Tips for a Disney 'Newbie': Planning Tips for First Time Visitors - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
       LINKS
       ARTICLES
WDW Planning Articles
A Treat for the Senses
A Year at Walt Disney World
Arrival Day at Walt Disney World
Baby Steps
Budget Disney World Lodging
Budget Disney World Souvenirs
Budget Disney World Tickets
Budget Disney World Transportation
Budget Your Disney Trip
Counting Down to Disney (Part 1)
Counting Down to Disney (Part 2)
Disney + Disabilities = Magic!
Disney Dreaming
Disney Dreaming With Kids
Disney Tech Primer - Part 1
Disney World 101 Quiz - Part 1
Disney World 101 Quiz - Part 2
Dreaming of Disney World
Emergencies While at Walt Disney World
Enjoying the Peace at Disney
Finding Answers
Finding Relaxation at Walt Disney World
Five Tips for a Trouble Free Trip
Getting There is Half the Fun
Greener Walt Disney World
Helping Plan A First Trip to Disney
How to Catch a Deal at Disney
Last Minute Planning
Lessons Learned
Making the Most of Walt Disney World
Mickey Mouse as Motivation
Mickey Mouse's Masterpieces
My Disney Mistakes - Part 3
Packing for Winter Weather at Walt Disney World
Planning Makes the Magic Happen
Planning Your First Trip to a New Park
Planning Your Walt Disney World Vacation
Pregnant At The Mouse House
Pregnant at Walt Disney World
Preparing Your Child For a Walt Disney World Vacation
Pros and Cons of the Magic Your Way Premium Plan
Safe Disney Travels with Kids
Saving Money for Disney
Season Survival Guide
Taking a Toddler To Walt Disney World
Taking a Toddler To Walt Disney World
Taking Kids Out of School For a Disney Trip
Taking the Grandkids
Taking Toddlers to Walt Disney World
Taming the Beast
The Art of Packing
The Disney Rumor Round-Up
The FASTPASS System
The Kids Are In Charge
The Magic of Slowing Down
The More, The Mickey-er
The Never Land Club
The Reluctant Mouseketeer
There's an App For That - Part 1
Tips for a Disney 'Newbie'
Tips for Traveling
Toddlers to Teenagers
Using Technology to Plan Your Disney Trips
Walt Disney World for Veteran Visitors
Walt Disney World With Teens? Absolutely!
What - No Parks?
What Keeps Us Coming Back to Disney?

WDW Traveling Articles

WDW Lodging Articles

WDW Touring Articles

WDW Dining Articles

WDW Making Magic Articles

WDW General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum
Read Comments on This Article

Tips for a Disney 'Newbie': Planning Tips for First Time Visitors

Walt Disney World photo
by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 08-18-2011
  

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!


Filed in Articles > Walt Disney World > Planning  

You're a newcomer to Walt Disney World.


You’ve never been to a Disney park before, and, despite all the television commercials and word of mouth, you may still have no idea of what to really expect. But you have a trip to plan, and believe me, for a place like Walt Disney World, you need a plan! Just where do you begin?

We’ve been in the position of visiting Walt Disney World with complete newcomers, and the one thing that they just couldn’t get their heads around was how big the whole place is. It didn’t matter that we told them that "the World" covers an unbelievable 43 square miles – that’s a bigger area than some of the UK’s largest cities. It’s the one thing that our friends told us they just hadn’t appreciated; how big the place would be, and that’s one of the biggest issues people face when planning their first trip to Disney.

The first question you usually consider when planning any vacation is how long to take in your chosen location. With Walt Disney World, I always say you should allow a minimum of six days, with two days each for the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, while Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom deserve at least another day each. Of course, that’s the minimum, and you could spend so much longer enjoying all four parks. If you want to venture outside those four parks, and spend time at the water parks, Downtown Disney, or just enjoy some down time, then perhaps it’s worth planning even longer.



Epcot - Teppan Edo photo
Epcot - Teppan Edo

One of the chefs at work at Teppan Edo in Japan. - photo by chezp

It’s also worth thinking about the time of the year of your visit. We’ve had friends who’ve visited at some of the busiest possible times, and returned home complaining about the crowds and the wait times for the attractions. Needless to say, those weren’t exactly happy family holidays and they failed to see the charm of Disney. There’s no reason why first timers shouldn’t head to Disney at Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas, traditionally some of the more crowded times, but you just need to know in advance what to expect, and prepare for it, so you don’t get a nasty surprise!

