1St Time Trip to Disney World

Updated on March 22, 2008
S.C. asks from Arlington, TX
23 answers

My husband and I have both never been to Disney World/Land. We have booked a trip to Disney World for this summer in June. We are very excited! Our son loves Mickey Mouse, so we have already checked into some character dining with Mickey. Does anyone have any advice for us? Is there an event or attraction that we shouldn't miss?

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So What Happened?

Oh my gosh! We just got back from Disney World and it was unbelievable!! We are already discussing our next trip back to WDW! We had a wonderful time! Our son had a blast! My husband and I had a terrific time ourselves! We really enjoyed seeing our son have so much fun....seeing the characters and riding the rides. Thanks for all of your advice and recommendations! I can't wait to go back! What a wonderful place!

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J.D.

answers from Dallas on

This site: http://www.disboards.com Has a wealth of information. We have been to WDW 3 times in the past 5 yrs, we LOVE it! If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me. Have a great time!

J.
[email protected]____.com
http://www.cookielee.biz/jenniferdockery

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K.L.

answers from Dallas on

Hi Shelley, we just got back and the best thing we ever did was switch hotels to the Nichelodeon hotel, they have themed rooms and an awesome waterpark type swimming pool area, Also the characters come out (spongebob, little bill etc.) That is also where they have their Nick shows, so we went to the 7:30 pm and 9:00 pm shows where children participate and children and parents alike had fun. Hope you have a great time.

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S.W.

answers from Dallas on

There are lots of great things to see at Disney World, so it's hard to summarize what you shouldn't miss. If your son loves Mickey, then definitely book your character meal 90 days in advance (be sure to get up early that morning and call to make your reservation as soon as the reservation lines open. Some character meals book within 45 minutes!)

A great way to see Mickey is to be at the Magic Kingdom when it opens. Mickey rides in on the train with other Disney characters to welcome you and open the park. The parades at the various parks are also great ways to see Mickey (especially at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom).

There are lots of good Disney guidebooks out there. I prefer PassPorters for great tips. There are also great "unofficial" websites out there, like www.allears.net. June is a good time to go. My husband and I went in June a few years ago for our honeymoon and it wasn't terribly crowded. Keep in mind that it can get very hot in the afternoon and if your son takes a nap in the afternoon, I would plan on getting an early start to your day, then head back to your hotel for an afternoon nap and then head back out again for the evening. (That's assuming you're staying at a Disney Resort and you have the option that allows you to come and go from the parks).

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S.H.

answers from Dallas on

We took our four-year-old twins for the first time last October, and it was great. I think the biggest thing we did was plan (and we did it!) to go back to our hotel every single day after lunch and nap (we all napped) before returning to a park for a character dinner or rides or shows or whatever. We were refreshed and ready to go, and missed some of the busiest park hours that way. In October, that was easy. In June, you will also miss some of the hottest part of the day, and you can go swimming then if you like.

We also bought the unofficial guide to DisneyWorld and its companion book for going with kids. (There's also a website, TouringPlans.com, that can help with crowd calendars and recommendations on avoiding crowds if that is important to you). Those also helped a lot with gauging how scary things would be (our boys are no-fireworks, no-thunder, no scary stuff). By avoiding the things we knew would be a problem, we had a much better time. We went each day with a short list of "must see" things and then had time to re-do things they loved.

Whatever you do, get enough sleep and eat enough decent food. It makes such a difference when you're not exhausted and grumpy. That sounds so simple, but we saw so many people just snapping at each other and kids crying, and you could tell why.

There are lots of places to meet the characters, which is great. Be sure to use the PhotoPass service, as they get some really nice shots of the whole family together, and you can review them online after you get home. HAVE FUN! We're going back in September and cannot wait.

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B.P.

answers from Dallas on

We took both of our sons for their birthdays 2 years ago. The Crystal Pavilion is in the Magic Kingdom and they have a character dinner that is nice(buffet style) and the Wild Kingdom area has a breakfast with the characters wandering around so the kids can get autographs. This is cute! All of the characters can sign the autograph books that the parks sell. The people in costumes can be overwhelming in person to a little guy but they really enjoyed looking back at the autographs and remembering things.

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T.W.

answers from Dallas on

Hi S.,
Disney World is great! We went a few years ago and had a blast. My daughter is 13 and would love to go back even now. You must attend the parade and lights show at the end of the day at Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is the best for the smaller kiddos. Then you guys must go to Universal Studios. It is fun for the whole family. I think I want to go back now that I think of it. lol Well you guys have a great time and I am sure your son will love it. He may get tired though, there is lots to do and see. You will be taking him back in a few years I promise!

