Disney World For Rookies: What To Know Before You Go

Mickey Mouse

6. Early Birds Meet the Mouse

There are few more exciting sensations than being at a Disney park when the gates open. After all, a longer day means more time to play. Another rule of thumb is to arrive at the parks as early as you can. Many resorts and surrounding hotels offer shuttles, buses, or the new Minnie Vans to escort guests to and from the parks. It is recommended that guests, especially first timers, get on as soon as possible.

You don’t have to meet the first shuttle, but there are benefits for early birds. Whether seeing the castle ceremony at The Magic Kingdom or the drum circle at Epcot, the opening of a Disney park is something every first timer should experience. Arriving early also means shorter wait times for attractions; this would be the ideal time to hit the more popular attractions such as Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, Star Tours, or Test Track. If a park opens at 9, be there at 8. You may be in need of some caffeination, but it is well worth it.

5. Fueling Up

Intermission Food Court
Photo credit Disney

Spending a day at any of the Disney parks takes a lot of physical energy. If you plan on spending the whole day, it is very important to be fed and stay hydrated. The latter is perhaps more important, but most easily remedied. Ice water is always free at any of the park snack bars. I recommend Gaston’s Tavern, the staff there are very friendly and the snacks and refreshments are normally very filling.

If you want to try to save a few bucks, you can always pack some protein bars, a sandwich, or a couple of snacks. Just remember that all bags go through security checks, so be sure to inform security or the cast member at the checkpoint. With the constant trekking through the parks and Orlando temperatures reaching over 90 degrees, it is essential to keep enough fuel in the tanks to charge on through.

4. Single Riding All the Way

Rockin Rollercoaster
Rockin Rollercoaster

If you are jonesing for the rides and find yourself without a Disney Fast Pass, a way to make the lines more endurable is to simply hop in the single riders line. Disney World, while unbelievably magical is still at its base element a theme park, therefore theme parks can have ridiculous lines. Fret not, Mouseketeers, this can be conquered.  Though the sign may read “Wait Time 30 Minutes,” the single rider’s line moves quickly, and normally results in excellent seating.

On my last trip to Epcot, I went alone, which meant I was always in the single rider lanes. The wait time for Test Track was 40 minutes, however, the single riders line was surprisingly brief. Long story short, I ended up only waiting 20 minutes to ride, as well as beating out the fast pass riders with a front seat to boot. Yes, you will have to wait on some of the larger attractions, but the single rider lines are often your best bet for a more manageable wait.

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