing how expensive it is as I grew older, I’d long given up on that dream until late last year, as my family finally decided to jump the boat and make a Disney trip this past January. At the prime adult age of twenty-three, I was embarking on my first Disney trip!
Saying that you’re going to Walt Disney World is one thing, but planning it? That’s another thing entirely! Meal plans, hotels, plane tickets, FastPass+, PhotoPass, Magic Bands, Disney Park tickets, special events, off-season or not, … There was so much to coordinate, purchase, and organize that I was initially struggling to keep up with it! These handful tips below will surely be helpful if you are travelling to Disney World for the 1st time as an adult!
10 Disney Travel Tips for Adult First-Timers
1. If you’re travelling from outside the United States, roaming isn’t always necessary!
I was skeptical at first concerning the reliability of Disney’s complimentary wifi service, but I’m pleased to say that the wifi network worked fantastically during my trip! It can be a little slow at times; however, I was successfully able to access all of my social media apps, answer texts, and even do FaceTime calls without any notable issues. Not once did I feel the need to turn on my roaming plan. Of course, it’s nice to have the option readily available if you need to turn it on for emergencies or calls! Otherwise, the resort and park wifi should cater to your needs!
2. Book your Disney dining up to 180 days in advance for up to 10 days.
For popular restaurants such as Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table, if you already have your hotel booked, it’s best to also book your dining reservations up to 180 days in advance of your trip for 10 travel days! Popular times (especially around dinner-time) can disappear quickly, and if you choose to procrastinate and book a week before your trip, there may no longer be any reservations available for those specific days, or for the times you were hoping to have. Sitting down and planning this months in advance will save you from quite the mental headache later!
3. If you have a resort reservation, book your FastPass+ entertainment or rides 60 days in advance!
FastPass+ serves the purpose of holding your place in line for you, so you can enjoy your day at the park without spending the entire day in line. To get the most out of your FastPass+, use it towards the more popular/newer rides with the longest wait times! Since it comes at no extra charge with your park admission, plan ahead of time which day you’ll be visiting which park. It’ll be easier to get the rides you want most before the times rapidly fill up.
4. Familiarize yourself with the park’s quick service options!
One of the struggles I encountered during my trip was trying to discover quick-service and mobile ordering options I’d be interested in while using the park maps. When you’re hot and hungry, attempting to figure out where everyone wants to eat for lunch can feel near impossible. A solution I discovered was to familiarize and decide the night before at the resort which quick-service we would like to frequent the next day.
5. Bring two pairs of comfortable shoes!
I made the mistake of wearing a lovely pair of flats for two days because it looked relatively nicer with my Star Wars and Marvel skirts, but I immediately regretted it after two, insanely busy non-stop days of walking around the parks. Bringing two pairs of comfortable shoes is ideal, particularly if something should happen to one pair, or you begin to get foot pain from your shoes. Packing an additional pair, in addition to testing out your shoe’s comfort before your Disney trip, is a must!
6. Ponchos for rainy days!
You never know when it might rain it Florida! Before our trip, I purchased a few ponchos from the dollar store that I could easily and readily put in my Disney backpack if the weather called for rain, instead of carrying around a raincoat or an umbrella all day long. Not only was it practical, but it saved so much packing space!
7. Reusable water bottles and mugs!
Bring your own reusable bottle at the park! There are water fountains aplenty! This will save you from constantly buying water bottles at the park on the daily. Plus, if you’re staying at any of the major Walt Disney World resorts, it’s worth purchasing a really cool refillable cup, called the Rapid Refill Mug. After playing a one-time affordable fee, you can refill your mug as many times as your heart desires during your resort stay at any refilling station for 7 days. Not only does it make a great dishwasher and microwave-safe souvenir, but you’re cutting down cost on food expenses! I wish I’d known about this awesome mug before my trip!
8. Mickey & Minnie Mouse Ears!
Almost everyone is proudly wearing their Mickey or Minnie Mouse ears around the parks! Be on the lookout for park exclusive ears during your visit if you’re interested in a specific design! They truly capture the Disney charm and make your photos a little more magical!
9. Use PhotoPass!
If the PhotoPass photographer lines aren’t too long, use them to your advantage! You can get a professionally photographed picture of you and your family in front of Walt Disney World’s most iconic landmarks, which will then be synced to your MagicBand. At the end of your trip, you can decide if you’d like to purchase Memory Maker, or a few individual pictures you loved the best. Especially if you’re visiting Disney for the first time, getting that professional, beautiful family picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle is worth it!
10. Indulge in everything Disney has to offer!
Whether you’re travelling off-peak or during Walt Disney World’s busiest seasons, be on the lookout for any special events happening! Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Epcot’s International Wine and Food Festival, and Mickey’s Not-So Scary Halloween Party are just a few of Disney’s many special events! For a more complete list of events, take a look at their park event calendar!