The first beginner's guide to Disney World in 2023 (2023)

With so many rides, shows and attractions at Disney World, it can be hard to know where to start. But don't worry, we're here to help!

This is aComprehensive guide that covers it allbasicAbout Disney World.If you are familiar with Walt Disney World, you do not need this information. If you are new this is the place to go.

Disney is a vacation full of possibilities, from amazing rides at the four theme parks, to water fun at water parks and resorts, to character memories, fun entertainment and nighttime fireworks celebrations.

See the table of contents below to jump to the area you want more information on.

Does Disney World have any special events for first time visitors?

Yes! Disney World offers a "First Visit" button that you can wear to commemorate the occasion and let the cast (Disney employees) know it's your first time.

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So let's give some quick tips for first time visitors to Disney World and then you can choose where to start with all this information! If that's too much, just save or share this page for later.

This post may contain affiliate links, please read my full disclosureher.

2023 Disney World Guide Contents

  • Your frequently asked questions
  • Best time to go to Disney World
  • Disney needs a few days
  • What to pack for a Disney World vacation?
  • Park Overview
  • Park Recreation Overview
  • All about Disney Resorts

Quick Disney World FAQs

What should you do when visiting Disney World for the first time?

You should make a bucket list/can't miss list!

The world of Disney is amazing...and so much to do and see (and maybe that's why we have so many websites, vlogs, and content creators sharing the joys of Disney!)

Creating a list of things you want to do will make planning easier and vacations more fun! this is a listThings most families can't miss, and aCan't miss list for kids!

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How much does it cost to go to Disney World?

The average holiday cost for a family of four to go for 5 days in 2023 will be around $5000 (this includes entrance fees, accommodation, food budget and souvenirs but does not include trips to parks) See details Price (with examples!) How toDisney World is on a tight budget (but realistic!).

Keeping the dollar sign in mind is a great way to ensure your Disney World vacation runs smoothly. It's a very exciting time and you want to make sure you make the most of it. haveMany saving tipsThis can help you have a magical vacation.

Best time to go to Disney World

The best time to go to Disney World is when it fits your schedule!

Disney World is now "always" busy on weekends and most of the week. There is no "off season" although January and September are usually slower than other months!

Walt Disney World is such a popular resort that it canA bit crowded.

I'm experiencing some of the busiest days of the year, and while it's still magical,Standing in line for two hours is not much fun! All you can do is check out the best weeks and choose the one that suits your family best!

Some of the best months for lower audiences are:

  • January
  • June
  • august
  • september
  • early in May
  • the beginning of November

Some of the best times for parks with fewer crowds are:

  • At night – especially if the park closes after a few hours or stays open late
  • Early mornings - especially when you live in Disney World
  • Weekdays - it helps to check the MyDisneyExperience app and check wait times. Although these numbers are often inflated, they can be a good predictor of crowd levels during your vacation.

What is a travel program? Why is it advisable to know the quantity when making travel plans?

A trip planner is a detailed list of rides and attractions, where and when to go. These depend largely on park hours, expected crowd levels and what rides/attractions your group wants to do. An example of a common tour plan is to rappel down the Seven Dwarfs Mine Car at Magic Kingdom due to the long wait times during the day (or make it your last ride at night).

What to pack for a Disney vacation?

Whether it's your first or hundredth time at Disney World, it pays to be prepared.

But what you need on a Disney vacation really depends on each individual and family (and the reason for the trip!) I recommend making a packing list at least a month in advance so you have everything you need.

This should include the following elements:

  • Number of items of clothing x number of days of your holiday + 1 piece of clothing for the opposite weather (sweater if you come in summer, shorts if you come in winter)
  • Two pairs of comfortable walking shoes
  • Sun protection measures include hats, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Park bag or park fanny pack to take into the park
  • Comfort care items such as lotion, lip balm and first aid kit
  • Toiletries and cosmetics
  • Disney merchandise such as mouse ears, autograph books, pin collections, penny collectibles

Does Disney World offer personal care items, clothing or other often forgotten items?Yes. Many of these items can be found throughout the park. But for the full range, head to the resort. If you're at a great value resort and can't find what you're looking for (and have spoken to the cast to make sure it's not hidden somewhere), head to one of the luxury resorts to check out the options there.

