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Going on a Disney World Vacation with kids can be magical but it can also easily turn stressful! This is the type of vacation that requires a lot of planning but also flexibility to change plans on a whim due to moods, weather and crowds. While enjoying our trip with Hailey (age 2.5) and Brielle (age 4.5) I made some notes that helped make our trip more fun or things I’d recommend for next time! I hope you can these tips to help make your Disney World Vacation a pleasant one!
Before You Go:
- Discuss what happens at the airport – This was Hailey’s first flight and the first Brielle remembered so I wanted to review some things with them so they were aware on what to expect. We watched this great video from TSA about the screening process a few times (by their request!) and the girls soaked in that information so much. When at the airport they kept saying “Stop, screen and go” to understand the screening process and I think, were more patience because they knew what was going on. Note: you now have to take out all snacks and food when going through security so try to keep it in one bag or know the locations. Check out this post on what I packed in their airplane travel bags to make that experience fun!
- Pack your own souvenirs – Everything is so expensive at the park. If you rent a car, hit up the Walmart or Target in town as they have aisles of souvenirs! Order your own autograph books for kids who might be eager to just collect them all and make sure to grab extra pens from the hotel as you’re bound to lose yours. Tip: If you bring your own bubble machines, make sure they don’t include a trigger button as a gun shape. My sister-in-law brought some for the girls and we were asked to put them away by the Disney staff.
- Pack your own lunches – Are you seeing a trend? We buy a loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly, and the girls had this for lunch everyday. We’d, of course, supplement this with snacks throughout the day and an occasional at the park Disney treat but there’s no reason to do a sit down lunch when there’s so much to see and do. Check out this other post on where we did eat for breakfast and dinners some days!
- Download the My Disney Experience App – It tells you all sorts of things but keeping track or booking fast passes and seeing the wait times for rides are most important when planning out your day or changing plans on a whim!
- Don’t bother with park hopper passes – For this Disney World Vacation, we only hit the Magic Kingdom and Epcot on this trip but I firmly believe we’d be able to occupy ourselves in one park one day and no need for a park hopper and the extra cost. There’s plenty to see and do, characters to take photos with, Mickey treats to eat and fun photo ops to take.
- Get an external battery pack – You know you’re going to want to take photos, post photos, use instagram stories and do all the other things on your smart phone. And chances are you won’t be near a power outlet for a while so do yourself a favor and get an external battery. This is the one we have that we both used during our trip and my brother-in-law (who has an Iphone) also used. It has both plug types in case you’re a mix of an apple and android family.
- Discuss safety issues ahead of time – Maybe this is bad parenting on our part but prior to this trip we didn’t yet have the discussion on what to do if you get separated from mom and dad. My good friends at Name Bubbles hooked me up with these waterproof wristbands which I was able to personalize with “Mom’s Cell Phone -555-555-5555”. If you look at all our photos from this trip, you’ll see each girl happily wore it every day we were in the park and we talked about what to do if you get lost. Our advice? Find another mommy and tell them you are lost and ask if they will call your mommy. Luckily we never had to use them but it helped this mom feel more comfortable with us having that talk and they know what to do.
At the park:
- Wait for the parade – We happened upon the festival of Fantasy Parade at 3pm at Magic Kingdom and the girls loved it! You could see all the characters you ran around to see all day in one place. They each had a little scene with secondary characters and it’s fun to listen to the music on main street.
- Take advantage of extra magic hours – if you stay at a Disney resort you are allowed to get into the park early or late on certain days for extra magic hours. We got into the park on Saturday at 8am for extra magic hours and got to go on so many rides! Derek took Hailey on Dumbo twice right in a row while Brielle and I rode the Barnstorm twice without even getting off!
- Stay on your kid’s schedule – We’re a pretty scheduled family and kept up with the eating/sleeping (even napping) routine which served us well to have an enjoyable time. Sure we stayed out a bit past their naps or bedtimes, but not by much. Sure our children weren’t angels at all times, but we didn’t experience any big tantrums while on the trip as we kept up with those 2 triggers.
- If you think you packed enough snacks, pack more – For some reason the kids were more hungry than usual throughout the park (or maybe they just saw everyone eating around them and grew hungry) but make sure to pack tons of snacks.
- Don’t see your favorite characters first – I say this for those who have little kids who are not yet into or understand the whole “character meetup” concept. It helped warm them up to the idea and what to expect vs us trying to force them into the whole “this is your favorite princess! Get in a photo!” excitement. Our girls love Rapunzel so it worked out that they got to see Cinderella and Elena at an earlier meetup before seeing Rapunzel and by then they knew what to expect and were excited.
- Strollers are worth it but let them walk too! – We brought our double stroller from home and were so glad to have it around the park. The kids get tired and need someplace to sit, you need someplace to store all your stuff and it helps to get them moving from point A to point B fast! However, we also did plenty of pushing an empty stroller as kids need to get out and let some energy out! There are lots of stroller parking areas around all the rides so you could also park it and come back if need be.
- Bring baby wipes or wet wipes – You’ll need them no matter what age your kids are. Pretty sure we used them more for wiping dirty hands and faces than changing Hailey’s diaper!