So you have decided to take the plunge and bring your family to Walt Disney World for the first time – let me be the first to congratulate you on the best decision you will EVER make – the memories and fun times had will be some of your family’s favorites for years to come! Ok – now that the decision is made, let me give you some advice from us Disney Addicts – we are experts in what to do and what NOT to do when it comes to Disney Vacations – so read on for our top tips for WDW First Timers:
Do Your Research: There are a ton of places to learn about all that Disney World has to offer – and the reason is that there is SO MUCH to know about WDW – with tons of Resort Hotels, 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water Parks, a HUGE entertainment/shopping district – there’s a lot to learn, and I recommend you get on it, now! Get yourself a quality Guidebook, and be sure to follow Chip & Co and Disney Addicts online to stay up to date on all the news and changes happening at Walt Disney World
Pack Smart: Start your packing lists early – then you’ll know what you might need to order or buy well in advance of your trip (like – bathing suits when it’s not the season for them – if you make a list a month before Disney, you’ll have ample time to order something online). And make sure you bring along plenty of the essentials – strong sunscreen, hats for everyone, reusable water bottles, comfortable sneakers – the list goes on (more on Disney must pack essentials ). And if you’re flying, be sure to research what your airline allows/charges for luggage ahead of time so you know what type of bags to use and what fees you can expect
Stay On Property: There are tons of reasons why staying on property at one of Disney’s onsite Resort Hotels is the best – Extra Magic Hours, Disney’s Magical Express, and plenty more perks – but – Here’s the truth – staying on property may cost you more than staying outside of the “World” (the Disney World, that is!), but at the end of the day – it is SO MUCH EASIER to get around and less confusing for everyone to just stay on site. It makes it easier to enjoy everything, and it means you’re getting that Disney Magic and service 24/7, too!
Make ADR’s: ADR stands for Advance Dining Reservation, and it is basically a requirement if you want to do any Table service meals during your trip. It’s ESPECIALLY vital for the character meals, as those are extremely popular, and you would have little to no chance of walking up to the restaurant and getting a table on the spot. ADR’s can be made 180 days in advance of your WDW vacation, and like I said – they are a MUST for any sit down meals you want to have during your vacation. Read more about planning them out here
Pro Tip: ADR’s book 180 days out, so make sure you track that and Other Important Disney Dates on your calendar so you can stay on top of things!
Know Your Limits: There is a LOT to do and see at WDW – like – so much that you could be there a whole week and not even see half of it – even if you rush. So – my advice to you is – DON’T RUSH. Do not get so caught up in your planning and research that you think you need to plan out every minute and try to cram in as many rides/attractions/characters as you can – because if you do that, you’ll just wind up tired & cranky and at the end of the day you STILL won’t have seen or done it all. So be choosy – select a couple of key “must-do’s” for you and your family, and let the rest sort of happen as it happens – enjoy the atmosphere and ambiance, and be spontaneous – it is a vacation after all!
At the end of the day, you will have an amazing time at Walt Disney World no matter what – but utilizing these tips will definitely help ensure that your first trip there is just the first of many that your family will get to enjoy together!