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  • [Question] First time! Things that MUST be done?

    I just booked my first trip to WDW! I'm going for only a short time (work didn't allow for much time off) - Sept. 11 - 14th. We're staying at Port Orleans: Riverside, and I'm pretty thrilled. I've been a long time visitor of Disneyland, but I know WDW is a completely different beast. We do plan on hitting up all four parks by splitting the last day between DAK and DHS, but I do want to know is: what things (besides attractions) would you say are absolute musts during your stay? Certain restaurants? Secrets? Traditions? etc.

  • #2
    Re: First time! Things that MUST be done?

    hmm ill try to make a quick list here to start see if anyone else wants to add on:

    1) eat at table service restaurants. I know this seems counter productive with a limited amount of time at the parks but table service dining is 100 percent worth it so long as you hit the right spots. epcot's world showcase is a must for at least one of these meals but beasts castle in the MK and several others at the resorts are phenomenal as well.

    2) explore resorts if you get a chance. one of the best things to do if you want some time away from the parks is to have a meal at one of the resorts and spend a bit of time exploring it. any deluxe hotel is a great choice for this option.

    3) beaches and cream: this follows the lines of the other two to a degree but it needs its own section simply because of how great it is. it is bar none the best place for ice cream on property located just a short walk from the world showcase entrance to epcot. they have something called the kitchen sink thats a must do for the family when we head down. what i found out recently as well though is don't forget about their meal options either. On my last visit I can truly say I had something as simple as a tomato soup and grilled cheese that was not only the best version of it that I have ever had in my life but it was one of my favourite meals of the trip.

    4) search for hidden mickeys, not an exclusive to WDW thing but its still really interesting and lots of fun, they have a guide book that turns it into a bit of a game as well.

    5) explore the pathways around the tree of life and divine. at animal kingdom the area around the tree of life is beautiful and has some up close experiences with animals as well as a close look at some phenomenally detailed carving artworks in the tree itself. take this park at a slow pace and really take in all the little details its truly incredible.

    6) club cool at epcot: you can stop in here and try different sodas from all over the world, a really interesting experience.

    7) theres a rope near the indiana jones stunt show in hollywood studios that says do not pull....you should pull it

    8) make it for opening at MK: the rope drop event is a really awesome show to start the day and everyone should see it at least once

    9) shop at world of disney: you're right across the water from it at your resort and its cool to see such a massive store devoted to disney stuff. also they have some really cool scale character displays to look at and interact with. btw, stop in at goofy's candy company while youre there too, you wont regret it.

    10) ride the monorail: its exciting to be heading to the magic kingdom or over epcot on this rare mode of transportation and you get an incredible view.

    some of my personal favourite must try snacks: school bread at norway (epcot), a cupcake at starring roles (DHS), a dole whip (adventureland), margarita and nachos at mexico (epcot), pork shank from gaston's (MK), and the peanut putter and jelly milk shake 50's prime time diner (DHS).

    thats just a few things off the top of my head hope that helps.

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    • #3
      Re: First time! Things that MUST be done?

      First and foremost, make your FastPass+ revervations ASAP! Any idea as to what kind of ride you like?

      "Once STAR WARS land is built they're replacing STAR TOURS with a Frozen sledding ride. Imagineers agree that I just made that up." - Justin Scarred

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      • #4
        Re: First time! Things that MUST be done?

        Here are some tips for the dates you are going:


        Thursday September 11


        (Recommended)

        (Most Recommended)

        Illuminations: 9pm

        (Highly Recommended)

        Fantasmic: 8:30pm

        (Not Recommended)



        Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pm


        Friday September 12


        (Not Recommended)



        (Recommended)

        Illuminations: 9pm

        (Not Recommended)

        Fantasmic: 8:30pm

        Frozen Fireworks: 9:15pm

        (Most Recommended)



        Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: none


        Saturday September 13


        (Most Recommended)

        (Highly Recommended)

        Illuminations: 9pm

        (Not Recommended)



        Fantasmic: 8:30pm

        Frozen Fireworks: 9:15pm

        (Not Recommended)

        Evening Extra Magic Hours: 11pm-1am

        Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: 9pm and 11pm, Wishes Fireworks: 10pmSunday September 14

        (Recommended)

        (Recommended)

        Illuminations: 9pm

        (Not Recommended)



        Fantasmic: 8pm and 9:30pm

        Frozen Fireworks: 8:45pm

        (Most Recommended)



        Festival of Fantasy Parade: 3pm, Main Street Electrical Parade: none, Wishes Fireworks: none

        I'm sure I will think of more things to post here for you. I hope you enjoy your trip!

        "Once STAR WARS land is built they're replacing STAR TOURS with a Frozen sledding ride. Imagineers agree that I just made that up." - Justin Scarred

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: First time! Things that MUST be done?