My top 3 things to recommend to everyone:

1.Portable mobile phone charger– Your phone will die while using the MyDisney app and some rides will drain your battery while your phone searches for a signal. Another option is to use good quality pencil and paper - just make sure you have access to the plans and bookings for the day! You can also use replaceable batteries, learn more about where to find themDisney's replaceable battery locations are here.

2.thermos water bottle- Disney became hot. Even in winter you have to deal with sun, wind and too much walking. Animal Kingdom also doesn't offer straws or lids, so you'll need a water bottle to prevent spills.

3.body slide-This is amazing. I use it anywhere my skin is likely to be irritated (like shoes in sneakers or thighs in shorts). It's only a few kroner, so it's better to have it and not need it - then use it and not own it!

if you shallDisney World is celebrating a birthday, think about what you want to pack and what you want to buy when you get there.

How many days should you plan for your trip to Disney World?

Most people find their first Disney vacation to be both exciting and exhausting! There is so much to see and do, you can't possibly do it all in one trip (or even two!).

Most families will spend 3-5 days in the park.

But Disney has many ways! You can play two days at Magic Kingdom and one day at Epcot. You can spend two days in the Magic Kingdom and then spend a long weekend. You can visit all four parks or spend two days at Disney and two days at Universal Studios.

Disney World billettip

If you are visiting for the first time, a standard ticket will be most suitable compared to an annual pass - you can choose the number of base days you want.

It is recommended to stay at the resort for 6 days and 5 nights. You can stay in the park for 4 days, followed by arrival and departure dates. Some families will take advantage of "no park" days during the week to relax and use hotel amenities (and possibly recover from the sunburn or dehydration that can easily occur on a Disney trip!)

There are somePros and cons of only playing Magic Kingdom for one dayBut most people will find that with a bucket list their day trips are more than enough!

➡️ Once you have your tickets, you must make a park reservation. To arrange entrance to the park,Go here to Disney World and secure your dates(Better to have a date/park and change later than none at all!)

Content not recommended:

- Keep a ticket for the day of arrival or departure (there are lots of things that don't require a ticket!) unless you are going to a specific place. Most people will benefit from rest on the day of arrival and departure.

- If you stay more than 4 days, you can buy Park Hopper tickets. If you plan to go to all the parks anyway, you don't need to add the Park Hopper. I would recommend this if your event is less than three days. Remember that the diving park can take some time (45-90 minutes) and is best spent in the park.

- If you can only come for 1-3 days, you will not get the Park Hopper. Here at Park Hopper we want to help you get the most out of your tickets with all the staggered opening and closing times.

- buy from places like eBay - I hate when you arrive the ticket doesn't work

Disneyland Overview

My friends, there is no Harry Potter, Charizard or Daffy Duck in Disney World. But we have 6 amusement parks (4 main parks and 2 water parks). Disney World is the size of San Francisco and twice the size of Manhattan. There's a lot going on here!

Disney also has an amazing number of themed resorts and restaurants, I recommend you check them out as well!You can visit the resort as a guest and eat anywhere within the resort- Most require a reservation, but it is not difficult to order.

A quick note about Disney World Transportation

Or better said, how to get to where you are going on vacation!

Is Disney Transit available to all guests, including those not staying at the hotel?Yes! Of course, you can ride the Skyliner, take the monorail or take a boat without staying on site. An interesting option on "No Park Tickets" day, here isEverything you can do in Disney World without a ticket.

⭐How long does Disney transportation take?Perhaps the most important question in the entire article! Traffic can be fast, slow or completely closed. You can miss your reservation or wait an hour for the bus. Although most of these are free to use, it is a time consuming game, so plan to give yourself the extra time.

Free transport options:

  • Bus (there are buses at most Disney resorts and the bus will show up if bad weather prevents you from taking the Skyliner, cruise ship or monorail)
  • Monorail. Disney World operates 3 lines. A dedicated vehicle will take you to and from EPCOT and the Ticket and Transportation Center. Ride the shuttle directly from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom and back. Last line has 5 stops. Transportation and Ticket Center, Contemporary Resort, Magic Kingdom, Grand Florida Resort, Polynesian Resort.
  • Ferries take you from the Magic Kingdom to the Transportation and Ticket Center and back.
  • The Friendship Ship provides service between Hollywood Studios/EPCOT Beachside Resort, Disney Springs and Port Orleans Resort and Magic Kingdom Seven Seas Lagoon Resort.
  • Skyliner has 3 lines. A line runs from the station to Hollywood Studios and back (the station is at Caribbean Beach). There is a line that runs from the EPCOT boardwalk (which is the second entrance to EPCOT, called the International Gateway) to the Riveria Resort and then to the station. The third line runs from Art of Animation/POP Century Resort to Skyliner Depot.
  • Parks at Disney Springs or water parks and miniature golf.

