Top 10 Insider Tips for First-Time Visitors to Walt Disney World



Planning your first trip to Walt Disney World can be both exciting and a bit overwhelming.

There is A LOT of information out there to sort through. Thankfully, your travel planner can help educate and guide you to personalize all of the details to fit your vacation style/preferences. With a planner by your side these are all a breeze!

To get you started with the basics, here are my top 10 insider tips for first-time visitors to Walt Disney World!


1. Make a Plan

Walt Disney World is not the place to wing it! The best way to relax is to have an outlined plan of what you want to do each day and all of your reservations made.  It’s also important to learn how everything works, from mobile ordering to Genie+.


2. Use the My Disney Experience App

The My Disney Experience app is a key tool for managing your trip. It allows you to connect your reservation, utilize Genie+, check wait times, make dining reservations, view park maps, and even find characters.   Download the app before you go and familiarize yourself with its features.


3. Arrive Early

Arriving at the parks early can make a big difference.  Guests staying on property can use Early Entry to get on attractions 30 minutes before the parks even open!  This helps you get in a big ride or 2 before the lines start to build up.  Hollywood Studios is the number one park I recommend doing this for!


4. Book Early and Know Your Dining Windows

One of the first details to ensure a smooth trip is to save the date.  After that initial $200 deposit, your final payment is due 30 days before your vacation For the best availability for rooms, book early. When it comes time for planning meals, secure reservations the day they become available.  Dining reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance of the day of arrival and can be made for your entire stay as long as it’s not more than 10 days!


5. Know When and Where to Eat

Dining at Walt Disney World can be a highlight of your trip as long as it’s done right!  When having quick service meals (fast food type), it’s easier to find a table and get service fast when you eat during off-peak hours, such as early or late lunch and dinner times.  Mobile ordering has made getting these meals so much easier!  You can place your order in the My Disney Experience App and have it waiting for you at your prearranged time.  As I mentioned before, the table service options should have reservations made 60 days before your vacation. 

6. Learn the In’s and Out’s of Genie+

Genie+ is the replacement to the fastpass system, it uses a date-based pricing system by crowds. It allows you to skip the standby lines and you make selections from your phone in the My Disney Experience App.  This is purchased each day you are in the parks.  I like to get up at about 6:45am and purchase it.  You can then make your first ride selection at 7am each morning.  


7. Stay Hydrated and Take Breaks

Florida’s heat can be intense, especially during the summer months. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and take regular breaks to rest. Utilize indoor attractions and shows as opportunities to cool down.  My favorite way to add balance to a busy park day is to go back to the resort and take mid mid-day break during the most crowded/hot part of the day. 


8. Bring Essentials

First, make sure you have broken in comfortable shoes!  Disney is a ton of walking and you don’t want to get blisters.  Rain showers come and go, so some waterproof ones like Tevas are my favorite!  A well packed Loungefly/diaper bag is the key to a successful park day, especially with kids. Pack your bag with essentials such as sunscreen, small toys to entertain in lines, medications, a cooling fan, ponchos and a portable phone charger. These items will help you stay comfortable and prepared for a full day in the parks.


9. Prioritize Must-See Attractions

With so much to see and do, it’s essential to prioritize your must-see attractions. Create a list of your top picks and focus on those to ensure you don’t miss out. Use Genie+ for high-priority rides and plan your day around these attractions. 


10. Capture the Memories

I don’t know about you, but I am never in family pictures! Don’t forget to capture the magical moments of your trip…with you in them too.  Take plenty of photos and consider purchasing Memory Maker, which gives you unlimited digital downloads of all your Disney PhotoPass photos. There are amazing cast members all around the parks ready to take photos of everyone in your party. Ride photos obtained can be downloaded as a memory maker inclusion as well. 



If all this seems like a lot… work with a travel professional!!!!

We are here to make your planning easy, so you can focus on the moments stress-free! You’ll have someone to remind you of the important dates and details, one point of contact for all travel needs and a Disney BFF to get excited with you!  

What are you waiting for?

Get that Getaway!


More from Blair Hoffpauir