Figure out what you want to eat BEFORE you get there
Disney provides menus for all of its restaurants and counter service options on its website. Look through the menus and figure out where you want to eat at each park. It is often easier to pick a spot in the park that is nearest to wherever your last FastPass+ will be. This way, you will get off of a ride and have a meal waiting nearby. Because restaurants book up quickly, it is recommended to reserve your spot early. Adjust these times accordingly depending on when your family will eat and where you’ll be in the park at that time.
Pack for Any and Every Weather Situation (This is Florida after all!)
Florida has one of the most chaotic climates. In the matter of fifteen minutes, you could experience a thunderstorm, perfect sunshine, and a sudden cool breeze. Because of this, make sure that you have clothes for multiple situations. Bring clothes for warm weather but ensure that you have sweatshirts, umbrellas/ponchos, and light options for layering. You shouldn’t need a bulky winter coat, but having a jacket handy can’t hurt. Sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen are also a must to ensure you’re comfortable in the often piercing Florida heat!
Here’s a Mini-List of Must-Haves:
- Your MagicBands (If they came in the mail!)
- Sunscreen (travel size preferred)
- Empty Plastic Water Bottles
- A Small Backpack for the Parks
Traveling with Kids – A Short Guide
If you are traveling with small children, Disney can be quite a lot to handle. One way to make it easier is to pack every child’s outfit for every day in a plastic bag with the day and park labeled on it. That way, mornings will be a little less hectic and you can get out of your hotel quickly. Kids can often get overheated in the parks. Another way to prepare is to make sure you bring empty plastic water bottles to the parks and refill them at the water fountains (Note: All quick service restaurants will give you water for free if you ask!).
Next, for kids who may be nervous about rollercoasters or the dark rides, you can show them videos of the rides in advance by searching for videos of the attractions on YouTube. This could help get kids simultaneously excited about their vacation and ease some of their concerns about the attractions ahead of time. Finally, it may be sweet to have your son or daughter get dressed as a princess or a pirate, but these outfits often lead to mid-afternoon tantrums. Ditch the tulle, glitter hairspray, and plastic sword for a breathable cotton outfit.
Timing Your Days – Midday Breaks are Essential
Picture this – You arrive at the park in the morning at 7:30 a.m., and you’re there until midnight. Is this doable? Yes. Is this comfortable? Absolutely not. Although many prefer to stay in the parks all day, this can be exhausting to the average person. At most of the parks, the hours of 12-4 in the afternoon are the hottest, most-crowded, and most chaotic. Instead of pushing through crowds, use this 12-4 window to head back to your hotel, nap, eat, and rest up. Once you arrive back at the parks later in the afternoon, most of the mid-day crowd will be rushing out while YOU enjoy the cooler weather and shortened wait times.