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Our greatest suggestions in your first time at Disney World

I contemplate myself a Disneyland professional. I’ve lived in California my entire life, and since my first go to to Disneyland at 12 years outdated, I’ve made semiregular journeys. I’ve developed my favourite suggestions and methods, and I’ve a agency rule of by no means ready greater than half-hour for something. Ready round in strains shouldn’t be my concept of a trip.

Till a number of weeks in the past, I’d by no means been to Disney World, nonetheless. Wealthy with factors from canceled pandemic journeys, I booked a last-minute flight to Orlando, Florida. I figured my normal Disneyland know-how would serve me simply wonderful in Disney World.

I used to be largely proper — however in some methods, I used to be very mistaken.


For those who’re planning your first journey to Disney World, you’re going to wish some assist. I’ve compiled a listing of an important issues I realized on my journey — a few of which weren’t lined by any of the standard YouTube channels or blogs. Though it’s sprinkled in with Disneyland data, I’ve tailor-made it to additionally work for any Disney World first-timer.

Genie Plus is simply actually price it for Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios

First, let’s go over the dreaded Genie Plus. It’s the paid system you should utilize to bypass strains, and it has a complete bunch of difficult guidelines you possibly can examine in AllEars’ thorough breakdown. When you’ve booked your journey, Disney advertising and marketing will attempt to stress you to purchase it for daily of your park tickets. It’s $15 per particular person, per day ($20 at Disneyland), and that’s not price it in two of the 4 parks.

"Toy Story" characters pose during the Toy Story Land grand opening at Disney's Hollywood Studios on June 29, 2018, in Orlando, Fla.

“Toy Story” characters pose in the course of the Toy Story Land grand opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on June 29, 2018, in Orlando, Fla.

Gerardo Mora/Getty Photos

There merely aren’t sufficient sights in Epcot and Animal Kingdom to wish Genie Plus. I had no concern getting on rides in Epcot, even later within the day, by monitoring wait occasions and heading over when strains died down. I did pay for Genie Plus on the times I went to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Once I wakened within the morning, I bought Genie Plus, and at 7 a.m., I booked my first Lightning Lane (the brand new time period for FastPass). There are a ton of big-ticket sights in every of these parks, and it’s powerful to get all of it finished with out at the least one skipped line. It made these two days just a little simpler, and an additional $30 complete for my journey was inside my price range. It might not be for your loved ones, although, and at the least you possibly can fairly safely skip paying for Epcot and Animal Kingdom days.

Don’t miss rope drop

If you’d like any hope of driving your favourite rides, you completely should rope-drop the park (aka get there earlier than the posted opening time so that you could be among the many first let in). For those who’re staying at a Disney lodge, you’re allowed in half-hour previous to the posted opening — and also you completely ought to sacrifice just a little sleep to take action. You’ll get an important leap on the final admission crowds. 

The primary two hours at any Disney park are essentially the most essential; you’ll be in strains far forward of most guests and might get 4 or 5 rides finished within the time it takes latecomers to do one. Once I rope-dropped Magic Kingdom on a really busy day in February, I used to be in a position to eat breakfast after which experience Haunted Mansion, Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice, Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan’s Flight (this was my Lightning Lane choice) all earlier than midday. I had a calming lunch break earlier than strolling onto Carousel of Progress, the PeopleMover and Jungle Cruise (my afternoon Lightning Lane selection). I even did Haunted Mansion a second time.

Genie Plus has usually made strains a lot worse later within the day. By midmorning and early afternoon, folks shall be redeeming their Lightning Lane return occasions. Meaning these friends shall be allowed onto the experience earlier than folks within the standby line. Standard rides, even these with lengthy strains, are price toughing out very first thing within the morning earlier than the inflow of Lightning Lane riders, who shall be prioritized over you. (Facet notice: I realized the laborious method that absolutely the worst time to get in line is after a broken-down experience opens up once more. Each single particular person with a Lightning Lane that was legitimate in the course of the closure may then use their go. It was a nightmare. Keep away from in any respect prices.)

In this handout photo provided by Walt Disney World Resort, the Cinderella Castle inside Magic Kingdom Park is seen on June 30, 2020.

On this handout picture supplied by Walt Disney World Resort, the Cinderella Fortress inside Magic Kingdom Park is seen on June 30, 2020.

Photograph by Olga Thompson/Walt Disney World Resort by way of Getty Photos

No matter your allowed entry time, be sure you permit loads of time to reach on the admission gates beforehand. Fortunately, not like at Disneyland, safety at Disney World is a breeze. You don’t must open luggage for inspection until you’re bringing a stroller; even backpack wearers can simply stroll by way of the TSA-style scanner. Issues are sooner on the ticket gate, too. In contrast to Disneyland, the place you could have your picture taken to match up along with your ticket on the primary day of your go to, Disney World simply requires a quick fingerprint and ticket scan.

Make a listing of must-dos

Earlier than you arrive in Orlando, write down your social gathering’s must-do sights, exhibits and/or eating places, and make a tough plan that prioritizes these. I put many issues within the “enjoyable if I get to it, however not important to the success of my day” class. If, like me, you reside in California and have visited Disneyland earlier than, there are rides that aren’t essentially must-dos in Disney World. Pirates of the Caribbean is considerably worse than its Disneyland counterpart, for instance, and do you really want to experience Dumbo and the teacups in Florida? The reply is not any.

