So many of us have been there… entering Main Street donning Mickey ears and a MagicBand as our most prized possession as we turn the corner and see it: Cinderella Castle standing tall and regal against the gorgeous blue sky, the only things preventing us from a perfect view being bouquets of Mickey balloons floating down the street.
But for some, that upcoming trip they’ve been longing for will be their first, and while the months spent planning, booking, and researching the perfect Walt Disney World trip is as full of wonders as Ariel’s treasure trove, it can also be overwhelming. So, take a step away from your buzzing My Disney Experience page for just a moment to learn these five simple must-dos for every first-timer.
Catch the Fireworks
The fireworks shows are a magical part of any WDW ad and an even more magical moment in person as they burst above the castle to a nostalgic Disney tune as the crowd ooh’s and ah’s on Main Street.
But Magic Kingdom isn’t the only park you’ll find fireworks. You can also catch a fireworks show at EPCOT over the World Showcase Lagoon. Harmonious, a celebration of Disney characters and their music from around the world, will remain at the park until April 3, 2023, when EPCOT Forever returns.
At Hollywood Studios, fewer fireworks light up the sky above Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway during Wonderful World of Animation, but if you’re looking for a more classic experience involving fireworks, Fantasmic! combines a story, dozens of beloved characters, water effects, and pyrotechnics into one big nighttime extravaganza.
Try the Beverly
Odds are you’ve heard of it, but have you tried it? The Beverly has become the most iconic – and controversial – drink at EPCOT’s Club Cool, where soda lovers have the chance to try samples of different Coca-Cola products from around the world.
The Beverly, originating in Italy over 50 years ago, is generally of an acquired taste, sometimes loved by those who try it, while most refer to it as the nastiest drink on the menu. So be sure to add Club Cool to the schedule for your EPCOT day and see where you sit on the love-hate scale for this unforgettable drink.
Eat a Mickey Ice Cream Bar
Sure, they’ve started selling the classic Mickey ice cream bars in grocery stores nationwide, but any WDW fan will tell you they taste much better when eaten by the castle or in front of the Tree of Life.
Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars consist of Mickey-shaped vanilla ice cream coated in a delicious chocolate shell and can be found at most ice cream carts and gift shop refrigerators for $5.99. Just don’t hesitate to eat it, as they melt fast in the Orlando heat!
Try for 999,999
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin opened in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom in 1998, just a year before Toy Story 2 would hit theaters. The ride is your typical shooting game, where the goal is to shoot every letter Z you see to defeat the Evil Emporer Zurg.
But things can get a little extra competitive when you attempt to get the maximum score: the famous 999,999. While there are a few hidden tricks to use to acquire this score, it’s still incredibly difficult to do when you’re in the middle of the ride distracted by little green men and Buzz’s encouraging words. Still, it’s been done by many, who will usually receive a special sticker from a cast member for achieving the feat.
Meet Mickey Mouse
You can’t visit Walt Disney World without meeting the big cheese himself. Throughout the parks, there are several opportunities to meet Mickey Mouse when he isn’t riding down Main Street in a parade or running a buffet over Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
You can currently meet Mickey at his official meet and greet at Town Square Theater in Magic Kingdom. If you’re lucky, you may happen upon him ready for a photo op dressed in his sorcerer outfit at Hollywood Studios.
If you’re hoping to meet Mickey along with his other pals, be sure to snag a reservation at a character dining experience, such as Chef Mickey’s, where the Fab 5 are dressed in their chef garb; Tusker House, where Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are geared up for a safari; or breakfast at ‘Ohana, where Mickey is decked out in a lei and Hawaiin shirt along with his friends Lilo and Stitch.
Ashley Amber is a former Disney cast member who rediscovered her love of writing when the 2020 pandemic ended her time making magic. When she's not bringing the magic to The DIS articles, Ashley works as a writer for Happy Productions and a live-blogger at MJ's Big Blog, and previously published over 300 articles with Collider. Ashley also authored a self-published fantasy/romance series of novelettes, and made her poetry debut in 2021's LGBTQIA+ anthology Deviant: Chronicles of Pride by InkFeathers Publishing. As a former pro ballroom dancer, when she's not writing, you can find Ashley on Youtube and TikTok where she posts dance videos featuring her own choreography and tutorials.