Top 10 Experiences for First Timers at Walt Disney World

A first visit to Walt Disney World is one of the most magical vacations one can take. There is so much magic to take in from new rides, foods and shows that it can also be the most overwhelming vacation one plans for.  We are here to breakdown the top ten experiences for first timers at Walt Disney World. Take a look.

1. See a Performance

When a lot of guests think of Walt Disney World they focus on the rides, but shows and entertainment are just as important to a Walt Disney World vacation.  Throughout the four theme parks, resorts and Disney Springs, there are numerous performances and a first timer will want to at least see one of these during their vacation.  In Animal Kingdom, guests can see two Broadway-like performances in Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical.  Over in Disney’s Hollywood Studios there are a variety of shows from For the First Time in Forever:  A Frozen Sing-Along to Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular that will keep guests laughing throughout.  No matter what performance guests visit, they are going to be top notch and a great experience.  First timers will want to make sure they take time out of their day to see a show during their trip.

Frozen Sing Along

2. Ride the Monorail

One of the most iconic items in Walt Disney World is the monorail.  This original transportation system has been part of the Disney image from the beginning.  First timers will want to make sure they catch a ride on the monorail during their visit to experience this special transportation system.  Guests can take it around the resort loop to see the different resorts or take it over to Epcot.  No matter what ride guests take, they will enjoy this exceptional ride system.

3. Ride a Classic Ride

When visiting Magic Kingdom for the first time, it is easy to head right to the main thrill rides, but a first-time trip wouldn’t be complete without a ride on one of the classic Disney rides.  Peter Pan’s Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s a Small World, Carousel of Progress are all rides that take guests back to the beginning of the park as it was brought to life from Walt’s dreams.  First timers will want to make sure they take time to slow down and savor these classic rides on their trip.

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4. Experience a Thrill

Even though we think it is important to ride a classic ride while in Walt Disney World, we also think it is important for first timers to experience a thrill while visiting as well.  In Magic Kingdom, first timers should try to take on the mountains (Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain), in Animal Kingdom see the Yeti on Expedition Everest and in Disney’s Hollywood Studios rock on with Aerosmith’s Rock n’ Roller Coaster or visit the twilight zone on Tower of Terror.  These thrill rides will surely amaze guests with their special effects and surprises around every turn.  These aren’t your typical theme park rollercoasters; first timers need to experience these to truly understand what makes Disney rides special.

Rock ‘N’ Roller

5. Watch Happily Ever After

Every Walt Disney World trip needs to include at least one viewing of Happily Ever After the nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom.  For first timers this is a top experience as it brings together Disney music, fireworks, lasers, movie projections and a feeling of magic like you can’t get anywhere else.  Seeing the fireworks surrounding Cinderella’s Castle is something that every first trip to Walt Disney World needs as it brings the magic to a whole new level of beauty.

6. Meeting Mickey Mouse

It wouldn’t be a trip to Walt Disney World if you don’t meet the main mouse himself.  During a first visit, guests will want to make sure they are able to meet Mickey Mouse at least once during the vacation.  Consider a meet and greet at one of the parks or schedule a dining experience at a restaurant where Mickey and friends can visit you while you eat.  Getting a hug from Mickey Mouse is something every first-time visitor should get to experience during their vacation.

7. Eat at a Character Meal

Throughout Walt Disney World there are numerous character meals that offer guests a one of a kind dining experience.  First timers should take time to visit one of these many restaurants during their vacation and allow themselves to be transferred back to a kid again and be swept away by the magic.  Choose from seeing Mickey and Pals at upbeat restaurants like Chef Mickey’s, Tusker House or Garden Grill or meet the princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table or Akershus in Norway.  It doesn’t matter how old or young you are during your first trip to Disney; a character meal is a must-do.

8. Mickey Treat

A Disney vacation isn’t complete without having one of the classic Mickey shaped treats.  First timers will want to make sure they choose one (if not more) of these classic Mickey inspired treats throughout the parks.  Choose from the sweet Mickey bar or the salty Mickey pretzel, or try a delicious Mickey rice crispy bar or a Mickey inspired caramel apple.  No matter what is your choice, don’t forget to snap that classic picture with the castle and your Mickey shaped treat.

9. Disney’s Skyliner

Disney’s Skyliner is another must-do for first timers in Walt Disney World.  This unparalleled transportation system takes guests into the air as they travel around Disney property.  Even if guests aren’t staying at a designated skyliner resort, they will want to jump on to take a ride around to see the special views only seen from the skyliner.  This is also a great way to visit different resorts, catch a bite to eat somewhere outside of the park or even jump between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  This outstanding mode of transportation is a must-do for first timers.

10. Star Wars:  Galaxy’s Edge

The newest land in Walt Disney World takes guests to a galaxy far, far away.  Star Wars:  Galaxy’s Edge is the most immersive land created by Disney Imagineers yet.  If it is your first trip to Disney, you won’t want to miss out on this truly other worldly experience.  First and foremost, this land is home to the most innovative ride in Disney, Rise of the Resistance.  Guests are taken into the Star Wars movies like nothing we have ever experienced before.  Guests can also experience unique food, build droids or lightsabers and take in the unique sights and sounds of Batuu.  To truly experience Disney Imagineering, guests need to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

There is so much to see, do and eat while visiting Walt Disney World.  When planning a first trip, it can be a little overwhelming trying to determine exactly what is a must-do.  We hope that these top ten experiences will help make your first trip truly magical.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.