Options for paid transport:

  • Parking lot at Disney World Park. If you have paid to park at Walt Disney World Resort, this fee is included. Several parking lots have trams that take you to the front.
  • Minnie Vans is a Lyft Rideshare and Disney World partner. It is Disney employees who pick you up in a red and black dotted "van".

Disney World Parks

Disney World has four main parks, two water parks and Disney Springs.

magic kingdom

The iconic Cinderella Castle and Main Street America are just two of the Magic Kingdom's well-known landmarks. This is Disney World's largest park and it takes nearly 20 hours for visitors to visit at full capacity.

The Magic Kingdom is home to many other amazing attractions such as Space Mountain, Fantasyland and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Not to mention, the Magic Kingdom is also home to many character encounters and an amazing fireworks display at the end of the night. Seeing the castle light up is a magical experience that the whole family can enjoy and is one of the highlights of any Disney trip.

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hollywood studios

Hollywood Studios used to be considered a "day park" by us Disney natives as we could go to our favorite attractions first and then have dinner somewhere else on the resort. But that's definitely not the case anymore!

If you follow Disney news, you'll notice that Hollywood Studios recently underwent a makeover with new characters from Star Wars, Toy Story, Beauty and the Beast, and Disney Junior.

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This is exciting news as it brings a much needed update to this park. If you've never been (or it's been a long time), don't shun Hollywood Studios because of old reviews. This is definitely the park you want to visit for all your movie and TV needs!


Epcot is the infamous park where all the other nations live. The park actually has two parts, Epcot and World Showcase.

In the World Showcase you will find lots of sights, relaxing rides and of course authentic gifts and treats from 11 countries. I love going on dates in the 'UK' or 'Japan' - it's amazing how we can move into another country without leaving Disney!

With few exceptions, the World's Fair doesn't open until 11 a.m., but when the park is open you can experience fun rides at Epcot. Futurama features Soaring Tours, Finding Nemo, Mission: Space, Test Track and more.

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Epcot tooflower garden festivalin the spring andFood and Wine FestivalI'm in the fall.

Besides the festive events at Magic Kingdom Halloween and Christmas, these two holidays are my favorites. My favorite thing is seeing all the crop plants and the newest food they offer. They also do some great kids events for every holiday!

the animal kingdom

Seriously, the animal kingdom is where the animals are. With over 500 acres and 1,700 animals, it is considered the largest theme park in the world! Planning a day at the park can be quite an adventure! You won't be able to see everything at once.

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Animal Kingdom has several parts, the latest of which is Pandora based on the movie Avatar. Some other sections called "Land" include Asia, Africa, Dinosaurland, Rafiki's Planet Watch, and Discovery Island.

Because Animal Kingdom is so vast, it's best to plan to stay here for more than a day, or if you only have one day, pick your "must see" things! Like other parks, the excitement here tends to fill up quickly.

Animal Kingdom is also a hit or miss park - you either love it or hate it.

I personally don't understand how anyone can hate Disney (because of course we don't!) but some people just don't like Animal Kingdom. Do yourself a favor, go to Disney's Animal Kingdom and make up your own mind - you're sure to love it!

water park

Disney has two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Both locations have plenty of fun water activities, each with its own unique theme.

typhoon lakeis a tropical getaway full of water rides that the whole family can enjoy! It also has a playground and exciting rides for the older kids!

Blizzard Beach takes a different approach to the theme, think ski resorts that have incorporated summer water fun! Blizzard Beach also has options for everyone in the family, from kid-sized water slides to one of the tallest and fastest water rides in the world!

disney springs

Disney Springs formerly known as Downtown DisneyIf you look at old reviews or message boards, it's easy to get confused as to where Downtown Disney is going!

It got a major facelift and a new name. Most notably, it got a ton of new parking, a ton of new shops (many of them designer brands), and several new restaurants.

