First Time Disney Tips to Make You Feel Like a Pro in the Parks

First Time Disney Tips to Make You Feel Like a Pro in the Parks

Going on your first Walt Disney World trip and not really sure where to start? Or maybe you’ve been to Walt Disney World before but were confused the whole time. With so many sources of information out there a vacation to Disney can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re faced with articles giving you hundreds of tips. We get it. We’ve been there! So instead of the best 101 tips list, here’s the TOP 6 Disney First Time Beginner Tips to help you feel like you’ve gone from zero to hero, just like that!summer in walt disney world, disney summer, products for the heat in summer, summer products

We visit Walt Disney World a lot. Probably way more than we should. And we see people making a lot of frustrating mistakes that could have been avoided! From not packing a water bottle, to literally sweltering in the heat, to blisters and bad shoes, there are a bunch of things that can ruin your Disney Vacation. Add in the fact that Disney Ride strategies are necessary to keep you out of lines all day, and planning your food ahead of time, will save countless hours and arguments about where to your next dinner.  We want to help you avoid making these same mistakes with some amazing Disney Beginner Tips. And help you feel like you’ve won the day at Disney.

Know How to Get Through Disney Security Like a Pro!

Probably the most common mistake we see is during the security check process at Walt Disney World. We promise it’s not as painful as it looks! Get these basics down and you’ll whiz through the security line with no problem. Here’s what you need to know to get through security like a pro! 

  1. Know what you can and cannot bring in. Disney security will take things from you that are not allowed inside the Parks, so know the rules before you go. Check out the prohibited items list to be sure you’re not breaking rules. Shoe skates, larger strollers, and selfie sticks are some of the basics not allowed.
  2. Be prepared to go through the metal detectors. This means you will have to read the signs as you approach the signs for what can’t be put through he detector. Phones, batteries, and some umbrellas may all need to be set on the table. And as always, certain things need to be held out in front of you. The security team will be shouting these things as you pass. So while it may feel like you’re in the army with a drill sergeant nearby… it’s all for safety’s sake. We have a feeling the Disney security team thwarts more issues than the TSA, so honor the rules. 
  3. Hold your bag at your chest level when you walk through the detector. You will be told this multiple times, and may have to go back through if your bag isn’t scanned properly. 

Understand Disney’s Transportation Options

Another essential Disney First Time Tip is knowing how the Disney Complimentary Transportation works. One of the many benefits of staying on property at Walt Disney World is that you can remain in what’s often referred to as, the Disney Bubble. You don’t need a car, and you don’t need to go off property. You can stay in the Disney bubble and forget about real life for as long as you want. Disney transportation is what makes it possible. But it’s important to understand how the transportation works

Disney Bus Transportation

  1. Firstly, get familiar with the buses. The buses are the main mode of transport at Disney. They go from resorts to the Parks and back again. They generally do not go from resort to resort or Park to Park. There is a bus directory at each Park that will tell you what bus stop to go to in order to get to your final destination. 
  2. If you’re traveling with a stroller, know that strollers must be folded up before getting on the bus. Sometimes being prepared for little things like this can make a big difference!

Monorail Transportation

Disney World has a monorail that connects three resorts and the TTC… all with the goal of getting people to Magic Kingdom Park. If you’re driving, you will park in one of the main parking lots at the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center). There are three monorail loops.

      1. One that goes from the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center) to Epcot,
      2. One traveling from the TTC to Magic Kingdom
      3. The Resort Monorail loop. The Resort monorail loop will take you to Magic Kingdom, The Contemporary Resort, the TTC, the Polynesian Resort and the Grand Floridian, in that order specifically. And then it continues to loop. It will not take you to any other resorts or any other Parks. 

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Boat Transportation

There are also several boats at Walt Disney World that allow for easy transportation between the parks and resorts. Here is the lineup of the Boats at Disney that can help you stay out of Bus lines when needed. 

  1. The Friendship Ferry is an Epcot resort area boat located at the International Gateway back entrance to the Park. It has boat docks at Epcot, Hollywood Studios, The Swan and Dolphin, The Boardwalk and the Yacht and Beach Club. 
  2. There is also a Magic Kingdom area boat that stops at Magic Kingdom, The Grand Floridian and The Polynesian. 
  3. Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge each have their own boat to and from Magic Kingdom as well. 
  4. Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter have boat transportation to and from Disney Springs which is a nice perk if you are staying in that area or want to resort hop during your trip.
  5. From the TTC you can also choose to take the ferry, rather than the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom has the most complicated parking system and you will need to take the monorail or the bus to get there from the Parking lot if you decide to drive. The TTC also includes the EPCOT monorail, so you can park there and take the monorail to EPCOT as well. 

