My first 5 tips or facts about a first time Disney vacation - (This is an typical explanation that I would give...Sorry it's so long winded!)
That sounds stupid, but I would tell you that it's simply not somewhere I would go by the seat of my pants! I love planning stuff, but I can also be very flexible too. Having gone as a child, as a family reunion, as a single adult, married, then with kids - each time was a different experience. Planning for trips is different each time and can be alot of fun, but work too! Be prepared to NOT see everything. I was the person who tried to do everything every trip, but with refurbishments, weather closings, and the time restraint, it's easier to just know ahead of time that we are going to see as much as we can and not have that expectation that we can do it all! Especially with little ones in tow...you see less! You can know ahead of time what is closed for refurbishment on the calendar page at the bottom of each park there is a little section that tells you what is closed.
>Make dining reservations as soon as you've booked your trip in order to get good times and dates! I only booked 3 months in advance on my last trip and got all the dining reservations I wanted - all 8 of them! I did need park hopper and flexibility in times/park days to plan that though. I got my dining reservations worked out and then made my schedule of parks and where we would be on the trip.
> Make a list beforehand of absolutely must do's for each park. I knew that with two toddlers they wouldn't be able to ride everything! My oldest still reminds me that we have to go back - "because we skipped some stuff!" Ha! Knowing ahead of time the ride height requirements was helpful to for planning rider swap too.
>Familiarize yourself with the layout of Disney! Knowing where you are can be very helpful and especially if you are trying to use the transportation system to get places it's nice to head the right direction and not waste time wandering around looking for something.
>Be prepared! To Lose your kid! This may seem silly, but knowing what you are going to do if something like this happens can be helpful to you and your child. I have seen many a child lost at Disney and there are ways to stay calm and not be that mother who is having a panic attack because she doesn't spot her child right away and starts to think the worst has happened to them! First, stay calm as hard as it is to do. Just stop! Look around from where you are standing and just look. Is there something that might have distracted your child to it? (ok, that's a stupid question for Disney, but is there a character or show? Something that might have really had a pull to your child to go to?) Then find the closest cast member and let them know you were in this area and can't find your child. Having a picture from that day handy would be great for showing them your child. There are missing children all the time and they are there every day and handle these type of situations frequently. The times that I have seen a child lost from their party, a cast member takes them to the Lost Child area after they stand for a few minutes in the vicinity where the child was found. There are new products on the market to help with name. number, etc... I really like the child temporary tattoo idea - Safety Tat is one that I've heard of.. I could put it in a discreet place and not visible to everybody. Teaching your child to find a cast member who is wearing a name tag is important too. Do they know your real name? Tell them what to do to. I'm not trying to scare my child, but I want them prepared and we will have a plan, just in case!