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Top Experiences for First Timers at Walt Disney World

Planning your Walt Disney World vacation is a very exciting thing to do. If you’ve never been before you can only imagine what the magic is truly like. You will definitely be hooked and want to come back time and time again. Here are the top ten experiences for a first timer at Walt Disney World. (Note, this is assuming that your first trip is after things return to normal.)

10. Stacey 

If you’ve never been to Central Florida and stayed at a hotel you may wonder who Stacey is. There is a TV channel that gets you extremely excited about your vacation. It is all about Walt Disney World. It is hosted by Stacey Aswad, she’s been the face of the channel for almost 15 years! Stacey will show you around the Walt Disney World Resort and tell you all about the “must do’s”. It’s a great show to watch when you first arrive, and then have on in the background while you’re getting ready at your resort to hit the theme parks. Stacey will soon become a part of your family’s tradition.

9. Disney Resort

Staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel means you don’t have to leave the magic for your entire vacation. They have many different resorts to choose from, and you can find one that fits your budget. If you’re flying into Orlando International Airport you can also take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express, which will take you to your resort for no extra charge. If you’re planning on only being on Walt Disney World property there is that no need to rent a car, since there are buses and other transportation methods that will take you to wherever you need to go. 

Disney’s Art of Animation

8. Water Parks

NOTE: Disney’s Water Parks are currently closed during this period of phased reopening.

You will not be disappointed if you decide to add the water parks to your first Walt Disney World vacation. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are unlike any water park you’ve seen before. At Typhoon Lagoon you will feel like you are in a tropical paradise after a storm. Blizzard Beach is based on the story that a freak snowstorm hit Florida so they built a ski resort; but then the snow melted. They are two of the most creative and fun water parks anywhere. A visit is a great way to cool off on those hot summer Florida days.

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7. Open to Close 

If you’ve never been to the Walt Disney World theme parks then you’re going to want to get in as much fun as you can. Try to get to the park of choice as soon as it opens, and stay all the way until close. You still might not be able to get everything in, but try to fill your day with as many of the fun attractions as you can. There is something special about spending every second possible of the day in a Walt Disney World theme park, especially if you have never been before.

Credit: Disney

6. Disney Springs

If you plan to take the advice from the last point then remember it’s important to make sure that you don’t push yourself too hard. You’re on vacation, so you’re supposed to relax. Take a day off, away from the theme parks. A great thing to do on your off day is to check out Disney Springs. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and even live music by some local artists that will leave you amazed. Disney Springs is a great place to go for a walk and just chill.

5. Disney T-shirt

Everywhere you turn there will be another gift shop. Make sure that you don’t leave without getting at least one Disney T-shirt as a souvenir from your vacation. When you go back home you can wear it and remember all the fun you had. You will most likely get compliments about it from strangers who are reminiscing about their last Walt Disney World vacation as well.

4. Character Meals

NOTE: Several character meals are temporarily closed. For modified character dining experiences, you’ll want to check out Topolino’s Terrace for breakfast or Garden Grill Restaurant in EPCOT.

At Walt Disney World there are hundreds of different dining options to choose from. If it all possible, try to book at least one character meal. It’s a totally different experience. You will enjoy some amazing food with the most popular Disney characters as they come and greet you. A character meal is a great way to interact with some of your favorite characters in a more laid back setting. It is also a good way to introduce small children to characters in a less intimidating way.

Credit: Disney (Topolino’s)

3. Monorail

If you are visiting Walt Disney World for the first time you need to ride the Monorail at least once. You can take it from the Transportation & Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom, but also can take it to Epcot and some of the resorts. It’s a great way to go resort hopping, which is another fun thing to do on your relax day. The Monorail is a unique and fun way to get around Walt Disney World property. Another exciting transportation option that you will want to experience is the Disney Skyliner. Like the Monorail, it’s part transportation and part ride.

2. See Mickey

NOTE: Currently, Mickey is not available for meet and greets. You can catch him in character cavalcades at each of the four theme parks.

“It all started with a mouse”, so of course you have to make sure that you see the most famous Disney character, Mickey Mouse. He will be excited to see you. Mickey can be found in all four theme parks, and he makes appearances at several of the character meals. He is also one of the stars of the parade at the Magic Kingdom. Make sure you visit Mickey and some of his other close friends as well. 

Credit: Disney

1. Castle Picture

Right as you walk into the Magic Kingdom you will see Cinderella Castle staring at you. You need to make sure that you get that classic castle photo. There are PhotoPass photographers up and down Main Street, U.S.A., ready in the perfect spots to take your photo. A Cinderella Castle photo truly is a must do, and you will want to add a picture or two to Facebook and Instagram. Your first photo of Cinderella Castle is something that you will treasure for years to come.

About Tricia Kennedy

Tricia Kennedy lives in Orlando and loves having Walt Disney World pretty much in her backyard. She can be found at Disney several times a week. She will often stop by a park for an hour or two, but she also enjoys spending a whole day there with her friends. A lifelong Star Wars fan, Tricia especially enjoys Star Wars Weekends and has ridden Star Tours over 200 times. Tricia's other favorite thing is Disney's BoardWalk, where she can often be found taking a walk or watching the nightly street performers.