Introducing Disney Parks to a First Time Visitor

My boyfriend had never been to a Disney park. I’d been going at least once a year for 20 years. The obvious thing to do was to take him to a Disney park. I mean, I had to check that he would at least be able to tolerate my obsession interest. In July 2016 we went to Disneyland Paris for 3 nights and it was excellently successful. So, I upped the ante and in February of this year we went to Walt Disney World together. We’ve now booked to go again next year so I’d say it’s been a successful introduction.

With that in mind, here’s my guide for introducing somebody you care about into the wonderful world of Disney parks:

Sleeping Beauty castle Disneyland Paris

Ease them in.
Although Walt Disney World is my ‘home’ Disney resort (you know the one I mean; the one that you feel most affiliated with, the one that makes you happiest of all), going there from the UK involves a lot of planning and a long trip to make it worth it. That would have been a LOT for Justin to take in. So, I started small and short. We went to Disneyland Paris, which is relatively quick and easy to get to (thank you Eurostar!). We stayed for 3 nights, which was an ideal amount of time. It gave us a chance to see/do everything that we (okay, I) wanted to do, but it meant that if Justin wasn’t a fan, we weren’t there for that long. Luckily he loved it (well, he’s still maintaining that over a year on so I’ll take it).

Buzz Lightyear Disneyland Paris

Let them plan some of the trip.
I know the parks inside and out, and I know exactly what I want to do when. But this trip was about Justin liking the parks, so I let him choose things that he wanted to do. He was happy to defer to me on most occasions, but he chose some excellent places for us to have food, and he chose to watch the Magic on Parade parade a second time (that one surprised me – I did not have him pegged as a potential parade fan!). And even though I’m somewhat terrified of Tower of Terror we went on it because it was something that he wanted to do. It meant that the trip wasn’t just me dictating every moment.

Build in rest breaks.
Disney parks are overwhelming and tiring. Even as somebody who has been going for years I can appreciate this. So I made sure that we went back to our hotel in the early/late afternoon each day to give us time to relax and absorb everything so far. Oh, and nap. I am a great believer in afternoon naps.
Having the break meant that he wasn’t ‘over-Disneyed’. When we went back to the parks in the evenings he was happy to have dinner, watch Dreams (as it was at the time) and still stay out for some drinks in Disney Village afterwards. We made sure we had a full day, rather than having to call it a day by 5/6pm.

Mickey Mouse hats

Give them an out.
Let them know that you will, in no way, like/love them any less if they do not love the Disney parks (even if that might not quite be the truth!). Justin had a great time, but he’s never going to love the Disney parks in the way that I do. And that’s okay! There’s only room for one Disney obsessive in our relationship. But he really enjoyed himself and is more than happy to go back. Which is good, because I was going to continue going, with or without him. This way, we get to go and have fun together!

When you take it up a notch, still take it slowly.
When we went to Walt Disney World for the first time, we stayed offsite and did Disney days mixed in with non Disney days. It was Justin’s first time in Florida (or the United States in general) and I wanted to show him more than just the Disney parks, so we did day trips to Kennedy Space Center, Universal Studios, Gatorland, downtown Kissimmee, the Florida Mall etc. It wasn’t Disney parks all day every day. It meant that he didn’t become fed up and overexposed to Disney because it was broken up with other – also really fun – things.

Magic Kingdom ferry

And that’s it! If you’re introducing somebody to Disney parks for the first time, I wish you the best of luck! It’s unlikely they’ll love the parks as much as you do, but it will mean that they can now at least half join in when you’re talking about Disney parks. Which, if you’re anything like me, you do a lot!