Things I Wish I Knew Before The First WDW Trip

It’s fun to experience a vacation destination for the first time.  We try to imagine the place we’re going.  Walt Disney World is one of those places you’ll have a difficult time imagining until you experience it first hand.  I remember the first time I saw the Rocky Mountains as I got off the plane in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  There’s an excitement and awe that’s hard to explain seeing flat plains and then huge mountains sticking up out of so high and majestic.  My first experience of Disney World was that same kind of feeling.  The

Walt Disney World Main Gate

Walt Disney World Main Gate

excitement begins when you come in on property and see the large welcome sign as you pass from the real world to the magical world of Disney.  You begin to understand what ‘on property’ means as the highway signs turn purple and are all about Disney World parks and resorts.  This place is more than a few amusement parks.  Disney is a large piece of land the size of San Francisco.  My first experience was staying at the Royal Plaza resort in the downtown area.  Driving down the boulevard lined with large resorts as the traffic buzzes by.  The resorts are huge and I haven’t seen the real Disney resorts yet.  Add four amusement parks, two water parks, a downtown shopping area, a sports complex and many resort hotels and you can begin to get the idea of the grandeur of this place.

My intention here is to create a series of posts that highlight some of the big things I wish I’d researched more before taking the family to the largest, most famous vacation destination in the world.  You don’t have to stress out in your research.  You can’t know it all and there’s no replacement for experience.  You want to plan your trip like at least 6 months out.  Not only does that kind of time help with airfare costs and setting up restaurant reservations, with that kind of time, you can casually do your research.  Even if you make some beginner mistakes, your still going to love your trip to see Mickey and the Gang.

Some of our favorite resources:

On the web:

  • Disboards.com – By far, the most comprehensive and busiest bulletin board on the web dedicated to Walt Disney World(WDW).  Margita has made this her browser homepage for years and we did a lot of reading before our first trip and continue to read it today.  I’ve contributed many posts and several of my trip reports are posted there.
  • AllEars.net – I get a lot of the resort details and restaurant menus from this large resource.  We met one of the web masters, Deb Willis, by chance on one of our recent trips.
  • MouseSavers.com – best resource for locating discounts.
  • DisneyFoodBlog.com – Disney World is an eaters paradise.  If your a chef in training, you want to get your apprenticeship in Disney World.  These folks focus totally on the wonderful food and drink on property.  I love to take pictures and review others comments about the food in WDW.
  • GeekinOnWDW.com – How about some self promotion?   If you have a question, we’d love to give you our two cents.  We love talkin’ Walt Disney World.  When I give advice, I like to ask questions.  What do you like for food?  Do you like a quiet, themed resort or a resort close to the action?  Do you have a tight budget or looking for the best bang for the buck?  Use our contact form to send us a question.  We’re here for you!

Offline:

  • Talk to friend and coworkers – The water cooler conversations are one of the best ways to get tips to maximize your fun at WDW.  Tell someone who’s been there before and that your planning your first trip.  Your liable to get a ton of great information.  We love to go on and on about how great the place is and give tips.
  • The Unofficial Guide To Walt Disney World – This book is the single best book to do WDW research.  It’s published and updated every year.  I buy a new copy every year for Margita as a Christmas gift.  What’s great about it is that you get an unbiased opinion about everything including restaurants, resorts and park rides.  They also produce some of the best tips for ‘working’ the parks efficiently.  I like the quoted opinions from guests that appear throughout the park.  It’s a huge resource and worth every penny even if you only get a couple tips.

This series of posts will focus on some of the biggie’s we missed before taking our first trip.  Not to say our first experience was bad, because it was awesome.  It’s just that you can enhance your experience even more by knowing some of these big ones ahead of time.

Series

Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Location

Part 3 – Time of Year

Part 4 –

Part 5 –

 

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