PlanningThe ParksTips

10 Essential Tips For First Time Trips to Disney

When heading to Walt Disney World for a first vacation, it can be a little overwhelming.  There is a lot to think about and plan.  You might even feel like it becomes a part-time job.  We thought it would be helpful to provide some top tips for that first trip.

These tips are ones that will help you feel more prepared as well as be more successful when you arrive at Walt Disney World for the first time.  As always, make sure you check out How to Disney for more tips and tricks.

Walt Disney World Map
Credit: Disney
Know the Walt Disney World Property

Before you head down to Walt Disney World for the first time, make sure you take time to figure out what is all at Walt Disney World.  Look at a map so you can see where the four main Disney Parks are located.  Find your Walt Disney World Resort on the map.  Be aware of the bigger picture.

Once you have a good grasp on the big picture, take time to look at each Disney Park.  We highly recommend looking at a map of each Park you plan to visit.  Doing this will allow you to see the different lands such as Pandora in Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

By becoming familiar with the overall layout of Walt Disney World early, you will be less stressed when you arrive and are trying to navigate.

credit Disney
My Disney Experience

Once you have booked your Walt Disney World vacation package, download the My Disney Experience app.  This is the official planning app of Walt Disney World.  This app has become essential to a successful Walt Disney World vacation.

Take some time to navigate what the app has to offer.  It is through this app that you will be able to see wait times, mobile orders, find characters and so much more.  Waiting until you arrive at Walt Disney World to start navigating will be stressful.

Use our posts at How to Disney to learn more about the features that My Disney Experience offers.

credit: amazon
Wear the Right Shoes

We all want to look cute in our Disney pictures, but don’t sacrifice your feet in the process.  You will walk a lot each and every day of your Walt Disney World vacation.  In order to do this successfully, you will want to make sure you have the right pair of shoes to do so.

Tennis shoes are the top option.  Not just any tennis shoes though it should be ones that you have worn and know you shouldn’t have problems with during your vacation.

Your feet will be happy if you take this step!

Make a Plan

Even though you might not feel 100% confident about how to make a plan for your days in the Disney Parks, we do recommend having one.  Look at the Disney Parks you are going to be in each day and choose a handful of experiences that you want to make sure you do.

Knowing your top to-do list will give you focus as you enter the Park.  Having a plan of what rides, shows, and experiences you want to get in will be huge in feeling less stressed and more successful.

mobile order
Credit: Disney
Mobile Order

Mobile ordering is a great feature that is found in the My Disney Experience app.  It is through this feature that Guests are able to order their food at Disney quick service locations.  Choose a dining location, choose a time, and then order your food.

Once your window has opened, you can then select “Prepare My Order” and then Disney Cast Members will begin making and preparing the order.  This is a fantastic way to avoid long lines as well as order food in a less stressful way as you can do it anywhere.


This might be one of the hardest things to do during a Walt Disney World vacation but it is so important.  Schedule time to relax.  This might be at your Walt Disney World Resort, or it might be at a meal.  No matter what, we highly recommend taking time to slow down at some point during your vacation.

If you are traveling during the hotter, summer months, it is so important to take these breaks.  It gets so extremely hot that your body needs time to cool down.  You can do a whole break day or just take breaks throughout the day.  Whatever works for you, make sure you plan in those rest breaks.

Disney Genie
Credit: Disney
Add Some Magic

Walt Disney World offers a variety of ways you can add magic to your Disney vacation.  You can choose to add Genie+ or Individual Lighting Lanes as ways to avoid waiting in lines.  There are amazing tours that you can choose from or you could do dessert parties.

There are so many ways you can add some additional magic to your trip.  Think about if there is something special you want to experience and plan ahead.

Caribbean Beach Resort
Credit: Disney
Enjoy Your Resort

The Walt Disney World Resorts are a part of the magic.  Don’t forget to take some time during your vacation to enjoy them.  Walk around to enjoy the theming, explore the pools or dining, and take advantage of the great activities.

No matter what Walt Disney World Resort you chose to stay at during your Disney vacation, make sure you schedule some time to enjoy all it has to offer.


Know the Perks

Be aware that if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, there are special perks you get.  The first one you want to know about and take advantage of is an early entry.  This allows Guests of Walt Disney World Resorts to enter the Park thirty minutes early.

If you are staying at a deluxe Resort, you are able to take enjoy extending evening hours at either EPCOT or Magic Kingdom on select evenings.  A fantastic way to enjoy the Parks without a lot of people.

There are some great perks of being a Guest at a Walt Disney World Resort.  Take advantage of them.

Magic Kingdom Castle
Credit: Jennifer Retzlaff

Enjoy the Moment

This is another tricky one, but it is the most important.  Even though we spend a lot of time helping you plan, the key to a successful Disney trip is to just enjoy the moment.  Rides will break down, food will be disappointing, it will rain.  You can’t control any of this.  What you can control is enjoying all the magical moments that are happening right around you.

Don’t feel like you have to rush to complete your plan when the magic happens right before you each day.

If you are heading to Walt Disney World for your first vacation, we hope that these 10 essential tips will help you feel more prepared and ready for a magical time.

Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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