Another key piece of advice is to keep in mind that there’s no way you can see and do everything. If you try to do that, you’ll end up having a miserable time with an exhausted family. Instead, you need to pick and choose your priorities, and that means planning. I always advise people to come up with just a few things they want to visit in each park, both attractions and restaurants. If you keep your list to just five “must-do” things, then you’ve got a realistic chance of doing those, and won’t come away disappointed. Do those, and everything else you do (and you will be able to do more), will seem like a bonus.

Although staying on Disney property is not a cheap option, and may not be in the budget for some people, if it’s your first visit, it will allow you to take some down time during each day, as you can easily head back to your resort to enjoy some time there. Stay outside of Disney, and getting back for a mid afternoon break may not be as simple.

Taking regular breaks is the key to a happy, and harmonious, family vacation, and trust me, as a first-timer, you’ll need it, as you may find yourself on sensory overload! Taking your time also allows you to appreciate the parks. There are so many places to just sit and watch the world go by, and appreciate the wonderful detail in the parks. Sometimes these can be the happiest times, and don’t under-estimate the power of just taking time out to “smell the roses.”

Plan your days carefully, making sure that you don’t miss out on some of Disney’s headline shows. In particular, it’s worth thinking about which night-time shows you want to see, as there are plenty to pick from. To me, no first-time visit would be complete without enjoying at least one: The Magic Kingdom's Wishes fireworks, or the Main Street Electrical Parade; Epcot's IllumiNations, or Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios. If you do choose to stay out late one night for one of these, then don’t plan an early start the next morning, as you may find yourself wanting to take your time getting going.

If you’re a newcomer, then the chances are you won’t know just how good the food is at Disney! As many Disney veterans know, it’s not standard theme park fare, with some superb restaurants available to choose from. Whether you want fine dining, or a meal with Disney characters, it’s vital to book in advance. There’s nothing worse than arriving for your vacation, and discovering that the restaurant you wanted to eat in is fully booked – and that certainly happens for the more popular places in any season, and seemingly everywhere at busier times of the year. It may seem alien to think about where you want to eat six months before your vacation, but it’s well worth doing.

One final thing to keep in mind is that there’s every chance that one trip just won’t be enough. Many people get bitten by the Disney bug on their first vacation, and you may find yourself planning your next trip, even before your first one is finished!


Epcot - IllumiNations photo
Epcot - IllumiNations

Illuminations, Reflections of Earth, Epcot's nightly show. - photo by chezp




About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Related Links:
Disney + Disabilities = Magic! - Enjoying Disney World with Disabilities last updated 11/07/2008
Saving Money for Disney - Tips and Tricks last updated 2/25/2011
Baby Steps - Six Sanity Savers For Baby's First Trip to Walt Disney World last updated 3/7/2011
Disney Dreaming - Book Excerpt from PassPorter's Walt Disney World last updated 1/16/2009
Walt Disney World for Veteran Visitors - Finding New Things To Do last updated 1/16/2009




Reader Comments:


View all comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 08-18-2011 - Article #720 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 

RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - 13,14,15,16,17,18
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Discussion forums about Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel provided by PassPorter Travel Press, the ultimate Disney travel guide and book series.


What do you get in disney mail?
by suzanne1972
31 Aug 2014 at 4:35am
Just being nosey! Lol I'm in the UK haven't booked through disney direct so I've never received disney mail. I was just wondering what it was....
(click title above to view replies)

Disney World on Independence day
by howdoyoudo
29 Aug 2014 at 6:09am
Next year, I am planning to be in the USA for my 30th birthday. I imagine I'll be there for about 3 weeks or so (I have friends in New York), but I...
(click title above to view replies)

Disney Mail Already
by Roxie2006
28 Aug 2014 at 5:26pm
I checked our mail and much to my surprise we received Disney Mail. This is the 1st time we ever received our documents this early. Our trip will...
(click title above to view replies)




Total Visits: 8629


PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.