How to Introduce Your Non-Disney Friends to Disney World

October 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

When we moved to Florida a year ago, I wasn’t too keen on the idea, unless we moved to Orlando. If we didn’t pick Orlando, I wasn’t going.

“Why?” my wife asked.

“Because it’s the most magical place on Earth,” I said. “I want to be near Disney World.”

So, yes, we absolutely moved to Orlando because of Disney World.

One of my favorite sights at Disney World is Spaceship Earth at Epcot

One of my favorite sights at Disney World is Spaceship Earth at Epcot.

It’s my wife’s fault, really. She was the one who got me hooked on our honeymoon. I was all in after half a day at Magic Kingdom. And now, we’re annual pass holders, and we’ll visit one of the parks for a few hours every couple of weeks, or hit the Food and Wine Festival and Flower and Garden Festival several times each.

But we also have a lot of out-of-town friends who want to visit Disney World for the first time, and there are a few things we recommend so they can have the biggest amount of fun in a short time. These are our top four Disney World tips for new Disney families.

1. Stay On Disney Property

We’ve stayed in a number of different locations, both on property and off, and have found that staying on property is always the better option. For one thing, you don’t have to pay for parking ($20 per day). For another, you can get into the parks an hour earlier than everyone else.

This will also greatly enhance the whole Disney experience. What first hooked me on Disney was their incredible customer service, and it happened as soon as we checked into the hotel. You can also see Disney’s incredible attention to every single detail.

2. Try to Avoid Peak Travel Season

Some of this is unavoidable, given school schedules, but if you can get to Florida (or to Disneyland in California) during some of the least busy times of the year, you can avoid those 2- and 3-hour lines to get into the best rides. Spending two or three hours in a line for a 2 minute ride can kill the experience, and first-timers often don’t want to come back after a week of that.

The Disney Tourist Blog says some of the busiest times to come are mid-March through mid-April (Spring Break), June through mid-August (Summer Vacation), and Christmas week through Marathon weekend (the first or second weekend in January).

Meanwhile, the least busy times are mid-January through early March (except for holiday weekends, like MLK Day weekend), Labor Day through early October, and early to mid-December.

So if you want your friends to have a good time, skip the peak travel times, and come down during the least busy times.

3. Have a Rest Day Somewhere in the Middle

When we first started coming to Disney World as a family, we hit a park every single day. By the end of the trip, we could barely feel our feet, and driving home was an ordeal, because everyone wanted to sleep, including the driver.

It got slightly better when we started including a rest day where we didn’t do anything but nap, relax, and nap some more. That usually happened after three consecutive days in the park, so we could rest up for one big, last Disney day.

Spend a day relaxing and recovering, hit Disney Springs for lunch or dinner, and give yourself a chance to rest up for the final push. Otherwise the last days will become truly painful and unpleasant. And nothing lingers in a vacation memory longer than having a terrible last couple days.

4. Children WILL Become Cranky

I have yet to see a two year old who doesn’t get fussy when they get overly tired. And all children get very tired and fussy, even at Disney World, especially if they miss their naps. It will happen, so be prepared.

My recommendation is that you either bring a stroller — one of those all-terrain jogging strollers seem to work best — or rent a double-wide stroller at the park (usually cheaper than checking a stroller on your flight), and push your kids around as much as possible in the afternoon and evening. They’ll fall asleep, and get a much needed nap.

There are entire books and websites written on what to see and do at Walt Disney World. It wouldn’t even hurt to check one or two of them out. But these are the top four tips you need to remember, regardless of what you do or when you come.

Have you ever been to Disney World or Disneyland? What would/do you recommend to friends visiting for the first time? How would you turn them into raving fans? Share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Erik Deckers (Pro Blog Service, used with permission)


Erik Deckers is a travel writer, as well as a content marketer and book author. He is the co-author of Branding Yourself, No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine. Erik has been blogging since 1997, and has been a newspaper humor columnist for over 20 years

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