A Beginner's Guide to Walt Disney World

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fireworks behind a Disney castle
Fora’s Take

Walt Disney World is a favorite travel destination. With so many options, this is a favored travel spot for so many, and an experience for kids of all ages, especially grown-ups. Let us help you unlock your own magic by contacting us so we can help you book with confidence. Don't forget to take breaks during your trip, have a hotel-day stay and play at the hotel or pool. Or resort hop, make dining reservations and visit other locations. Keep in mind that you cannot see everything in one day or visit.

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Where to stay

Disney's Pop Century Resort

Set along Hourglass Lake inside Walt Disney World, this colorful nostalgia-themed resort highlighting pop culture from the 1950s to the 1990s offers 3 quirky outdoor pools, a food court and a video arcade.

Disney's All-Star Sports Resort

Immerse yourself in the magic of Disney at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, where fun-filled adventures, whimsical theming and unforgettable memories collide in a vibrant and energetic atmosphere.

Disney's Pop Century Resort

Set along Hourglass Lake inside Walt Disney World, this colorful nostalgia-themed resort highlighting pop culture from the 1950s to the 1990s offers 3 quirky outdoor pools, a food court and a video arcade.

Advisor - Fora

Unlock perks by contacting our team of advisors to book your trip.

Day 1: Arrival day

Disney castle

Arrival day is the day you check into your hotel. If you arrive before 3 pm, grab a snack from the themed food court and take a tour of the property. There is so much to see.

For us, it is a late-Saturday-night check-in. Once we get to our room, we get settled and then we review the My Disney Experience Mobile App to see what we have scheduled for the next one or two days.

Make sure to pack your day pack / bag so it is ready to go for tomorrow, including Mickey or Minnie Ears!

Day 2: Sleeping in, and dining well

bouquet of colorful Disney balloons

Day two for us is sleeping in a little bit before we take the Disney transportation (bus) to Disney Springs. We usually have reservations for brunch at our favorite restaurant, House of Blues. The food is a bit spicy, which is just right for our liking. We also love the bottomless mimosas or Bloody Mary's.

If you are looking for something different, we suggest making reservations to attend the Sangria University. Must be at least 21 years of age to participate and only available Saturdays or Sundays.

Today also includes taking a ride share to a local grocery store and getting snacks, water and other items we need for our room. If we decide not to leave property, then we place an online delivery order.

Ending our day at Petals Pool bar with a nice cocktail chatting about the days ahead of us and what we look forward to the most.

Day 3: Explore Magic Kingdom

Disney World at sunset.

Today we always choose to visit the Magic Kingdom. Make sure you have your power cord and/or external portable battery, because you will use your phone more than you expect.

Using the My Disney Experience app, we check to see if we have made reservations for the day. Will we get to the park for Early Entry? We get through security, and then use our MagicBands for entry. We usually go to the left, under the Disney Railroad. Stop, take a deep breath and take it all in. After months of planning and talking about the trip, we are finally here.

Decide where to go first, and head down Main Street USA toward the Cinderella Castle. We prefer to start in Adventureland, but honestly whatever Lightning Lane that is reserved will determine our the first ride of the day.

Walking around, stopping to pose for a PhotoPass Cast Members and stopping to get a Joffrey's coffee is a must. We then decide where to eat lunch and look forward to seeing the nighttime display.

We have to buy popcorn and a souvenir bucket. That is just a tradition...and we love popcorn. If you buy the souvenir bucket, you can refill it anywhere popcorn is sold at any of the parks for about $2.50.

Attractions we never want to miss are: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, It's a Small World, The People Mover, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Pirates of the Caribbean.

We prefer to grab snacks at quick-service locations, or kiosks. But my most favorite snack is the cheeseburger spring rolls. They are available for limited times during the day and the cart can be found near the entrance to Adventureland. Definitely on my must-do list. And no visit is complete without having a Dole Whip from Aloha Isle. (I prefer the pineapple in a cup, but any of them are delicious.)

If you can afford it, we highly recommend the Keys to the Kingdom Guided Tour. It is five hours of the behind-the-scenes and is very educational (learning about some of the history). Plus, lunch at Pecos Bill is included.

Today has been a long day, but feeling so many emotions, especially happiness, makes it all worth it. Time to head back to the hotel via the bus system.

Day 4: Explore Animal Kingdom

man with a bunch of colorful balloons

Today we will visit Disney's Animal Kingdom. Will we get to the park for Early Entry? Check the MDE (My Disney Experience) app.

Things at this park we never miss are The Festival of the Lion King show, Avatar Flight of Passage, Kilimanjaro Safaris and The Animation Experience at Conservation Station. Once, I even got out of my comfort zone and rode Expedition Everest roller coaster. What a rush!

While walking around the park be on the lookout for flotillas that have characters and music. Some of our favorite spots to eat are Tusker House (we really like the All-You-Care-to-Eat breakfast buffet), because the characters are dressed in their safari outfits, visiting the tables, interacting with guests, taking time for pictures with your group and taking some dance breaks in between.

