Disney World Tips For First Timers #1: Become A Fastpass Master
Disney Fast Pass is the free system that allows you to skip the wait on at least three attractions every day of your trip.
It will feel so nice to walk past people waiting 2 hours for a ride and go right to the front of the line, all thanks to some advance planning.
You can make FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance if you are staying off property and 60 days if you are staying at a Disney resort. Check out my free printable FastPass cheat sheet here to learn the best options for your passes.
Should I Stay At A Walt Disney World Resort
If you hear folks talking about on property versus off property that means at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel versus staying at hotel or resort not owned by Disney. This is one of the first Disney World FAQs you need to answer in your trip planning.
My short answer is: There are terrific off property Disney hotels, but staying on property is better. That is not to say you cant have a great stay at a non-Disney hotel or that I never have. There are usually several things that go into deciding where you will stay but if its simple choice between on property and off, Id choose on property every time.
Walt Disney World has a resort hotel for everyone and every budget. There are three levels of resort: value, moderate and deluxe. Obviously, the value is going to be the least expensive option. Moderate and deluxe will have larger rooms, generally be closer to the parks, have more amenities, better pools, and more resort dining options.
This is not to say the value resorts are not nice, because they are. Youll spend more and get more at deluxe level resorts, which is pretty much the way hotel pricing tiers anywhere work.
Things To Think About When Choosing When To Go To Walt Disney World
Holiday peaks, Disney crowd sizes, park hours, weather, and a few other factors have a lot to do with your Disney experience, including how long youll be waiting in line for your favorite rides.
Here are a few tips to get you started on picking the ideal times to travel to Disney alone, or with friends and family.
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Stay Hydrated And Take Breaks
Keeping up with your water intake might not make you feel cooled down, but it will help keep your body cool. We also like to take frequent rest breaks in shady spots where we can take off our face masks for a few minutes.
Want more tips on how to stay cool at Disney plus some great recommendations for products that help you get through a hot, busy day? Check out this guide to keeping cool at Disney for info on cooling towels, portable fans and even wicking underwear.
Be Open To A Value Resort
Theres a dark corner of Disney parks fandom that loves to hate on the value resorts even though most of them have never stayed at them. Obviously the cheap option will always get a bit of underserved hate from the high horses, but we highly encourage you to consider them. We discuss the value resorts at Disney World in more detail here.
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Walking The Parks Is Exhausting
Try and put this stat into perspective. Walt Disney World Resort is the size of San Francisco. Im not kidding.
The parks span 40 square miles in total. Thats a lot of walking. We wanted to see everything, as Im sure every first timer does, so we raced to rides and fast walked to dining reservations. It felt like we hit the ground running every morning, and Im sure we did.
Factor in the humid, Central Florida heat which only added to our tiredness and youve got a perfect cocktail for a tired family.Tip: slow and steady wins the race.
The Best Time To Visit Disney World In February 2022
Just how busy is Disney World in February? The best weeks to go to Disney World are February 1-7, and 7-14th. However, the best time to go to Disney World in February based on individual days is the 9th and the 10th.
Youll want to be sure to visit Walt Disney World before Presidents Day weekend if you are trying to avoid the crowds. Luckily, there are the same advantages as visiting in January such as great weather, lower park crowds, and discounted Walt Disney World tickets if you do.
If you and your family decide to visit later in the month you can check out EPCOTS newest festival, the Festival of the Arts. Guests can also participate in one of the Run Disney half-princess half marathon events if they missed the full Walt Disney World marathon weekend. We do find that these events have made February one of the best times for adults to visit Disney World.
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Arrive Early For The New Extra Magic Half Hour
One of the easiest ways to make sure you get the most out of your day no matter which Disney park you plan to visit is to arrive early and stay late when possible! This will also allow you to take an afternoon break at your hotel if need be. Disney recently made changes to the extra magic hour program, switching it to an extra magic half hour at every Disney World park for on-site Disney resort guests. Were huge fans of this as we felt morning extra magic hours always created some of the busiest days at Disney World. We feel like crowds will be a little bit more spread out as you wont have everyone heading to the same park on the same morning.
