HELP! with our 1ST Trip to Disney World

HELP! with our 1ST Trip to Disney World

by Jessica Picou

Hi Dad,

We will be leaving for our 1ST TRIP TO DISNEY WORLD Sept 26- Oct 1. It will be my husband, myself and our 5 year old Princess.

What should I expect in general? Are we too old to enjoy it now (we are 28)? How will the crowds be that week also we have NO reservations to anywhere and we have the dining plan any advice?



Dad's Billy Swan* Answer


The 1ST TRIP TO DISNEY WORLD. Congratulations. It's all a bit overwhelming, isn't it. Let me start out by saying congratulations and thanks for stopping by Dad's not so humble abode. Go grab you a cup of your favorite beverage (you might want to pop some popcorn too, this is gonna be a long one) and let's talk.

First, what to expect - This one is tough. It's really hard to explain, and it's something you need to experience for yourself. There is something Magical about seeing Cinderella Castle as you walk down Main Street for the first time. There is something Magical about seeing a 6 foot tall Mickey Mouse. There is something Magical about riding Dumbo with a 5 year old. The whole place is always clean, beautifully groomed, the gardening is out of this world, the employees are friendly, it's just a very unique experience.

However, there are some things you should know that could dampen your enthusiasm during your vacation.

Disney World is a huge place. The Magic Kingdom is the smallest of the parks and you can walk 5 to 10 miles in one day in the Magic Kingdom. So ...

You can expect your feet to hurt.

Be prepared, bring well broken in, comfortable shoes, 2 pairs each would be best. Grab some moleskin for blisters. As soon as anyone complains about a spot on a foot, slap on some moleskin. Take Care of Your Feet!
Start preparing now. Start walking a few miles a day. That way when you get there, your feet will be used to walking

It will be hot in the afternoons. Yes, October 2 it will be hot during the day.

Get out of the heat for at least an hour.

Plan some rest time every afternoon. Go back to the hotel and swim. Go one of the resort marinas and rent a Sea Raycer. Have a sit down meal in the air conditioning and take your time. Every day, especially with a little one, must, YES MUST, have some down time. Even an afternoon nap would be good. Hey, when Mrs. Mom and I took the kids at age 32 we took an afternoon nap. We needed it.

During your vacation, at some point, Dad or Mom is going to get a little grumpy. Things won't go as planned, or something will break down, or The Princess will get fussy. I've heard it a million, OK, at least a hundred, times (I've even said it myself) - "We've come all this way ... we've spent all this money ... I took all my vacation time ... " ... we're going to keep going, I don't care how tired you are. Or something like that. Hey, if someone is tired, if someone gets grumpy, if somethings not right, take a time out. Find a place to sit down and relax for a few minutes. Check out Dad's ideas about keeping cool at Disney World.

The Best advice Dad can give you about expectations is to slow down, relax, enjoy the beauty of everything, don't worry about not seeing everything, see what you can Disney World will be there next year, love the little princess, love the hubby, let the hubby love you, don't sweat the small stuff, and in the event of an emergency, disregard the song below. (Just kidding.)

About whether you will enjoy it as 28 year olds, I'm fifty something and can't wait to go back, even without the kids (or maybe especially without the kids).

Whew, that's just question one, time for a refill. Slurp.

Now about your 1st trip to Disney World and crowds. This is an easy one, and I won't dwell too much on it. You can check out Dad's crowd pages and find ways to deal with crowds and what kids of crowds to expect. (Not much. Crowds will be very light for the most part.)

Dad's Disney World Crowd page

Now about Dining Reservations - this is where you need to do a little bit of research and work. If you have the regular Dining Plan with full service meals, you need to go on Disney's site as soon as possible and start making reservations for one sit down restaurant per day.

BUT FIRST - make a plan of where you want to be every day. Don't make reservations for lunch at a restaurant in Epcot if you are planning to be in the Animal Kingdom. (Unless that is part of your plan.) You'd be surprised how many guests miss reservations because they are in the wrong place.

You can make reservations online. I'd make this a high priority. You will be able to find some just because of the time you are visiting.

If you are on the Quick Service Dining Plan (staying at one of the Value Resorts) then relax. You don't need to make reservations. Just start picking out restaurants where you want to eat.

Dad's Disney World Restaurants page

Dad's Bottom Line

Jessica, you will have a great time at on your 1st Disney World Trip. Start having fun now.

The Billy Swan reference

*For those of you too young to remember, Billy Swan did a great song called "I can help" way back years ago. The lyrics went something like ...

If you have a problem,
Don't care what it is,
If you need a hand,
I can assure you of this,
I can help, I've got ...

(I'm thinking of making the song Dad's National Anthem, but maybe not the part about "if your child needs a Daddy" I've got enough problems with my own.)

Comments for HELP! with our 1ST Trip to Disney World

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Sep 01, 2010
Our 1st Visit
by: Anonymous

Just to add to Dad's always great advice. I still get chocked up when I think about the first time we walked through the gates at Magic Kingdom and our son (6 at the time) saw the Castle for the first time. The look on his face was worth every penny we spent for that trip.

I'm not sure this was part of the design or if we just were not paying close attention, but the entrance to the park is at the bottom of a hill so you can't see the castle until you come through the Magic Kingdom entrance and once you go through - there's beautiful main street and the castle.

We're still rookies, this year being our third trip but each year you learn a few more tricks and the Internet and sites like Dad's awesome site are a great resource.

We've had free dining on each of our trips and the first year we made only 2 reservation but they were for character meals which counts as 2 points each. Free dining will increase the crowds a bit so getting your table service reservation early is important. I started getting our reservation as soon as we could and I still did not get all the ones we wanted.

we're in our mid forties and we love going to WDW as much as our son. This years trip, he will turn 9 during our trip so we are all very excited for a great vacation. I'm sure you'll love it. Just do your homework and be as prepared as possible and you'll have a great vacation.

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