8 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE MY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!

8 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE MY FIRST TRIP TO WDW!

Planning a WDW vacation can be stressful, especially if you’ve never been to the resort/parks and don’t know exactly what to plan for. I thought I was completely ready for our first trip – I had our park backpacks packed and ready, I chose weather appropriate clothing, I made sure we had sunscreen and bandaids – but there were some things I had no idea about that I should have been prepared for.

Although my fiancé and I had the best time on our first WDW vacation (you can read all about it here: OUR FIRST DISNEY TRIP AS A COUPLE!), there are some things that I wish I had known before our trip! Had I known these things, it would have went for a much smoother vacation. So, here are 8 things that I wish I had known before our first trip that would have made for an even more magical vacation!

  1. The My Disney Experience app is a necessity. From booking Fastpass+ and ADR’s to checking wait times for rides, navigating your way around the park, finding out showtimes for parades and fireworks – the list goes on and on. I made the mistake of not having this app during my first visit to the park and found myself asking cast members question after question that could have easily been answered in the app! The app can be downloaded on all smartphones and is free, making it an absolute necessity!
  2. Take advantage of the Fastpass+ booking window. The wait times are very long – especially in peak seasons (which is basically all the time now). Guests staying on property can book their Fastpass+ reservations 60 days in advance, while other guests with tickets-only [and Passholders] can book up to 30 days in advance. Use those windows to your advantage and be sure to score your must-have rides! Some Fastpass+ reservation ideas can be found here: BEST RIDES FOR FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS!.
  3. Making Advance Dining Reservations (ADR’s) is necessary to get into a good table service restaurant for dinner. If you read all about our first Disney trip, you’ll know that we had a very hard time finding any table service restaurant to eat dinner at. Your family, your feet, and your body will thank you if you score reservations at an indoor, air conditioned “sit down” restaurant. Guests staying on property can book ADR’s up to 180 days in advance!
  4. Make sure you pack comfortable, supportive shoes. Our first trip, I made the mistake of wearing sandals to Magic Kingdom and ended the night with blisters covering my feet. Be sure that the shoes you pack for the park are comfortable, supportive, and broken in! Once again, your feet will thank you!
  5. Adding the Park Hopper option to your ticket isn’t really worth it. I’ve mentioned this time and time again in my blog and when giving advice to people heading to WDW for their magical vacations – the park hopper, in my opinion, is not worth it. If you’re staying on property for enough time that you can visit all four parks in four separate days, make it a point to do that. If you’re not staying long enough to visit all of the parks, find out which parks are your priority. It takes so much time out of your day to go from park to park, and it hinders your overall experience.
  6. Dining plans are totally worth it. For my fiancé and I, the DDP completely makes sense. We eat three meals a day, we tend to order the more expensive things on the menu, and it is very convenient for us. Had I known how much we would enjoy and appreciate the DDP, I would have added it on to every one of our WDW vacations! I made an entire blog about DDP’s (A BREAK DOWN OF WDW DINING PLANS!) which will break down into great detail what plan is best for you, if any at all!
  7. Be prepared to wait in line – for everythingSeriously – everything. From the monorails and busses, to baggage check and getting into the gates, to getting your photo’s taken by a Photopass member and more you will constantly be in a line. The more prepared you are for it, the less stressed out you will be! As I mentioned above, you can cut down the wait times for these lines by doing things such as heading to the parks at rope drop, making ADR’s, booking Fastpass+ reservations, and having a strategy.
  8. Amazon can ship things to your resort. This is something that I recently found out and never had the chance to take advantage of when I visited the WDW resort for vacations! You can have Amazon ship packages to your resort, and the resort will hold them until checking in. Then, they will bring the packages right to your room! This can come in handy if you forget a necessity at home, but a good friend recently used it to order an inexpensive stroller for her child! This way, she didn’t have to pack her bulky stroller, and planned to donate it to a charity before she left. The possibilities are endless!

As you can see, there are still useful tips and tricks that even I am learning about as time goes on. There will never be a straightforward way to book the perfect vacation, but knowing some of these things ahead of time will only help you in the end!

There you have it! 8 things I wish I knew before my first trip to WDW! Leave a comment below telling me something you wish you’d have known before your first visit that would have made things a little smoother! Also, be sure to subscribe to our blog so you’re notified of any new posts. Thanks for reading, see ya real soon 🙂

BEST RIDES FOR FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS!

BEST RIDES FOR FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS!