          My goodness, thank you both for such detailed analysis of things to do! This is exactly what i was looking for.

          goofy donald: I know I wanted to dine at two in-park table service restaurants (or one in-park and one at a resort) and one DTD restaurant. Do you have any ideal recommendations for which restaurant at Epcot is best? I heard Le Cellier (sp?) is great but I'd like to know other options. I know websites post reviews but I'd rather ask personal preferences. I'm going to try as many of the things that you've recommended as they sound like truly unique experiences.

          PlutoHasFleas: thank you so much for such a great post! I'm rearranging the plans as we speak based on your recommendations. I had seen MK's 9-7 park hours and had thought "oh, I don't want to go there then because it's closing early," but then your rationale makes way more sense. The less crowded, the better. Besides, leaving at 7 would give us an opportunity to have a late dinner at a resort or DTD. Great plans.

          I've been told time and time again to avoid Fantasmic at DHS (especially if I'm accustomed to Disneyland's version,) so I'm not going to make that any sort of priority. But like I said, you've definitely had a big effect on my vacation and I appreciate it!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: First time! Things that MUST be done?

            Some things I recommend:

            -Explore the World Showcase in Epcot. Many (including myself) enjoy eating and drinking their way around the pavilions. Even without dining around them, just absorb the feel of each country as it transports you. It's amazing!

            -Be our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland. With a great counter service option, the menu consists of soups and sandwiches, not to mention amazing desserts and "the gray stuff"! But the food isn't the main reason to visit. Step into the restaurant and you will be stepping into Beast's Castle, complete with the ballroom! The theming is OUTSTANDING, with three different rooms to dine in. With food options where everyone can find something to eat, you'll definitely want to stop there!

            -Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland. This show used to be part of Disneyland, but after being removed to make room for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, it lasts only in the Magic Kingdom. Also a Disneyland native, I love viewing the show, and it's just a delight. Also, it's a perfect way to beat the heat, or the rain! Definitely something you'll want to view!

            -Interactive Queues on many Magic Kingdom rides. On many rides, like Big Thunder and Haunted Mansion, you'll find fun interactive lines to help you pass the time while you wait for an Attraction. With video games in the Space Mountain queue, to on-ride effects you can create on Big Thunder, the time you wait in line seems to pass oh so quickly. Though not featured on all rides, they're definitely something to check out.

            -Expedition Everest. One of the (arguably) best roller coasters in the country, not just because of the track, but with the amazing theming, this is one not to be missed. This is definitely one of my favorite rides on the property, and provides fun for everyone!

            -Boat from Hollywood Studios to Epcot. The ferryboat from Hollywood Studios to Epcot not only provides a fun (yet longer) mode of transportation to Epcot, but also stunning views of the Swan and Dolphin, Boardwalk, and Beach Club resorts. Epcot to DHS doesn't provide the same views of the resorts, but still offers an enjoyable ride to DHS.

            -Tower of Terror in DHS. The best version of Tower of Terror, it offers a smoother ride, randomized drops, and a stunning view. Entering the Fifth Dimension couldn't be more fun!

            There are hundreds more things to do, but those are some of my favorites! Enjoy your trip! :ap:
            I now own property in Frontierland named "The Backside of Water." Life can't get much better.

            AP holder

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            • #7
              Re: First time! Things that MUST be done?

              Originally posted by denyuntilcaught View Post
              My goodness, thank you both for such detailed analysis of things to do! This is exactly what i was looking for.

              goofy donald: I know I wanted to dine at two in-park table service restaurants (or one in-park and one at a resort) and one DTD restaurant. Do you have any ideal recommendations for which restaurant at Epcot is best? I heard Le Cellier (sp?) is great but I'd like to know other options. I know websites post reviews but I'd rather ask personal preferences. I'm going to try as many of the things that you've recommended as they sound like truly unique experiences.
              good to hear I could help. one meal at epcot and another at a resort would probably be my go to. anywhere along the world showcase would be a good call outside of tuto italia (via napoli is great though), the norwegian princess dining, and the nine dragons in china, but at la hacienda (mexico), rose and crown (UK), and the new morrocan tapas restaurant you can get a table on the water during illuminations so you can watch while you eat. as for the resort location I cant recommend beaches and cream enough. whispering canyon at wilderness lodge, cape may cafe at the yacht and beach, and ohana at the polynesian are all reasonably priced, all you can eat, and fun locations to go to as well whereas if you are looking more upscale yachtsman steakhouse, the grand floridian restaurants, and california grill at contemporary are all solid. as for downtown disney there are less top options but if i had to pick one the irish pub would be the clear favourite with the backup being fultons crab shack on the riverboat.

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