Planning your first trip to Walt Disney World can be exciting but overwhelming at the same time. With so much to do at the resort, how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of your vacation? Here are some of our best tips for Walt Disney World first timers!
Use a travel agent to help plan your dream Walt Disney World vacation. Your travel agent will work with you to find the best value and to ensure your vacation will be the vacation of your dreams. Best of all, the services of many travel agents are FREE to you! Here at Main St. Insider, we recommend using Park World Travel, our preferred travel partner, to plan your Walt Disney World vacation.
When choosing a hotel for your Disney vacation, you will have the option of the hotels on Walt Disney World property or hotels off property. I recommend choosing a hotel on property. If you stay at a Disney resort, your will also receive several very beneficial amenities. Disney’s Magical Express bus service provide transportation between the airport and your resort at no additional charge. In addition, Disney has buses which will take you to anywhere on Disney property you would want to go. If you plan on staying at Disney for the duration of your trip, this eliminates the need for a rental car. A stay at a Disney resort also includes another great benefit, Extra Magic Hours!
With Extra Magic Hours, guests staying on property have the option of spending additional time at a certain Disney park. For morning Extra Magic Hours, Disney resort guests will be allowed in a certain theme park generally one hour prior to the parks opening. For evening Extra Magic Hours, Disney resort guests will have the opportunity to stay in the park for a couple hours after park closing. Not only do you get extra time in the parks with Extra Magic Hours, but you will also experience lower crowd levels, making for shorter wait times on your favorite attractions! You will need a valid park ticket and a resort I.D. in order to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours.
If you’re staying on property, you will also want to be sure to schedule a wake up call every day. Everything at Disney is magical, including the wake up calls. Once you pick up the phone and say “Hello,” (it’s voice activated) you will be greeted by Disney characters.
When you purchase Disney park tickets, you will have the option of adding the park hopper and water parks option. Park hopper allows you to visit multiple parks each day. Animal Kingdom generally closes much earlier than the other parks, so having a park hopper allows you to continue the fun at another park. The park hopper option is also great if you want to take a day to go back to multiple parks and experience your favorite attractions again.
The water parks and more option adds great value to your park tickets. This option includes visits to the water parks, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park, EPSN’s Wide World Of Sports, Fantasia Gardens & Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses, and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. If you purchase a 1 day park ticket with the water parks and more option, you will get 2 visits to the water parks and more options. If you purchase a 2 or more day ticket, you will get the same number of additional visits to the water parks, etc. as the number of park admissions. For example, if you purchase a 4 day park ticket with the water parks and more option, you can spend 4 days in the Disney theme parks and then spend another 4 days at the water parks, DisneyQuest, etc. So, you could actually get 8 days out of your 4 day park ticket! Now, you don’t have to use the water parks and more options on separate days. You can visit and theme park and a water parks and more option on the same day if you want. However, you are limited to one round on miniature golf per day, and it must start before 4 p.m.
If you have a smart phone, you will want to get the My Disney Experience app before you head to the parks. This app includes park maps, menu, and much more helpful information. You can also use the app to view wait times and FastPass return times before you walk to another attraction. The My Disney Experience app will also tell you where you can find your favorite Disney characters in the parks. You can also make dining reservations with the app; However, I recommend making dining reservations 180 prior to your trip rather than waiting until you are in the parks.
Last, but most certainly not least, you need to know about FastPasses before you visit Walt Disney World. Disney’s FastPass allows you to experience popular attractions with little to no wait. This service is FREE to all guests with a valid park ticket. Just take you park ticket to a FastPass Distribution machine and insert your ticket. You will receive a FastPass which lists a certain time frame in which you can return to experience the attraction without the long wait. You will need to bring a park ticket for each member of your party in order to receive FastPasses for each member of your party. For more detailed information on FastPasses, check out our FastPass 101 article.
Your first trip to Walt Disney World is sure to be an experience you will remember for the rest of your life! If you’ve been before, let us know some of your best tips for first timers in the comments below!