If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you are well aware that the wait times for popular attractions can be off-putting. For beloved attractions such as Peter Pan in Magic Kingdom, Soarin’ in Epcot, Avatar: Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, and Rockin’ Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios, you can expect to wait well over an hour in the stand-by queue. This is why Fastpass+ reservations are key when planning for your stay!

For those of you who are unaware, Fastpass+ is a reservation for a ride that you can book for you and your party. These reservations basically “hold” your place in line within an hour long window, and when you arrive for your reservation you basically walk right on to the attraction. The service itself is free, but is very limited.

The terms and conditions for this feature are as followed: 1. Each guest is allotted 3 Fastpass+ reservations per day within the same park. 2. These reservations can begin to be reserved 30 days in advance or 60 days in advance with a hotel reservation. 3. The reservations can be made within your My Disney Experience app or on Disney World’s website.

Since you are only able to book 3 Fastpass+ reservations in advance per day, it is important to be sure that you are choosing the rides that not only fit your interest, but that are worth wasting 1 of the 3 reservations on. Below, I am going to outline what I feel are the top three attractions worth reserving in each of the four theme parks, with a few honorable mentions. I would like to state that I am choosing based on crowd popularity as well as my own interests! Let’s get started:

Magic Kingdom

Luckily in MK, there aren’t any specifications on tiered rides (I will get into that in the later parks), so as long as you book as early in advance as you can, you will be able to book any attraction you’d like as long as it’s still available. In MK, I use my Fastpass+ reservations on:

  • Space Mountain (average wait time: 65 minutes)
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (average wait time: 110 minutes)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight (average wait time: 90 minutes)

Some honorable mentions that are also worth booking Fastpass+ reservations include: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. Also, when the new Tron coaster opens, I am sure that will take one of my top three spots!

Epcot

Unlike MK, Epcot has tiered attractions. Tier 1 attractions are those that are most popular (such as Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track), while tier 2 attractions are those which usually have less of a wait time. When using Fastpass+ in this park as well as the AK and HS, you are only able to book one tier 1 attraction with FP+, and the other two reservations can be utilized on tier 2. So, my choices for Epcot would be:

Tier 1: 

  • Soarin’ (average wait time: 75 minutes)

Tier 2: 

  • Mission Space
  • Spaceship Earth

Honorable mentions in the tier 1 category that I would choose if I were unable to book Soarin’ would be Frozen Ever After or Test Track. To be completely honest, I do not have any honorable mentions for tier 2 rides – I usually don’t even utilize all 3 FP+ reservations in Epcot, and instead just book my tier 1 choice!

Animal Kingdom

As I mentioned above, AK is also  on a tiered ride system. There are two attractions to choose from in the tier 1 category, and those are both of the attractions in Pandora. Other than that, all other attractions are tier 2 in AK and are able to be booked together. My AK choices for FP+ are:

Tier 1:

  • Avatar: Flight of Passage (average wait time: 120 minutes)

Tier 2:

  • Kilimanjaro Safari (average wait time: 80 minutes)
  • Expedition Everest (average wait time: 90 minutes)

As far as honorable mentions, I do not have one for tier 1 attractions. In tier 2, however, it would go to Dinosaur.

Hollywood Studios

HS is the third land using a tiered attraction system. Currently, all tier 1 attractions are the three located in Toy Story Land. However, this is something to expect to change when Galaxy’s Edge opens in 2019. My choices for HS are:

Tier 1:

  • Slinky Dog Dash (average wait time: 90 minutes)

Tier 2

  • Tower of Terror (average wait time: 45 minutes)
  • Rockin’ Rollercoaster (average wait time: 110 minutes)

I would have to say that any other attraction [that you can actually ride] in HS is worth an honorable mention. However, do not waste your FP+ reservations on shows in this theme park! You will be able to see and experience the shows regardless of having a FP+ reservation. Use FP+ to get more out of your day by cutting down your wait for attractions!

There you have it – the attractions I feel are well worth FP+ reservations. To wrap up, here are a few pro-tips when planning your FP+ reservations:

  • Take advantage of the open windows, and book as far in advance as possible! I was always booking my FP+ reservations first thing in the morning when the 60 day window opened and still struggled to get some of my favorite attractions.
  • Book your FP+ reservations early in the day. Once you use all three, you can start to book FP+ reservations using the app one at a time. This is the best way to get the most out of your day!
  • You can arrive five minutes earlier or five minutes later than your hour window and still go on the attraction. They give you a grace period both ways!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Be sure to like this post and subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already. Thanks for reading 🙂