Top 10 Walt Disney World First Timer Mistakes

Walt Disney World is the perfect vacation for any guest, whether it is their first visit or their hundredth. With so many unique experiences and attractions, a Disney vacation has something for everyone. Guests who book a Disney vacation want to get the most out of every moment while they are in the parks, and there are several things that can be done to ensure that their trip runs smoothly. Many Walt Disney World first timers unfortunately don’t know some of the things that can be done ahead of time and while on vacation to make time in Disney more enjoyable. These things can end up saving first timers lots of money, time, energy, and frustration, making each day in Disney as magical as can be. Here are the top ten Walt Disney World first timer mistakes.


10. Choosing the Wrong Resort –

Walt Disney World is home to over twenty different resorts, each with their own unique themes, accommodations, and amenities. Guests who choose the wrong resort can end up somewhere where they do not feel comfortable, making their trip stressful. First timers can avoid choosing the wrong resort by doing some research before booking. Walt Disney World resorts are broken down into three price categories with Deluxe being the most expensive, Value being the most reasonable, and Moderate falling somewhere in between. First time guests should know what their budget is and decide on a category first, then choose from the several resorts that fall under that category. Guests should also be aware about the location, size, and feature of each resort before deciding which one is right for their Disney vacation.

9. Not Making Dining Reservations –

One of the biggest mistakes that first time Disney guests make is not booking dining reservations far ahead of time. Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) can be booked up to one hundred and eighty days in advance and are absolutely necessary for popular dining locations. Guests who don’t make dining reservations can end up being unable to enjoy a particular restaurant because it is fully booked or might end up wasting lots of time waiting to be seated as a walk in reservation. Making dining reservations as far in advance as possible ensures that first time guests will enjoy every meal with no stress. No dining reservations? Be sure to use the Mobile Food and Beverage Ordering option on your My Disney Experience App which is available at multiple Quick Service locations throughout Disney World property. Save yourself time and energy!

8. Not Booking FastPasses –

One of the biggest ways to save time in Walt Disney World is to take advantage of the free FastPass system. FastPasses are basically reservations that guests can make for popular attractions which allow them to return at a designated time and experience the attraction with little to no wait time. Guests who are staying on property at a Walt Disney World Resort can book their FastPasses sixty days in advance and guests who are staying off property can book thirty days in advance. First time guests often make the mistake of either not booking FastPasses or booking them for attractions which generally have low wait times. By saving FastPasses for more popular attractions with high wait times, guests ensure that they save lots of time that otherwise would have been spent waiting on line for the same experience.

7. Not Knowing Where Things Are –

A big first time guest mistake is not taking the time before leaving home to learn where things are located. Guests should know the general layout of their resort and where important things like the bus stop, front desk, concierge, pool, and dining options are located. Guests should also take the time to learn where specific attractions, dining options, and areas are found in each of the theme parks. This will save guests a ton of time once on vacation as they don’t need to continually stop and ask for directions, consult a map, or wander around trying to find a particular place.


6. Not Knowing What Attractions Are –

First time guests also often make the mistake of not learning about what each attraction in the parks is like. Guests who are traveling with small children definitely should be aware of the intensity of attractions to avoid either having their child not be tall enough to ride or be terrified from a too intense experience. Alternately, guests who are traveling with a group of adults might not necessarily want to spend time experiencing attractions which are more family friendly. Knowing ahead of time what each attraction entails is a great way to avoid wasting time while in the parks.

5. Not Knowing How To Get Around –

Many first time guests lose a lot of time while on vacation by not knowing how to get around in Walt Disney World. Guests who are staying on property are treated to complimentary transportation which can include monorails, buses, ferries, and boats. By knowing the easiest way to get from one location to another, guests can save a ton of time that would have otherwise been wasted adding in extra destinations or trying to figure out how to get somewhere.

4. Not Arriving For Rope Drop –

First time guests often make the mistake of not arriving to the parks for rope drop. Guests who arrive each morning for rope drop get to the parks before they officially open to the public. Often times guests are treated to a show welcoming them for the day and hinting of the adventures that are to come. By arriving for rope drop, guests also ensure that they are some of the first people inside of the parks, allowing them to experience few crowds, quiet paths, and low wait times.

3. Not Stopping To Relax –

A mistake that many first timers make is trying to see everything on one trip. Walt Disney World is so massive and filled with so many amazing experiences that it simply isn’t possible to see it all in one go. First time guests who try their best to see as much as possible end up exhausted, burned out, and cranky which results in them not enjoying their trip. By accepting that it isn’t possible to see it all, guests can feel comfortable scheduling in some time each day to return to their resort and relax. Spending some time napping or sitting by the pool ensures that guests will remain relaxed, keep their energy up, and continue to enjoy their Disney vacation.

2. Skipping Entertainment –

Some of the best experiences in Walt Disney World are the parades and fireworks shows. First time guests might not realize how amazing these shows are or might end up leaving the park before they begin to avoid crowds. This is a huge mistake! Parades like the Festival of Fantasy Parade and fireworks shows like Happily Ever After, Epcot Forever, and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular are some of the most amazing experiences on a Disney vacation and should not be skipped.

1. Skipping Classic Attractions –

First time guests often make the mistake of only focusing on popular or thrilling attractions while enjoying their Disney vacations. While those attractions are lots of fun, guests are then missing out on some of the more classic attractions which have a magic of their own. Classic attractions that guests should definitely not skip include Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, Living with the Land, and the Country Bear Jamboree. Guests who make time to check out these classics will be glad that they did!

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.