Tips for 1st timers

Discussion in 'Disney World Tips' started by disneydreamingdebby, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    This is buried in my PTR, but since I thought it would help others I wanted to post it here also. Please offer any additional advice that you have. :thumbsup2

    My neighbor is headed to Disney in a week. She asked me for a must-do list. I told my friend laughing, "She has no idea that I will be providing her with a dissertation!"

    So, what are my tips for first timers? (Or someone who hasn't been there for 25 years?)

    You can't/ won't be able to do it all in one trip - so relax, enjoy and don't even try!

    General -
    *Make dining reservations
    *Do Early EMH and rope drop!!
    *Take breaks - especially if you have young kids. It DOES NOT take too long to return to your hotel (I can only speak for Disney properties) and it is worth it!
    *Swim at the pool weather permitting - young children want to and you can't do it all at Disney in one trip anyway!
    *Take snacks to the parks and water sprayers (if it's hot). They are great when you are standing in lines.
    *People's inclination is to go right; go left. (Of course, Disney people know this, so many you shoud really go right?? )
    *Use Fast Passes
    *Create a plan for each park (A list of rides in the order you plan to do them.) You don't have to always follow it, but it helps you decide what to do next, so you aren't standing around staring at the map.
    *I have never waited longer than the posted time. Usually, the wait is much shorter.
    *Week in advance resource for times of shows, etc.:
    *You can get REAL coffee at Poly - if you are coffee drinkers - get it at the Kona Coffee Bar -
    *If your kids are into characters, book character breakfasts for around 10:45. You can do the park and ride many rides, have a late breakfast/ early lunch.
    *If you want to watch parades, make sure to get a spot 30 to 45 minutes early.

    Poly -
    *Try Tonga Toast for breakfast (Capt Cook's has it for counter service). One serving is enough for two.
    *Have a Dole Whip - Poly has a self-serve machine in Capt. Cook's. Aloha Isle in MK has them also.
    *You can watch Wishes from the beach (Then, you can avoid the mass exodus from the parks.) Check to see where the music is piped in. Also, you can watch the Electric Water Pageant from the beach
    *Depending on room location, might be quicker/ easier to walk to TTC to catch Epcot monorail. Also, you can catch buses to resorts from TTC. (You can't catch direct bus from Poly to another hotel.)
    *Riding the boat is fun if you aren't in a hurry.
    *Park hop from the EMH park to a different park - not the other way around.
    *Check times guides as you enter the park and add show times into your touring plan.

    Magic Kingdom -
    *If you are going at a busy time, make an early reservation at Crystal Palace for breakfast. Then, you can be on Main St. virtually alone. If that isn't of interest, you can make a late breakfast ressie and take a break in AC.
    I love them all except Stitch's Great Escape...avoid with little ones.
    *Use Fast Pass

    Counter- I like Pecos Bill; DH enjoys Cosmic Rays (Also, they have an animatronic to entertain kids)
    Table - Plaza is a cute burger place; enjoyed meal there. Cinderella's Royal Table is for the experience; ate lunch there - food okay- too much $$$.

    Animal Kingdom:
    *I read reports about Dinosaur and It's Tough to Be a Bug being frightening for kids. I giggled - not my fearless six year olds! Yes, I found my kids had fears. (However, they did not fear Expedition Everest or Tower of Terror at DHS)
    *Flights of Wonder is often overlooked - make time for it!
    *Safari is reported to be best seen in the morning or later in the afternoon. For a less bumpy ride, sit toward front.
    * If you plan on spending one day, decide what show is more important The Festival of the Lion or Finding Nemo: The Musical. Otherwise, see one each day.
    *Use Fast Pass

    Counter - Flame Tree
    Table - Enjoyed Tusker House breakfast

    Hollywood Studios:
    *Go to Toy Story Mania first. If the line is less than 30 min, ride it, and get a fast pass as soon as you get off. Otherwise, wait in line for a fast pass.
    *Decide on importance of shows: Lights, Action, Motor; Beauty and the Beast; Indiana Jones; American Idol- Probably can't fit them all in your day (especially with the other (mini) shows: Voyage of the Little Mermaid; Playhouse Disney Live; Jedi Training)
    *If you want to see Fantasmic go to second show if one is available. Arrive at theater at least one hour early - two hours is more the norm these days.

    Counter: spots on Sunset Blvd (the street to RNR and TOT)
    Table: We plan on trying Sci-Fi - atmosphere is super cool - haven't been yet. People report mixed reviews; burgers are supposed to be safe. Hollywood and Vine was okay - not exciting.

    *In World Showcase, find the Epcot Kid Spots for the kids to make masks.
    *Do Kim Possible
    *Drink a Gray Goose or Grand Marnier Slushie in France (if you drink).
    *Get Fast Pass for Soarin early - they run out (or return time is hours and hours)
    *Illuminations- advice from ROBO on Disboards is invaluable:
    *Pick a pearl in Japan...haven't done this yet, but I am very excited to have a cool piece of jewelry to remember the trip.

    Counter: so many choices in World Showcase (I enjoyed France; DH enjoyed England. Plan to try others each visit.)