Disney Springs is:

  • free parking at
  • Free access
  • Crowds are usually low, but can get crowded on weekends, holidays and park days

Disney world famous entertainment project

I get a lot of questions from Disney vacationers - "What is there to do at Disney?"

There is so much to do at Disney World, you simply cannot see them all! All I want to do is break down the basics for you!

Disney has many characters

You can meet characters in a few different ways.

  • 1. Go to the character meeting in the park, these are marked on the map
  • 2. Arrange character dining experiences.
  • 3. Buy tickets for special events
  • 4. Stumble upon an unmarked character meet and greet
  • 5. Meet the characters at the resort as they visit different locations each day

Some of the characters you can meet in the park are:

  • Mickey Mouse
  • anna
  • elsa
  • Olaf
  • Ariel
  • Beauty
  • joy (from within)
  • Anders And
  • daisy duck
  • Mulan
  • Merida
  • pluto
  • Long haired princess
  • Tiana
  • Winnie the Pooh and the tiger
  • Tinkerbell
  • snow white
  • Winthrop (Wreck-It Ralph)
  • there are more!

Character Dining is a great way to meet your favorite friends! if you're interestedHow to meet characters without a ticketCheck out this helpful guide!

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Disney loves parades. They seem to be having some sort of parade! They even have another one for when it rains!

Don't forget that Disney World also hosts seasonal parades on Halloween and Christmas. They go all out because they usually only appear in separate ticket events (like Mickey's Halloween Is Not So Scary and Mickey's Merry Christmas)

Here are some of the memorable things you can expect at Magic Kingdom:

main street trolley show

This happens in the morning at the Magic Kingdom, just like their welcoming act when they take you into the park! It's a very "Mary Poppins" themed show, oh so cute!

Disney's Amazing Parade

A huge variety of popular shows, see this show on Main Street America during the day. Typically you will see the show at 12:00 and 15:00, but check the app for updated times while you're on the go.

Fireworks and night shows

You can find fireworks at all three Disney parks, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot (EPCOT)!

At the Magic Kingdom, you will typically see Happily Ever After at 21.00. The best you can see is that this is where you can see the castle, but I also like to hang out in fantasyland without the fireworks from the castle show.

At Hollywood Studios, line up for Fantasmic, where shows usually start at 21 every evening. This is in a theater so you must go to the Sunset Strip and join the crowd for this show. There is a small fireworks display during the visual show shown at the Chinese Theater.

Anywhere around EPCOT, the World Showcase Lagoon, you can see the EPCOT Forever fireworks. It is nine o'clock in the evening.

Nightlife and Nighttime Activities at Disney

Some would say I saved the best for last - and that may be the case! If we were to cover all of Disney's after dark entertainment options, we'd be here for a while. Let's take a look at some favorites!

Downtown Disney (nu Disney Springs)

Disney isn't just for kids! Downtown Disney in particular is more adult oriented. You can shop and have dinner followed by drinks on the water.

You have several options to choose from. One of the latest additions is The Edison, featuring contemporary dancers, DJs and a music venue. The hangar bar has plenty of games to play while you drink and Paradiso 37 will have you dancing to Latin music all night long! Bars are also my favorite and here are close to 10 places to choose from for a fun weekend night!

beach promenade

If you want to stay near a resort, be sure to check out the Disney Boardwalk. Not only is it picturesque at night with live musicians and plenty of restaurants, but it also boasts around 21 venues and more.

Jellyrolls is famous for its dueling piano competitions - a must-see experience (more enjoyable with a drink). Then you have a dance venue with hits from the 80s and 90s.

disney world resort

Now let's talk about the resort. Disney World has 36 resort hotels, 26 of which are owned and operated by Disney.

Resorts are created by a class system. This means that each resort falls into one of three categories. Walt Disney World resorts are categorized as Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, and Luxury Resorts. These ratings depend on the resort's size, amenities, transportation options, and price.

Value Resort

We start with the amazing resorts. These are the cheapest of the Walt Disney Resorts, but they don't lack for magical experiences!

They all have a dining area with a range of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner (yes, they are suitable for allergy sufferers!). In the gift department, they have standard souvenirs such as coffee mugs and towels, but also snacks and drinks.

All Disney Value Resorts offer the usual amenities of a Disney hotel. Mail, laundry, dry cleaning, free Wi-Fi, airline check-in, designated smoking areas and ATM.