So one of the easiest ways to take advantage of your time in Disney is to arrive early in the morning and get in a half hour before other park guests. This will also take some of the pressure off of making sure you picked the best Disney park for that day! Its important to note that this new early entry can also be a huge help for guests who plan to park hop as you will want to get the most out of your day.
Be sure to check back with us as we continue to update the best days to visit each Disney World theme park!
Things To Do At Disney World
Now I will cover all the separate parks shortly and other attractions of Disney World in Orlando Florida.
There are 5 parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. All those require separate entrance tickets, although you can have combination tickets for more than one park at the same day.
Next to this there are 2 water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
Other attractions are Disney Springs , a party- and shopping area. Theres no entrance fee for this. On Disney Springs has the largest Disney Store in the world: World of Disney Store. Next to that theres Disney BoardWalk.
Disney World Orlando FL has several sport facilities: Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland are mini golf courses. Next to that 5 golf courses: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disneys Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, Disneys Magnolia Golf Course, Disneys Oak Trail Golf Course and Disneys Palm Golf Course.
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The Best Time To Visit Disney World In January 2022
So is Yes! In fact, January has some of the best weeks to visit Disney World, typically right after Disneys Marathon weekend which is the first weekend of January. Those dates are January 11th -18th, and the 25th-31st.
If you are only planning on visiting Disney for a few days, the best individual park days based on crowd levels and theme park ticket prices are January 13th or January 14th. If youre unable to travel during these weeks and you are still concerned with just how busy is Disney World in January you can always visit our Disney World Crowd Calendar.
There are a ton of advantages of visiting Walt Disney World in January which include the great weather, lower park crowds, and even cheaper Walt Disney World tickets. You and your family might even be able to take advantage of visiting the Magic Kingdom when its still decorated for Christmas depending on the week you visit.
The Best Time To Visit Disney World In June 2022
The beginning of summer has historically been a very popular time to vacation, but isWell get into the pros and cons in a minute, but the best week to visit Disney World in June is the 1st-6th. We anticipate the best day to go to Disney World in June to be the 7th or 8th.
Were going to start with a pro because truth be told, there are a lot of cons. June and July typically give families more flexibility to take longer trips since they dont have to worry about school. As you can probably guess, the downside are the crowds. They typically start to pick up towards the end of June and lasts through early August. Plus, Florida temperatures are notoriously humid in the summer.
With all of that being said, summer vacations at Walt Disney World can still be a blast! Make sure to be prepared and plan your trip in advance if you are trying to avoid being out in the heat. You can always split your days up and take pool breaks.
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Are You Bringing The Entire Family
- Teenagers For teens and thrill-seekers, Disney World is entertaining for all ages. These travel tips for teenagers will help!
- Pregnant Theres still plenty for expectant mothers to do at Disney World while pregnant. Look for attractions that do not have height restrictions, which expectant moms can ride with their families.
- Special Needs & Disabilities- Traveling with someone who has autism, is seated in a wheelchair or has other special needs? Disney parks offer a Disability Assistance Service which allows families an alternative waiting location or alternate queue access.
2020 UPDATE In these uncertain times of travel, some families may make other arrangements, not taking kids to Disney World. This updated post discusses what you need to know about Disney parks reopening guidelines and safety measures.
Image credit: Disney PhotoPass
Check The Weather But Prepare For Anything
Florida weather may not be what you expect during your trip, so make sure to check it ahead of time. And even after that, make sure to pack for a variety of climates, considering the weather could change rapidly. Most of the year youll need to bring some kind of rain gear, and in the winter, itll be helpful to wear layers.
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Disney World Tips For Saving Money
Although Disney can be expensive you can find lots of easy ways to save money too. Here are a few ideas:
T-Shirts Buy Disney T-shirts for the family to wear before you go. This way you arent paying more for them at Disney parks.
Souvenirs You can also buy these ahead and pack themin your suitcase. Then surprise your kids with the items in the hotel before you go.
Breakfast Have breakfast in your room. You can bring food or order grocery store delivery to your hotel room.
Pack a Lunch Bring your own lunch and snacks to eat and just buy dinner at the park.
Popcorn Bucket The popcorn bucket is the best deal for snacks if you plan to be at the parks for more than one day. Once you buy the bucket it is only $1 to refill it.