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H.S.

answers from Dallas on

I used to live in Orlando and had annual passes to the Disney parks until I moved back to Texas. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding your visit to the parks, dining or lodging in the area.
When you arrive at the Magic Kingdom, you'll find yourself on Mainstreet USA. There will be an area on your left where Mickey and Minnie make appearances for photos with the kiddos. (There is also an area in Mickey's ToonTowne, convenient to Fantasyland)
Speaking of Fantasyland...this is probably where you'll be spending quite a bit of time. The rides in this area are VERY toddler friendly (the teacups, Dumbo's flying elephants, Peterpan's flight, It's a Small World,etc. are all back here- there's also a great hat shop to pick up a pair of ears for you son too)
One of the most magical events at the Magic Kingdom is the nighttime parade and fireworks extravaganza. Watching Tinkerbell fly down from the top of the castle while waving her wand and "lighting" the sky with fireworks is a truly special moment not to be missed.
The fireworks at Epcot are also amazing.
Let me know if you have ANY questions or if I can help.

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E.W.

answers from Dallas on

Our family went to Disney World for the first time when my youngest daughter was only 4 and she is now 15. My oldest daughter was in second grade and is now in college. They still to this day, talk about that trip and how happy it made them. Try to do everything you can. Be sure to go to the Crystal Palace for dinner. This is where alot of characters visit and they will come to your table and it is just great fun. Also, be sure to buy an autograph book and have all the characters you see, sign it. This will be a cherished keepsake. My girls still look at theirs. Going to Disney World is just something that is almost surreal. It is the most awesome experience and will impress your hearts forever. I cried when I saw Mickey Mouse and I am a grown woman. Oh, Oh, PLEASE, don't forget the laser light show down Main St. at the end of the day. That is THE BEST. You will leave with a song in your heart. I promise. Have a marvelous time and let us all know how it went when you get back. (P.S. I work for Everman ISD, so teachre to teacher, this will be a great trip.)

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R.T.

answers from Dallas on

You and your family are going to love Disney World in Florida. We spent a week there last summer. You are able to bring a backpack into the park. I filled it up with snacks, and frozen bottled water. The food and drinks are expensive. Also, bring a held hand fan that sprays water because it can be so hot. Bring your own small raincoats because it does rain alot and the raincoats at the park are expensive.

Watch the times when Disney Characters come out to sign autographs and try to plan to be at those locations on time. Buy all of your souvenirs at Wal mart. They have a huge, huge section of Disney souvenirs and t-shirts at inexpensive prices. Make to sure to bring extra batteries for the camera and make to sure its charged.

You would need to buy a two day pass because their is so much to see and do. You guys are going to have a blast!

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H.G.

answers from Dallas on

You are going to have so much fun!! I absolutely love going to WDW. My husband and I went there way before we had children. Now we love going even more because of how much the kids enjoy it. We've been a couple times with our kids. My favorite part is watching how excited they get about being there!! We just got back from a trip in Feb. There are tons of things to see and do, but the one thing that I don't miss are the parades. My children loved watching the parades. They even had several character encounters during the parades. Captain Hook came right up and shook my 2 yr old's hand. That is all she talked about the rest of the trip!!

Characater dining is a wonderful also!! It's a good chance for autographs and pictures. Another good place to meet the characters is in Magic Kingdom in Mickey's Toontown and at Camp Mickey-Minnie in Animal Kingdom.

One thing I would recommend is the Disney Dinning Plan. You definitely get your money's worth. You get a ton of food in the plan. It also gives you a chance to eat somewhere that you might not have because of the price of the food.

If you want to know more about our trip, I'd be happy to share with you!! Have a great time!!

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K.B.

answers from Dallas on

We've been to DW about 5-6 times. We've also been on the Disney Cruise. I would definitely recommend the cruise once your son is 3 and potty trained. As for DW, most of the Disney hotels have special events planned for kids. At Magic Kingdom there's a barber shop to the left right before you start down Main Street. Most people don't know you can get your hair cut there. It's alot of fun for kids, especially boys who can get colored gel in their hair. If you get the gel they also put a Mickey icon on the back of their head which is alot of fun. It's the same you would pay here at home $14 for boys. It's a typical barber shop so I wouldn't recommend it for women who are wanting a cut and style. While you're there check out the Disney Vacation Club. It's like a timeshare, but alot better. You're not limited to Disney property or any specific week of the year. We've been members since 2001 and love it.

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R.W.

answers from Dallas on

Disney World is lots of fun. I took my daughter twice, though I waited until she was a bit older, she was 4 the first time we went, then we turned around and went again the very next year. At 2, be sure to not overwhelm your son with the characters and be prepared for him to be scared of them if he has not had any direct exposure to characters. My child was scared of characters at his age, but when we went when she was 4, she did great and went up to them. He may not be, but if you keep in mind he may be it will help. You have already booked your trip. My advice would have been take him when he gets older for a chance for him to remember it, but you can always go back again when he is older. Definately visit Animal Kingdom, which is kind of zoo like.

