Walt Disney World Guide for Beginners
Walt Disney World Guide for Beginners
Planning a Disney Vacation is a lot of fun. However, it can seem overwhelming. There are many things to take into account from what you need to bring with you to what you want to do at Disney World. This Walt Disney World Guide for Beginners is meant to give you the basics you should know. Understanding the basics will allow you to feel confident so that you have a magical vacation.
Try not to overload yourself with information. You do not need to know everything about Disney World to have a good time. I can tell you first hand that even after over 100 visits to Disney World and being a cast member twice there are still new things I learn about Disney World all the time.
“Rat, schmat, besides…they’re tourists…what do they know?” – Rizzo, Muppet Vision 3D
Questions that will be answered by the
Walt Disney World Guide for Beginners:
How do I get to Disney World?
In keeping things simple, I am only going to talk about the two most common ways to get to Disney World, Flying or Driving.
I do not need to go into much detail about driving because you can drive yourself directly to your resort to check in. Whether driving from home or flying and renting a car, when you arrive at your resort you will show your ID at the security gate and they will direct you from there.
If you are flying to Disney and are not planning to rent a car, you can take advantage of Disney transportation right from the airport. Disney has a service called “Magical Express” which will not only take you to your resort from the airport but they will also get your bags for you and bring them to your room. When you book your resort you can setup pickup for the Magical Express online or call (407) WDW-MAGIC or (407) 939-6244.
“I’m Going To Disney World! – Phil Simms (Super Bowl 1987)
Which resort should I stay at Disney World?
There are over 30 different resorts at Walt Disney World and each one has its own unique charm. To choose a resort best suited for you and your family here a few basic things to keep in mind when making your decision: theme, location, amenities and price.
I think for most guests the decision starts out with price. However, do not think that you have to stay in the most expensive Disney resort to have a magical Disney vacation. I have stayed in every type of Disney resort from the All-Star value resorts on up the Polynesian deluxe resort and never once was my stay any less magical because the resort was less expensive. Each resort offers you a magical experience. It is not better or worse, just different. Any resort you choose will be magical.
Keeping that in mind the price break down is as follows:
Eight Value Resorts from under $175
1 Moderate Resort from Under $250
Eight Deluxe Resorts from $250 and up
The next factor in choosing a Disney resort is theme or atmosphere. Each resort has its own unique theme. There are wide varieties of themes that cover something for just about any taste. Themes range from Victorian Style, Futuristic, South Pacific, South American, African, Sports, Music, Movies and much more. Take a look at each resort to decide which theme you like the best.
Location is a smaller factor in deciding where to stay but it is definitely something to keep in mind. No matter where you stay, there will be Disney transportation to get you where you need to go.
The thing to note here is how long you want to spend getting from one place to another. My recommendation is to choose a resort near Epcot or Hollywood Studios for the most efficient travel times. Epcot and Hollywood Studios are pretty much in the middle of everything. While we all want to stay at the resorts on the monorail, those resorts (Magic Kingdom Resorts) are the furthest from everything else. They may offer you the quickest route to the Magic Kingdom. However, it will take you the longest from these resorts to get to any of the other parks, water parks or Downtown Disney.
Beach Club, Yacht Club and Coronado Springs are the two most centrally located Resorts on property. Having said that, remember even though it will take longer to travel from certain locations to others, the travel times are short (about 15 minutes) even from the two furthest points of Disney World.
If you rent a car, I would not make location a factor at all really. You can get around Disney very quickly driving yourself because you cut out the extra 10 minutes or so you would have to wait for Disney transportation to arrive.
For the most part all the resorts have the same basic amenities. I will focus on the uncommon amenities rather than the common.
The Amenities that set one resort apart from the others can be broken down into the following: Pools, Dining, Extra Transportation, Recreation and other. Each resort has variances to each of these amenities such as multiple pools, pools with water slides, sandy bottom pools, Table-Service restaurants, different forms of transportation other than busses and different types of recreational activities.
I recommend staying a different resort each time you go to Disney World. I guarantee that you will find something special about each one.
To learn more about Walt Disney World Resorts go to https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/.
If you are having trouble deciding between multiple resorts use Disney’s Resort comparison tool https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts-compare/.
“All of our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney
How much are Disney tickets?
Disney ticket prices are based on the amount of days you buy at once and the age of the guest.
Guests 0-2 are free.
Guests 3-9 range from $56 – $93 per day.
Guests from 10+ range from $60-$100 per day.
Be on the lookout for Disney vacation packages that put together your resort, tickets and dining plan all together in one discounted price.
