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Castle At Dusk

Top 10 Things Every Disney Rookie Needs To Know

Disney World is a magical vacation destination with myriad options of entertainment, lodging, dining and overall fun. We’ve pulled together a list of few things that rookies might not know that can make or break your Disney experience.

10. You Won’t Get Everything On Your Disney ‘To Do’ List Done


Disney is HUGE and even the most seasoned Disney expert hasn’t done everything there is to do. Pace yourself and realize there’s no way to squeeze everything you want to do in one trip, unless your trip is 365 days long. Prioritize what experiences you wish to have and take your time. Disney is best when savored, not rushed.

9. Where Are All The Disney Characters?

You’ve seen the commercials where Mickey walks up behind a child, taps them on the shoulder and is rewarded with a hug. As heartwarming as that is, I have yet to have that experience at Disney. As a rule Disney characters are found at the beginning of a long line of children with their parents. They’re also flanked by a photographer and a couple of Cast Members who help with crowd control. While these character experiences are great, we recommend scheduling a few character meals where you can sit, enjoy delicious food while your favorite characters make the rounds in the restaurant visiting guests. So, character visits with no line! Genius! Check out: Top 10 Character Dining Experiences At Disney World

8. Lace Up Your Walking Shoes!

The average Disney visitor walks about 5-7 miles a day. Make sure you pack comfortable shoes, multiple pairs of socks and also bring along some powder to help keep your feet dry. Blisters are sometimes unavoidable, so throw a few bandaids in the bag you take into the parks.

7. Be the Early Bird

If you’re anything like me, vacation means you can sleep in (unless you have kids of course). If you get to the parks when the gates open, you’ll enjoy short or sometimes no lines to your favorite rides. You’ll get to enjoy more rides in the first few hours at the park than you could the rest of the day. Getting to Disney parks late morning or afternoon means you’re going to wait in line, a LOT. If you can, get an early start to your day and then take a break back at your hotel/resort by the pool for the afternoon. Then you can go back into your park of choice for the evening.

6. Disney Expenses

Get out your cash and cards, you’ll definitely be needing them! Everything from bottled water to a plush Mickey Mouse toy cost more inside the parks. Prices aren’t quite as much as you’d pay in the movie theater at the concession stand, $6 for a medium soda and the like, but eating lunch in the park and at the resorts will be more expensive than you’re used to in the real world. That being said, there are certain things you’ll not want to cut corners on. Character meals, a soft toy for each of your kids, etc… but be careful about sticking to your budget. Saving up throughout the year for your Disney visit will help you afford those special things. Check out these articles:

– Insider Tips – Don’t Spend Your Money On These Things At Disney World

– 10 Tips For Saving Money On Your Disney Vacation

5. Staying At A Disney Resort

While you might save a few bucks staying off-property in an Orlando area hotel, it is arguably worth the extra expense to stay at a Disney Resort. A few benefits Disney Resort guests enjoy are the Disney Dining Plan, Extra Magic Hours (extended park hours for Disney Resort guests only), proximity to the parks, and most importantly, being able to indulge in the Disney atmosphere and service at your resort. The staff at Disney is some of the finest, most professional and helpful you’ll find anywhere. For more info on benefits of staying on property at a Disney Resort, check out: 10 Sensational Benefits to Staying On Property At Disney.

4. Don’t Wear Yourself Out

Most park visitors feel pressured to try to pack in so many things during their trip that then end up returning home exhausted. Dragging a child through the parks all day skipping nap times and down time will tax parent and child alike. Pace yourself and sit down to rest every once and awhile. Or better yet, take a siesta during the hottest part of the Florida days, especially during spring and summer months, and hang out at your resort for a few hours. You’ll enjoy Disney all the more if you’re rested. Allowing your kids to maintain their nap schedule from home will help them to enjoy the experience all-the-more as well. Check out: 10 Tips for Relaxing at Disney

3. Understand Disney’s Transportation System

If you’re flying to Disney and not driving, the Disney Transportation System is your ticket to getting everywhere you want to go. Busses, boats and monorails are all a part of the system that delivers guests to the different destinations. All Resorts offer bus service to every Disney destination and the more expensive or “deluxe” resorts offer monorail and boat access to the parks. When using Disney transportation, especially bus transportation, factor in an half hour each way. You’ll spend significant time waiting for your bus to arrive as well as travel time. Disney transportation is free to park guests. Watch for signs explaining where to wait for boat, monorail and bus service and where each is headed. Sometimes, certain destinations will require you to visit the Transportation and Ticket Center, Disney’s Transportation hub, especially when transferring to different monorail loops. Take a few moments and acquaint yourself with the transportation options available to you from your resort so that you don’t miss dinner appointments or fireworks displays because you were confused about how to get there. Cast Members at your resort and transportation areas are always happy to direct you.

2. Visit Other Disney Resorts

Disney Resorts are as well-themed and exciting as the parks in many ways. Shopping, activities, restaurants and character dining are a few of the unique experiences you’ll enjoy when you go from resort to resort. An added benefit – if you’re a little tired one evening and don’t want to run the gauntlet of visitors at a park, visit a Disney resort instead. Many have quick service dining and bar options where reservations are not required. If you plan ahead, make a reservation for many of the exquisite restaurant experiences available. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort is an awesome option for animal lovers to visit. Visit the Kidani Village and get up-close to wild African animals in an enormous savannah ringed by guest rooms.

1. Staying Off-site

If you’re bedding down off Disney property, you’ll probably save a few bucks on lodging and can re-enter the park at will. One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll have to pay for parking each day upon entering the park unless you have an annual pass. Once on-site at Disney, you can make use of the Disney Transportation system.

Disney World is an amazing vacation destination with innumerable attractions. To learn all the ins-and-outs of the Disney World Resort could take a lifetime of visits. Don’t worry, we’re here to help with tips, tricks and recommendations that will help you get the most out of your Disney vacation.

Related Articles:

– Magic Kingdom 101 – Everything You Need To Know About The Busiest Park At Disney

– 10 Tips for a Fabulous Disney Vacation

– 10 Things You Must Do Before Heading to Disney, Part 1

About Becky

Becky is a full time wife, mother and graphic designer. She loves all-things Disney and loves sharing her advice and experiences on DisneyFanatic.com.