Going to Disney World is a big deal for most visitors, from the first timer to the yearly pass holder, everyone gets excited about their trip to Disney. Plans are done far in advance, which gives enough time to build anticipation and high expectations for the perfect family trip…or the worst. When visiting Disney for the first time or even if it’s been a long time since your last visit, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure Disney is as magical as you wished it would be.
5. Do your homework
Going to Disney is a great experience, if you plan properly. The “My Disney Experience” website or App are great resources for understanding all Disney has to offer before your trip begins. Restaurants, shows, ride descriptions even when and where your children’s favorite characters can be found! You can also use the FASTPASS + option to make sure you spend more time on rides than lines. My Disney can even be used to make a reservation for dinner. Don’t Forget to check park hours when planning your stay too, as they change with the seasons.
Sure, this may seem like a no brainer right ? Wrong. Yes, you will have booked in advance your hotel, car service , travel arrangements and tickets, but you didn’t plan when and where to use your FASTPASS+. Depending on the time of year you visit, the Disney crowd levels fluctuate dramatically. I have been to Disney during the last week of September and walked right onto Soarin, I have also visited during Christmas, when if not for FASTPASS, a 60-120 minute wait can be expected. If you choose to wing-it and select your FASTPASS when you arrive at the park you will be left with undesirable ride times as all the good time slots will already be taken. Try to make your FASTPASS+ choices before arriving at the park to maximize your park time.
Ok so it’s your vacation and every day should be filled with sunshine and good weather, but you are in Florida and this is not always the case. In Florida you expect 88 degree and sunshine all year, which does happen quite often but even the most beautiful day in Orlando can be moments away from a downpour. In the summer it is hot and I mean HOT! Random passing showers are common, so plan on bringing ponchos. We bring a dozen or so ponchos with us no matter what season we travel in as rain can always be expected. In the winter it can go from 80 degrees on Thursday to 55 on Friday, dress in layers to make sure you stay comfortable all day. If you are bringing little ones with a stroller look into purchasing a rain cover before you set off on your vacation, this will keep your child dry (and everything you will probably have stuffed under the stroller!).
I bet your kids are always perfect, smiling, behaving and telling you what a great time they are having right? Probably not, so don’t expect them to be perfect at Disney. Disney World is filled with all sorts of magic, changing your child’s habits however is not one of them. Children will act up as much as they will smile and behave, you can’t expect them to understand how big of a deal this trip is for you or how hard you worked to bring them to Disney, they are kids. Nothing will ruin a vacation to Disney faster than high expectations and a short temper. Sometimes less is more. If you are staying on Disney property schedule a trip back to the hotel so everyone can relax and children can nap, then return to the park in the evening. This keeps everyone in refreshed and in good spirits. Understand that you will not see everything. Disney parks are rather large and there are 4 of them! so don’t plan going on all the rides or seeing all the special events, you know your kids and what they can handle. Keep the vacation feeling like a vacation.
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1. Dads, It’s mom’s vacation too!
This is a big one! Mom is always on the clock and going to Disney with younger kids is more like working a double midnight overtime shift than a vacation… if, there isn’t good communication before and during a trip to Disney. Talk about all the things you could bring to make life easier at the park. Make all plans flexible and ask if she needs anything so mom can enjoy herself too! Its ok for dad to feel like a kid at Disney as long as mom doesn’t feel like she has an extra kid at Disney.
No matter how your family vacation goes you will make memories that last a lifetime at Disney it is impossible not to, but keeping these tips in mind before and during your trip will help maximize the magic that Disney World Parks offer you and your family.