First Time vs. Second, Third, and Beyond at WDW…Part One

The Walt Disney World Welcome Archway
The Walt Disney World Welcome Archway

When it comes to planning trips to Walt Disney World, h)ow you plan may depend greatly on what number visit it is for you.  Today, we will begin to look at some of the differences that may take place in those plans. And, we will start with the first time guest.

If you are a first time guest, how you plan may also depend on kids or no kids!  For our purpose, today, we will be using some general plans.  If you have kids, feel free to adjust accordingly.  Or, better yet, leave a comment below to help others who may need some help.

First time guests often want to push as much into their plans as possible.  They may even attempt to ‘do it all”!  Having a good plan is essential to making this work.  Start by determining how many days you want to be in the parks, to help you plan for your overall number of days for your Disney World vacation.  Then, look at a crowd calendar (there are a few available online), and that will help you judge the flow of each park on a given day.  For first time guests, I do not usually suggest Park Hoppers, as it can be confusing enough just getting to one park each day.  Once you have figured out which park to do on what day, it’s time to plan our order of attractions.  And, there are a number of methods that can be used for this, as well.

If you want to do a few Character meals, make sure you make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) at the 180 day before arrival point, or as soon as you book a vacation if less than 10 days.  If you are an onsite guest, you can book your entire stay at the 180 point before your ARRIVAL day.  This is called the 180+10 rule!  Also, if you have a larger family, and want the convenience of just making the ADR and showing up, you may want to consider the Disney Dining Plan.  For more information on that, see DDP – Plus Dining at https://wordpress.com/post/30334162/1132/

With the new Fastpass Plus (FPP) system, you can choose your rides up to 60 days in advance, if you are staying at a Walt Disney Resort.  If you stay at a hotel off-property, you have 30 days in advance to make your ride selections. You can do three a day, for one park.  After you use those three FPPs, you can select another one at one of the FPP Kiosks found throughout the parks.  If you want to do one of the hard to get attractions (ie, Anna and Elsa Meet, 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, Soarin, Toy Story Midway Mania), you may want to plan those for later in your stay to increase your chances of getting one of those.

I try to tell my clients to set a flow, not necessarily go WITH the flow, that works for your family.  I find it easier than criss-crossing the parks and putting more mileage on my feet.  However, do what works best for what you want to accomplish.  And, if you do have little ones, you may want to plan a midday break for rest and recovery.  Then, return to the park in the evenings.

One last thing I would suggest.  Don’t plan to do EVERYTHING there is to do!  I have been to WDW 12 times, and STILL haven’t seen it all!  But then, that gives me an excuse to go back over, and over, and over again!  We will look at how to plan when you return in the next issue of the threestrandswdw blog!  Thanks for reading and have a Blessed and Magical day, my friends!!

Author: threestrandswdw

I am a Disney fanatic who can't get nearly enough time to be there! I am married to someone who isn't as into it as I am, but tolerates my "hobby". I live in Ohio, but would love to make the move to Orlando, if I would work either at Walt Disney World, or in some peripheral business serving the WDW area! I invite you to read, comment, and submit ideas anytime at threestrandswdw@outlook.com. Or, even better, send me a trip report to share with others! We all like to live through the experiences of others, help us stay connected to the magic! Thank you!!

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