Tips for Planning your First Disney World Vacation
Hey there first time Walt Disney World visitor! I’m so excited that you’re planning your first visit, but you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t worry, I’ve complied my best tips for planning your Disney Vacation right here!
There are so many amazing things to see and do on Disney property, and you’ll only have a finite amount of time, so having a plan can be incredibly helpful. With 25 on property resorts and a number of off property hotels to choose from, where to stay can be a big decision. There are also 4 different parks to visit as well as two water parks and Disney Springs, an upscale shopping and dining district. Dining (my favorite part of every Disney vacation) can be pre-paid with one of the three tiers of the Disney Dining Plan, or you can pay for food as you go.
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There are a lot of decisions to make! I’ll go over some basic info here, and share links to some more in depth blog posts I’ve written. Also feel free to reach out to me. As a Travel Agent specializing and certified in Disney Destinations, my services are free to you and I’m pretty well versed in all the options from where to stay to where to meet your favorite Disney character. My job is to find you the best deal for your budget and expectations.
So let’s start with some Walt Disney World basics!
First, let’s talk about places to stay. If you’re looking to save some money, staying off property could be a great option. If you’re looking for a great vacation package, some extra magical perks and beautifully themed hotels, then staying on property would be a great option. There are four tiers of on-site resorts: Value, Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villas. I break down the hotel tiers in this blog article. With these great options, you’re bound to find something to fit your budget. Fun fact: Disney has a campground where you can pitch a tent or park a pop-up camper or RV. It’s a great, affordable option!
Next let’s talk about the most delicious part of your Disney Vacation. Food is one of my favorite things at Walt Disney World. From Dole Whips (pineapple soft serve) to buffet dinners with some of your favorite Disney characters, the food, atmosphere and experiences are amazing. Most restaurants accept the Disney Dining Plan which has three tiers: Disney Quick Service Dining Plan, Disney Dining Plan and Disney Deluxe Dining Plan. I break down the Dining Plans here. The great thing about these plans is that you can pay for them up front or as part of your vacation payment plan and not worry about paying for meals and snacks out of pocket while on vacation. But paying out of pocket is certainly an option, and if you aren’t a big eater then the dining plan wouldn’t fit your needs.
Next up: The parks. The reason you’re going to Disney World. There are 4 parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Magic Kingdom is the park you think of first. It has Cinderella’s castle, Main St. USA, the Monorail, The Haunted Mansion ride, Pirates of the Caribbean ride, The Jungle cruise ride and lots of other amazing experience. You can meet your favorite princess, eat with Winnie the Pooh and Friends at The Crystal Palace and even share a joke on the Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor.
Animal Kingdom has lots of great animal experiences, a Lion King show set up like an indoor parade, and the new Pandora- World of Avatar. Take a safari, meet some of your favorite characters from The Jungle Book and go on a thrilling adventure on Expedition Everest.
Hollywood Studios is home to the new Toy Story Land, the incredibly updated Star Wars section, as well as the iconic Chinese Theater, which will soon be home to a new Mickey Mouse themed ride. Check out the Muppet’s 3D show, scream your lungs out on The Tower of Terror and meet Sorcerer Mickey.
Epcot has two main sections of the park: Future World and The World Showcase. The front entrance drops you into Future World, where you can visit Spaceship Earth and Soarin’ Around the World as well as the Seas with Nemo and Friends. The World Showcase allows you to visit 11 countries and experience their culture.
There are also two water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. With lazy river rides as well as thrilling water slides, you’ll find something at each of these parks for everyone in your family. You’ll even find some of your favorite classic Disney characters out for a visit here!
Finally, let’s talk park tickets. For park tickets you have three options. A base ticket will get you into one park each day. A Park Hopper ticket will allow you to enter as many parks as you like each day. A Park Hopper Plus ticket has the same perks as a regular Park Hopper plus admittance to the Disney water parks. All options are available to purchase as one day tickets or multi day tickets up to 10 days. Included with the purchase of your park tickets is FastPass+. FastPass+ reservations get you quicker access to popular attractions, helping you avoid those one hour, two hour or even longer wait times. You can make 3 FastPass+ selections per day a few months before your trip, then once you’re in the parks, you’ll be able to make more.