Insider Tips for your first time to Disney World

8 Things To Know Before Your First Trip To Disney World

My family just got back from our first trip to Disney World as a family. Many things have changed since my first visit to Disney World at the age of ten. The first key to having a successful Disney family vacation is planning. The second key to making your Disney vacation easy and enjoyable is tapping into some insider information. Through research and from my own experience I have come up with a list of eight things you will want to know before your first trip to Disney World.

1. You Can Bring Snacks Into The Parks

I was thrilled to learn that you can bring drinks and snacks into the Disney Parks! There are a few rules on what you can and cannot bring such as glass containers, alcohol, and hard coolers. Each day we would pack enough snacks in our backpack and reusable water bottles (read #8 for more on this). We found that having snacks on hand was a great way to keep the kids (and dad) from getting cranky. We also saved some $$ by bringing our own food into the parks. With the money we saved we were able to enjoy a wonderful dinner at the Beasts Enchanted Castle!

Packing snacks was a great tip for my first trip to Disney World
Tip: Call ahead to make sure your hotel room has a fridge and microwave.

2. You Can Use FastPasses To Meet Some Of The Characters

FastPasses are every parent’s best friend. They allow you to schedule what time you want to ride certain rides or meet certain characters. Once you arrive at your scheduled time you can skip the long lines! I was pleasantly surprised to see that you could also use your FastPasses on some of the meet and greets!

Don't forget to use your fast passes to skip lines for meeting characters

3. The Disney App Is The Key To Success

I cannot stress enough the importance of downloading the My Disney Experience app onto your phone. With the app you can see all of your reservations. You can schedule your dining plans, FastPasses, and more! You can even see a map of the parks and the wait times for each ride! My husband and I both used our apps the entire time we were at Disney World. I really felt like having this tool at my fingertips was a huge benefit to me and my family. Download it and use it!

Download the My Disney Experience App for your first trip to Disney World

4. Transportation To And From The Parks Is Easy To Use

I’m a planner, a researcher, and a mom with an agenda. Before we take off on any new adventure, I like to have my head wrapped around the basics. For some reason, transportation within the parks was a big mystery to me. I was going to be traveling with young kids so I wanted to know how we would get from point A to point B each day. Because we flew to Orlando, Florida we would be relying on the transportation provided by Disney.

If you are staying at a resort at Disney World, the Magical Express picks you up from the Orlando International Airport (MCO).  Be sure to schedule this ahead of time. Once inside the parks, there are buses that go to and from each of the parks and to Disney Springs. The buses drop you off at the front gates to each park. Tip: If you wait to leave when the park closes you will have to be content with long waits to get back to your resort.

The transportation to and from the parks at Walt Disney World is easy to use

5. Magic Bands Can Be Used To Make Purchases

Once we arrived at our resort, the cast member checking us in connected a credit card to our magic bands. This allowed us to make purchases with our bands. This made buying anything in the parks super easy. Don’t worry, they set you up with a PIN number to use each time you make a purchase, no one but you can use your band to make purchases.

6. You Get Extra Magic Hours If You Stay On Site

Extra Magic hours is a perk offered to guests that stay on-site. Consult the My Disney Experience app to determine which day certain parks will open up earlier or close later. If you have small children with you, this is a great way to enjoy the parks when it’s less crowded. Also, if the extra magic hours start early in the day, it’s a great time to beat the heat!

8 Tips for how to plan and save during your first trip to Disney World.

7. Pin Trading (what it is and how to do it)

We did not get the chance to enjoy pin trading during our visit but I will certainly be ready for it next time. This is something that my 8-year-old would love to do! You need a lanyard and Disney pins to get started. You can find these at stores within the parks, online at the Disney store, or even check out Ebay for pins to get started. If you do look for pins on Ebay, be sure that they are official Disney pins and that you are purchasing them from a reputable seller.

Once inside the parks, you can pin trade with any cast member wearing a lanyard full of pins. Your kids will have a blast searching for their favorite character pins and more. I can’t wait for our kids to start pin trading on our next visit to Disney.

pin trading is a fun way for your kids to enjoy their first trip to Disney World

8. Ice Water Is Free In The Parks

We brought reusable water bottles and were able to fill them up with free ice water that you can get inside the park. Any counter service or snack station that serves soda will be able to give you the ice water. We found that this was a great way to save money and stay properly hydrated!

If you have any other tips for first time trips to Disney World, please leave them below! 

Use these insider tips to help plan your first trip to Disney World. Read 8 tips that will help you plan and save money.


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