Congratulations! You’ve never been to Disney World, and you’re finally going! You’ve decided that you and your family can’t wait any longer to visit the most magical vacation destination in the world. If you’re like most families, you’ve waited for the perfect time to visit the parks. You really considered how old your children should be to appreciate Disney the most. You’ve saved and saved, and now you’re ready to start the fun of planning your trip.
But with so much to see, experience and know when it comes to Disney World, how do you k what’s important? To get you started, here are seven things you should know if you’re a first-timer in the parks.
7. Know that Disney World is massive.
It’s NOT a small world after all. The Walt Disney World Resort boasts four theme parks, two water parks, 30 resort hotels, a shopping and entertainment district called Disney Springs, four golf courses and two mini-golf courses. The total amount of land owned by Disney World is over 30,000 acres, and the Disney World Resort takes up 7,000 of those acres.
It’s roughly the size of the city of San Francisco, California, or twice the size of the island of Manhattan. Simply stated: you will need a map. Or two. Don’t neglect the map; if you do, you will waste precious time in the parks looking for attractions or seeking directions from a Cast Member.
6. Know that a trip to Disney can be pricey.
A vacation to Walt Disney World is the most wonderful getaway I can imagine. But it certainly isn’t the least expensive venue for a family trip. Before you decide on a definitive date to take your trip, be sure you have decided a few things that will affect your costs in different ways—decide whether to stay on Disney property or outside property, decide how many days you want to spend in the parks, and decide which character dining experiences you and your family would like to have.
Now, you’ll need to know the following. First, the least expensive per-night cost at a Disney Resort hotel will be around $350, and that’s at a value resort (during peak season). Second, know that adult tickets start at around $350 each, based on a 4-day ticket, which means that for a family of four, tickets will cost around $1,400 with tax, depending on the age of your children. Last, you need to know that character dining experiences cost, on average, around $36-$40 per adult. Gratuity of 18% is added to parties of 6 or more.
5. Know that your children might be “adults” at Disney.
Although you are thrilled to be taking your 10 year-old “little girl” on her first trip to the parks, know that Disney World looks at her as an adult. That’s because though Disney is for the kid in all of us, Guests age 10 and up are considered adults when it comes to ticket prices and cost per person of dining experiences. The good news is that if you have very young children (ages 2 and under), you will not need to purchase a ticket for them.