Thrifty Thursday: Taking a Disney First Timer…and Giveaway Number 4!

Welcome to Day #4 of our Birthday Week Celebration! Today’s Giveaway of the Day is a $25 Gift Certificate to Garden Grocer ! Use it to have snacks, water, groceries or even entire meals delivered to your hotel or vacation home. Many thanks to the folks at Garden Grocer for offering this gift certificate today. So, to enter, simply answer today’s question in the comments below. I will then choose one winner using from everyone who enters before 11 p.m. ET, Thursday, December 8. Please note: you must answer on the blog post to be eligible!

And now, for your chance to win today’s giveaway, please tell us in the comments below:

What is the ONE thing that should not be missed on someone’s first trip to Walt Disney World? (And if you have not visited Disney World yet….what is the ONE thing that is most important for you to see/do?)

As you may have read in my post last week, we will be taking my son’s girlfriend to Walt Disney World with us this trip. She has never taken a Disney trip and she is very excited. This being her first time, I want to make sure she experiences all the important things at Disney, but our “land” part of the land and sea trip is limited to only 3 park days so I have been trying to narrow them down.

Here is a list of the things I am trying to incorporate into the trip because I believe they are some of the most important things for her to experience. Since it has been a while since we have taken a first timer, and since the other times we took kids who were much younger, I wanted to make sure this is inclusive of everything a nineteen year old girl would just HAVE to experience at Disney.


  • Castle Dream Lights
  • Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
  • Fireworks shows at MK, Epcot and Hollywood Studios
  • Parades at all parks (even though we have seen them often and usually skip them now to ride a popular attraction instead)
  • Ride the monorail
  • Watch, or even participate in, the great live entertainment in each of the parks
  • Epcot’s World Showcase (especially during the holidays)


  • Pictures in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom (which for my family is this park’s icon even more than the Tree of Life), and the Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We will take her picture with our camera also, but I want her to have PhotoPass pictures in front of these iconic locations.
  • Photos with Disney characters; as many as she would like. 


Magic Kingdom

Dumbo, Tea Cups, It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Tomorrowland Transit Authority (PeopleMover), Carousel Of Progress, Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, Walt Disney Railroad, and Mickey’s PhilharMagic.


Soarin’, Test Track, Spaceship Earth

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Tower of Terror, Rock N Roller Coaster, Toy Story Midway Mania, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, The Great Movie Ride, Star Tours, and the American Idol Experience.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, It’s Tough To Be A Bug


  • Mouse Ears
  • 1st Visit Pin


  • A character meal — our choice is Supercalifragilistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare
  • A special dinner – our choice is dinner at ‘Ohana with the most wonderful bread pudding at Walt Disney World.
  • A fun, lively Disney dining experience – our choice is the Whispering Canyon – we will all have our first experience here
  • Snacks – Mickey ice cream

I am hoping this will be a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience for her. If I have left something important out, would you please be so kind as to let me know? Thanks and have a magical day!

Find out how the FREE services of a Disney World travel agent can make planning your Disney vacation simple…and for a limited time, get a FREE Disney gift card when you book your trip with me! ($2000 minimum package cost)

Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.

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38 Responses to Thrifty Thursday: Taking a Disney First Timer…and Giveaway Number 4!

  1. Pingback: Thrifty Thursday: Taking a Disney First Timer…and Giveaway Number 4! | DisneyDigest

  2. Michelle says:

    I think every first time visitor has to make time to watch Illuminations at Epcot. When I chaperoned our high school’s senior class trip to Disney World, it was by far the thing that the kids talked about the most!

    • Brenda says:

      You are so right, Michelle. This is such an awe-inspiring show…it really adds to the awesome wonder and magic of Disney! Thanks a bunch.

  3. Jess says:

    You absolutely must see Mickey Mouse and the Main Street Electrical Light Parade followed by the Wishes fireworks. My boyfriend had never seen the water pageant on the seven seas lagoon, so I took him to the Polynesian to sit on the beach and watch it.

  4. Jen E. says:

    You can’t go to Hollywood studios and not take her to see the muppets! It’s hilarious!

    • Brenda says:

      I was wondering if the Muppets would be too juvenile for her, but the movie is doing EXTREMELY well (at least in Texas) so we will probably do that as well. Thanks so much, Jen!

  5. Heather says:

    I think the most important first visit thing to do is meet Mickey. It was an amazing experience for me and I was 44 years old. Also to see Wishes for the first time. Oh my gosh even now after 4 trips, it makes me tear up!! So many things that have to be done at Disneyworld!!!

    • Brenda says:

      Definitely!!! She has to meet my main man, Mickey and, of course, give him a big hug!!! Thanks so much, Heather… I am getting so excited about this trip!

  6. Meghan says:

    For me, it has to be the iconic picture in front of the castle. My whole family is going in April, which means my sister-in-law, neice, and nephew will be going for the first time. It is a rite of passage to get your picture taken there, I plan on snapping a lot of photos for them!

    • Brenda says:

      You know what, Meghan? That is hilarious because the night before last I was just talking to Josh and Kacie about the fact that we WILL still all be wearing our matching t-shirts and taking our annual picture in front of the castle! LOL. Thanks a bunch for writing in…

  7. Lynn Brooks says:

    A must do for first timers is to meet Mickey Mouse, no matter how old you are. We never go to Disney and not meet Mickey and get our pics taken with him. After all, it all started with a mouse.