Take time to thoroughly check out Pandora-the World of Avatar. That is such an amazing land to visit. Make sure to visit it at night: it glows! In Pandora you can fly like (or on top of) a banshee at Avatar Flight of Passage, or ride the Na'vi River Journey. There are great lunch options at Satu'li Canteen.

Take the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki's Planet Watch. It is a nice ride. You can explore the Affection Section, which is a petting zoo. Here is where you can draw a Disney character with an instructor (The Animation Experience).

On occasion, we will stop at Docking Bay 7 to get out of the heat or rain and share a meal. So much fun and lots of energy. But, don't forget to make dining reservations, as this place fills up pretty fast. We also like to eat at Yak & Yeti. We have a new favorite to end the day if we can get a same-day reservation: enjoying an appetizer and beverage at Nomad Lounge.

If you can afford it, we highly recommend the Wild Africa Trek. It is a separate cost, but so worth it in my opinion! We are happy to share more information, just let us know.

Day 5: Explore Epcot

colorful stage boat inside an amusement park ride

Today we make sure we are awake before 7 am. We will request access to the Virtual Que for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. That opens up right at 7 am, subject to availability.

When ready to head out for the day, we are transported to Epcot via the Skyliner. What amazing views during this ride. Keep in mind you will have to transfer at Caribbean Beach Resort.

Will we take advantage of Early Entry? Yes, yes we will. If you are staying on property and use the Skyliner, you will enter the park from a separate entrance in World Showcase (not the usual "front" entrance).

Our first stop is get get Joffrey's Coffee at one of the kiosks. Check MDE to see where our first reservation is. If nothing until later, we will head left toward Living with the Seas. Our favorite attractions include: Finding Nemo, Soarin' Around the World, Living with the Land and Test Track. There are so many other attractions, but those are ones we never miss. This is a must-visit for us because we love seeing and learning about other cultures when visiting World Showcase.

There are festivals scheduled throughout the year, and our favorite is Food & Wine.
Our favorite place to make lunch reservations is Coral Reef restaurant. It is like being under water, or inside the aquarium. It is so soothing to watch the sea creatures moving or swimming around from your seat. If you are lucky enough, you might get a seat right next to the window.

One of my favorites when making dining reservations (remember: 60 days in advance if staying on property) is Spice Road Table Fireworks Dining Package, which is a separate cost from the park ticket. What a great view of the nighttime show, really tasty small-plate snacks and all-you-care-to-drink beverages (and a really good variety of them)! This is hard to get, but oh so worth the price! So make sure you set your alarm to wake up and are logged in to your MDE, as the reservations window opens at 6 am east-coast time. Reservations go fast for this experience.

Day 6: Explore Hollywood Studios

green army men marching in a parade

We take at least one day in between some of our park days to just relax. We have a couple of friends in the area, so we try to connect with them for brunch or dinner at some point during our trip.

Then, our last park to visit is Hollywood Studios. This park has more thrill rides than the others. Some of our must do attractions include: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Indiana Jones (TM) Stunt Spectacular, Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, Toy Story Mania!, Muppet*Vision 3D and, a nice place to get out of the heat (or rain), For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. We enjoy the other attractions as well, but these are my absolute favorites.

When making dining reservations we always try to get Oga's Cantina. It is such a fun place, with fun theming, but keep in mind: the cocktails are premixed and there are very limited food options. This is definitely more of an experience than fine dining.

Favorite quick-service locations for us include: Milk Stand (do you prefer green or blue mild?), Kat Saka's Kettle for the popcorn and Ronto Roasters for a ronto wrap (breakfast is my favorite).

If you want to order food from Woody's Lunchbox, we encourage you to schedule an order in your MDE for a later time to pick up because this place gets very busy. FYI: there is no indoor seating, but it is a great theme.

We like the Brown Derby, but it is not a must-do with each visit. If you are looking for character meals then we suggest Hollywood and Vine. They have all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast or lunch. My next visit, we will stop at BaseLine Taphouse because we hear they have a nice charcuterie there.

Another option to get out of the heat is to visit one of the water parks. My favorite is Typhoon Lagoon. You can add this ticket separately, or include it when making your initial reservations. My all-time favorite is the Wave Pool. We recommend getting water socks. This will help keep your feet from burning on the hot pavement. It also helps cut back on the possibility of slipping. Buy a refillable mug-you can use it all day at the water park.

For those staying on property, you are able to reserve your dining reservations 60 days before arrival. This includes all days you are staying at a WDW hotel. If you are staying off property then you need to log in to your My Disney Experience differently; we can discuss the specifics when you are ready to plan your trip

We recommend to find a social media group to join. There is so much information that so many are happy to share. Email us as well. If we do not have the answer right away, we will be more than happy to find it.

We recommend adding the Disney PhotoPass to your package. There are so many photographers throughout WDW that will help you capture special moments and memories.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel tips? Check out The Ultimate Guide to the Best Food at Disney World.

Advisor - Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


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