Top 5 Must-Do’s for First Time Walt Disney World Visitors

After my first entry in my in preparation for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration about visiting Walt Disney World solo with kids, I thought it’d be fun to highlight my personal top 5 experiences for first timers. Since there are 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World, I could be here all day giving you a top 5 for all of them, so this list will just cover The Magic Kingdom park.


  1. Get Mouse Ears at Chapeau Hat Shoppe – This quaint little shop almost hidden on the right as you walk down Main Street, USA is the spot where you can get your very own personalized Mickey Mouse ears. It is sort of a right of passage to get mouse ears with your name embroidered on them right before your eyes, and definitely a perfect memory for your little ones as well. The best part is that over the years they’ve come out with so many different styles and colors, you are bound to find one that matches the personality of everyone in your party.
  2. Get your picture in front of Cinderella Castle – There are few more iconic picture backdrops than Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom. Fortunately, Disney realized this and set up Photo Pass cast members at various spots on Main Street leading up to the castle, so there’s no need for photos with mom or dad stuck behind the camera. Even better, you can then use your Photo Pass card throughout your entire visit and keep adding great souvenir pictures along the way, with no obligation to purchase anything. You can print them out in the parks, or wait until you get home and add your own pictures to the mix, with borders and special Disney touches to make them unique.
  3. Have a Dole Whip – You know my feelings on Dole Whip. I feel this is a definite right of passage and am shocked at how many people have missed this little gem! However, if pineapple is not your thing, you can replace this must-do with the equally famous Walt Disney World popcorn or a Mickey Mouse head-shaped premium ice cream bar, both found at carts throughout the park. No matter what you choose, take pictures – and enjoy!
  4. Experience Wishes Nighttime Spectacular – Replacing Fantasy in the Sky as the nighttime fireworks display at Magic Kingdom, Wishes becomes an instant favorite of all who watch it. The music and effects are just the perfect end to a magical day at Magic Kingdom. There is no need to be directly in front of the Castle to see it, you may view it all down Main Street and at other locations, as long as you have a good view of the Castle, you will most likely see the best parts of Wishes. Of course right by the Hub in front of Cinderella Castle are the best viewing areas, but don’t feel as though you HAVE to stake out a spot there ages before Wishes starts. What I like best about Wishes is that each time I see it in a different location, I notice something new. Sometimes it’s fun to be right under Tinker Bell’s flight path as she starts off the show, other times I love viewing it from the bridge by Crystal Palace or the bridge leading to Liberty Square.
  5. Ride It’s a Small World – Yes. I said it. This oft-derided classic attraction may have a song that gets stuck in your head, but you can’t visit the Magic Kingdom and not experience It’s a Small World. Honestly, it really is a fun ride that your children will love and if you sit back and let the message sink in, it is a message we all need to remember. IF you really and truly do not want to ride “the happiest cruise that ever sailed” you can replace this attraction with any of the other equally-legendary choices at the Magic Kingdom. Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Teacups, Space Mountain…there are just too many to list! Chances are when you get home, someone is going to ask you, “Did you ride….” and you don’t want to disappoint them do you?

I hope this list gets you excited to take part in all that the Magic Kingdom has to offer and maybe even come up with your own Top 5 Must-Do’s for a first-timer. Remember, after your first visit, you’ll be the experienced one ready to share your memories with everyone you meet!


Disclosure: I am a member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, but the post written here comes from my family’s personal experiences and opinions over the years. I am not a Disney employee and the opinions expressed here are my own, not those of the Walt Disney Company. I am attending the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration by my own means, and not as a Walt Disney World Moms Panelist. (I do, however, encourage you to visit the Panel for any Walt Disney World vacation planning questions. The moms are a wealth of Walt Disney World knowledge!)

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About Suzannah Mitchell

Boston girl living and blogging in Walt Disney World's backyard. Mom of 3, coffee addict, oh and Princess of course!