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10 Things Every First Time Guest to Walt Disney World Should Know

There is so much magic to experience from your first trip to Walt Disney World. It really is an experience you and your little ones will never forget. Making sure you fill each day with is packed with joy and and new experiences can be daunting for new visitors. And planning everything from where to stay and what to experience can be a headache.  Here’s our advice on everything from meal planning, hotel reservations, to where to park your stroller!

Use a Travel Agent who Specializes in Disney
If you are looking to experience the full magic of Disney, then we 100% recommend booking your stay with an experienced Travel Agent. Many Travel Agents even specialize in booking Disney vacations and know the ends-and-outs of the parks, plus have all the extra knowledge you won’t gain on your own by just reading a single blog post! To view our list of qualified  Disney Travel Agents, view our Directory here.

Download the My Disney Experience App
At this point, all of us have a smart phone capable of downloading apps, so checkout the Disney Experience App beforehand. It’ll be useful once you are at the park as well. If you are staying at a Disney resort hotel (and we recommend you do), you can use the app as a resort room key.  The app will help you find cool locations in the park such as the character meet-and-greet. Check out the park hours, as well as your FastPass+ and any dining you might have reserved.

Reserve Your FastPass+ Early in Your Stay
There are many added perks to staying in a Disney hotel, and one of those amazing perks is the ability to reserve your FastPass+ before others have the ability to.  You can make your reservations for FastPass+ a whopping 60 days prior to your check-in! That’s a huge benefit to make sure your Disney days aren’t spent waiting in line!

Plan Your Meals
This part will be easy if you are working with a quality Disney Travel Agent, as they will be able to help you on your dinner reservations prior to your trip.  A Travel Agent can usually make your reservations as early as 180 out from your vacation date.  So if you are set on experiencing a character meal, then California Grill or Be Our Guest would be a great place to go.  Both of these venues fill up very fast, so it’s important to talk to your Travel Agent about making your reservations early.

Use a Disney Resort Hotel for Accommodations
The resorts allow you to keep your little ones and you in the Disney spirit even when you are not at a park.  A stay at a Disney Hotel really amps up the excitement and magic of your journey. The resorts are in close proximity to the parks but also offer complimentary shuttles for their guests.  Other benefits include early FastPass+ access, and extra hours spend enjoying the park. Your Travel Agent will be able to explain to you the different resort categories, that are designed to work with different budgets.

Ask Your Travel Agent for What Disney Doesn’t Allow
Security is tighter than previous generations for entering the park.  Besides the obvious (no fireworks, drones, or guns), there is a few items on the list you might not be aware of.  Some obvious prohibited items include selfie-sticks and very large strollers.

Check Out the Extra Magic Hours
If you choose accommodations at a Disney Resort, you’ll receive the added value of receiving Extra Magic Hours. This is essentially access to the parks outside of the normal operation hours. The Extra Magic Hours vary, generally starting 1-hour prior to the park opening or extending 2-hours after closing.

Schedule Downtime
It’s easy to fill every hour of the day with an event or ride, but you don’t want to jam pack your days. You can get burn-out very easy. After one-day of cramming too much into the schedule, it’s not uncommon for travelers to skip the park all-together the next day. Avoid the burnout by scheduling in “Do Nothing” time.

Plan Extra Commute Time
Walt Disney World is HUGE!  Seriously, there are almost 40 square miles of park to explore. It’s an impossible distance even for the most enthusiastic of visitors.   Plan extra time to get from each attraction, because occasionally you are going to want to sit on a bench and rest.  Getting from Point A to Point B can be daunting even when just trying to get through the parking garage or make a dinner reservation.  A skilled Disney Travel Agent will help you plan these details out so you don’t find yourself running out of time to get to your destination.
Utilize the PhotoPass PhotographersIn addition to making an adorable keepsake photo for you and your family to remember your Disney Vacation, these skilled photographers will even use your own phone camera to take the photo! As long as it’s a fairly easy to use device, they will work with you to make sure you have the memory you dreamed of!