Value Resorts also offer other amenities such as swimming pools and jogging trails. Although the pool does not have a slide, there are activities at the pool throughout the day. Other great options at great value resorts are indoor playgrounds and playgrounds.

Two of the best perks at Walt Disney World Resorts are free transportation and Extra Magic Hours.

Traffic and the extra hours of magic are the main reasons we stay at Disney so often, even though we live right down the road! Because you can't go wrong with the amenities, cute themes, transportation benefits, and extra magical moments of staying at a Disney World Value Resort hotel.

Moderate resort

The next level is the mid-range resorts, and these are some of my favorites! Walt Disney World Resorts mid-range resorts offer some of the best value for money. Combine that with affordable prices and convenient amenities, and mid-range resorts make good choices for most families.

Value resorts focus more on cartoon themes, while mid-range resorts focus more on cultural themes. They offer all the amenities of a great value resort plus some great extras!

Disney's Port Orleans offers horse-drawn carriage rides, bike rentals, and catch-and-release fishing. Disney's Caribbean Beach offers activities such as pirate adventure cruises, bike rentals, beach volleyball, and catch and release fishing. Disney's Coronado Springs offers bike rentals and beach volleyball. They also have better themed rooms with queen size beds (great value resorts have full size beds).

Luxury resorts and luxury villas

Stay at a luxury resort that lives up to its name, this is where Disney goes above and beyond! These rooms tend to be slightly larger and have more amenities than most other rooms on the grounds.

So you get all the benefits of the other levels, plus some nice extras like valet parking, higher quality on-site dining and more entertainment options at the resort. This will take your Disney vacation from ordinary to extraordinary!

One of my favorite things about staying at luxury resorts is how close they are to the parks, and the transportation seems to be faster at these resorts too (maybe it's in my head...but that's how I feel!). We tend to save luxury resorts for special occasions like honeymoons, but we've taken kids before and they've had plenty of other kids too!

A luxury villa looks like a resort but can accommodate more people! Most of these are also located in different locations than other luxury hotels, but still come with the same facilities.

Disney Resort features

Now that you have a general idea of ​​what and where resorts are, let's compare some of the basic characteristics of all resorts.


Value resorts have double beds that sleep four, while mid-range and deluxe resorts have queen beds. King size beds are located all over the resort, just look for them!

choice of food

Affordable resorts have food court-style options that are great for large families with picky eaters, but luxury resorts only have one quick-service option, which can limit food options. Standard and deluxe rooms both have dining options that help add to the ambiance of a great vacation. The luxury resort also offers signature and specialty food as part of its five-star service.


In most cases, the only option for cheap and mid-range resorts is the bus. Three mid-range resorts offer water taxi cruises: Port Orleans Riverside Resort, French Quarter Resort and Wilderness Lodge Cabins. Luxury resorts also have a variety of transport options such as monorail, taxis and walking tours. You can also call"Minnie Van" from any resort(They come with two car seats!) You have options!

swimming pool

Each of the Disney-owned resorts has a pool (thank goodness, because Florida is hot!), but there are different types of pools for different levels.

Value pools are value based (but I promise your kids won't mind!). Aside from a few themed and pool events by members of the Disney cast, they don't have anything fancy.

The medium sized pool is definitely an improvement. The theme here is top notch and there are also water slides!

So how do luxury pools beat water slides? And of course even bigger water slides! They also have several pools to choose from, limiting the number of rowdy teenagers you might encounter for an afternoon swim.

Frequently asked questions

How far in advance should you book your trip to Disney World?

as quickly as possible! Disney rooms can usually be booked more than a year in advance, and park reservations can be booked up to 365 days in advance!

Is it cheaper to live in Disneyland?

Honestly, most of the time that's not the case - while you can get some great value resort deals, what you're really paying for is convenience and experience. There are certain perks, the biggest of which is proximity to the park. You have to decide what is right for you and your family!

How much money should I bring to Disney World?

It depends a bit on your budget and how much you plan to eat in the park. One person can easily spend $100 a day eating and drinking at Disney World. A budget of 150+ per person per day and a budget for food, drinks and souvenirs (such as 100 per person for travel) is reasonable.


Guys, this is everything beginners need to know about planning their first trip to Disney World (and then some!)!

If this is your first time visiting Disney World, I know it can be a little overwhelming, but remember the number one priority is to have fun! You can't do everything and see everything, so make a plan and let the good times roll!


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