Planning your first time at Disney World can be confusing. Guests may not even be aware of how much planning needs to be done. There are lots of things most first-timers don’t know. Below are a few tips that could help you make the most of your first time at Disney World.
Disney World is Expansive
Unlike every other Disney resort in the world, Walt Disney World parks are very spaced out. The two closest are a 20-minute walk from one another. The whole property spans 43 square miles.
Traveling from park to park, or from your resort to a park, can take time. Be prepared to walk a lot and plan more time for travel than you think you will need.
Consider travel time when looking at options for purchasing tickets. Park Hoppers are currently not available, but you may want to consider more than one day at a particular park if you really want to see everything it has to offer.
There are Perks to Staying at a Disney Resort
Disney offers well-known perks that you may be familiar with upon booking your room. These perks include extra Magic Hours, which are extended park hours exclusively for hotel guests. Early Fastpass reservations is another one.
Although these perks are temporarily paused due to new practices at the parks, other lesser known perks are not. These include discounted solid or specially designed Magic Bands, charging privileges, and complimentary merchandise delivery to your hotel.
As of this article’s publishing, Early Theme Park entry is replacing Extra Magic Hours beginning October 1, 2021. It will be available 30 minutes before each theme park opens for every Disney resort guest and other select hotel guests. Additionally, guests of Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort hotels will be able to enjoy extended evening hours on select nights in select theme parks. This offering will begin in “early October with specific dates and parks to be shared at a later time.”
The complimentary transportation in Disney World also extends to airport transportation in the form of Disney’s Magical Express. Unfortunately, this perk will be ending December 31, 2021. No announcement has been made as to what, if anything, will replace Disney’s Magical Express.
You Can Save a Ton With Good Neighbor Hotels
There is another economical hotel option that makes a ton of sense in terms of value. Good Neighbor hotels are not Disney hotels, but they are still near Disney World property. They meet Disney’s high standards of quality and service, and they include many of the same conveniences as Disney hotels.
They often cost less than the value resorts and offer an experience more closely related to the moderate resorts. If it’s your first time at Disney World, this can be a really great option. Some of these hotels also share the perks of Disney hotels such as Early Theme Park Entry and FastPass+ reservations (though the latter are temporarily paused due to the pandemic).
It’s Important to Plan
Because of Walt Disney World’s size and the vastness of its offerings, you must take time to plan your visit thoroughly. Research is key to getting more out of your trip. Get to know as much as you can about the different hotels and the parks.
Study reviews for dining and read the menus on the Walt Disney World website. Look over all of the park maps. You can do this by downloading the My Disney Experience app. It provides real time information including wait times for attractions.
By using the interactive maps, you can plan time-saving routes and plot your days using attraction wait times and food locations as markers.
You’ll Want More Time
No matter what, on your first time at Disney World you are likely to want more time. The standard visit is one week. The optimal time is 10 days, but you can easily do two weeks or even longer.
Don’t cut your time down any more than you have to. If it comes down to budget, it’s worth spending less on lodging to have more time overall. You will need multiple days to get a full experience at some of the parks, and you will also need rest days.