A first visit to Walt Disney World is special enough, but there are also a number of other “firsts” your child (or even you!) can experience to make even more magical memories.
(Tip: On a first visit, be sure to get a free “1st Visit!” Disney pin to wear. You can pick one up from Guest Services, the front desk of Disney hotels, and often from the check-out counters of Disney stores in the parks or Disney Springs.)
Uniquely Disney “Firsts”:
- Disney Park – Tater’s first park (and the first park that many visit) was the Magic Kingdom. Nothing says “Welcome to Disney” like walking down Main Street and getting your first glimpse of the Cinderella Castle.
- Disney Ride – We chose Dumbo as Tater’s first ride, as it was one of my favorites as a child. Sure enough, he’s been on it half a dozen times now, and it remains a must-do any time we visit the Magic Kingdom.
- Meeting Mickey Mouse – I will never forget Tater’s first time meeting Mickey Mouse. Tater wasn’t talking yet, but he had just started watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Well, as soon as he saw Mickey, he recognized him immediately. His arms started flailing, his legs were kicking, and he was squealing with delight. We chose to first meet Mickey at Town Square Theater in the Magic Kingdom (where he talks!), and you can find other places to meet Mickey Mouse here.
- Mickey Ear Hat – We bought Tater’s first Mickey Ear Hat (with his name embroidered on the back in red) right before his first time meeting Mickey Mouse. The hat has held up surprisingly well, and a year and a half later, we still take it – and he still wears it – on every Disney trip. We purchased ours from The Chapeau in the Magic Kingdom (to the right when you enter Main Street, over by Tony’s Town Square), and they are available at a few other park locations, as well as Disney Springs.
- Character Meal – We waited for Tater’s second Disney World trip (right after he turned one) for his first character meal, and fortunately, he was still a fan of the characters. We chose Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and we enjoyed it so much that we are going back soon to celebrate his second birthday.
- Mickey Ears Ice Cream Bar – Officially, it is listed as “Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar” on the menus. We waited until Tater was a little older for this one, and now we can’t go to Disney World without him getting one. Be warned – it will be messy, so take tons of napkins when you buy one!
- Fireworks – Just about every night, you should be able to find fireworks at Walt Disney World’s parks (with the exception of Animal Kingdom). Make sure you check the Disney website though, as sometimes there are special parties or other events making fireworks not available.
- Parade – The Festival of Fantasy Parade runs in the Magic Kingdom every day at 3 p.m. (pending weather or technical difficulties), and the park also offers the nighttime Main Street Electrical Parade. Check times for that one, as they vary.
- Train Ride – Tater’s first train ride was on the Walt Disney World Railroad at the Magic Kingdom, which circles the park with stops at Main Street, Frontierland and Fantasyland. The Railroad is also a great break if you or your little one(s) get tired or want to sit for a bit during the heat of the day, as you can keep riding it was long as you’d like. (Note: The Railroad is scheduled to be closed for refurbishment April 11-22.)
- Carousel Ride – A first carousel ride anywhere is special, but riding one with with a castle in the background? Yes please! Bonus: You never have to wait too long to ride the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at the Magic Kingdom.
- Hair Cut – The Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom (to the left when you enter the park) offers a “My First Haircut” package for $25. This includes – besides the haircut – a certificate and a first haircut Mickey Ear Hat, and they will save a lock of hair for you. We are still waiting to do this for Tater, and they do take walk ups, but reservations are highly recommended (Call (407) 939-7529).
- Birthday – Or any birthday! Pick up a free Disney birthday pin at Guest Services, the front desk of a Disney hotel or from the check-out counters of many of the Disney stores on site, and Cast Members (and strangers too!) will be calling out “Happy Birthday!” throughout your trip. Also – although not guaranteed – many table service restaurants will bring out a special birthday cupcake or dessert for the person celebrating. (Tip: If you are celebrating a birthday but it’s not the actual day of the birthday, it’s okay! Get your pin (no one is checking dates) and have a great time!)
- Driving Lesson – Once your child hits 32″ they are able to drive a race car (with someone 54″ inches or taller in the passenger seat) at the Tomorrowland Speedway. Tater could barely see over the steering wheel, and my husband had to press the gas pedal, but he loved “vrooming” around the course. And don’t worry parents – there is a metal bar on the course that keeps the car going straight and only allows it to move side-to-side a little bit (though plan on banging back and forth when the wheels hit it from your crazy tot driver!).
- Roller Coaster – I am looking forward to the first time I can take Tater on a roller coaster, and you can bet it will be at Disney. We still have a few inches to go, though, until he reaches the minimum height requirements: The Barnstormer (35″), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (38″), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (40″), Space Mountain (44″), Expedition Everest (44″), and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (48″).
The possibilities of “firsts” are endless, and they aren’t always planned. For example, Tater had his first taste of ice cream at L’Artisan des Glaces in the France pavilion at Epcot because he just happened to wake up from a nap while my husband and I were finishing ours.
White chocolate coconut. Pretty fancy for a first timer.
My favorite “first” at Disney, though – and one that will be hard to ever top – was when Tater started walking for the first time while we were at the Boneyard playground at Animal Kingdom. I needed to get something out of the backpack, but he wanted to play in the water. That was that, and I’ve been chasing him ever since!
What was your favorite Disney “first”? Please share in the comments below.