PlanningThe ParksTips

Top 6 Tips Most Disney First Timers Don’t Know

When planning a first trip to Walt Disney World, it can feel incredibly overwhelming. Determining where to stay, which dining reservations to make, and how to tour the Parks can be a lot to think about.

As first-timers are planning their first trip to Walt Disney World, there are some common tips that most aren’t aware of ahead of time. Our goal is to share this information with you before your trip. We hope you will be better prepared for a magical journey to Walt Disney World by doing so.


Having a Plan is Key

When heading to Walt Disney World, you must have an overall plan. You don’t want to show up at Walt Disney World and hope to wing it. This isn’t going to be a successful plan. Before heading down to Walt Disney World, make sure you take time to generate an overall strategy for your days on vacation.

Start by making sure that you have booked your Park Pass Reservations. You need a valid Theme Park ticket and a Park Pass Reservation. These are made through the website. Guests pick one of the four Disney Parks to visit each day.

After you know which Parks you will visit throughout your vacation, consider your priorities. You will want to make a must-do list with those that are traveling. Have everyone think about one or two must-do experiences for each day. What rides, shows, snacks, and other experiences do you want to make sure you do each day? Having this list made ahead of time will allow you to navigate the Parks more successfully.

An overall plan is essential for a successful day at Walt Disney World.

Credit: Disney

Learn the Language

What surprises first-timers is that Walt Disney World has a language all its own. It can be frustrating when you arrive at the magic only to realize that you don’t know what people are saying.

We have a whole post about essential words you should be aware of HERE. Take time to learn these phrases and keywords before you go. Knowing what mobile order is, what rope dropping refers to, and if you can take part in extended evening hours is essential to know before you arrive.

Please don’t show up at Walt Disney World without learning a little about their language. Doing so will make you feel more successful and less overwhelmed when you arrive.

fab five at Walt Disney World
fab five at Walt Disney World

Disney is REALLY Big

Everyone is usually aware that Walt Disney World is big, but most first-timers don’t realize exactly how big Walt Disney World is. The size of San Fransico, Walt Disney World is a city all on its own.

Because of how big it is, Guests need to process that getting around will take time. Even on Disney property, coming and going from the Disney Parks and Disney Resorts will take some time. You will also want to be aware that the Parks are big. You should be mindful of this as you make your plans each day. Think about making plans so you aren’t constantly crisscrossing around the Park.

Understanding Walt Disney World’s size will help you feel more prepared for your trip.

Credit: Disney

Rider Swap 

You are in luck if you are traveling with little ones but still want to experience some of the thrills. Walt Disney World has a rider swap system to allow those older and taller members to ride while the little ones visit other experiences.

To use this, check in with the Cast Member at any ride with a height requirement. They will then use your My Disney Experience to issue you a rider switch pass. One group heads into the ride while the others hang out. Once the first group has experienced the ride, the second group can use Lightning Lane. This prevents both groups from having to wait in the standby line.

A bonus of this is that you can often take one or two people with you on the second ride. This means that sometimes people can ride twice. Some traveling to Walt Disney World might not be aware of this option. Disney offers this excellent feature for those traveling with little ones.

Pin Trading

Many first-timers aren’t aware that pin trading is a big deal at Walt Disney World. You can bring pins into the Disney Parks or to different Disney Resorts and trade them with other Guests or Cast Members.

Get started by getting a lanyard and pin set before heading down. This is a great way to chat with Cast Members and makes for a fun activity during your vacation.My Disney Experience App

Use the My Disney Experience App

You might think you can disconnect from your phone while at Walt Disney World, but this isn’t the case. Because of how essential Disney’s official app: My Disney Experience, is to a vacation, you will be on your phone more than you anticipate.

This app is where you will find mobile ordering, wait times, bathrooms, maps, and so much more. Since the app is so important, you won’t want to find yourself with a low battery. Bring those extra portable chargers when heading into the Parks. This will keep you connected throughout your vacation.

These are the six tips that most first-timers aren’t aware of at Walt Disney World. Make sure you know them, so you are 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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