Right here’s my real-world instance: In Animal Kingdom, my must-dos had been Kilimanjaro Safaris, Avatar Flight of Passage and Dinosaur (Expedition Everest, sadly, was closed for refurbishment). I received there at rope drop and waited about half-hour on standby to do Flight of Passage, then 10 minutes to take pleasure in a safari and walked onto Dinosaur. I additionally wished to eat at Satu’li Canteen within the Pandora-themed land, so I positioned my lunch order within the app whereas ready in line for a experience, setting an 11:30 a.m. pickup time. 

I used to be finished with all three of my must-do rides by 10:30 a.m., and I had a leisurely remainder of my day to take pleasure in sightseeing.

Visitors on the Kilimanjaro Safaris tour at Animal Kingdom Theme Park at Disney World.

Guests on the Kilimanjaro Safaris tour at Animal Kingdom Theme Park at Disney World.

Tom Nebbia/Corbis by way of Getty Photos

The toughest determination you’ll possible make is which Disney World lodge to e-book

If you wish to keep at a Disney-branded lodge in Disneyland, you’ve got three decisions: Paradise Pier (costly), the Disneyland Lodge (dearer) or the Grand Californian (most costly). In Disney World, you’ve got practically three dozen decisions, starting from “worth” to “deluxe.” Every has an overwhelmingly lengthy record of execs and cons. 

For a primary journey to Disney World, I believe an important consideration is comfort. Which park do you need to be closest to? You’re going to lose worthwhile time every day in transit to the parks, so weigh your lodge selection within the route of proximity just a little greater than you often may. I ended up staying close to Epcot as a result of it gave me entry to that park, Hollywood Studios and the Boardwalk eating space. It was straightforward to take a bus or boat to the theme parks every day, and within the evenings I may stroll to Epcot for a drink and dessert. On a future journey, I’d keep farther from the motion, now having a firmer grasp on Disney World’s format and transportation system.

Sunset on Disney's Boardwalk area in the Disney World Resort.

Sundown on Disney’s Boardwalk space within the Disney World Resort.

Marc Perrella/Getty Photos

Disney transportation appears to be like complicated however is definitely fairly straightforward to handle

In contrast to candy, compact little Disneyland, Disney World is a behemoth. For scale, San Francisco is about 46 sq. miles; Disney World is about 42. I understood this intellectually, however it didn’t actually hit me till I used to be there. I really like strolling — I believe it’s the easiest way to see a brand new place and omits the stress of determining transit — however issues are a lot too unfold out at Disney World to comfortably stroll from park to park, particularly whenever you’re already in your toes all day.

Take a while earlier than your journey to acquaint your self with which modes of transportation are accessible out of your lodge. For those who keep on Disney property, the best methodology will possible be the free shuttle buses. I by no means had any issue with the system, though I repeatedly experience metropolis buses within the Bay Space, so something extra handy, well timed and clear than that could be a massive win in my e-book. If you’re staying at a Disney lodge, you possibly can even take a look at the lodge part of your Disney World app to search out the following departing bus occasions. I additionally liked taking the boat (additionally free), however it might probably come occasionally and be a bit sluggish relying on what number of stops it makes. For velocity within the mornings, I most well-liked the bus. For extra leisurely occasions and coming residence on the finish of the evening, I took the boat when obtainable.

The Skyliner gondolas are extra of a experience than an environment friendly mode of transit, with the slowest journey occasions throughout busy mornings and evenings. For those who’re nervous about making it to park opening for rope drop, I don’t advocate it. The monorail can even take awhile, particularly if it’s very busy and you’ll’t get on the primary practice that pulls up. So give your self at the least a half-hour buffer if you must be someplace at an actual time.

A very powerful factor to find out about Disney transportation is that it isn’t a unified system: boats, buses, gondolas and trains go to locations, to not each other. So don’t anticipate to take a bus after which a practice, such as you may along with your work commute. Choose the one mode of transit that may get you from A to B, and keep it up. 

You don’t want a MagicBand

Disney used to mail you a MagicBand if you happen to booked considered one of their motels, however today you’ll must pay about $15 for one (which provides up shortly in case your social gathering is massive). The MagicBand can be utilized to get into the theme parks, scan right into a Lightning Lane, open your lodge room door and extra. However all these issues will also be finished along with your smartphone, and that’s what I did as a result of I’m low cost.

The Disney World app contains all of the performance of the Magic Band in your telephone; it’s similar to utilizing Apple Pay or a cell boarding go for an airline. Simply be sure you flip Bluetooth on so the app can interface with ticket and door scanners. My telephone eats by way of its battery sooner when Bluetooth is on, so I might flip Bluetooth on when wanted and flip it off after I was finished scanning.

Permit your self to be finished for the day

Due to the price of a Disney trip, folks usually understandably really feel stress to maximise every day and drive their households on a protracted, scorching march from line to line. These persons are usually the unhappiest you’ll see within the parks, and I’m wondering in the event that they actually really feel it was price it ultimately.

One of many nicest days of my journey was after I determined to move again to my lodge at 1 p.m. I took a three-hour nap, wakened completely refreshed and loved a night of consuming and watching fireworks in Epcot. If I had spent these three hours dragging myself round a theme park, I might have had a a lot worse day. 

Give your self and your social gathering a break whenever you want one — it’s your trip, in spite of everything. Relax, pay an excessive amount of for an ice cream sundae and calm down.