For the first time in forever, I went to Walt Disney World with someone who was visiting for the first time. She had one visit to another Disneyland Park under her belt, and otherwise she was green as the plants on Jungle Cruise.
Visiting the Parks I thought I knew like the back of my hand forced me to rethink how I approach each Disney day in a way I had not done so in a long time. And I have to be honest, at times, it was absolute torture. But overall, it was a bitter sweet feeing where the joys and pains of the day were often based around the same things.
So, here are the top three joys and pains of taking someone to Disney World for the first time as an experienced Parkgoer.
There is no Such Thing as Speed.
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For the veteran Parkgoer, it is understood–at least for the most part–that you walk with purpose from place to place. It is difficult for someone who has never set foot inside of Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom to get the sense relative immediacy that is needed to properly maneuver through the crowds of meandering people. You watch them get frustrated at other people photobombing aftery they take too long to set up the perfect shot, and you have to tell them over and over again to be quick about it out of survival. You fight the urge to throw them over your back so you can get to a ride or dining reservation at a decent pace.
At the same time, they make you stop and smell the roses. You are allowed to appreciate the scenery again in ways you haven’t let yourself do in a long while. Answering questions about the Park and identifying attractions, and landmarks becomes more important than the amount of rides you make in a day.
Parades and Fireworks are Important Again.
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Every first timer needs to see the Festival of Fantasy Parade and the Fireworks spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park. After using these events to take advantage of short lines elsewhere, you find yourself staking out your old spot in front of Cinderella Castle hours in advance again and somehow securing a table at Casey’s Corner before the Three O’Clock Parade.
On the one hand, you are thrown back into the stew of people. But on the other hand, you are forced to experience the beautiful old staples of every Disney day. And I have to admit, EPCOT’s Harmonious and Magic Kingdom’s Disney Enchantment never looked so good. But while some stapels returned to the top of the priority list, others were completely removed, which brings me to my last point.
“Must-Do”s Go Out the Window.
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You can try to create the perfect Walt Disney World Resort itinerary and heed all of the Disney World tips you can find. But when you are at Disney World with first timers, all of the normal to-do lists of your Disney Park day becomes irrelevant. You’re with someone who arrives on Main Street, U.S.A., with a completely blank slate.
This was the toughest truth to get used to because all I wanted to do was deliver the best Disney World Vacation possible. I set the Theme Park Pass order to align with whatever semblance of Extra Magic Hours was left for Disney Hotel Guests–Disney’s Animal Kingdom first, with fireworks on World Showcase that night care of the Park Hopper option, then all day at Magic Kingdom Park (she doesn’t like Star Wars or thrill rides, so I didn’t see a point of spending time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). I was trying to check off all of the boxes to get everything done, I even did something I said I would never do: I used Disney Genie Plus.
But she didn’t have those expectations, nor did she feel a need to do everything everywhere all at once. And that’s okay. The day has to be done at their speed, and when their standards are only to have a magical day in the Park with you, then sometimes all that is needed is a proper Castle picture, a cold Dole Whip, and quality fireworks view. After all, magic is truly in the eye of the beholder.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.