6 Essential Disney World Tips for First Timers & Planning Guide
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These are 6 essential Disney World tips for first timers.
If you’ve never been to Disney World before, then your first time at Disney World can be a little daunting. There are so many aspects to planning a Disney World vacation that it can be easy to get lost in the details before you even visit! That is why we put together this handy list of Disney World tips for first timers! It has everything you need to plan your first time at Disney World and the tips we’ve picked up along the way.
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Disney World Tips for First Timers
SELECT A DATE FOR YOUR FIRST TIME AT DISNEY WORLD EARLY
The first essential Disney World tips for first timers is to select the dates you want to visit early. It’s essential to narrow down your dates early so you can plan other aspects such as promotions, FastPasses, and dining reservations. Some FastPasses and character dining options open up as early as 60-180 days before your visit and become completely booked shortly after. Ticket prices also go up the closer you get to your date. Disney World has wonderful events for the holidays like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween too so keep those in mind!
Disney World Tip for First Timers: Book early!
Booking early will also give you time to find the best airfare deals if you are traveling by air. Frontier has notoriously low airfare to Orlando and lets kids fly free with a paying adult and their Discount Den membership. Learn more and get other money-saving tips here: How to Find Inexpensive Airfare for Your Family!
CHOOSE YOUR HOTEL WISELY
The second of the essential Disney World tips for first timers is to choose your Disney World hotel wisely. There are two lodging options for your first time at Disney World: stay on-site at a Disney World Resort hotel or off property at a hotel not owned by Disney World. Each has its pros and cons so it really just depends on your preference.
By staying on-site, you’ll be fully immersed in the joy of Disney World and can eat, sleep, and breathe pixie dust around the clock. You’ll also get Disney World perks like:
- Extra magic hours [early admission to the park]
- A complimentary MagicBand
- Free transportation to the parks
- Extended reservation windows [for example, you can get your FastPasses 60 days in advance instead of the standard 30]
- Occasional promotions like “extra” extra magic hours
Disney World Tip for First Timers: Live the magic!
These hotels are often twice the rate of outside hotels – sometimes more. But staying on-site for your first time at Disney World is probably the most “magical” option.
If the sticker shock is just too much, there are many quality hotels around Disney World that are just as good. Some of the perks of staying off resort include:
- Family-friendly amenities like kitchens, separate bedrooms, and more
- Complimentary transportation to all the area theme parks
- Good Neighbor hotels often offer extra magic hours and character dining options
Disney World Tip for First Timers: Hotels in Orlando near Disney World
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites-Waterpark during our first time at Disney and it was wonderful! We got a king room with bunk beds that easily fit our family of five. They had great breakfast options [with kids eat free] and complimentary transportation to Disney World.
SET YOUR BUDGET AND START SAVING
Setting a proper budget for your first time at Disney World is the third of the essential Disney World tips for first timers. Having a budget in place is paramount as the costs add up quickly. From admission tickets to food to lodging, Disney World can be expensive. As soon as you’ve decided when to go, plan out your budget and start saving up. It’s always recommended that you bring more funds than you think you will need [hello, cushion funds] to cover unexpected expenses.
Disney World Tip for First Timers: Disney World on a Budget
If budget is of concern for your first time at Disney [trust me, we understand!], here is a list of money-saving tips for Disney World on a Budget.
DETERMINE HOW MANY PARK DAYS YOU’LL HAVE
Just because it is your first time at Disney World doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your days in Orlando at the park. Your individual ticket price drops with the more days worth of tickets you purchase. So technically, the longer you stay the cheaper it is per day. However, with the crowds and the heat, it can often be overwhelming – not to mention expensive. Find your happy place in terms of the number of days and plan accordingly. This is one of our top Disney World tips for first timers.
Disney World Tip for First Timers: Enjoy the rest of Orlando
Orlando is a beautiful city filled with tons of non-Disney World things to do. Round out your trip by exploring the rest of the city! Here is a list of 23 things to do in Orlando besides theme parks.
MAKE YOUR DINING AND FASTPASS RESERVATIONS
Disney World is a very popular destination and the good stuff goes fast! As soon as you’ve booked your tickets, start making reservations for yourself and your family. Dining reservations are available 180 days in advance. FastPasses can be reserved 30 days in advance if you are staying in a non-Disney World hotel. However, if you book a Disney World Resort hotel, that time window doubles and you can book up to 60 days before your trip.
Disney World Tip for First Timers: Don’t delay!
Take advantage of those early windows to make your reservations! Popular rides and restaurants fill up incredibly early so take advantage of the ability to book before your trip.
DOWNLOAD THE MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE APP
We LOVE the My Disney Experience app! It’s so helpful and has all you need to know about the park during your visit. You can view ride wait time, view a schedule of events at the parks, order food online, view photos taken by cast members, and so much more. It even has all your FastPass information which you can change on the fly while you’re in the park.
Disney World Tip for First Timers: Play Disney Parks app
Cut down on the boredom of waiting in line! Download the Play Disney Parks app and enjoy special Disney trivia, gather digital collectibles, listen to specially curated playlists, and play games based on the Disney World park rides.
Hopefully, you found at least one of these essential Disney World tips for first timers helpful and feel prepared for your first time at Disney World!
Please leave any questions or comments below!