Ticket Savings Ticket prices at Disney cost more during busier times of year. Try and go at an off season time to save money on ticket prices. Disney Crowd Calendar
Bring What You Need to the Park Dont end up spending money buy things you could bring from home like, ponchos, medication, Disney Ears, water, snacks, extra clothes.
Use our Free Printable Disney Packing list to remember everything youll need in your park bag.
New Attractions At Disney World In 2022
Its important to stay up to date on all of the newest Disney attractions planned to open up in 22. This is especially true for Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, Ratatouille Remys Adventure, and the rumored nighttime parade coming to the Magic Kingdom. We are still unsure of how new attractions will be impacted by the recent changes due to Covid-19. So keep an eye on all of the breaking news if you have your heart set on visiting Walt Disney World for a new attraction.
We should also note here that its important to remember that youre not the only one who is eager to enjoy new Disney World attractions! Ride openings and re-openings often draw in an extra crowd and are something that park-goers often dont consider before booking their trip. Dont worry, you dont have to keep up with everything Disney is working on in order to have the best possible experience thats our job! Chat with us here on The Park Prodigy website to be sure you choose the best time to visit Disney World on the budget that works for you.
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Our Favorite Time To Visit Disney World 2022
So when is the best time of year to go to Disney World in 2022 if youre avoiding the crowds? Very simply the end of least busy times at Disney World. We love this time of year for a few reasons. The first being that guests can also take advantage of Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party.The second being you can visit the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival. The only downside to this time of year can be the weather, which is typically hot and humid.
The second best time of year to visit Disney World is early January February. The period right after marathon weekend has historically proven to be some of the least crowded days at Disney World. This is also a great time of year to visit if weather is an important factor which we will cover later on in this post!Its important to note we still highly recommend making your top priority FastPass+ selections and Disney dining reservations.
You Can Leave A Park And Come Back
Even if you havent purchased a Park Hopper ticket, all guests are allowed to leave and return to the same park on the same day. If youre getting tired midday, this could be a great opportunity to head back to your hotel room and take a nap or a swim break. If youre driving, make sure to save your receipt so that you wont be charged twice for parking.
Best Month To Visit Disney World
So when is the best month to go to Disney World? We believe its September! You simply wont find lower crowds and better deals then traveling to Disney World in September. Most families have already had their kids go back to schools which is the main factor behind the low crowds. On top of this we also love the fall events and the popular EPCOT Foot and Wine festival which takes place at EPCOT.
First Timers Need More Time At Disney
I dont recommend one day Disney visits for first timers not because you wont have fun but because I think you are short-changing yourself. If you can only do one day, I recommend you stick with just one park and plan what attractions youll hit and what things are must see or must eat in advance. That one day will go fast.
My kids and I tagged along on one of my husbands trips to Orlando for a conference and did a one-day trip to Walt Disney World. It was not the kids first trip and we decided ahead of time to pick one park and stick to it.
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Use Your Fastpass+ Wisely
The FastPass+ is Disneys way of allowing advance reservations on rides, entertainment, and character greetings during your visit. Its included in the cost of your ticket, and you get three free reservations per person. You can make your selections as far ahead of time as 30 to 60 days before your visit, or as last-minute as, I want to go on that ride right now, lets see if theres a FastPass+ spot free. You can select rides and times on Disneys website or from the app, and youre given a window of time in which you can show up to use your FastPass+.
There are two separate lines for Disney rides: the walk-up line and the FastPass+ line. Using your FastPass+ feels like being a VIP and skipping to the front of the line. It doesnt always mean theres no wait just that the wait is generally pretty short.
I went about using my FastPass+ all wrong.
Having not been to the parks since I was a kid, I decided to reserve FastPass+ spots on my must-do rides for the early part of the day to make sure my kids got to experience them. This was not smart. As I mentioned earlier, the parks are basically empty for the first few hours. Wait times for even the busiest rides are minimal. Do not use your FastPass+ before 11:00 a.m. Youre throwing it away. Save your passes for the peak times when the park is bursting at the seams with people, generally the hours between lunch and dinner.
A post shared by Josh Roberts on Apr 26, 2016 at 2:10pm PDT