Your first trip really is a magical experience and these 5 First Time Disney World Tips will help save you time on lines instead of waiting around the park.
Living in Florida, we have access to several theme parks that are just within a few hours driving distance away. With the typically warm weather all year round, we love taking advantage of our location and visit the parks as often as we can, especially Disney World!
But as many parents know, Disney World can be a bit intimidating. There’s so much to plan and do, especially if you have young children and want to experience everything with them. And, if you love going on rides, but you’re not sure if your kids will love it as much as you do, that can make matters more stressful. Believe me, I get it – I’m a big kid at heart. I love theme parks and roller coasters too!
Although it kind of goes without saying, Disney is a real hot spot for families traveling on school breaks. No matter what time of year you go, it’s Disney World, so it’s crowded. But when school is out, it can get incredibly packed. This means that you could spend way too much time just waiting for things to happen. You’ll be waiting for family members to go on a ride, waiting to see if your pictures came out, waiting to see if you can eat with a character, and pretty much waiting around for everything.
So, I wanted to help you out, especially if this is your first special trip to Disney World. It really is a magical experience and these 5 First Time Disney World Tips will help save you time on lines instead of waiting around the park.
5 FIRST TIME DISNEY WORLD TIPS TO HELP YOU SAVE TIME ON LINES
1. My Disney Experience
Even if you don’t stay in an on-site hotel, this website will be your golden ticket to planning and viewing your whole trip. My Disney Experience enables you to easily view special events, showtimes and descriptions, park details and ride information, make and alter reservations for restaurants and character dining, book FastPass+ rides, and so much more. All of this magic happens with just a few clicks of a button.
Note: Disney allows you to book dining reservations six months in advance. It is highly recommended that you book early, especially if you want to eat with a Disney character. We loved having a Hawaiian breakfast with Lilo & Stitch at the Polynesian and no child can really resist pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse with mounds of unlimited bacon, right?!
2. Magic Bands
Magic Bands are by far the best invention yet! Not only can you personalize them by color and name, but adult bands can be linked to your debit or credit card. A special pin number is also attached just in case your bands get lost. They honestly make going through the park so much easier. Plus, all of the gift shops and food stops accept the Magic Band. This is pretty wonderful because now you don’t have to worry about carrying cash anymore.
But wait, there’s more. The Magic Band also serves as your park tickets, FastPass+, hotel room key, and even your Disney photo album. And, if you visit Disney World more than once in the same year, you can hold onto your Magic Bands and use them again. It was a bit strange leaving the hotel without my debit card or keys, but it was definitely more relaxing not trying to keep track of miscellaneous items in the park. This way, I was able to have fun on the rides instead.
Magic Bands can be personalized on My Disney Experience website or through any team member in guest services.
3. Memory Maker
Whether this is your first time at Disney or fifth time like ours, each visit is more magical than the last. This is why Memory Maker is worth every penny (and it does cost some pennies). With Memory Maker, every PhotoPass photo, attraction photo, or photos taken of the guests in your party will appear in your log in screen at My Disney Experience. Now, instead of having to search for your animated expressions on the tiny screens after a ride or wondering if the group photo in front of Cinderella’s Castle came out okay, you can just purchase Memory Maker. All of the photos are available for download and can be purchased in print for an additional cost.
We weren’t sure if the Advanced Price of $149.00 ($169 at the door) would be worth it. But for a family of five with three children under the age of six, having these posed photos in front of all of our favorite spots with characters was something really special. We didn’t have to worry about someone being left out to take the picture – we now have an entire album with multiple pictures of the whole family in it. And that’s something we can’t really put a price on, so I’m all for it!
Here’s a little secret for anyone that doesn’t live in Florida…it’s HOT here and standing in lines with kids in the heat can get old, really fast! Utilizing the FastPass+ is smart and FREE. You’re allowed to reserve a specific time for three rides or shows and get in through the quicker FastPass+ line. This is obviously very useful for the more popular rides so that you don’t waste your day waiting on the regular line. Another cool feature is that if you miss your reservation time, you can change it to a later one on the app. But, be careful – sometimes, the later time slots sell out and you won’t be able to get a slot for that ride. Again, this too is accessed through My Disney Experience.
5. Rider Switch
Oh, how I adore this! Our boys are very close in age, so I feel like we’ve had a baby or a toddler in tow for years. Since my husband and I are both roller coaster enthusiasts, this can be a bit challenging for us when we both want to go on a ride. Because, you know, someone has to watch the kids, right? So with neither of us wanting to miss out on the fun, the Rider Switch is something to take advantage of each trip.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Your whole family enters the line together. Then, when you get to the front of the line, one parent stays behind with the younger children while the other parent goes on the ride with the older children. Once their turn is over, the other parent is able to take their turn without losing their place in line. Brilliant! Just be sure to tell a guest member at the entrance of each ride that you’re using the Rider Switch so they can place you in the appropriate line.
One of the many great things about Disney World is that the “visitor experience” is really important to them, which is why they are continuously enhancing their website and mobile apps. They want people to be able to easily navigate all of the parks and experience all of the incredible things there is to do. And even though I still enjoy using the old-fashioned maps at the entrance of the parks, I really do love the technologically advanced version of Disney World too!
I love chatting about Disney World and Florida,
Want more articles about family-friendly Florida attractions?
- A Legoland Florida Review: What You Need To Know Before You Go
- 7 Fun Educational Experiences For Kids At Legoland Florida
- A Bluefoot Pirate Adventure: Set Sail On A Pirate Ship