Are you planning a Disney World vacation? If you are, then you will want to follow these ten tips. As a veteran of six trips to Disney World and one to Disneyland, I have seen a lot and learned much from my own experiences. It is easy to get overwhelmed when you arrive. That is the last thing you want to happen after all of the planning that went into your Disney World family vacation.
Tip #1 for Planning a Disney World Vacation
Accept that you are going to spend money, and a lot of it.
Disney World is an expensive place to visit. The sooner you except that fact and move on, the better off you will be. There are many money saving tips for Disney family vacation that you can utilize to bring down the cost. You can choose to use them or not, but know that you must get over the money hurdle. Taking a trip to the parks, and then telling your children that you cannot afford to buy them an ice cream or water in the Florida heat is incongruent.
You want to enjoy yourselves. If you are going to constantly fret about each bottle of water you spend money on, then save some more so you can say “yes” to your kids. It will make your trip a more pleasant experience.
Tip #2 for Planning a Disney World Vacation
Give your kids their own spending money.
Every time you get off a Disney ride or attraction, you are deposited into a gift shop. Instead of saying “no” to your kids, put spending money into your vacation budget. Give each child an envelope with the same amount of money and they can choose how they wish to spend it. After each purchase, write what they wrote on the envelope and put the receipt inside it. Not only do you step away from being the bad guy by saying “no” to each request, you are also teaching them a valuable lesson in being responsible for their purchases.
Tip #3 for Planning a Disney World Vacation
Do not go to the park every day of your vacation.
When you are planning your Walt Disney World vacation, you need incorporate full days to rest. Ideally, you go to the park one day, then take another day off to relax. This Orlando attraction is not a restful vacation spot, it is an active trip. You are on your feet for hours on end, many times during the year in the heat. After a full day of walking around, take the next day off and have fun at the hotel. Sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, swim in the pool. Not only are you recharging everyone’s batteries, you are spending some quality time playing with your kids.
If you need a Disney fix for the day of rest, visit Downtown Disney. Have a snack, do some shopping, and take some great pictures while you are all rested and smiling.
Tip #4 for Planning a Disney World Vacation
If you must go to the parks every day, plan on taking a break.
For those of you who insist on visiting the parks every day while you are in Orlando, then plan an elongated rest in the middle of the day. I have seen way too many Disney meltdowns around two o’clock. Tired and over stimulated little ones need a nap, and adults who are not used to being active need a chance to rest. Everyone needs to cool down.
If you are staying in the park or at a hotel nearby, go back to your room and rest. After a few hours, go back to the park for some more fun. You will be recharged and refreshed for the next round of rides and shows.
Another option is to leave around dinner time. If you go when the park opens and leave between five and six o’clock, you would have been at Disney World for up to nine hours. You got your money’s worth-go back to the hotel. Eat outside the park and then take a dip at the hotel pool. Go to bed early so you can get up the next day.
Tip #5 for Planning a Disney World Vacation
Leave the electronics at home.
During my recent trip to Disney World, there was a teenage boy who was texting on his cell phone while on The Haunted Mansion ride. All around me, people had their phones in their hand, texting, searching the internet…I was dumbfounded. Is this what we have become as a society? Can people not disconnect for even a few days?
Cell phones have their place at Disney. If you are breaking up into groups, you need to find each other when you are done. There is even a great Disney app that let’s you know about wait times.
But that is about it. Unplug the phone. You are on vacation. Also, do not be obnoxious and post to your Facebook wall every ride you are on.
Tip #6 for Planning a Disney World Vacation
Dress appropriately, especially your footwear.
Depending on the time of year you visit the park, you will need to pack appropriate clothing. The most important thing to pack is good sneakers. A trip to the Magic Kingdom is not a fashion show. Wear shoes that will keep your feet comfortable.
And parents, while it is adorable to dress your little princesses in their Disney princess costume while visiting the park, it is totally inappropriate in the summer heat. Long gowns, tulle, sequins and satin are hot and overbearing. The girls look incredibly uncomfortable. If they insist on wearing a princess costume, then bring a change of clothing for when she tires of it.
Tip #7 for Planning a Disney World Vacation
Use The Fastpass Option
The Disney Fastpass is one the best innovations they have come up with. As soon as you get to the park, go the most popular attraction there. For example, at Hollywood Studios, the Toy Story ride is far and away the favorite ride for both children and adults. Before you go anywhere, get a Fastpass for Toy Story. We did, and since it was early, the wait time was only thirty minutes. Since it was a short wait, we went on first thing and then went on later.
After one hour, you can Fastpass another attraction. We got our passes to the Rock and Roll Roller Coaster for later in the day.
Tip #8 for Planning a Disney World Vacation
Skip the Hopper Pass
In theory, the Disney Hopper Pass seems like a great idea. You can go to as many parks in one day as you like. One year my family did get the Hopper Pass, and we never did it again.
First you waste time going from park to park. Second, you will be unable to Fastpass the most popular attractions, as they will be all gone by the time you get to the second park. Or if you are able to get a Fastpass, it will be for much later in the day or night, when you are tired and want to go back to the hotel.
Instead, stay in one park and enjoy it all.
Tip #9 for Planning a Disney World Vacation
Make dining reservations in advance.
When you are hungry, you want to eat. While Disney has many places where you can pick up a quick burger or turkey leg, it is nice to sit in an air conditioned restaurant and take a break. If you want to be assured that you will not wait for a table, make your reservations in advance from home. The earlier you make them, the more choices of time and place you will have. Copy the reservation and bring it with you.
Tip #10 for Planning a Disney World Vacation
Wear sunscreen and a hat.
This sounds like an obvious tip, but you would be amazed at how many people walk around with sunburns at the park. The Florida sun can be brutal, especially in the summer. You may not realize how exposed you are until it is too late.
These ten tips for planning your Disney World vacation will help make your time in Orlando a memorable one.