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10 things most Disney World first-timers don’t know – PREP028

10 things most Disney World first-timers don’t know – PREP028
10 things most Disney World first-timers don't know

Today, I have a list of 10 things most first-time visitors to Disney World don’t know before their trips, including some info to help explain each of these things.

I also have a quick tip about how to know when to book the flights for your trip, especially since prices have gone up the last couple of years so it’s hard to know when you’re getting a good deal.


These are notes from this episode. There’s much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.

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Link to previous post

The complete guide to Downtown Disney (Disney Springs)

10 things most first-timers don’t know

  1. How big Disney World is
  2. How long transportation takes
  3. There’s no gum sold at Disney World
  4. Hidden Mickeys are everywhere – provides info on that
  5. You can trade pins – this post has great tips on how that works
  6. Disney has a free My Disney Experience app
  7. Adults can ride, even if kids don’t want to – see my Rider Switch article for more details
  8. You can book your trip even before discounts are announced and apply the discount later
  9. 3 of the 4 parks open early and you should arrive 30-45 minutes early to all parks
  10. You will most likely suffer withdrawals after your trip

Quick tip of the day

When searching for airfare, use to see if now is a good time to buy

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Did you learn anything or would you like to add to the list?

Please feel free to share them in the comments.


Saturday 28th of June 2014

These are great tips! I think you hit it right on the head with the top 10 important tips for people new to Disney. I would like to add to the bit about searching for airfare and what not on bing. Make sure when you search for a if are or hotels for any vacation to use Chrome incognito mode. When you open chrome press ctrl+shift+n to enable this mode. It hides your history and cookies from visiting sites. A lot of these travel sites use your history against you to jack up the prices based on where you have been and even whether you have been to their site previously. It's pretty shady that they do this but they do so beware of this. Thanks again for the tips! I really enjoy your website! Keep up the great work :)


Friday 21st of March 2014

Shannon, thank you so much for your site! It's been very helpful. You may have already answers this but I couldn't find it and I'm new at the disney planning:). My parents are going with my husband and me and my girls for their first disney trip in June but they have they're own reservations. We've linked them on the my disney experience so when I start making our fast pass reservations, can I make them for my parents too or do they need to make their own? Thanks

Shannon Albert

Saturday 22nd of March 2014

Yes, you should be able to make reservations for everybody in the group.


Tuesday 4th of March 2014

I'm confused - I think I must be doing something wrong - I've heard the tip about checking bing to know when to book flights before (maybe here!) but I can never get it to tell me anything like that. I enter my city & mco & my dates, but it just shows me flight choices, nothing about what prices have done or are expected to do. What am I doing wrong?


Sunday 16th of March 2014

I've got a simular problem. If I type I get the normal bing site and were do I have to look to find the travel-thing? Help!


Tuesday 4th of March 2014

I was jus wondering which 3 of the 4 parks tend to open early?

Shannon Albert

Tuesday 4th of March 2014

Hi, Stephanie - The podcast has details on each of the parks and when to arrive. Just click play to hear the info.

Maria B

Monday 3rd of March 2014

Here's some other things to know (for first timers that I hope will heed the advice, as I had to learn the hard way):

1. Just because you have a dinner reservation for a certain time does not mean you will be seated as soon as you arrive (even if you are on time). You may still need to wait 10 - 15 minutes for a seat (sometimes more, depending on the place). However, sometimes if you arrive early, you will be seated before your scheduled reservation time. For example, we have arrived 30 minutes early and were seated 10 - 15 minutes before our reserved time. This is not always going to happen, but it could, which would make it worth it to get there early, if you can.

2. Table service meals can take a total of 1 hour to 90 minutes, depending on where you are eating, who is serving you, and how long it takes for you to get seated. Keeping this fact in mind, try not to plan too many table service meals in one day. We usually stick to one per day and do QS for our other two meals. This year, we are getting a kitchenette in a suite, so we are going to try eating breakfast in our room to save more time. IF you really want to do two table service meals, try breakfast and dinner - this is the least likely to cut into your touring if you schedule an early breakfast and a later dinner.

3. Do not plan meals in Downtown Disney, unless it's for a day where you don't have a ticket for a park OR you are taking a day off from touring the parks. It takes a lot of time to travel back and forth to Downtown Disney and I don't think there is a bus that goes from any park to Downtown Disney and back. So, you'd have to bus it to a hotel first and then to Downtown Disney. If you have a car, it might be easier.

4. I also wanted to reinforce what Shannon said above - going back and forth between parks (or between hotels and parks) is time consuming - whether you have your own vehicle or not! Make sure you plan for this. For example, it can take close to 20 minutes to walk from the far end of the World Showcase to the entrance of EPCOT. Then, it could take another 5 minutes to walk to a bus or your car. If you have children who are walking, this could take longer. If you are taking the bus, you may have to wait another 10 - 20 minutes for the bus to arrive. They could sit there for a while to fill up with more passengers (this happens during less crowded times; when it's crowded, they have no problem filling up the bus in one shot. The downside to this is that you may not get on the bus and have to wait another 10 or 15 minutes for another to get there). Then, figure on a 10 to 15 minute bus ride.