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J.B.

answers from Dallas on

A few things. My husband & I went to Disneyworld 3x BEFORE we had kids b/c we just wanted a warm, fun vacation. We've also been to Disneyland a couple of times.

First, purchase the Birnbaums's (maybe mispelled but Barnes & Noble will know)book for Disneyworld/land, whichever one you are going to. It's the "guide" book for the entire place. We did that as grown adults.

It told us things like to start at the back of the park when the gates open as there will not be any lines!!! Big deal especially w/ kids on a limited time schedule.

Secondly, I would get a good size backpack for BOTH you & your husband. Although character dining is fine, we didn't spend a lot of time in the restaurants. We brought lunchable type foods & found a nice area & ate several snacks throughout the day. Bring your own water. Who wants to pay $4+ for a bottled water? Have one backpack for food & the other for cameras, hats, SUNTAN lotion, souvinours (sp).

Third, purchase a 3 or 4 day hopper ticket. This will allow you to go to Magic Kingdom in the morning for the character breakfasts & then catch the monorail over to Epcot for the night laser & fireworks show. If you only had one park pass per day, you couldn't do this.

Depending on your son's age, he might nap while you visited Epcot as it's mainly a walk around place but each country represented will have a different food type. They also have some characters out at various times.

We didn't ever go in the summer so I can't tell you about the water parks except I'm sure they are awesome.

Hope these tips help. BUY THE BOOK! It's a must.

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J.H.

answers from Dallas on

Howdy S.!
My husband and I went on our honeymoon. We found park hopper passes were great! Fast pass for rides are always a help when you have kids. Also breakfast with Disney characters in Magic Kingdom are a must, and need advance reservations. The Polynesian Lua also is fun need reservations as well. Downtown Disney was also fun with lots of souveneir shops. Sometimes special guests where you can get autographs are listed on marquees in the park. Enjoy your time! Take Care and God Bless, J.

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T.E.

answers from Lakeland on

Hello! I live down the road from Disney World and we have been there numerous times with small children. The best kept secret is the Baby Center which is available in each of the 4 theme parks. They have awesome changing stations, little toilets and just a place to hang out with small children for a while. There are usually TV's with cartoons and high chairs as well. The best thing is lots of air conditioning when it is hot. My favorite of all the parks is the Philharmagic movie at Magic Kingdom. It will be loved by all. Good luck!

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B.B.

answers from Dallas on

I have a book called The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2005. I know the book is 3 yrs old but it can give you a lot of great ideas on how to see everything that you want to see. I can mail it to you if you want or you can find one at Half Price Books, thats where I got mine. Are you staying on property? We stayed off property and it was not that big of a deal. Just let me know if you want the book. I know you will have a wonderful time. We went in June also, so plan to be hot and plan for at least 2 days of rain. It always rains at least 2 days a week or more during the month of June. We also took a lot of items from home to help reduce the cost of food on the trip. Just let me know if you want more info on what we did.I hope this helps.

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S.A.

answers from Dallas on

Please be warned: it will be unbearably hot and humid and the lines will be incredibly long, even in the kiddie areas! Take plenty of sunscreen and hats and water and things to do while you stand in line for an hour or more for a 60 second ride. We got to the point where one of us would stand in line while the other walked our child around in the stroller, viewing the park. The most exciting rides for our little one were Dumbo and Peter Pan (these had to be done more than once)

You are doing the right thing planning character breakfasts/meals, do as many things like that as you can. There was a Winnie the Pooh meal when we were there which also thrilled mine. We also stayed at a theme in-park hotel and that really helped. We needed that pool area to cool down and refresh before venturing out again.

Good Luck and have fun (so don't get sunburn the first day!)

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B.T.

answers from Dallas on

I lived in Orlando for many years and have been to the parks more often than I can tell you. First of all, I would say that MANY people work so hard to see everything, that they take the fun out of the experience. A two year old can only handle so much. (Look around while you are there and you will see a lot of crying, exhausted kids and stressed out parents). Just pick a few things that you know will appeal to your son and make sure you do those first and then just enjoy the atmosphere. Take the time to notice the environment- the landscaping, the birds and animals that are everywhere.
Secondly, it is hot and humid there, so dress accordingly and bring a couple of bottles of water to save yourself some money -and a few little snacks. They have several places that kids can run around in these areas with shooting water (like a water fountain). So maybe bring a change of clothes so he can run around and get wet with other kids. Its nice to let them run free once in awhile (lots of stroller time and waiting in lines is hard for a toddler).
The advice on the baby stations was great. A quiet, air-conditioned area to change diapers or just chill out for a few minutes.
Magic Kingdom is the most "toddler-friendly", but Epcot is great too. Just remember that you can't see it all and you will stress out if you try! Have fun and if you ever get a chance to go again- don't go in the summer or during Christmas Break or Spring Break. Every other time is so much more pleasant.

