Visiting Disney World for the first time is an exciting prospect, but there are a few things you should bear in mind when planning your trip. Our simple guide will help you avoid the common errors that first-time visitors make, and give you the very best experience.
1) Arriving late to the parks
Disney World is often packed during the daytime, so first-timers should plan around that to avoid getting caught up in the worst of the crowds. Our advice is to wake up early and arrive at the parks during the first two hours of opening, when visitor levels are at their lowest. The last two hours of the day tend to be a little quieter, too, so you might like to head back to any favorite rides that you enjoyed during the day. Another tip is to take a break from the parks at midday, when the weather can get uncomfortably hot – just head to one of Disney’s water parks or relax by the pool in your vacation home.
Walt Disney World is busy all year round and without a plan in place prior to your trip, you could be left disappointed. However, if you make use of line-jumping services like Disney’s Advanced Dining reservations and the FastPass+, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to see everything on your wishlist. Advanced Dining reservations can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit, and for certain restaurants like the renowned ‘Be Our Guest’, we’d strongly recommend reserving as far in advance as possible. If there are certain rides or attractions you’d like to see, take a look at our FastPass+ guide which offers all the best advice and tips on how to ensure your place at the front of the queue.
3) …or over-planning
Every vacation requires a good amount of research and planning, especially if you’re travelling with younger children. However, don’t plan too much – part of the magic of visiting Disney is finding quirky pitstops and unexpected surprises. Also, if you make a really detailed plan and set unrealistic expectations, you could be left disappointed. Allow time to explore different areas of the parks and absorb the magic at your own pace.
4) Purchasing the wrong tickets
When it comes to Disney tickets, there are loads of different packages to consider. And guess what? Many first-timers get it wrong. Tickets range from single-day, single-park passes to 21-day options with access to all the parks. Whether you’d prefer only a short visit or a long stay, there’s sure to be a ticket for you. Contact our concierge team today for the best deals and advice on which Disney tickets will suit you and your fellow travelers.
5) Visiting during major holidays
Taking a trip to Disney World during the holidays requires a bit more preparation. Many first-timers aren’t aware just how busy the parks will be until they arrive. Some holiday seasons are calmer than others, but it goes without saying – if you visit during holiday season, you should expect there to be long lines at all of the best rides. You can get a good idea for how busy the main Disney parks will be during your visit by checking out our awesome Disney crowd calendar.
6) Not preparing for Florida’s weather
Even though the ‘Sunshine State’ is known for its great year-round weather, it pays to plan for every eventuality. In summer, you should be ready for plenty of humidity, and the occasional rain shower. Storm season rolls around in early fall, bringing with it cooler temperatures and plenty of wet weather – bring a poncho and a sweater and always be ready for a swift change in weather. This guide gives you more info on the best time of year to visit Florida.
7) Skipping the sunscreen
We all love a sunny day but in Florida the sunshine is much stronger than you might be used to back home. Whether it’s cloudy or rainy when you visit Orlando, it’s always a good idea to slap on plenty of sunscreen, especially if you’re splashing about in the pool or are planning to check out one of the waterparks. Be safe and don’t assume that you won’t get burnt!
8) Missing out on one of the parks
There’s more to Walt Disney World than the Magic Kingdom! There are 4 theme parks and 2 water parks in total and each park offers something different – from the Magic Kingdom’s cutesy meet ‘n’ greets to the African-themed safari at Animal Kingdom. Even if you don’t spend a huge amount of time in each park, we’d recommend seeing them all at least once, if only to experience every ounce of the Disney magic!
9) Skipping live entertainment
Lots of first timers plan to see all the main attractions and the best rides, but often miss out on some of the live entertainment. With daily shows and parades, plus nightly firework displays, these spectacular live events shouldn’t be missed. Many regular visitors say they’re one of the best experiences during the entire trip.
10) Trying to do everything
Disney World is massive, and the sheer number of rides, live shows, restaurants and bars on offer doesn’t lend itself to seeing everything in one go. We’d recommend making a list of all your must-see attractions, rides and restaurants at the start of your vacation. That way, you’ll see everything you want to and won’t waste time trying to cram in every single attraction. Take a break from time to time, too, as packing all the fun and excitement in can be exhausting, especially for little ones. If you’re aiming to see a good selection of all the attractions and can afford to do so, consider extending your trip – even then, you might want to consider booking a second trip sometime soon to cover everything you missed first time around.
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