The Beginner’s Guide to a Walt Disney World Vacation

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Please head to the new, improved, and updated guide for Disney World Vacations

Welcome to the Mini Series Designed to get you caught up on the basics for your Walt Disney World Vacation! This is the perfect guide for a First Time visitor or just someone who hasn’t been in a long time.

Things at Disney can change pretty quickly, so it’s good to stay in the loop!

Disney Vacations are some of the best in the world and rightfully so, the Disney team does so much to make it a truly magical experience. From once in a lifetime visits to a new family tradition, Disney is the place to go!

This is a four part series that covers all the basics about Disney World. If your familiar with Walt Disney World, this information might seem basic, but to someone whose never been (and then trying to plan their vacation without knowing how everything works) it can seem overwhelming!

The best thing to do is save this for later- It’s a lot of good information! Pin it or share it on social media, so you can access it when you have questions or you get closer to planning your trop!

So let’s jump into some quick tips and then you can pick where you want to get started with all this information! If this is too much, simply save or share this page for later.

The First time guide to Disney World! Full of helpful information and great advice, it's a must read for a Disney Vacation to stay in the loop! #disneyvaca #disneyworldtips

This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you, and I may earn commission on qualified sales, check out my affiliate disclosure for more information and all the legal mumbo jumbo.

Purchasing your Tickets

Buying Tickets can be confusing- especially because there are so many options.

If you plan to come more than once a year, an annual pass holder option might be the biggest benefit (especially for those Run Disney People)

If you are visiting for the first time, a standard ticket would be the most appropriate- you can pick how many base days you’d like to have.

What I don’t recommend:

-Having a Ticket for Arrival or Departure day (there is plenty to do that doesn’t require a ticket!)

-Park Hopper Tickets (it’s exhausting and can eat up 1-3 hours of your day just traveling) PLUS you can add it during your trip. SO if you decide that you want it halfway through your vacation- just add it then.

-Purchasing from somewhere like eBay- I would hate for your ticket not to work when you arrived

Download the My Disney App. 

This handy little app is so useful for planning your trip! Once you’ve got the basics down about the parks, restaurants and transportation, you can begin looking at ADR’s (advanced Dining Reservations) and booking your fast passes (they are free! It’s how you get to skip the line on rides).

IMPORTANT NOTE–The ADR’s can be accessed 180 days in advance and the Fast passes can be booked 60 days in advance. 

If you worked with a Disney Travel Agent, they can help you with planning your Dining Reservations and Fast Passes.

Please DON’T make plans until you decide what parks you are visiting on what days- WHY? because you might accidentally make a reservation for a park at the same time as a fast pass- OOPS!

What do you need for your vacation?

This really depends on each person and family (and reason for the trip!) I do recommend getting a packing list together- at least a month ahead of time, so that way you can get everything you need. Good news- Amazon Delivers! So if you forget something, order it and have it sent to your resort.

The top 3 items I recommend to everyone:

1.Portable Phone Charger– you phone WILL go dead using the MyDisney App, and some of the rides will train your battery as your phone looks for signal. The alternative is good ole pencil and paper- just make sure you can access your plans and reservations for the day!

2.Insulated Water Bottle– It gets HOT at Disney. Even in the winter you are dealing with the sun, the wind and way too much walking. Animal Kingdom also doesn’t do straws or lids- so you need a water bottle to prevent spillage.

3. Body Glide- This stuff is phenomenal. I use it for anywhere my skin might get irritation (like shoes in sneakers or thighs in shorts). Its only a few bucks, so better to have it and not need it- then need it and not have it!

Past that, I recommend checking out my Baby Packing Guide for the little ones, or you can get my Free Packing Printable for the rest of the family!


Know your Disney Trip price points ahead of time 

Having a dollar sign in mind is a good way to make sure that you stay on track with your Disney World Vacation. This is such an exciting time and you want to make sure that you make the most of it. There are many money saving tips that can help with your magical vacation! I have an entire section dedicated to Disney On a Budget too! 

Disney is… pricey… to say the least! If you want a really inexpensive vacation, I have some suggestions on how to get a cheap Disney Vacation.

If you want to splurge- do that too!

Just know your price points ahead of time so you can look for what fits your needs and how long you want to stay.

Visiting Disney for the First time- make sure to get lots of Character Pictures!
Visiting Disney for the First time? Make sure to get lots of Character Pictures!

Know the best times to go

Walt Disney World is such a popular resort that it can get a little crowded.

I’ve been on some of the busiest days of the year, and while it is still magical, it’s not very fun waiting in a two hour line! What you can do is check the best weeks to go and pick the week that works best for your family! 

I recommend checking out this crowd calendar here. It will give you an idea of when you should go.

The Guide for First Timer’s

So what’s next? This guide is split into several parts so you can come back to it later- It’s a lot of information!

Simply click on the link for the information you wish to learn! If you have any questions, please leave me a comment or send me an email- I’d be happy to help!

Disney World Parks

Disney World Resorts

Disney World Transportation

Disney World Ticket Options

Disney World Entertainment

Bringing Baby to Disney World Mini Series

16 Things most Disney Visitors Don’t Know

Disney World Rain Policy

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