Minnie Van and Taxi  Service

Minnie Vans, Uber and Lyft are all available at Walt Disney World too, if you need something a little quicker. Check out our post on Minnie Vans, if you’re looking for something tailored to your specific needs. Whenever using any of the Disney transportation, give yourself plenty of time. We generally recommend giving yourself an hour to get from one place to the next, and sometimes this will be less, sometimes it will be more. disney board walk from the swan and dolphin hotel

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Disney Skyliner Transportation

Disney’s Skyliner is its newest form of transportation. You can read a quick guide here to understand how it works, but mostly what you need to know is that it is a gondola system that is available at Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century, Disney’s Caribbean Beach and Disney’s newest resort, the Riviera. It can transport you between any of these resorts and can also take you to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. It’s free to ride, and a great way to see other resorts you may not be staying at, as well as get to the parks easily. 

Walt Disney World skyliner

 Disney's 50th Anniversary Refillable Mug

Get the Refillable Disney Resort Mug

If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan this refillable Disney Resort Mug is included with the plan. But our Disney Beginner Tip here is that even if you’re not on the dining plan, or even staying at Disney Resorts, we still recommend it. Get The Disney Resort Mug. And make sure you understand how to use it. The refillable resort mug can save you a ton of money if you’re staying on property. You can fill them with coffee, tea, soft drinks and water from any of the Disney Resorts. And they are active for 14 days after you pay for the mug and it gets scanned at the register. 

Note: It a RESORT mug. This means you can only fill them at the resorts, not in the Parks. We see tons of people lugging these mugs into the parks as if there are free drinks waiting. P.S there aren’t. Unless you’re Resort hopping, or planning to use it for water, you can leave them in your room for the day. As they’ll just be an extra hassle to lug around. Quick service restaurants will not refill them for you and if you’re caught trying to fill it at a self serve station inside of a quick serve restaurant, you will get yelled at.

Now if you’re planning to spend some time at another Disney resort during your day, by all means, bring it along. You can spend a nice day at any amazing resort and you can refill your mug while there. 

free things at disney

Plan Around the Parades and Shows

As Disney First Time Tips go, this one may sound crazy. But walkways get blocked several times a day as a result of parades. So parades can cause quite the inconvenience. Whether you’re watching it or skipping it, you’ll need to know how it can impact your day.

For example, if you’re watching the Festival of Fantasy Parade in Magic Kingdom, you’ll want to grab a spot at least a half-hour before the parade starts. And even by then most of the really good spots will be taken.

If you’re not watching the parade, make sure you are where you want to be when it starts. Walkways will be blocked off and near the end of the parade, even the exit from Magic Kingdom will be blocked off at one point until the parade has finished. All the way from Frontierland to Main Street USA the walkways are packed and blocked So if you’re trying to get to a dining reservation somewhere else, leave before that happens or you’ll be standing there just waiting. Same goes for fireworks shows at any of the parks. While pathways may not be blocked off, crowds become heavy. Plan to save your spot or avoid the area. 

Get to know Genie+, Lightning Lane and Virtual Queues before your trip

This is essential. Genie+ and Lightning Lane tends to be the most confusing aspect to any Disney trip. And honestly, once you start using it, it’s pretty easy. But there is a learning curve to it! Get to know how it works, what the difference is between the two and have a strategy that works for you. And be sure to understand how Virtual Queue works and have a plan. 

Make a Plan for Dining Ahead of Time

This one is kind of a no-brainer, but we have to mention it because we know so many people who have miserable vacations because they simply didn’t have a plan.  With Walt Disney World, you can have as much of a plan or as little of a plan as you’d like. But just have a plan! This is one of the most important Disney Beginner Tips. Because even if you aren’t planning on sit down restaurants or special events of any kind, having a general idea of when and where you want to eat can save a lot of headache and hangriness that could put a damper on your trip.

  • Advanced Disney Dining Reservations can be made 60 days in Advance. Check out the Disney Planning Timeline for details. 
  • If you’re planning on doing quick service only, you still want a plan. Think about where and when you’ll want to eat for each meal, so when it’s time for a meal, you already have an idea.

There’s so much to do at Walt Disney World, that not having a plan can leave you, even more, overwhelmed and confused. We recommend making a plan and then you can decide if you want to stick with it. 

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First Time Disney Tips to Help You Feel Like a Pro at Walt Disney World

So there you have it, 6 simple ways you can feel a little more like a pro at Walt Disney World.

  1. Know How to Get Through Disney Security Lines
  2. Know the Disney Transportation Options
  3. Get the Refillable Disney Resort Mug
  4. Plan Around the Parades
  5. Get to know Genie+ and Lightning Lane before your trip
  6. Make a Plan: Plan Rides and Restaurants Ahead of Time

Sometimes it’s the little things that will make or break your trip. These 6 things may seem minor but you will be amazed at how smoothly your vacation goes when you know these things!  so be prepared with a few little pieces of knowledge can really make all the difference!

If you want your next disney vacation to be close to perfect, follow these 5 Disney Pro Tips for Beginners. It's easier than you think to be in the Know at Walt Disney World. Here's the 5 beginner tips for disney newbies you MUST know! #polkadotpixies #waltdisneyworld #disneytips #disneypro


Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website | + posts

Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .

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