8 Things Most Walt Disney World First Timers Don’t Know

A Walt Disney World vacation can be a truly magical experience from start to finish, and guests spend months looking forward to that first glimpse of Cinderella Castle. To ensure that a Disney vacation is as perfect and worry free as possible, there are certain tricks and tips that veteran guests plan out before leaving home. First time guests often overlook these tips or don’t even know that they exist and they can pay for it by losing time, money, and a little sanity in the parks. First timers should definitely follow these simple tips to ensure that their Disney vacations are as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Here are eight things that most Walt Disney World first timers don’t know!


8. Book FastPasses –

FastPasses are some of the biggest time savers on a Walt Disney World vacation and first time guests might not realize how to effectively use them. FastPasses allow guests to make a reservation in advance for an attraction and return at their given time to ride with little to no wait time. Guests who are staying on property at a Disney Resort can book their FastPasses up to sixty day in advance and guests staying off property can book thirty days ahead of time. First time guests should be sure to book FastPasses as early as possible and for attractions which tend to have the longest wait times so that they can avoid standing in line for hours. Great FastPass attraction options are Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Slinky Dog Dash, Avatar Flight of Passage, Frozen Ever After, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Soarin’, and Space Mountain.

*Note! If you want to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, no FastPasses or Standby line is available for this attraction. You MUST join a “Boarding Group” via the My Disney Experience App to ride this one.

7. Make Dining Reservations –

Many first time guests don’t realize the importance of an Advanced Dining Reservation. Disney restaurants are incredibly popular and reservations for them can be made up to one hundred and eighty days in advance. First time guests should definitely book their dining as early as possible to avoid getting boxed out of a restaurant or losing lots of time waiting to be seated as a walk up party.

6. There’s A Resort For Everyone –

First time guests might not realize how easy and convenient it is to stay on property at a Disney Resort. The resorts are broken down into three categories with deluxe being the most expensive, value having the best rates, and moderate falling somewhere in the middle. Guests who are heading to Walt Disney World for the first time should spend time researching the resorts and deciding which category is right for their budget and personal preferences.

5. Free Transportation –

Guests who are on their first Disney vacation often don’t know that staying on property allows them access to free transportation! Guests are entitled to Disney’s Magical Express bus service which transports them and their luggage to and from the airport. In addition, Disney Resort guests can take advantage of complimentary transportation to and from the parks, water parks, and Disney Springs.

4. Which Attractions Are Always Busy –

First time guests have never experienced any of the attractions in Walt Disney World before, so they often times don’t know which ones tend to be the more popular and thus have longer wait times and which tend to be more underrated and less popular. By knowing ahead of time the general popularity and average wait time of attractions, first time guests can be sure to use their FastPasses efficiently and know which attractions are better off being visited early in the day to avoid crowds.


3. Line Up Early –

Walt Disney World parades and nighttime fireworks shows are super popular with guests and can easily become very crowded. First time guests often don’t realize how important it is to line up early for these events in order to ensure a great viewing spot. For example, guests should arrive at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic! at least an hour before show time to guarantee a seat. Guests should also scope out a spot on the curb along Main Street in the Magic Kingdom up to an hour before either parade is set to start.

2. Extra Magic Hours –

First time guests can easily look up park hours, but many don’t know that there are additional times when only Disney Resort guests are allowed in the park! Extra Magic Hours allow resort guests to enter into one park an hour early and stay in another up to three hours later than the general public. This extra time is a great opportunity for resort guests to experience popular attractions that generally are crowded with low wait times.

1. Single Rider Lines –

A great way to save time while in Walt Disney World that a lot of first time guests don’t know about is to take advantage of single rider lines! These lines are featured on the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Expedition Everest, and Test Track Presented By Chevrolet and they allow guests to experience the attractions with lower wait times than the normal line. Guests who opt for the single rider line get the same experience as other guests and can enjoy a much lower wait time so long as they don’t mind their party being split up.

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.