We all know that taking a trip to Disney is no small endeavor. Besides all of the regular vacation tips out there, here is a list of tips to help you survive Disney with your sanity intact and still having a great time with your little ones.
14. Strollers – Do not bring your biggest, most expensive stroller. Umbrella strollers are easier to carry, can be gate checked if you are flying and they are easier to get on and off of buses, trams, etc. You can rent strollers from the parks or from many of the retailers around Orlando. Some of them will even pick up and drop off to and from your hotel.
13. Baby Care Center – Each park has a Baby Care Center that is cool and quiet for when you need to get away with the little one to decompress. You’ll find changing tables, rocking chairs in the private nursing area, high chairs… even a full kitchen where you can prepare food or warm milk. They also have a store with all kinds of baby items like jars of food, extra formula, diapers, wipes, and sunscreen. You know, the stuff you inevitably forget to pack.
12. Clothing – Two changes of clothes for anyone in diapers because your kid will definitely have a diaper blowout while waiting in line for Winnie the Pooh.
11. Maps – One per person. This way there is no battles about whose turn it is to look at it.
10. Water – If you don’t like Orlando’s water, you can buy gallons at the grocery store and fill your own bottles. Plus it saves you money for other goodies, like tasty treats.
9. Food – You can bring in food. Stock up on granola bars, chips, fruit cups and stick them in the stroller or your bag. Just remember, no glassware. They do search bags and pockets. For a truly unique experience (that doesn’t require a reservation) don’t miss waffle sandwiches at Sleepy Hollow, Dole Whip at Aloha Café, Lefou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern and quick service lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant. Remember, reservations for most table service restaurants are available 180 days ahead of time, so if you want one, be sure to book it early.
8. FastPass+ – Keeps you from standing in line forever with little ones. There are apps that allow you to make FastPass selections without even walking all the way to the ride. You can make selections 30 days out with a regular ticket, and 60 days out if you are staying at a Disney hotel. Bring things for the kids to do while waiting in line.
7. Fantasyland – Great for the little ones, think Dumbo, Tea Cups, and Carousel, and there are some attractions that are usually worth the wait like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and meeting Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” or Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
6. Souvenirs – Disney’s Character Warehouse – Outlet shop near Downtown Disney sells discontinued Disney items. Much easier on the wallet than purchasing inside of Disney. You can get a lanyard for pin trading at Party City and get a “lot” of pins on EBay. This way you have pins to trade with and they didn’t cost you $7-15 each to start with. Also, check the party stores for other little things the kids might like, such as pens, autograph books, ears, glow sticks for being in the park after dark.
5. Spending money – Set a specific amount per child, if you’re giving them any. Then explain how much of their money each item they want to purchase would take out of their money. But let them decide and stick to the amount. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
4. PhotoPass – Professional photographers throughout the park in the best locations for family photos. Even better yet, they will take the pictures with your own camera!
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3. Hotels – Staying on Disney property has its benefits. It lets you have downtime for the kids. No matter where you stay, the kids will need downtime. Shuttles are available if you stay on property. Some people swear it’s the only way to go. Just plan for a long break in the middle of the day so you don’t miss the evening events.
2. Just in case of an emergency – Find a spot to meet in case of emergencies – As soon as you enter the park, point to a high, obvious piece of architecture and say, “If we get separated and can’t reach each other by phone, we meet there.” (the globe in Epcot, the hat in Hollywood Studios, the tree in the Animal Kingdom, the castle in the Magic Kingdom).
1. Important items – Keep the important stuff easily accessible. Lanyards to carry ID’s, tickets, room keys. It makes it much less likely to be lost getting pulled out of pockets and dropped.
Most importantly, don’t try to do it all in one day!
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper