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OK, remember back to your first trip, how much preliminary information did you learn about the world?

When you go to a vacation destination for the 1st time, how much pre trip info do you get?

  • Nothing. I'm a free spirit, I book the trip and wing it?

    Votes: 6 8.7%
  • Just the basics ma'am. how to get there, operating hours and what to wear are all I need.

    Votes: 5 7.2%
  • visit a website or buy a book.

    Votes: 24 34.8%
  • I'm insane, lol. The Geneva convention took less research. I scour websites and stalk people there

    Votes: 28 40.6%
  • Other: there are always other choices.

    Votes: 6 8.7%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
First trip was in 1998. The age of horrid dialup. I did not look much up at all online then or trip two, in 2000. Our many trips since planning trip 3- in 2007- I found this site lol and the rest is history!! :) Haven’t stayed offsite since and I will be there tomorrow!!! It is our last trip until at least next fall though.


Well-Known Member
I was right in between WEBSITE and I"M INSANE.

My first trip there (in my old life) in 1998, I was there for 4 days. 1 day at each park. I dont remember finding a map anywhere, so we just walked and 'found' stuff. Turns out, I MISSED TONS as there were sections of MK and EP I never saw! Also, while we were there, we were told AK was closed because of a few tigers that died. So we did a pool day.

Fast forward to my Life now.....first trip was spring of 2014, and I got as much info online as I could. Picked up maps there when we arrived....and just wanted to see it all. I wanted to learn as much as possible about what to see, and not miss.

Fast forward more to today....And i still show up on these forums and rumor sites to keep learning.


Well-Known Member
My first trip as an adult was in 1998. I bought the 1997 version of the Unofficial Guide (and one other book... I forget which one) and also was active on several Usenet groups (rec.arts.disney.parks). I created a folder of with itinerary details, places to eat, rides to do, etc. I knew the types of rooms in each hotel, prices, etc. My family still talks about my Disney Folder.


Well-Known Member
I'm going with other. Considering I was like 2, I didn't know what planning was. I just got thrown into the deep end and picked it up from there. By the time I was 8 I could navigate every arcade on property - knew the ins and outs of the magic store on Main Street, every square inch of River Country, and the order of every float in the Main Street Electrical Parade.......a lot of good that does me now.
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Well-Known Member
It was 1982. We had one guidebook we all looked through. That was it for the Disney portion of the trip. I was helping book trips while in my teens. By the time we went on our honeymoon, it was old hat.

Tom 55

Well-Known Member
My first visit was 1979. Well before the internet. It was only the MK and we stayed off site. Did not think we had any information on Disney World before we got to hotel. Back then it was you buy a book of tickets that you used to ride.

Tom 55

Well-Known Member
Our second trip was 1982. We took it as a spur of the moment trip. Got some unexpected time off so went to MK. Was May and EPCOT was still being built. From hotel could see Spaceship Earth on the horizon.


Well-Known Member
For my first trip, very little other than the Disney brochure and the Birnbaum guide book. (Book bought at a BOOKSTORE because Amazon did not exist yet.)
Because also in 1974 the internet did not exist, computers (for personal use) did not exist, smartphones did not exist (not even basic cell phones) and of course no MDE app...
But there was not a need for a whole lot of planning because the Magic Kingdom was the ONLY park, and you got a book of tickets (A tickets to E tickets) for different "levels" of rides so you were limited in how may times you could ride different rides, especially the E ticket (the big ones) rides.
Dang, I am getting old.....
Today? I start planning with room reservations a year early, research all the restaurant menus ahead of time and make all my ADR's at the 180 day mark and make fastpasses at the 60 day mark. I even look at the satellite photos of the areas we will be in to "learn my way around" before we go. :rolleyes: Drives my wife crazy. That's a short trip but don't tell her I said so.

Todd H

Well-Known Member
First trip was back in the '70s so not much planning was required then. I miss those days. I absolutely hate all the planning necessary for a WDW trip now.


Well-Known Member
It was back in Dec. of ‘88 for our honeymoon, and my DWifey did what little planning there was, because she had been once before a few years previous. We stayed offsite in Kissimmee, and rented a car.
We didn’t even get a Birnbaum’s guide...!!!!! :hilarious:

On a side note:
We had been to DLR previous to that (4 times myself), but, only for day trips.


Well-Known Member
Yeah, back then there was no internet, so no research. A travel agent told us about a "nice" hotel close to the parks. Several years late with the internet, I started to research as much as I could. Now when I go anywhere new, I do months of research on where I will be staying, where I will be eating, what to do, etc. If I am driving there then I go down to google map street view and "drive" it ahead of time so it looks familiar to me when I am there. I am a super planner.


Well-Known Member
1st trip fall circa 1994 my soon to be wife said let’s go to WDW for vacation. She booked us into Dixie Landing and bought tickets. We showed up and had a great time.

2nd trip fall 1995 Disney-Moon, Contemporary, we decide we wanted to stay there after the first trip and where we wanted to dine, other wise same as first trip we just showed up.

3rd trip spring 2000 Wilderness Lodge with our Disney souvenir that we named Jake, let’s say the invasion of Normandy had less planning. Transportation, meals, parks schedules, live show, fireworks, pool time you name it we have it planned. About half way through the visit we realized we couldn’t do everything. We instead did what we though would be the most fun for all of us.

On subsequent trips we did some favorite attractions and restaurants but added those we hadn’t experienced before.

Tony the Tigger

Premium Member
First trip was in 1998.
My first trip there (in my old life) in 1998, I was there for 4 days.
My first trip as an adult was in 1998.
1998 was a popular year for first trips! Same with us.

I didn't even have a computer. At some point between 1998 and 1999, I bought a webTV. Pretty sure that was after this trip.

We had 4-day (no expiration date) park-hoppers that cost I believe around $120 each at our local Florida Disney Store (long since closed.) They were given to me as a Christmas gift by my then-BF, along with some kind of unofficial guide book. (He knew I liked to be informed when making decisions - not controlling at all LOL.) I didn't have a lot of time to read the book before our trip because it was just days after Christmas, but did the best I could. He had booked a $35-ish room on 192 next to a Chinese buffet. We drove up from Fort Lauderdale.

He had been before (but not recently) and I had not. I relied more on his experience, but was not in any way "prepared" and really didn't need to be. We had paper fast-passes, long lines everywhere (the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve.) We ate at the McDonald's inside the park, at the McDonald's on 192 on the way into the park (steak bagels - do they still make those? I don't do fast food anymore.) (We ate at the Chinese buffet.) Zero table service restaurants, and we barely paid for what we could.

As I mentioned on the other thread, I didn't know I had to prepare. My only point of reference was Great Adventure in New Jersey. There was no preparing for that other than finding the Coca-Cola can with the buy-one-get-one ticket offer on it. I had no way to conceive of what to expect at Disney World. I literally thought it was going to be Great Adventure with Mickey Mouse on the rollercoasters.

We had no kids; the stakes were not that high. This was not a "thousands of dollars" trip. This was a hundreds of dollars, 4 night trip.

And with all the lines and the McDonald's, we had the time of our lives. Park commandos from open til close. Every single day. No breaks. Every few steps, there was another thing to do/experience/watch. I was blown away. (I don't think I realized how blown away until I got home and wanted to go back LOL.)

As usual, my biggest point seems to be: Everyone does Disney differently. Don't expect everyone else spends the same amount of money, has as much riding on it, is having the one trip of their lives, etc.

Also: the way we do Disney has evolved and changed over time. While I still have no problem with a $40 room, more and more we stay on property. We never go from open to close. We plan fine dining more than anything else.

I presume people have more ready access to more information before their first trips these days; but I can't blame them for not knowing what they don't know and arriving unprepared. With that said, if they book well enough in advance, WDW will send them reminders about magic bands, ADR's, and FP's when it's time to do all of those things.

But we live in a world where some have embraced technology and others eschew it. Some have the lastest phone, some have a flip-phone, either by choice or by financial limitations. Live and learn; live and let live.


Well-Known Member
My first trip was in 1985 and we visited quite a bit between then and 1998 without needing to do much in the way of research. We took a Disney break after that (minus popping into DLR in 2003). It wasn't until my kids' first trip in 2010 that I was faced with really planning a Disney trip. I spent close to 2 years researching and planning, I had books, joined all the forums, had a travel agent, and had tons of plans embedded in my timeline.


Well-Known Member
For us it was very little research really we spent a few minutes reading what the quick service dinning plan was and read that you could get a fastpass from terminals outside of the rides and when we booked they told us we have MDE included to get to and from our resort.

Did not consider any table service meals on our first trip as we like to just decide in the moment about dining something sadly that is no longer easy to do with much bigger crowds and also OKW uk free dining package was upgraded to the standard dining plan from 2014 so since then we have done table service.

Since they added FP+ and included table service on our package we have spent huge amounts of time doing research and with the added crowds i would feel sorry for any family that does not.


Well-Known Member
My first trip was at age 12 so my only planning was from my next door neighbors who went a couple weeks before us, and told us about all the cool stuff they went on. So my family gets to DisneyWorld and ............ my parents buy the cheapest ticket package there was. I was so bummed that we couldn't ride but one E-ticket. I remember riding the free stuff many many times. This was 1976 and everything was about the Bi-Centennial. I went back in 1981 with my godmother and her family. Now everything was pay one price, and we stayed at the Contemporary. As soon as we got back I started calling to make reservations for myself the next year. Sometimes it would take days to get through to Central Reservations----got a lot of busy signals back then!!!


Well-Known Member
Our first trip was our honeymoon in'93...booked thru a travel agent, arrived there and winged it start to finish...no apps, meal plans, fast passes...Uni was only one park. Had a blast, and that trip planted the seeds for a new love story (besides the DW of course...she reads my posts, so I have to CYA if you know what I mean...LOL)...the love story that is our family's happy place. NOW, unless you're a local, I really don't know how you can just "wing it" and get any enjoyment out of a trip unless you go in with ZERO expectations.


Well-Known Member
First trip was back in 2009. I hardly did any planning:banghead: I will say it was much easier back then though, didn't have to worry about Mymagic +. I will say that I learned if you think your going to try and park hop 3 parks in one day and see everything, you'd be sadly mistaken :)


Well-Known Member
I went one day each at MK and EPCOT center in 1985.. I was 10.. then not again until my honeymoon in 2012.. I was opposed to the cost.. and didn't know what to expect.. My wife was DVC.. so I lost that debate.. all it took was to walk into MK on the first day to turn it all around.. now I do all the planning for our trips.. and spend too much time on the boards.
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