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First Timer Tips

Every year, thousands of people say "I'm going to Disney World" for the first time. They have heard about America's No. 1 family vacation destination from friends or family. And they decide that their time, too, has come.

So how can a first-time guest turn a Walt Disney World vacation into a memory to last a lifetime? Walt Disney World insiders -- who make it their job to know the 47-square-mile resort from top to bottom -- offer these pointers for first-time vacationers:

Plan. Use a resource guide such as Birnbaum's Walt Disney World official guidebook. The guide helps you understand the scale of Walt Disney World Resort and is filled with tips and suggestions. The Birnbaum book is widely available in bookstores for $16.95.

Let the kids have a say. Birnbaum has created a companion guidebook, Birnbaum's Walt Disney World For Kids, By Kids. It is designed so children can join the vacation planning. It costs $12.95 at bookstores.

Keep it simple. Walt Disney World Resort has enough fun for 10 vacations. You are only taking one vacation. Keep it simple. Don't overschedule. Based on your research and the recommendations of friends and family, decide on a few "must-do's" and leave the rest of the time for discovery and surprises.

Be flexible. You'll appreciate the simplicity of your plan when children discover their own "must-do's" during the vacation -- or when "children are children." In other words, be prepared to make fun out of the unexpected.

Stay on property. Walt Disney World Resort offers a variety of accommodations to meet guests' vacation budgets. The hotels are convenient to theme parks, provide the assurance of Disney-caliber service and include benefits such as exclusive time in the theme parks -- up to 16 "Extra Magic Hours" each week.

Plan to spend a minimum of three nights. Family vacationers are drawn to Walt Disney World Resort for its four theme parks. The four parks are very different experiences. Each is worth a visit. And with compelling recreation and entertainment outside the theme parks -- plus the appeal of the resort hotels themselves -- many guests are planning stays of a week ... or longer.

Customize your tickets. With Disney's "Magic Your Way," you decide how many days you want to go to the theme parks. You decide if you want to park hop -- that is, visit more than one park on a day. You decide if you want to go to attractions outside the theme parks -- such as the Disney water parks. And longer stays mean savings per day on tickets.

Take a break. One of the benefits of staying at a Disney resort is that they all have terrific swimming pools. During busy vacation times, many guests take a mid-day break from the theme parks and treat the kids to a swim. Or a nap.

Use Disney transportation. Disney-veteran vacationers may know the "quick way" to the fun using personal transportation. But for first-timers, there is nothing better than those Disney buses, monorails and watercraft. They are care-free. Those rides can be part of the fun. Pack comic books for the kids. Some of the drivers are entertainment in themselves.



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