For the first time ever my family ventured to Disney World – in July. Yes, in the middle of July. It was so hot but overall the experience was so fun. We stayed at the Four Seasons Walt Disney World Resort. The resort was amazing to say the very least. The pools were beautiful, the service was amazing, and the overall resort was stunning.
We stayed in a gorgeous suite with an Aladdin welcome. When we arrived at our room, we were greeted with Aladdin themed chocolates and cookies. The resort had staff on hand to help plan your Disney trip, shops, food, fitness, and more. They had multiple pools and spa options, including an adult-only pool. We easy to please, our favorite part of the resort was the lazy river. We didn’t go to the adult pool because we enjoyed the family time of floating down the lazy river together.
One of my biggest worries of the trip was what to take and how to navigate Disney. We probably should have talked to the Disney planning crew but we didn’t. I don’t have experience visiting Disney during any other season. So all I can give you are tips for Summer and tips from the experience of a newbie. For my family, we booked in Summer because well, that is when we had time. Everyone warned us the heat would be terrible. I’m not going to lie, the heat was rough. If you’re visiting Disney World for the first time, and you’re going in July, here are my tips for you:
When we were ready to go to Disney, we didn’t use the resort shuttle options. Instead, we used the Minnie Van Lyfts which are operated by Disney. The Minnie Vans are literally Minnie themed SUV’s. They were honestly the cutest things ever. The best part, the wait time was usually less than 6-8 minutes.
First Time Disney Tips:
Obviously, dress for the season. If you’re going in July, think shorts or a lightweight dress. I wore a lightweight dress but I wish I had covered my shoulders because I did get sunburned. The park had cooling towels for purchase and honestly, they are the only thing that kept me from being really sunburned and possibly having a heatstroke. ha! Buy one if you’re a wimp and have zero heat tolerance like me.
Wear comfy shoes. I wore flat sandals and by mid-day, I had blisters and was in pain. If I had a do-over, I’d probably wear light sneakers like Keds or something with some cushion. Prepare to walk a ton!
Get your FastPass set up way in advance. We waited too late to schedule our FastPass options and missed out on some rides. If you don’t get it set up in advance, be prepared to maybe not be able to ride your dream ride. I’m still crying over missing out on Thunder Mountain. *sigh*.
Get a Disney Magic Band. The band is a must. It would have been so easy to use my band to make purchases throughout the park and it eliminates the need to carry around cards. The Disney Magic Band wasn’t compatible at our resort but if it were, we could have opened our room with it and that would have been awesome.
Be a Kid. The beauty of Disney World is to be a big kid or to enjoy being a kid. I couldn’t wait to get to the park and buy Mickey ears! I’m not even kidding right now, my daughter and I actually had a tiff over wanting the same ears. ha! No worries, we worked it out. I debated crafting our Disney ears or attire ahead of time, but I’m glad we bought them at the park for pure experience. There are tons of ear options throughout the park. Anything you can think of is there.
Decide what you want to carry around. I feel like there are two groups of people at Disney. 1) those who bring everything. 2) those who bring nothing. We were in the second group. We took nothing except my small purse to the park.
Buying water and such throughout the park is expensive but we had $200 in rewards through our resort and I used my gift card to make purchases. It did feel wasteful to buy drinks when I could have brought water with me, but carrying around a backpack, would have been awful with the number of people around and the heat. The park was crowded and I feel like a backpack would have annoyed me to my core.
Decide on your park schedule ahead of time. There are also two additional groups of Disney people. 1) those who park hop 2) those who don’t. We didn’t park hop. For us, one park was more than enough. With the crowds and the heat, we were exhausted by midday. I suggest going to the park early and then taking a break midday and going back to the park during the evening. We arrived at the par at 9a, left at around 330p, and went back to the resort. We relaxed on the lazy river and went back to the park around 630p. The whole commute took no time at all. The park was also less crowded in the evening and honestly, our evening trip ended up being our favorite part.
Stay for the fireworks. You have to stay for the fireworks. We almost didn’t stay and I’m so glad we did. At the end of the night, everyone gathers around the castle and the most spectacular display of holograms and fireworks takes place. You have to see it to get how awesome it is. It was so stunning that it was almost emotional. Think every Disney movie you can think of alive on the castle with music and fireworks. So cool. At the end, expect to be in a huge mob of people all trying to leave the park at the same time.
Go to Disney Springs if you have time. Lastly, go to Disney Springs if you like to shop. Disney Springs is a Disney themed outdoor mall with tons of shops, food, and music. It was more fun than the actual park. We shopped and walked for hours and were able to get some really neat gifts to take home. There were so many neat things to see and even though it was crowded, it was still spaced out enough to enjoy.
There are tons of tips I could give you but this post is long enough. ha! The most important tip, have fun and let everyone in your crew be a kid! Our trip was fun and all we’ve talked about since arriving back home is when we’re going back!