How To: Plan a Trip to Walt Disney World as a First-Timer

imageSo, you  have decided to take your  first trip to  Walt Disney World, and you most likely don’t know how to plan! Well, planning a trip to Disney  World   can be hard and also stressful, so I am here to give advice!  Here is some tips for planning a trip that will give you and your family sweet memories to remember for a lifetime!

1.Make a date. Plan the date that you will arrive and the day you will departure. Also,  plan how long you will stay. I would recommend at least a week or even more! 

2.Decide whether you want to say on property or off property. Staying ON property can be very expensive, but it is very much worth it! (However, I wouldn’t recommend staying on property for a bigger family.) There are several pro’s and con’s of each, but with some research,  you can definitely decide which one you want to stay on. I don’t really have the time to go into a lot of info, but I recommend reading this post from a Disney blog, Pixie Dust and Beyond, right here! It is just focused on property but states some great pro’s! There are a lot of other great articles about this subject, but that is just one I wanted to share. I definitely recommend to stay on property on your first trip, but that is up to you to decide! If you are not sure yet, please, do more research(and feel free to ask me questions)! After deciding, book the place you want to stay at.

3.Decide if you want to drive or fly. If driving is not possible for you, flying is no doubt your only option. However, if both could be an option, you will have to decide, obviously. This step is very easy and won’t take much time. It just depends on what you and your family want to do. If you choose flying, make sure to buy your airfare tickets as soon as possible.

4.Reserve dining reservations.  When you are 180 days away from your trip, you can book dining reservations at a Disney resort or inside a park that has to have dining reservations to eat there. Some popular resturants are ‘Ohana(at the Polynesian resort), Be Our Guest(at Magic Kingdom, Cinderella’s Royal Table(at Magic Kingdom) and Chef Mickey’s(at the Contemporary resort). Please note that you can book reservations any time under the 180 mark, too, but it can be very unlikely that you will reserve anything. I really recommend to make them 180 days from your trip. Now there is probably one thing you are wondering. Where do you book them? The answer is three words, My Disney Experience. My Disney Experience is an app where you can reserve FastPasses, dining and see the wait times for attractions. It is a huge advantage!

5.Order MagicBands, order park tickets and reserve Fastpasses. OK, you are probably very confused right now, but let me explain!  MagicBands are your tickets to the Parks and linked to your FastPasses. (However you don’t have to have one, but I highly recommend to buy one). There are also a lot of advantages of MagicBands if  you stay on property, but I am not going to go into all that. Note, that you have to order your Disney tickets and then link them to your MagicBands. Now, you are most likely wondering what are FastPasses? You can skip the long lines of certain attractions that you have reserved for a FastPass. If you stay on property, you can reserve them 60 days ahead of time before you visit the certain park, but if you are staying off property, you reserve them  30 days ahead of time. You can reserve them on the app I told you about above. Keep in mind you can only reserve three for each park. There are a couple other articles from Pixie Dust and Beyond about FastPasses and Magic Bands that is very helpful, so I definitely recommend to read this about Magic Bands and this about FastPasses

Planning can be stressful, but it is also one of the most fun things about going on a Disney trip! To make planning even less stressful, I recommend getting a Disney travel agent to help you plan your trip because they can be a huge advantage! Let the magic of planning begin, and please, really enjoy every moment of your trip to the most magical place on earth!


Any suggestions or questions? Email me at


17 thoughts on “How To: Plan a Trip to Walt Disney World as a First-Timer

  1. emmarnett says:

    Thanks for sharing some of my posts! You’re right, there’s lots of prep work that goes into planning a magical trip- especially for first timers. I’m planning to do some more posts on some of the planning aspects soon. This is a great post! 😊

  2. Natalie Davis says:

    I am so glad you asked this! Disneyland is the original and only has two Parks, Disneyland Park and California Adventure, while Disney World has four! DW and DL are very similar but also have a lot of differences! I have been to both, and I would say Disneyland doesn’t have as much to to offer as Disney World. I really like both, however! You should definitely go to Disneyland because you are close! Walt Disney actually was in Disneyland a lot, so I find it very cool! I hope I helped you answer this and feel free to ask me more questions! πŸ™‚

  3. Natalie Davis says:

    You are very welcome! I find your posts very helpful, and I think others will, too! Yay, I can’t wait to read them! You are an awesome writer! Thank you so much, and I am glad you enjoyed it!! πŸ˜€ ❀

  4. getmakeupforfree says:

    Thanks for all the info! You’ve been very helpful! πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely add Disney world and land to my travel list. πŸ™‚ I have a 11 month old, so have to figure when is a good time to travel with her. I know Disneyland is free for under 3. Thanks!

  5. TeresaR says:

    A good point that didn’t make it in your post is that when you are staying on property is that you get the 180 + 10 days for making reservations. For those of you are newvies this simply means that at the 180 day mark you get a much better advantage in making most, if not all, of your dining reservations at that all important 180 day mark.

  6. TeresaR says:

    A good note to add is that both Disneyland and DCA are just across the esplanade from each other so you can park hop so much easier than at WDW where the parks are much father apart. NOt to mention that Downtown Disney is just a 5 to 10 minute walk from both parks. And while both Disneyland and DCA are tiny compared to the WDW parks, they are both packed with attractions.

  7. Natalie Davis says:

    You are so lucky! I wish I was 40 minutes from Disney! I am coming pretty soon and am very excited!

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