7 favorites from a disney first-timer

It’s true… I married an avid Disney World lover. Who would’ve guessed my ultra-outdoorsy, football-obsessed husband would have such a love for the happiest place on earth?! Growing up, Disney World was a special destination for his family, and ever since he found out I’d never been, he’s been so excited to take me there!

This past weekend, the stars aligned. After months of planning (and a 6am phone call to set up Fast Passes… color me confused at the time) he whisked me off to Orlando for the long weekend. And after two and a half days in Disney World, let me tell you:

I get it now.

Given that this was my very first trip, and that it was a short one at that, I feel not at all qualified to share tips and tricks regarding your own Disney Land visit. But, I thought it would be fun to share a Disney first-timer’s favorite things about the magical experience! Keep in mind, these are just a few specific things that really stuck out to me on my first trip ti Disney World. There are so many things I’m leaving off the list that you just have to experience for yourself!

I’ll also share details on what I wore at the end of the post, as this was a highly requested topic!


my favorite things


O N E // The Costumes

My parents have always joked that I’ve loved “dressing up” ever since I was a little girl. Perhaps that’s what gave me a love for theater growing up, and now has me in a job where I dress up, well, all the time!

I think that’s why I was so impressed with the costumes at Disney World. And no, I’m not just talking about the characters. (Although those were amazing as well.) I’m talking about the outfits every single employee (or “cast member,” as they’re called in Disney World) wears… from the janitorial staff (a crisp, all-white button-down and pair of pants with a white straw hat) to the snack station workers, which are different in every area of every park!

The attention to detail for each style is truly astounding, and I loved seeing just how many different costumes there are throughout the entire park!

T W O // Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster

The rides. Wow. We probably didn’t even make it to half of them, and I’m still amazed at just how many there are, and how well done, at that!

One of my favorites? The Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. I didn’t have high expectations for this one, which may be why it ended up topping my list. But I just remember how smile-inducingly fun it was from start to finish! Andrew and I didn’t even have a Fast Pass for this one, and yet it was still 100% worth it!

A few other favorites? Flight of Passage (themed after Avatar), Seven Dwarves Mine Train and Soarin’ Around the World.

T H R E E // Mary Poppins

On our last day at the parks, Andrew and I casually walked by Mary Poppins having an under-the-radar meet-and-greet. I stopped in my tracks… she was one of my favorites growing up!

After a few minute wait (I guess good-ole-Mary isn’t as popular with little ones these days) Andrew and I got to meet her ourselves. And oh my word, she was SO GOOD!

Andrew and I couldn’t stop talking about how she kept the conversation flowing, how perfect she looked in the role, etc. My favorite moment? When we turned to take a photo, Mary scolded Andrew for putting his arm around her waist and instructed him to hold her arm “like a proper gentleman.” He was so embarrassed and it was hilarious!

F O U R // Pandora

The very first thing we did on our first morning in Disney World was head to Pandora. I was absolutely blown away by how beautiful it was! We probably waited for about an hour and a half to get on the ride (not to be missed… it’s unbelievable) but I genuinely enjoyed every second. Granted, that probably had something to do with the cool, beautiful weather, but still! The landscape Disney has created for Pandora is stunning.

I also have to note that we had the yummiest drink there! I can’t remember the exact name, but once you exit the Flight of Passage ride, there’s a Pandora-themed snack station that serves this fun multi-colored margarita. So unique and different – we loved it!

F I V E // The Street Entertainment

I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but Disney World made me tear up not once… but twice!

The first time? Witnessing the huge 3pm parade. I still can’t believe Disney World puts that on every. single. day. All the princesses! Oh my word! Snow White (who isn’t even one of my favorites) casually walked by and took me by complete surprise. When we made eye contact and she waved at me, I teared up! So magical.

The second time I got a bit emotional was so random. Andrew and I were walking down Main Street and came across a trolly performance! There were about five different couples in coordinating costumes dancing and singing around the horse-drawn trolley. The dancers were just so jubilant, joyful and happy that it literally made me cry. I think it was because it just made me so happy that a place exists where there is so much pure joy. It was wonderful to experience.

S I X // The Epcot Firework Show

Now don’t get me wrong… I also saw the main “Happily Ever After” firework show and loved it. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen!