    Downtown Disney: (Bus rides always seemed long--only time I noticed and was bothered by bus service.)
    *Lego place is cool
    *Cute shops (soap, Christmas, Giant World of Disney)
    Counter Service: Earl of Sandwich - YUM!

    Obvious reminders just in case
    Wear comfortable shoes - never new ones.
    Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen

    Meals we recommend:
    *Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare (GF)
    *Breakfast at Chef Mickey's (Contemporary)
    *Dinner at Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
    *Dinner O'Hana (Poly)

    Books I recommend:
    Unofficial Guide to WDW

    A few top websites/ forum: and
  2. noahdove

    noahdove DIS Veteran

    Sep 2, 2007
    I think you need to find a spot 3/4 hour before the parade and for Wishes...these are a must for me..we sit on the train station platform...great view....when leaving MK at night, go to the right of Main St. and walk thru the will save yourself from the crowd on the street:) Must check out where and when the characters will be....cinnamon roll from the Main St. Bakery, yummy..
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  4. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    Thank you. I forgot about parade advice! Haven't had the cinnamon roll- I'll add it on my to do next list. :woohoo:
  5. Lindsaygirl27

    Lindsaygirl27 Mouseketeer

    Apr 9, 2009
    Don't forget to make sure you/and the family wear comfortable shoes..

    I would not suggest breaking in new sneakers/walking shoes while in Disney.

    Also, I know alot of people LOVE Crocks and although the are great I would like to also recommend Clark's Bostonian's. They are just wonderful great support and comfort.. They have both men's and womens.. But here's a link to theh ones that worked great last July in Disney for eight days!!!
  6. msminnieears

    msminnieears Mouseketeer

    Jul 31, 2009
    The only thing I would disagree with is the EMH parks. I try to avoid these parks. Sleep a little later and be in a park at rope drop. That is VERY,VERY important.
  7. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    I think the early EMHs depend on your family. We are early risers. Also, in an hour, we can ride EE 3X and the safari without any waiting. At MK, we can do the mountains.

    I do like the idea of a disclosure for people who aren't early risers.

    Also, I will need to add about shoes. (I just take some things for granted!;))
  8. LovesTimone

    LovesTimone DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2009
    Sunscreen is a must- no matter what the weather. put it on before you leave the room in the morning. Its much easier to get it on your kids and DH before they get caught up in the magic.

    Shoes athletic- what every your preference - but they need to be broken in frist,I like Nike just my preference - I go with the no flip flops in the park rule, they are not safe and they tire out your legs and feet faster- no support

    Lockers - we always get one, I have a bag with extra stuff that we might need, everything from extra batteries, med's, band aids, extra contacts and solutions, poncho's (Florida weather you never know), possibly a over shirt depending on the weather, ect. If you rent one and park hop you can use the receipt to get another in the next park.

    Down time - take a break go back to the resort and relax, swim or nap

    The mouse with little kids - they are going to get over whelmed, over stimulated and more than a little tired. So take a break, this is the best suggestion I can give.

    ADR's are a must - do character meals even if you don't have kids, it brings out the kid in you. Eat dessert - your on vacation splurge.

    If you plan in advance you will have a smoother vacation

    Parks - we each pick a favorite ride, then map it out before we get into that park so we know where we are going.
  9. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    Great additions! Thanks.
  10. spiroff.natasha

    spiroff.natasha Mouseketeer

    Mar 10, 2010
    This thread is awesome:thumbsup2

    Although my mom and I are Disney veterans we are bringing along a first-timer on our trip in May! It's great to read over this list and be reminded of things that I forgot when making my own :)

  11. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    I am glad you are enjoying it. I love that people are adding... some aspects of Disney seem to be common sense to me, but I forget that newbies might not research enough or realize little things like shoes and sunscreen. :)
  12. Pig Pen

    Pig Pen To all who have come to this happy place...welcome

    Nov 4, 2001
    We avoid the early EMH park as we never know how energetic we are going to feel in the mornings.

    I wear GOOD flip flops as opposed to sneakers (Teva, Clarks, etc).

    To avoid the bag search lines I bring NOTHING to the parks other than what fits in a pocket: my ticket, room key, DVC member card, a bit of cash, and my cell phone. If I think it's going to rain, I bring a disposible poncho and a mini umbrella. Disney's first aid stations have bandaids, aspirin, etc., for free.

    Ride lines are generally shorter during parades and fireworks.

  13. evilqueenmindy

    evilqueenmindy DIS Veteran

    Feb 14, 2010
    Remember if you have tiny children the hotel pool trumps theme park EVERY SINGLE TIME. Just prepare yourself. It's not you, its not Mickey, it's not the Magic Kingdom's fault, its just how it is.
  14. evilqueenmindy

    evilqueenmindy DIS Veteran

    Feb 14, 2010
    oh also, no matter how well you plan, how much thought you put in to touring plans, reservations and schedules, you are NOT going to see it all, just relax and remember you are ON VACATION.
  15. disneydreamingdebby

    disneydreamingdebby DVC Member

    Jul 19, 2009
    Oh. My. Gosh. SO TRUE! :lmao:This was shocking to me for our first trip. Our daughters, who swim at home nearly every day of the summer, kept asking, can we go to the pool now.

    Your two tips were ones I emphasized to her through email. I need to go back and put all the great ideas on the original post.

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