Dear Disney Parks First-Timer

Dear Disney Parks First-Timer amy-humphries-1127672-unsplash-2  Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash

Hi, there.

I’m super excited to be writing to you. You are about to embark on an experience that can change the way you view the world, change your priorities, and motivate you to follow all your dreams.

Since much of my writing can be geared toward those more versed in the ways of the Disney parks, I wanted to take a few minutes to reach out to you in particular. Even though we don’t know each other, I am filled with eager anticipation for you. You see, the first time you feel the Disney magic is something extraordinary. Before now, you may have done a lot of research, but you’ve yet to actually feel all of the amazing moments of the vacation you have dreamt about. You are still yet to know that heartwarming, tingling sensation when you first encounter the sounds and smells of each park.  Or that rush of exhilaration when the energetic music of the fireworks show soars toward a climactic ending.

It’s all ahead of you.

Being a seasoned Disney professional, my early Disney days are long behind me. Having first visited as a child in some ways dampens the initial impact the parks can have. In our younger years, we are simply unable to take in all of the astonishing aspects of what we are experiencing. Instead, it was a realization that happened over time rather than that one big hit of wow. Don’t misunderstand, I wouldn’t change it for the world, but there is something to be said for taking in your first Disney moments as a capable adult, ready to experience anything that comes your way.

Dear Disney Parks First-Timer giorgio-trovato-fa9WjZvkQSg-unsplash Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Even though the parks are always changing and updating, there is nothing quite like the first time that you are exposed to all of the beauty and detail that goes into every turn of a Disney adventure. For some, the hidden Mickeys will become something you can never unsee, even when you return home. For others, it’s the sound of the whimsical music that fills the walkways with pep and passion for what fantastical encounters lie ahead. Even those less tickled by the idea of Disney can’t deny the feeling that wells up into your throat when you see someone you love light up with wonder and joy, in awe of their surroundings. One way or another, Disney is going to get you, shake you up, and return you to civilization a different person, if you let it.

While I’ve got you here, there are a few things I would like to share with you. The first of which being that, no matter how long you are staying, how well you have planned everything, or how ready you think you are, you will not see everything. It isn’t possible. But the secret is that that is what makes Disney so magical. It’s the very thing about the parks that will give you the motivation to keep coming back; to continue chasing that euphoric reward of feeling truly happy.

Whatever you have planned will be just right. If you accept in advance that everything won’t be done, all the shows won’t be seen, and all the rides won’t be experienced, it will be easier to come to terms with it on the return home. Instead, take your experiences to the next level and enjoy every moment of what you do get to do. Be present in every event, not wrapped up in what you can squeeze in next.

Dear Disney Parks First-Timer barbara-zandoval-V8_isx1T0hM-unsplash Photo by Barbara Zandoval on Unsplash Photo by Barbara Zandoval on Unsplash
Photo by Barbara Zandoval on Unsplash

Next up, let me tell you, you will have over-packed. It’s inevitable. You get a pass on your first time; we have all done it. Believe me, you won’t want to change into those high heels for dinner once you’ve clocked 25,000 steps in the parks during the day. Save the space in your bag for the mountain of Disney merchandise you will inevitably want to bring home. Make sure you check out some tips on surviving those long Disney days. They might change what you decide to bring with you, like trading in your eyeliner for some sunscreen.

Lastly, a word of caution. You know those incredibly frustrating individuals you find out in the world, like that person that can’t wait in line without acting like a dipstick? Or the other type of princess that thinks the world revolves around her? I know, I know, how about the couple that behaves as though they don’t have children, letting the strangers around them take care of their parenting duties and stop their kids from eating dirt? You know the ones. Well, despite all the letters I have written, Disney actually lets anyone in. Yep, like, anyone who buys a ticket can come in. Calm down, I’m only kidding. Nonetheless, make sure to pack your patience because there will still be at least one person in the parks that you may be prepared to throw down with. Don’t let them ruin your magical moments, ignore them, turn away or even have a laugh if you need some comic relief. Do whatever is needed to stop the bad attitude from becoming contagious.

Ah, now that that is over, back to the fun stuff. Whatever happens, you can make it work. Whatever you forget short of a passport or a credit card can be picked up or replaced while you are there. Don’t worry about what you think you should be doing; do what you want to do. If the parks get overwhelming and you feel like ditching out early for a poolside afternoon, do it. If you decide to sleep in and only catch the nighttime action with dinner and some fireworks, who cares? Making the most out of your vacation isn’t about doing the most, but doing what makes you happy. There are no rules, we all have a completely different way that we swear by, but part of the fun is coming up with your own way of doing Disney.

Dear Disney Parks First-Timer matt-popovich-lwnAz-uauDc-unsplash Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash
Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash

My final piece of unsolicited advice is to enjoy every moment of it. Don’t rush it. Your first time is an experience you only get once, so try not to overthink it. Just let it wash over you in whatever natural order things come in. Some of my best discoveries throughout my travel have been when unforeseen circumstances suddenly changed the course of my plans. Even something as simple as rain can take you on an unexpected journey to a place you wouldn’t have seen and people you may not have otherwise ever met.

Not everyone is going to understand the allure of Disney when you go home raving about the magic. It is something that needs to be seen to be believed. That’s the time when you come back here to the people of the DIS Community and share your experiences with those who can appreciate them.

Have a fantastic time. Stay safe, be kind, don’t worry, and hopefully we will see you here when you get back.

Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.

Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.


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