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Disney Planning Tips For First Time Visitors

Are you planning your very first Disney World or Disneyland vacation?  How exciting!  In this article, the bloggers of DisFanChat* share tips that we give our friends and families when planning their first visits to Disney World, Disneyland, or other Disney Parks & Resorts. 

*For more information on DisFanChat go here. 

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I will never forget my first  Disney World vacation with my family.  We decided to go and two weeks later we were there!  Since I am an über planner, I had researched every waking hour from the time we decided to leave until we arrived.  My planning addiction is one of the top 5 reasons I became a Disney Fanatic!

Seeking Information From Those Who Know

After six visits to Disney World and one visit to Disneyland, I’ve learned a few things.  There is one lesson I have learned both in Disney planning and in life: There is wisdom in numbers!

Disney World Magic Kingdom Welcome Show introduction by man wearing striped pin suit and hat

It is based on that wisdom, that I offer to you the first of what I hope will be many more Disney Planning Tips from the bloggers of DisFanChat

In this first article, we share the some of our favorite tips that we give to friends and family who are visiting Disney World or Disneyland for the first time. We hope you find the following advice helpful. 

Magic Kingdom Parade Man on Stilts amongst large crowd of people

Tip #1: Familiarize Yourself With the Parks

Tip #1 comes from Rebecca of My SoCal Style. This tip is really important for a first time visitor to Disney parks. Rebecca says,

“I think one of the best tips I share with friends and family is to familiarize yourself with what’s there. Take a little time to learn the names of some rides and shows. You’d be surprised how many people go in completely blind, planning to wing it. We did this my first trip and spent half the day trying to figure out what to do.”

Disney theme parks aren’t like other theme parks.  It is imperative that you do a little homework before visiting. 

Vintage Disneyland Park Map

Tip #2: Choose Your Dates Wisely

You may not have much control over when you visit Disney parks, but it is important to be familiar with events occurring during your visit.  Our next tip from Kassandra of The MouSeekers applies to all Disney parks as well as Disneyland.

The MouSeekers advises,

“…before you buy tickets or book hotel rooms, make sure your dates don’t align with another event with either the city of Anaheim or the convention center.

There are some events that may raise hotel prices or raise the crowd levels at Disneyland. Just something to look out for when you are choosing a date.”

For Anaheim conventions  you can check here. 

In addition to checking local calendars of events, it’s also a good idea to use a resource for Crowd prediction.  There are several great resources out there.  My personal favorite WDW planning tool is WDW Prep School.  I found her advice to be the most accurate for all of our WDW vacations.

Tip #3: Don't Underestimate the Weather

Tip #3 also comes from The MouSeekers and it is one I strongly advise you to consider before packing for your Disney vacation. 

Kassandra advises,

“If you go to either Disneyland or Walt Disney World during the summer,  be aware of how hot it can actually get there. Especially with Florida and the humidity.

Be sure to pack water bottles with you and stay hydrated (plus the Florida water is kind of gross tasting). There will be cooling misters (towers or hidden sprayers spraying water) scattered across the parks but they wont be everywhere.

Go through the air conditioned shops, bring cooling towels, those bottle fans, hats, or even go to an attraction that has a long run time to just escape the heat. 

If you go with kids, remember they will experience the heat more so keep these tips in mind and watch out for signs that they are getting too hot.”

Messy Kids eating Mickey Ears in Stroller at Hollywood Studios
Mickey Ears Are Always A Good Way To Beat The Heat

This is solid advice!  I will add to it that in the winter do not assume because it’s in Florida that you won’t need to pack for winter.  Here are some pics from our February 2016 visit when the winds were gusting in excess of 20 mph and the temps were in the low 40’s every day!  The name of the game is: Be prepared for anything! 

Don’t forget those ponchos too! 

Tip #4: Maximize Disney Dining Snack Credits!

You will recognize our blogger for tips #4 and #5.  Sarah  of Moment Mom cohosts Mouse Fan Mondays with us each week and is a fun and passionate blogger and mommy to get to know! (sorry for any bias in there, but she has really been a great partner these past many months!)

For tip #4 Sarah advises,

“If you are on the Disney dining Plan, Quick Service Meals are all equal credits. Table Service makes children order from the kids menu, but Quick Service credits are all the same. This means your kids can order an adult-size portion. Some places, it is literally double the size so you can order one and split it between kids. “

Speaking of great snacks, check out this article on the Top 10 Disney World Magic Kingdom Snacks.

Plate of Shrimp and Grits from Flying Fish on Boardwalk in Orlando

Tip #5: Maximize Those Memories!

Moment Mom reminds us of her blog tagline, “Collect Moments and not Things” for tip #5!  She helps us to remember that we are there to have fun not check off boxes on a list!  As a planner this is a reminder I need EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  

Sarah says, 

“My biggest tip is to pick no more than 3 “must-dos” each day. This could be 2 rides and 1 special character meal or the parade and 2 rides, etc. For your first time, it can be very stressful trying to get from one place to another so picking no more than three must-dos allows you to have a plan but not miss the magic of the experience because you’re rushing too much between things.”

Speaking of making memories, another great way to make memories is to participate in Dapper Day.  What is that, you ask? Check out this article from Pixie Dust Savings to learn more and to get some Dapper Day Tips. 

Float with Aladdin's Genie Disney Parade

Want More Advice and Tips?

We hope you found these tips for first time Disney park visitors helpful.  For more Disney Planning ideas and Disney Hacks visit our Disney planning page. Be sure to connect with us on all of our social media channels. You can find more information below on how to do that.  Don’t forget if you also write about Disney, you can drop your link here on our Mouse Fan Monday blog hop and we will give you a visit and some social shout outs throughout the week.  We would appreciate it if you do the same for us!  

Have a great week and happy Disney bounding!  

We also like these helpful tips 

What To Pack?

Not sure what to pack in your bag? Our friends at Photo Jeepers have a great resource for you here

Inspiration For the big reveal to the kids

Maune Legacy has an amazing post on their Magical Disney World Trip Reveal Breakfast.  In fact, check out her entire Disney World Series. You will love it. 

Disclaimer: This page contains both text and image affiliate links.  If you sign up using these links, we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you. You can read more about affiliate linking here  VeraVise WOW Travel is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com .

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Amanda Bowers owner and author at VeraVise WOW Travel


We are a family travel blog focusing on outdoor family adventures, road trips, and Disney Vacations. We hope you find our travel guides and reviews helpful.

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1 thought on “Disney Planning Tips For First Time Visitors

  1. Love the tips! I definitely underestimated the weather during our trip in may and ended up spending almost all my snack credits on bottled water just to keep the kids cool! Pretty sure I have a picture of my daughter with a bottle of water on her neck just to try to make it to her favorite ride. This is a great start for a first timer, and I’m excited about the DisFanChat Planning Group!

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