Walt Disney World is a magical place. But it is not magical without a little planning and know-how. With 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping district and countless food options it can be hard for even the seasoned veteran to know what to do.
Do you visit just one park? Do you really need to go on (fill in ride here). Is this Dolewhip thing I keep hearing about worth it. There is just so much for you to learn and understand about vacationing in Disney World. One trip is never enough.
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There are a lot of must do’s and some don’ts. Today we are just going to go over the 10 must dos for first timers at Walt Disney World.
VISIT ALL 4 PARKS
You can read all over that you could skip this park or that park. The truth is you really can’t skip any park if you have never been to Disney before. While that person may not have liked EPCOT thinking that it was too educational, you may not even notice that part and only focus on the epic food and shops.
All 4 parks have their own pros and cons. While this family may love thrill rides, your family may not be such big fans. What I enjoy you may not like so much. We all have different tastes and are expecting something different from Disney.
You need to experience each park yourself before making a decision on if you will visit it next time. That is why it is important to spend at least 4 days at Disney. Sure to some people Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are both half day parks and can be done on the same day. But if you have never been to either park, should you really skip one?
I make it a point to visit Disney Springs at least once during every visit. Disney Springs if you are not aware was once called Downtown Disney. Here you will find shops, quick and table service locations.
Most nights you can also listen to free music. The bands play a variety of different genres and all of the music is family friendly. You can also choose from 13 other entertainment options including movies and bowling. There is bound to be something for everyone.
Check out one of the 108 shops including a massive Disney Store. Chances are if you saw it in the park this store has it in stock. If food is more your thing hit up one of the over 50 different food locations. Enjoy a nice sit down dinner at The Boathouse or Edison. If you want a quick bite stop over at Deluxe Burger or Chicken Guy. The possibilities are endless and you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose to do at Disney Springs. Just don’t skip it.
The third thing on our list is to ride the Monorail. The monorail just screams Disney. It is such an iconic ride. Yes I do consider this a ride even though it is not in a park.
There is nothing better than spending the morning at Magic Kingdom and park hopping over to EPCOT via the Monorail. Grabbing the monorail is also a great way to resort hop to the Grand Floridian, Polyanisan, and Contemporary.
STAY A WEEK
If this is your first time going to Walt Disney World you should stay at least a week. 10 days is even better than you will be able to do 2 full days in a few parks. If you are flying in you will only be getting a 5 or 6 day ticket depending on when your flight arrives. If you flight arrives after 2pm I would suggest not getting a park ticket for your arrival day. Check out my post on what to do on your arrival day.
By staying a week you can make sure you do all 4 parks and still have at least one extra day to hit up what ended up being your favorite park or go back and try to ride your favorite ride again.
We also have an easy guide on how to book your FastPass+ using the My Disney Experience app with easy step by step instructions. Check that out here. Disney’s FastPass+ system makes your park day much more enjoyable by giving you the chance of skipping the lines on some of the most popular rides.
Of course all the rides at Disney World are must do rides. But unless you are staying for 2 weeks or longer and spending the whole day from park open to close you are bound to miss something. By no means are these rides I am going to list are the best rides around. However, some of these rides are.
I strongly believe that you should ride every ride at least once. What some else finds boring, you may love. My daughter who is 8 has loved Spaceship Earth (GolfBall) in EPCOT since she was 5.We probably ride it at least 4 times each trip.
These are just the classic rides that are on the top of many people’s list. If you are not sure if a ride will be too intense for you just watch them on YouTube. We have 32 ride videos all in one place for you to check out here.
Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Dumbo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, People Mover, it’s a small world.
Test Track, Soarin’, SpaceShip Earth,
Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog Dash
Flight of Passage, Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris
All 4 theme parks offer a night time show. All are worth a visit to see. But if you can only do one night time show it has to be the Fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Much like the monorail, the Magic Kingdom Fireworks are ICONIC.
This firework display probably beats your home towns 4th of July fireworks show. They go off every night of the year. If you are staying at a nearby resort just ask a cast member where the best place to view the fireworks.
If you think Walt Disney World is just about the theme parks, you have another thing coming. Some of the best things in Disney are the fabulous food. From sweet treats to savory eats. There is something for everyone.
Try the Citrus Swirl Float (I prefer it to the DoleWhip) at Sunshine Tree Terrace. Fish and Chips at Yorkshire County Fish Shop in EPCOT. The always great Ribs, Chicken, and Pulled Pork sampler at Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom. Anything from Chicken Guy in Disney Springs.
On your first ever trip to Walt Disney World you need to do at least one character meal. There are a whole lot to choose from. Everything from dining with Cinderella in her Castle to having a meal with Stitch.
A fan favorite is Chef Mickeys. Here you can dine with the Fab 5 (Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald Duck and Goofy). I really do enjoy breakfast but if I had to pick just one I would go with Cape May Cafe for breakfast. The food is fantastic and the character interactions can’t be beat.
While you are visiting Disney World on your vacation you should really sit down and enjoy one of the many shows on property. Whether it is the parade at Magic Kingdom or one of the Castle shows. Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom. Or over at Hollywood Studios and watch the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.
Watching at least one show in each park is a must do. A lot of the shows are indoors which means they are air conditioned and much cooler than the outside. Shows are a great break in your day. You get to sit for a little bit and get off your feet all the while enjoying a great show and staying cool.
There you have it, our top 10 must dos for first timers at Walt Disney World. This is just what we here at Kozmophotos think all first timers should try to do on their first visit. Just remember to have a fantastic time. There are so many things to see and do that one visit is never enough.
If you are planning your first trip to Disney World be sure to check out our other guides. We have a good on how to book your FastPass+ and one for what to bring in your park bag. We are here to help answer all your questions so just leave a comment down below. Remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest at KozmoPhotos. It will help you stay up to date with all the latest post and photos.