15 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Visiting Disney World

Walt Disney World

Let's Recap!

1. Weather - prepare yourself for how hot FL can be!  Also, it rains most every day and the winters can be downright cold!

2. Crowds - 20 million people visit Disney every year.  Arriving to the parks just before opening can help you gain access to more rides with shorter lines.

3. Get in shape - Be prepared to walk a lot at Disney Parks.  Wear comfortable shoes, drink plenty of water and enjoy!

4. Cost - A trip to Disney World is NOT cheap!  I have found that my family spends roughly $200 per person, per day.  That includes everything, from air to tickets to hotel to food to souvenirs.  On the other hand, what you get for your money is a top-notch product.  Disney gives you great “bang for your buck”.

5. Packages - If you call Disney directly to book your trip, they will try to sell you a package, consisting of hotel, tickets, dining and more.  If you’re looking for convenience, consider a package.  But, be aware you might save money by taking an a la carte approach.  Do the math.

6. Tickets - Thinking you want to do all the theme parks, both waterparks, golf, etc., in a week-long trip?  Disney will gladly sell you a ticket for that.  Trust me though; you’ll be worn out by day 2.  Be honest with yourself.  Won’t you get more out of a little than by running your family ragged for a week?  Bonus tip: Take time to enjoy your Disney resort hotel and even other Disney resorts. You might want to read What you need to know before buying tickets to Walt Disney World.

7. Travel Agent - For all the reasons stated previously, consider using a Disney-certified travel agent like Mickey Travels to help you plan your trip.  In most cases, Disney pays them, not you.

8. How many days? - If you think you can see Disney World in 3 days, think again!  For your first trip, you should plan at least 5 days, and don’t plan on seeing it all.  Make priorities.  If you’ve been before, maybe years ago, plan to stay a week.  That will give you time for fun AND relaxation.

9. Dining - Make reservations for a few sit-down restaurants.  Menus are available on-line.  Your family and your feet will thank you.  There are dozens of good, well-themed restaurants in the parks and resorts.

10. Character Dining - A great way to see your favorite Disney characters is to do a character meal.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are offered, in several locations.  The characters will visit your table, take pictures, give autographs and hugs and play with you and your kids.  It’s great fun! Check out Where to find your favorite pals in restaurants at Walt Disney World Resort.

11. Have a plan - Download the My Disney Experience app to your phone or device and/or visit  Plan your park days; make FastPasses (ride and show reservations), dining reservations and more.  Don’t be that family that stands around looking at a park map-you’re wasting time!  *Bonus tip: Do NOT miss the nighttime fireworks show and parades.  These will likely be the highlight of your trip!

12. Height restrictions - How tall are your children?  Know before you go what they can ride and not ride.  Manage expectations.  Height restrictions are available on-line.  *Bonus tip: Take advantage of the rider-swap option, where adults and older children can ride their favorite thrill rides, while still caring for your young children.

13. Disney’s Photopass - Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole family could be in your vacation pictures?  But who’s going to actually take the pictures?  Disney will!  Take advantage of Disney’s Photopass service.  Photographers are stationed all over the parks and will take your pictures for free, including ride photos.  You can pre-purchase all your pictures or purchase any you want at home, after your trip.

14. Magic Kingdom and Epcot - Be aware, you will need two days each to fully experience the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  If you only plan one day for each, you will have to make some tough choices.  *Bonus tip: Yes, your kids will like Epcot.  From Frozen Ever After to Figment to the Disney characters, there’s plenty for the younger set to enjoy.

15. You might become addicted! - Little did I know on my first trip back in 1990, that I would become addicted to Walt Disney World.  Twenty-six years and 25 trips later (including Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line), I still get excited about every trip to the “Most Magical Place on Earth”!

Disney World Resort is a magical place and you'll love every minute of your trip there even more with a little planning and preparation.  We hope these tips will help you be ready for your trip of a lifetime!

By Jimmie Jones

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!