Tuesday’s Top Ten First Timer Tips

So you have done it….taken the plunge into the world of Disney travelers. One thing is for sure, you cannot visit Walt Disney World and not have done a little research. Even the most seasoned Disney travelers plan their trips before they go. Not only is it important to know what to pack, park hours, ride restrictions, parade times and more, but you also need to know a few tips and advice that us seasoned Disney travelers have for you. 
10. Wear comfortable shoes- This is a must do…you will understand when you get there but Disney World is HUGE!!! Things are not close to one another and you will be walking. Many people, including myself, use Crocs. In fact, so many people use them that there are actually Disney Crocs. They come in a variety of colors and sizes. The great thing is, you can get them wet and dirty without any worry. Disney used to offer their Crocs in adult sizes….why oh why did they stop?
Crocs Cayman Disney Kids - Yellow/Sea Blue 2
9.  Bring a stroller- For those that are traveling with small children, bring your own stroller. The cost to rent a stroller will run you about $15 per day for a single and $31 per day for a double.  In addition, for those traveling with children that you may think are too old for a stroller, you may want to think again. We recently visited Disney with our 3 children ages 2, 5, & 13. We had the 2 year old and 5 year old both in a stroller. All we did was go to Wal-Mart and purchase an umbrella stroller for $15 for our 5 year old (we already own the Maclaren for our 2 year old). If you are looking for a higher end umbrella stroller that is just amazing….check out the Maclaren. I read about it on a Disney forum, we purchased one last year and just love it!!! 

                                                                 Cosco Umbrella Stroller, Giraffe
                                                      Cosco Umbrella Stroller, Giraffe

8. Do not rent a car- I will never forget the very first trip I planned to Walt Disney World on my own(without my parents). I was so well planned…but one thing I could not shake was this obsession to have a rental car. Long story, there was a problem with the reservation and in short we were not able to rent the car. This forced me to utilize Disney Transportation throughout the duration of our trip. Not only is Disney Transportation easy to use but folks it is FREE!!! You would not pass up free dining, or free park tickets so why pass up free Disney Transportation. Sit back relax and enjoy the ride as Disney takes over the driving for you….nothing says a true vacation like being carted around. :0) One thing to keep in mind is you must be staying on Disney property in order to utilize Magical Express.

7. Fastpass- Disney truly does think of everything so that you do not need to do a thing. One of the many great features that Disney invented for their parks is Fastpass. Not sure what it is? It is a time saver and folks time is money. Fastpass is a “reservation” type system you can utilize to allow for shorter wait times. The great news is, that Fastpass is available to everyone that enters the park, and it is free to use!! Check out this page for detailed information about how to use Disney’s Fastpass.

6. Disney’s Photopass- Disney has done it again…made it possible for you to sit back relax and smile!! Photopass is a wonderful system that allows your entire family to be in your photos.  All you need to do is look for any Disney Photographer throughout the parks. Ask the photographer for a Photopass Card. Each card has an ID number assigned to it..the card is to be used throughout your stay. Each time you see one of the Disney Photographers, simply present your card and let them do the rest. Once you get home you can view your photos online and make purchases. Click here for more information.

Quick Tip: As soon as you get your card take a picture of the ID number on the back. This way if you misplace the card while on your trip, you are still able to retrieve the photos online using the ID number.

7. Baby Swap(Rider Switch)- Need I say it again…just another reason to love Disney!! This is a feature that allows a group to ride some of the thrill rides while others that are too young, scared, or too short to ride stay off with another portion of the group. Once the first group is done then the second group can enjoy the attraction with a very limited wait time. Please click here for more information about Baby Swap.

6. Join a FREE Disney discussion forum- I cannot describe the amount of information I have learned throughout the years from some of my favorite Disney forums. There are hundereds of thousands of people out there just like me that LOVE to talk Disney…they will give you factual information all for FREE!! All you need to do it sign up and start asking questions…you will get responses right away. My personal favorite forum is Intercot.com .

5. Disney Dining Plan-It is true, Disney World vacations can be seen as an all-inclusive vacation plan if you chose to add the Disney Dining Plan(DDP) to your trip. This plan is available as an add on if you are staying on Walt Disney World property and if you have purchased a Magic Your Way Vacation Package. The DDP is a wonderful way for your family to enjoy delectable meals that are all prepaid in advance.  There is something to be said for going to a nice sit-down meal every day and allowing your family free-reign of the menu. Long gone are the talks with little Johnny and Suzie about sharing a meal to cut costs. My kids enjoy trying new things and not having to consult me on price and selection. In addition, it is great to know that the kids can try some things that they otherwise would not have the chance to. On our most recent trip we ate at the castle for dinner, my daughter ordered the duck and LOVED it!!! If you see food as part of the attraction, the DDP may be worth checking into. Visit my recent article about the dining plan.

4.  Disney Vacation Planning Book-If you are a new Walt Disney World traveler a vacation planning book is very necessary. I have always used the Birnbaum Guides because it is a fun read and very simple to navigate. In addition, you can very easily carry it along with you to the parks because it is not too clunky. My children LOVE when I get them the newest edition of the Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World For Kids 2011. I would highly recommend getting a copy of this book to help enhance your planning…the books are very affordable and a new edition comes out each year.


                    Birnbaum's Walt Disney World 2011  

          Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World 2011                                            

                   Birnbaum's Walt Disney World For Kids 2011
  Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World For Kids 2011                                

3.  Arrive Early- Arriving early to the parks is one of the best tips I feel I can give you. You will see and do more between park opening and 11:00 AM then you will all day at the parks. If you arrive 10 minutes prior to park opening you will even be in for a little treat…..each park has a special rope drop ceremony in the morning. Know the park hours and plan to be there as they open.

2. Slow down and enjoy the magic- This is the single most important tip I can give you. I have traveled to Walt Disney World over 20 times and I still see and do new things on every single trip I take. In order to fully enjoy the Walt Disney inspired details that are surrounding the entire property, you have to stop and smell the roses. If you see something that catches your fancy…stop and enjoy it. Do not be afraid to be spontaneous….some of the best things happen when we are not planned.

1. The last tip I have will be from other Disney Guru’s. What are some tips you would like to share?

See ya real soon!