8 Things to Do on Your First Trip to Walt Disney World

Planning Your Family Trip to Walt Disney World

Let’s Go to Walt Disney World Shall We? 

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love Disney – it’s either the movies, TV shows or even the music that help capture your heart. Disney knows the way to our hearts, and how to make us all feel like kids again. That’s why a trip to Walt Disney World is on pretty much everyone’s bucket list. With four unique parks and mini-worlds created inside planning you first trip can be overwhelming. There is so much to do that unless you plan the trip for weeks you wont hit everything. But after a few trips to the parks, here are eight of our top things to do when you’re planning your family trip to Walt Disney World! 

Visit Your Favorite Characters

Planning Your Family Trip to Walt Disney World

In each of the four parks at Walt Disney World and even Disney Springs and surrounding resorts you can visit your favorite characters and even princesses. They will be completely in character and even have a custom signature that they can sign your pictures or even signature books. You can take your own photos, or have a cast member take them for you while you post with them. It wont take much and you’ll be smiling as big is your kids. 

Pro tip: Grab a schedule when you walk into each park for where your favorite characters will appear and when. Find out which ones are your priority and plan to get there early – or you may find yourself in a really long line waiting. 

Ride The Classic Rides and Get Fast Passes Where You Can

Planning Your Family Trip to Walt Disney World

One of the first places I run when I get inside the Magic Kingdom is to rides like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, the Haunted Mansion and of course It’s a Small World. While Small World is either the favorite ride for people or least favorite – it’s one that everyone needs to experience once. But the key to almost all of the rides is getting a Fast Pass for the ones you really want to do. 

What does a Fast Pass do? Once you get your tickets or your Magic Bands, you can sign in to get “fast pass access” to different rides. It’s a set time frame where you basically get to cut the line and get in quicker. Often on the popular rides it can take three hours to get into some of these rides. With fast pass access you can sometimes experience a small wait for the ride, but sometimes you can walk right up to the door and hop on. Guests are allowed three fast passes per day – so choose wisely! 

Hop Around the World and do fun crafts with Kidcot! 

Planning Your Family Trip to Walt Disney World

Epcot is always the hardest sell for kids – while parents love it. You can visit several different countries all at once and experience a taste of different cultures. We have some great tips to get your kids to enjoy Epcot, but one of our biggest is Kidcot. Each country has a Kidcot station, that is specifically designed for your kids to experience that country and learn more about it. From crafts, a fun bear named Duffy and of course toys – take your kid to meet their favorite characters. You can even get your own World Passport to get stamped and signed along the way. 

Watch the Parades

Planning Your Family Trip to Walt Disney World

Every park has a parade schedule you can get when you first enter the park. Not only is it great to know when you can expect to see Mickey and his friends walking by and get pictures of the best floats – but it can help you map your day as well. You’ll be able to find out what roads will be shut down and what you should avoid if you need to. Want to see Storm troopers march down the street? Hit Hollywood Studios – you can even take your kids for Jedi training or watch (and possibly act in) the Indiana Jones Show while you’re there! 

Visit the Tree of Life

Planning Your Family Trip to Walt Disney World

The Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom is huge, amazing and from the moment you walk up to the path to it you’re already in for an experience. The whole tree and the surrounding “wood” is created to look like wood carvings of animals of the world. The Tree of Life features 325 carvings of existing and extinct animal species on its trunk and surrounding roots. Engineered from a refitted oil platform and based on the natural forms of baobob trees, the Tree of Life is located on Discovery Island, roughly in the center of the park. It’s hard to miss when you walk into the park, but you cannot get the scale of the magnificent tree until you go up to it. The Tree of Life is an amazing place to stop for animal lovers as well as nature lovers.  

Experience Space and the Future

Planning Your Family Trip to Walt Disney World

Spaceship Earth at Epcot was originally created to give people an idea of what the future may look like, and they keep that theme throughout the ride now. But as you enter Epcot you’re able to see the future (and current) state of space travel and how technology can shape the world we live in. Share a ride with a friend or your family and get some great images of you in the future – and the type of place you will live in. 

Walt Disney had a vision for Epcot and EPCOT, or the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, began as Walt Disney’s idea of creating a better city. A utopian environment enriched in education, and in expanding technology.

“I don’t believe there’s a challenge anywhere in the world that’s more important to people everywhere than finding solutions to the problems of our cities. But where do we begin… how do we start answering this great challenge?” -Walt Disney

Visit The World of Avatar

Planning Your Family Trip to Walt Disney World

One of the latest additions to Animal Kingdom is The World of Avatar – based off the movie. You can not only try some of the food from the Valley of Mo’ara, but ride the Flight of Passage and completely feel like one of the natives. Disney Imagineering took into account every part of the park from the concrete and ground surface being different colors, the plant life and even the rockscapes. The food is a work of art inside the Satu’li Canteen, and you can find interactive portions of the landscape and wild life. It’s truly like stepping into another world once you cross that bridge into the Valley. 

Try the Food and Dine with Your Favorite Characters

Planning Your Family Trip to Walt Disney World

Disney Parks are known for their food and dining options. From the infamous Dole Whip, Tigger Tails, and of course Mickey Waffles – get your fill of your favorites while you’re around the park. You may get a bit of a sugar buzz if you get a ton of the sweets (we love the Mickey Ice Cream Bars!) But throughout the parks you can even find sit down restaurants to meet your favorite characters or try custom meals. Once you start planning your trip, be sure to start looking at restaurant reservations if you plan on eating at a special place. Be Our Guest is one of the most requested places (Be sure to try the Grey Stuff!) and it may take a while to get your top restaurant. Don’t be discouraged, keep trying on the app or even the day of, you’ll find be surprised at last minute openings and you may just be able to dine where you want. 

Not a sit down meal person at the parks? Don’t worry, between food stands and small stop in places you’ll get more than your share. As an added bonus, Disney Parks are very aware of food allergies and you can find gluten free, nut free, kosher, Halal, vegan and vegetarian options throughout the park. Cast members are aware of different allergies and diets and can help you find a meal perfect for your diet or restrictions. 

Whatever you choose to do, remember to make your trip the best one yet. The trip will be all about creating memories with your family and you will have a great time no matter what you decide to do! 

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Detroit Mommies Expert Contributor
Becky is an interior designer, an adjunct professor, a foodie, a product reviewer and a gluten free blogger in Detroit, Michigan. Becky is gluten free, and develops gluten free recipes for her home as well as her readers. The Week99er household is a clean eating and fresh household, and the site features gardening and how to do things from scratch. Becky is a self proclaimed kitchen goddess, a bee keeper and loves to travel.
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