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L.W.

answers from Dallas on

We did the trip with my Daughter when she was two! Her Favorite character in the world was minnie mouse and pooh bear! She was terrified of both! They scared her and she would sream hysterically whenthey came near.
One day we took a break and made a day at Universal Studios...Barney Land was there so we took a chance and went over there...we had to stay for hours cause she couldn't get enough of them...
My point is...if your child is scared, have other options available...other disney parks have more "disney channel" characters that your child might be more comfortable with other than mickey

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B.F.

answers from Dallas on

You will have lots of fun. I/we have been multiple times with and without kids. I grew up on the east coast and have been going since I was about 6 when there was only the Magic Kingdom and have seen it grown. I would suggest either checking out or buying a travel book. I am not sure if you have hopper passes or if you are just doing the Magic Kingdom. In any case their is a guide for doing Disney with kids and it is great. WDW can be very overwhelming. The guide breaks down the parks with "attractions not to miss by age levels." At Magic Kindom the Winnie the Pooh ride is really cute for young ones, but the lines get very long quickly. You should also read the book to learn about their "fast pass" system. The book also explains a lot of other behind the scenes information or what times of day are better than others. There are lots of adult rides as well. If you are not going with another couple and want to ride the things like Space Mountain Disney does a thing (or at least they did) where you and your husband get in line with your son and then one rides and stays back and then you hand off your son and the other person gets to ride. Again, the guidebooks explain all of this better.

Other rides for young ones at Magic Kingdom are Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean (my daughter was not afraid), Dumbo. If he likes Disney Playhouse there is a cute show at MGM and that is also where you will find a lot of the characters for the preschoolers. There is not a lot at Epcot for younger ones. Animal Kingdom has a safari type attraction and an awesome roller coaster for adults (if you like that). Both water parks have a kids areas as well and are lots of fun.

But, I would have to say that my biggest bit of advice is to get a guide and bring it with you! I think you will be amazed at how BIG Walt Disney World is. If you are staying on site their transportation system is awesome. There is really no need for a car if you are in one of their resort hotels. Disney truly has vacations down to a great system. You can take the buses to their downtown Disney area where there is shopping and dining. OH-bring lots of money! It is hard not to want Mickey ears and a t-shirt, etc, etc, etc. Of course, you have to eat as well.

Have fun and take lots of pictures. Feel free to email me with any questions.

D.G.

answers from Nashville on

www.Allears.net- for sure. Big thumbs up for the Disney Dining Plans. And SKIP the Animal Kingdom...a crowded, over-glorified zoo. Don't waste your precious time. With a two year old, I'd really concentrate on the Magic Kingdom. Enjoy!!!

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K.C.

answers from Dallas on

I start with a spreadsheet... listing the days we are going to be gone, what parks we want to go to on which days & the hours the parks are open, where we plan to eat breakfast lunch & dinner & reservation numbers, what parades/shows we want to see and what times. It keeps things organized so we can go to the park and absorb our selves in everything each day. The spreadsheet works as our brain so we don't miss anything.

For autographs, i actually like to get a flat little book to carry (for $1.50 at Hobby Lobby) and get a big pen at the park so the characters can hold it. I make each child a 8x8 scrapbook. I also make a 12x12 family scrapbook.

For spending money, I go the disney store ahead of the trip and buy each family member a gift card to use at the parks. It keeps us from having to spend money at the park...it is paid for ahead of time. I let our kids earn disney dollars before the trip to have at the park, too. Take a little cash, but not a lot this way ;o)

For characters, you can eat at some of the character dining and meet a lot of the characters all at once and get their autographs. I look at our dining and make sure for character dining, we are doing different characters...so we don't do the same ones with the dining.

Parks...there is the most at Magic Kingdom for little ones. All the parks are great. Animal Kingdom, there are very few rides for little ones - so I suggest not more than one day there. You can walk to MGM from EPCOT (that is quicker than the boat).

Clothing - I try to take one good pair of comfortable walking shoes per person so I am not packing a lot. Also, coordinating clothes for where you are going is also cute. You can be creative (we took our son in a tigger shirt and my daughter in a leopard print skirt when we went to animal kingdom and we took them in Peter Pan and Tinkerbell when we met the princesses and went to Fantasyland to ride the Peter Pan ride). You can come up with some cute things.

Enjoy your time.

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