Disney World is wonderful no matter who you go with. That said, we feel the parks are almost always better when experienced with a kid or two, especially if those kids happen to be grandchildren who you can spoil rotten before sending them home. Are you planning a trip to Disney World with grandchildren in the near future? That’s awesome! That said, there are some things you should know before you go, as well as other things you should keep in mind in order to ensure your grandbabies are safe, cared for, and have an amazing time.
1. Talk About Money
Yes, it is often considered rude to discuss finances. That said, there are certain instances when this rule should be broken, and one of these instances crops up when you’re taking your grandkids on vacation. Before you plan or book anything, confirm that the grandkids can go (of course), and then discuss the financial aspect with their parents. Talk about what you will be covering and what kinds of things they would be expected to pay for. A frank conversation could save you and your adult child a lot of frustration in the future, and might even save your trip.
2. Carry Proper ID
Anytime you take another person’s child on a trip, it’s important that you carry a notarized letter from the child’s parents saying you have permission to be traveling with said child. The letter should also give you permission to seek medical care should the need arise.
3. Get Medical Information
Speaking of medical care, you will also want to make sure you have any and all necessary medical information. This could include insurance information, important aspects of the child’s medical history, information on medications that need to be administered, and instructions on what to do in case of an allergic reaction. Being prepared with these things is incredibly important and could even be lifesaving.
4. Stick to Their Schedule
Okay, yes, you’re going on vacation. It’s supposed to be fun and different and exciting. That said, there is such a thing as too much excitement, especially if your grandchildren are very young. Staying up too late, missing naps, and eating at odd times can have some serious consequences that tend to come in the form of super cranky kids. For this reason, we highly recommend asking mom and dad what the child’s usual schedule is like and making an effort to stick to that schedule as much as reasonably possible.
5. Remember Mom and Dad’s Rules
In the same vein as sticking to the usual schedule, it’s also a good idea to keep mom and dad’s rules in mind. Most of the time, rules are in place for a reason, and you likely don’t want to see what happens when your sweet grandson is allowed to have red food dye or your precious granddaughter gets as much screen time as she pleases. Even if the rules seem silly to you, try to respect them. If nothing else, it’ll increase your chances of getting to take your grandkids on vacation again in the future.
6. Bring Lovies from Home
As mentioned above, schedules are important, especially for young children. Another thing that is incredibly important? The “lovies” of little ones. These might be stuffed animals, blankets, or something else entirely. Whatever it is that brings your grandchild comfort, make sure you have that item. You’ll be glad you do when bedtime rolls around.
7. Pack Snacks They Enjoy
We all know that kids can be picky eaters, and vacation isn’t really the time to fight with your grandkids about eating their veggies. Offer the vegetables, of course, and make sure healthy meals are available every day, but to save your sanity, we also recommend packing snacks you know the kids love. If you aren’t sure what your grandkids eat, ask their parents. Carry these options with you in the parks for between meal times and to fill in the gaps if they decide not to eat every last bite of a meal (or two).
8. Stay Onsite
Disney World is tiring. It’s even more tiring when you’re visiting with kids. Of course, age can also make things a bit more difficult. Make things easier on yourself (and the kids) by staying in a Disney hotel. These hotels offer regular transportation to and from the parks, so you can come and go at your leisure without driving and without navigating enormous parking lots. Since they are onsite, the journey back to the hotel at the end of the night is a much shorter one, and because these hotels are made with families in mind, you will find everything you could possibly need at your fingertips.
9. Take It Slow
Last but not least, we highly recommend making an effort to pace yourself through each of the parks. It can be very tempting to race through, trying to do and see everything. That said, this is rarely what the kids want to do, and honestly, it isn’t very fun for the adults either. Seeing as you’re there to have fun with your grandkids, you’ll be much better off slowing down, taking in the details, and making a point of connecting with your grandchildren. Ask the kids what they want to do and have a short to-do list for each park so you see the most important things. From there, fly by the seat of your pants and have a fun time!