For more information on ticket prices: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/tickets/
For more information on vacation packages: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/my-disney-experience/vacation-packages/
“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse” – Walt Disney
Which park should I visit?
You should visit all four Disney parks. Each park has a unique set of attractions and has a different experience from one another.
I highly recommend visiting one park per day instead of park hopping. Disney offers park hopper passes that allows you to go to multiple parks in one day but this can make your experience feel rushed especially if you are not a Walt Disney World expert.
Visiting one park per day will allow you time to enjoy each park without being rushed. However, if you do not have four full days to visit each park and still want to visit all of them then you will want to take advantage of the park hopper pass.
If you have three full days to visit the parks I would go to Magic Kingdom for a one day, Epcot for one day and then Park hop between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios for one day. Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios you can get through faster than Epcot and Magic Kingdom because there are fewer attractions at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
If you are planning to park hop you will want to pick the attractions that are “must see” for you. You probably will not have time to do everything at both parks in one day so it is important to select the attractions you absolutely want to go to and the attractions you can save for your next vacation or for if you have extra time that day. Pick your first park based on what time it opens and your second park based on what time it closes.
Of the four parks, Magic Kingdom and Epcot are the busier two with more to do so I do not recommend park hopping to both those parks in one day unless the Magic Kingdom has Extra Magic Hours for late in the evening. A good combination for park hopping would be for example, Animal Kingdom in the morning and then Epcot in the evening or Hollywood Studios in the Morning and Magic Kingdom in the evening.
To take full advantage of a park hopper pass, choose a park that has extra magic hours. Extra magic hours are when a park is open earlier or longer and are for Disney Resort guests only which means you will have shorter wait times for attractions.
Remember to take into account travel times from one park to the next.
Check out http://knowdw.com/theme-parks/ to get a brief overview of each Disney Theme park.
“Here in Florida, we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland…the blessing of size. There’s enough land here to hold all the ideas and plans we can possibly imagine.” – Walt Disney
Where should I eat at Walt Disney World?
There are places to eat all over Disney World. Walt Disney World has some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted before in my life. You can find something to eat anywhere you go.
Make sure to get a reservation for Table-Service dining. Some places have walk-ins available but busier places like Cinderella’s castle book up 6 months in advance.
I highly recommend doing the Disney Dining plan. You will eat like a King or Queen and it really pays for itself. The way it works is you get; one Table-Service meal, one Quick-Service meal and one Snack for every night of your stay. This plan is for Disney Resort guests only.
For more information about the Disney Dining Plan: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/planning-guides/in-depth-advice/disney-dining-plan/
Ma chère mademoiselle. It is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you tonight. And now, we invite to relax, let us pull up a chair, as the dining room proudly presents… your dinner. – Lumiere
How do I get around Disney World?
Disney makes it very easy to get around. They provide busses, boats and monorails. Not to mention there are usually cabs sitting around if you need them. The Disney transportation is very reliable and in many ways adds to your Disney magic, especially the monorails. If you plan to use the Disney transportation, make sure to allow yourself a little bit of extra time to catch the bus, boat or monorail.
For more information about Disney transportation: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/planning-guides/in-depth-advice/resort-transportation/
I will add that renting a car for your trip makes getting around Disney World a snap. You can get from one place to the next much faster than Disney transportation. However, you then have the extra cost of renting a car and paying for gas.
“Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas” – Monorail
What else is there to do at Disney World besides the Theme Parks?
Besides the four major theme parks, there are also plenty of other things you can do:
There are two water parks to visit:
Downtown Disney: A place to shop, eat, see live stage entertainment, pin trade, see a movie, go bowling, see a concert at the House of Blues, see Cirque Du Soleil. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/downtown-disney/
Miniature Golf: Three Miniature Golf Courses. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/recreation/#/search=miniature golf/sort=relevance/
Golf: Four Golf Courses. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/recreation/#/golf/
Boating: Take a boat out on the seven seas lagoon or from one of the other various boating locations.
Be prepared and make plans ahead of time. The more time you take to plan and read about Disney the more you will enjoy your vacation. Be sure to plan for improvising. You can plan all you want but when you get there, there will be things you want to do that you did not plan. Allow yourself flexibility to improvise. Be sure to download the Disney World app to your Smartphone: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/my-disney-experience/mobile-apps/. This app is extremely helpful. It has everything from attractions wait times to making dining reservations.
“Come on everybody, here we gooooo” – Peter Pan, Peter Pan’s Flight
Let us know how your vacation went in the comment section below.
If you have any tips of your own please comment them to help others on their Disney World journey. Thank You for your feedback and have a magical day!