But I think my favorite spectacle truly was the brand new “Epcot Forever” firework show. I think part of it was that Epcot as a park is so much more laid back, and there weren’t hundreds of guests crammed next to each other like there are with “Happily Ever After.” Andrew and I, along with his sister, got to perch against a bridge overlooking the lake and take it all in without any iPhone or iPad screens blocking our view.

I also loved how they used the lake in Epcot during the show! I won’t give anything away, but it was really, really special.

S E V E N // Around the World at Epcot

Speaking of the Epcot firework show, I couldn’t leave “Around the World” at Epcot off of my list. I feel so snobby saying this, but I wasn’t expecting much considering I’ve been lucky enough to visit many of the places represented at Epcot in person. How could a replica compete?

Boy was I knocked off of my high horse. It’s really incredible how beautifully Disney has recreated so many different destinations around the world. I especially loved England, France, and China. The buildings! The costumes! The food! So very fun.

A really fun stop was at the Werther’s store, Karamell-Küche, in Germany. I love caramel, like… loveee caramel, and adored seeing so many different treats created from Werther’s! We got the caramel popcorn (which I had high expectations for but was sadly disappointed… the texture was kinda chewy) and a caramel apple… which was delish!


what i wore


Andrew’s sister Caroline actually works at Disney World, so she suggested I wear leggings (these are my favorite), tennis shoes, and a light layer.

The first day, I thought that sounded too hot, so I wore a light blouse from my previous spring collection with The Impeccable Pig, my favorite jean shorts and some comfortable tennis shoes. That evening, I got so cold! So I bought a purple Mickey Mouse sweatshirt from a souvenir shop in the parks.

The next day, I wised up and went with leggings, this athletic top, a light sweatshirt (that I wore around my waist when it got hot) and a rain jacket. Much better. Next time I go, I’ll wear this again!

Another must? A fanny pack! I used a rather tacky metallic one my mom bought as a joke (and honestly, it was great) but think this one would be so cute.

I know it sounds cheesy and cliche, but this weekend was truly magical. I can’t believe it took me so long to make it to Disney World, but I have a feeling this won’t be my last trip!

Love from the Sunshine State,


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  1. Brianna said:

    My husband and I love Mary Poppins too! And there is never a long line for her. We see her every time we go and she’s always the best!

    Published 2.18.20 · Reply
  2. Danny packs are the best for Disney! So glad you got to experience the magic!

    Published 2.18.20 · Reply
  3. Susanna said:

    Kind of random – but what disney sweatshirt is that? Do they sell it online? I am an AP at Disney and looooveeee their cozy sweatshirt and i am obsessed with the one you got!

    Published 2.19.20 · Reply
  4. Chelsey said:

    My husband is the same way and took me on my first trip to Disney for our honeymoon! So magical! Also, try the Mint Julep Lemonaid from Casey’s on Main Street next time you go! Glad you had a great first experience!

    Published 2.19.20 · Reply
  5. Josie said:

    Hi Kate! I’ve been and you describe the place so well – it truly is magical!
    A lot if your links for clothes in this post doesn’t work for me (not available in my region – Sweden) and I understand there is nothing you can do about that! But I would love it if you would consider adding pictures of your outfits or a “mood board” or something so I and everyone else who can’t follow the links still get a feel :)

    Love following you and I’m so happy that you enjoyed your weekend!

    Published 2.19.20 · Reply
  6. Dru said:

    Love this! When you want to go back for a longer stay, I’d love to help you book the most magical vacay! I’m an authorized Disney Travel Planner and avid Lonestar Southern fan girl! My services are free :) Facebook.com/druswbf or IG at SmallWorldWithDru

    Published 2.19.20 · Reply
  7. Michelle said:

    I connect with this post so much! My boyfriend of 5 years and his family are also big fans of Disney. The first time I went with them (after not having been since I was very little), I was so awestruck and found myself tearing up which took me by total surprise as well! So glad you liked it and shared your favorite things. :-)

    Published 3.1.20 · Reply
  8. Lori L. said:

    It’s great to hear your experience as a first timer and so glad you finally made it. Sounds like you’re hooked (ha, ha). It truly is a magical, happy place. And it’s fun packing Disney clothes & swag. I too am a fanny pack fan. It’s fun to search for your favorite characters or find one who isn’t often featured. There’s lots more rides, food & experiences for you to enjoy!

    Published 3.7.20 · Reply