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I went to Disney World for the first time, and here’s what I learned!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

This month, I was able to finally live out my childhood dream of going to Disney World. Yes, I am a college senior who had never been to Disney, and yes, it was totally worth the wait. I went with my boyfriend, who, unlike me, could write a book on how to do Disney right. I quickly realized how much I needed him there because, as a novice Disney goer, I was in way over my head. I hope this article can be a guide for those of you like me who have yet to experience Disney. For those of you who have been already, I hope that you can find some of this useful, or at least get a laugh at how much of an amateur I truly am.

The first thing I learned was how useful staying on Disney property is. Disney World is massive–– like, really massive. We had four days and four different parks to get to, and staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort really added so much to the experience. We were supposed to fly in the night before we went to the first park, but our flight was delayed until the following morning (I will get into this fiasco later.) Once we finally got to Orlando, we didn’t have to think about transportation for the rest of our trip. At Art of Animation, we were able to take the Skyliner directly to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The Skyliner was a fantastic way to get into the parks and offered incredible aerial views. We were able to get to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom via a bus service provided by our resort. Although it is more expensive to stay on property, I really think it is worth it.

Now, for the food. I would highly recommend you factor food price into your overall budget, because oh boy, does it add up. That being said, the food and drinks I got were an absolute highlight of my trip. From the best sushi I have ever had in Epcot, to totchos (AKA the junk food of my dreams) in Hollywood Studios, to a Cheshire Cat Tail in Magic Kingdom, to an insanely flavorful tofu noodle bowl at Animal Kingdom, it seemed like everything I ate brought me so much joy. I am glad I scoured different menus and Disney Tik Tok before I went because it really helped me hone in on what I wanted most. This led to maximum enjoyment at a price I, and sometimes my lovely doting boyfriend, were able to make peace with.

Next, I gotta touch on the reason most people go to Disney; the rides. Where should I begin? I knew Florida was hot, even in October. I knew the lines would be long, even in October. That being said, I was still not fully prepared. The lines were very long, and Florida gets really, really hot. We waited nearly two hours in the sun to get on Rise of the Resistance, and I have to say it hurt my experience with the ride. My advice here, similar to the food, is to invest in rides that are worth the wait and leave the ones that aren’t. We didn’t have the option to buy a fast pass, but on my next trip, it is definitely a must for my favorites. Speaking of my favorites, I highly recommend Flight of Passage, Frozen Ever After, Slinky Dog Dash, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Rise of the Resistance. Yes, I still recommend Rise of the Resistance even after the abysmal wait. It really is that good; go do it.

Finally, I just want to share a brief aside to prepare you for something I didn’t even think I needed to be ready for. It rains a lot in Florida, and the weather can change in a moment. We were devastated when our flight was delayed into the next morning due to weather. My advice in hindsight is to remember that no matter where you are flying, anything can happen with your flight, and the best thing you can do is be flexible. We still got to Disney and had a great time, despite being a day late. I even got to meet my favorite character, Winnie the Pooh! I am completely convinced that wouldn’t have happened had we gotten to Epcot any sooner. When you’re traveling, look for that silver lining, and you’ll probably find it! No matter what happens or how dire it may seem, the best thing you can do is try to find some enjoyment, and remember if they are not sending your plane out, it is definitely for the best.

So that’s about all I got. One closing note, all but a cheesy one–– I recommend you experience Disney World at some point with just one person you really love. Being with my boyfriend was a blast. It brought us so much closer to navigating this trip together. The finances, food, and long waits built another level of intimacy between us that I am so grateful for. Disney World far exceeded my expectations in the best way. I am already planning my next trip, and I hope this has helped you start thinking about yours. It is totally worth the hype.

Katie is a senior history major at TCNJ and she is so excited to join her campus! She loves coffee, writing, and all things cute. Katie hopes to bring an eclectic variety of content to HCTCNJ, including entertainment reviews, life hacks, and some advice articles on life and love.