    • Brenda says:

      You are SO right, Lynn! Mickey is near and dear to my heart…mostly because he was created by Walt. Since I can’t give Walt a big hug, I sure love giving Mickey one!! Have a great day and thanks for posting!!

  8. Christine Huff says:

    Fantasmic! It was the 1st thing we did when we got there for my family’s first trip to Disney. We got in to the resort in the evening, left everything in our room and headed out! Grabbed dinner and sat and waited for the show to begin! 2 years later, my husband and boys are still talking about it!! 🙂

    • Brenda says:

      We really like Fantasmic also, Christine! I am not sure we will be at DHS that late but I might be able to maneuver my schedule to allow for it. Thanks a bunch for your suggestion. I want this trip to be something she will never forget.

  9. I think you can’t miss the castle show “The Magic, The Memories and You”. The music is amazing and the effects are unbelievable!

    • Brenda says:

      I agree with you, Anelise! I saw this show when I was at MK for the 40th anniversary and I understand they have added a whole new segment for Christmas. I cannot wait to see it. Thank you so much.

  10. Tammy L says:

    Its going to be my first time in April! cant wait and my 5 yr old is SO excited too! I want to make sure we see all the fireworks and parades! I want to ride all the good rides 🙂 and meet some of my fave characters! I have a list of “must do’s” and hope to at least accomplish that If not oh well! we are going to have a BLAST!!

    • Brenda says:

      That is fantastic, Tammy! I am so excited for you to be taking your first trip. Be sure you note that on your reservation because the Disney folks LOVE to make a fuss over first-timers. Wear that button proudly and have a blast!!!!

  11. theresa king says:

    The Parade as it celebrates all that Disney is… You get to see the characters and the music its just amazing!!

    • Brenda says:

      Nothing gets you into the magic like a parade down Main Street USA, right Theresa? I cannot wait for this and reading your post just made me all excited again. I can’t wait…so much to do before we go… Have a great day and thanks!!

  12. Heather S. says:

    Peter Pan is a must for me. It was the first ride I rode on my first ever visit long, long ago. Still love it. [:)]

    • Brenda says:

      I am with you, Heather. I LOVE Peter Pan. That is one of the rides that reminds me how important it was to Walt that parents and children could ride together. I remember the first time I rode it, I thought oh my gosh it is gonna break with the weight, but NO it is well-capable of holding the load and brings so much happiness to us. It is one of the best rides at MK hands down! Thanks a bunch.

  13. Margie Hacker says:

    wishes I would say is the thing that U MUST see at MK.

    • Brenda says:

      Isn’t Wishes just amazing, Margie? You know something I found very interesting during my Keys to the Kingdom tour last year is that although it appears that the fireworks are right over Cinderella Castle, they are actually shot a LONG way away. If you ever get a chance to take that tour, and you haven’t yet, it is well worth it! Thanks so much!

  14. Mary Allred says:

    Wishes is a must see at the Magic Kingdom! Also Illuminations Reflection from Earth. The rides are awesome at all the parks.

    • Brenda says:

      The fireworks shows are definitely a must for us, Mary! I cannot wait to sit out there and feel the magic and the vibe from these shows. What wonderful productions Disney imagineers pull off every night. Thank you so much!

  15. Shara says:

    Must do….evening parade followed by fireworks in the Magic Kingdom! It is the most magical moment of any vacation!

    • Brenda says:

      I love this too, Shara. I especially love it when it is cold outside and I have a hot chocolate in my hand. It warms my heart, my body and my spirit…you are so right! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  16. Holly Ford says:

    I am planning a trip for a BUNCH of first timers and one of the things I am making sure we do is Ride on all the “Mountains” that is just classic Disney there!

    • Brenda says:

      The mountains are FANTASTIC, Holly! I love them all: Space, Splash and Big Thunder. My family also includes Everest into the Mountain category now. They are some of the very best that Disney has to offer. Congratulations for winning!!!!!

  17. Maureen says:

    The Gingerbread House in the Grand Floridian…it smells amazing and you can ride the monorail after!

    • Brenda says:

      This is a definite must do for us, Maureen. In fact, our first breakfast is the Supercal at 1900 Park Fare so we will see the Gingerbread House on our first day out. I cannot wait. I absolutely love it and we have taken some Christmas card pics right in front of it in years past. Thank you for writing in. Have a great day!

  18. Nancy says:

    Congratulations to Holly Ford who was the winner of Day 4 of our Birthday Giveaway! And many thanks for the great advice for “first timers” from all who entered: I think Brenda got some excellent suggestions on what to show her son’s girlfriend. 🙂 Don’t forget, our next giveaway will be on our Friday blog post, so be sure to stop by there for another chance to win! Good luck!

    • Brenda says:

      Thank you so much for posting the article, Nancy. I have so much to do before we go as I have to have Christmas completely taken care of as well as everything for the trip. I must admit that I have been feeling somewhat overwhelmed. All these comments from our fellow Disney lovers has really gotten me excited!! I know I will get it all done and this trip (just like all those we have taken) will be magical! I hope to write all about it when we return. I hope everyone will have a magical holiday season, whether at Disney, at home, or anywhere your family will be this year!

  19. Amy Wells says:

    For me, it’s Splash Mountain!! Sounds simple, but everyone needs to try it.

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