Mom And Son Spaceship Earth
  • On Dec 25, 2011
    Chasity from TN Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    First timer to Disney! Just found out my "surprise vacation" is in 8 days. Arrival is 01/02/12 and depart on 01/09/2012. 2 days will be travel, so 5 days at park. I'm freaking out because I'm not sure how to make the most of it in such short plan

    Hi Chasity!

    Wow!  That sounds like a great surprise.  First thing is don't worry!  You can have a great time at Walt Disney World with no planning at all!  It is the crown jewel of the theme park industry and the standard by which all other theme parks and amusement parks are measured against.

    That said, it's impossible to do everything and thus planning helps so that you don't leave and find out later that there was something you wish you had done (though that does give you a good reason to return again).  I suggest picking up the book "The Complete Walt Disney World" by Julie and Mike Neal.  It's a great book for first time visitors, as it is full of information and tips, but is not overwhelming.  It is also a beautiful book full of color photographs.

    The first thing to do is to make some Advanced Dining Reservations.  ADRs can be made online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE.  It is hard, but not impossible, to just walk up to a Table Service (full service) restaurant at Walt Disney World.  To help you do that, you will want to think about which theme park you might visit on which day.  A good place to get advice on which parks to visit when is the independent website  Their recommendations are based on a lot of math and years of data collection.  As an engineer, I'm a huge fan of their work.

    I hope this helps!  Feel free to write me back directly with more questions!  And don't panic - you will have an awesome time at the world's number one vacation destination!
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Meet the Panelist: Bernie, Maryland

I am an engineer with NASA with prior Air Force service. My wife and I have two boys, ages 13 and 8. At home, I'm known as the "Disney Guy" and I've enjoyed helping guests plan their Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, and Disneyland vacations. Learn More About Bernie

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