Disney World can be an absolutely magical place to take your children to. However, on every visit, I see kids and parents who look like they are having an absolutely miserable time! I’m sure you’ve talked to families who took their children, came back and vowed, “Never Again!” We want you to avoid the same pitfalls that so many families fall into. So today, we’ll be discussing 5 excellent tips for Disney World with kids that can help your family to have a wonderful time!
Keep the Kids Well Rested
This is the most important tip, by a long shot. Your kids simply won’t be able to last all day long every day of your vacation. As such, when you are in the planning stage, plan for naps. If you are a frequent reader of our site, you know one of our biggest Disney tips is to arrive early. Even with small children, this is a great idea. However, if you are going to do this, make sure you get to bed early the night before! Don’t try and stay until midnight on Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom and then hit the early-morning Magic Hours the next day! Your kids will make you pay for it!
Naps are important, even for children that normally don’t take them. Also, many parents have found that the “relaxing pool day”, can be just as draining as a day in the parks. Most parents realize the value of getting their children rest. But not all! You will still see parents pushing their kids to hit ridiculous schedules, and then wondering why their children have become terrors!
Strongly Consider a Stroller
Even if your child is past the age in which they need strollers, young children just don’t have the ability to walk around Disney for a week. They will get completely worn out. Many parents who think their children will be fine, forego the stroller and then pay for it. Literally. Disney charges a lot of money for strollers. You are better off bringing your own, or even buying one! As an alternative, you can rent a stroller from many rental places in Orlando. We like Kingdom Strollers. They will drop your stroller off at the resort and it will be waiting for you when you arrive.
Let Your Children Make Some Decisions
I have to admit, I love rides. For me, nothing is worse than waiting 30 minutes to see characters. Every child is different. Some may hate the characters. If they do, don’t force them to see them. Let them ride rides! On the other hand, if your children are fascinated with seeing EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER (like my kids are), then you need to schedule that in. My daughter won’t remember that she only got to ride Space Mountain twice instead of three times. But she will remember that she never got to meet Tinker Bell.
When my son was two, he fell in love with the “bone-digging” sand pit outside T-Rex in Downtown Disney. It was a really random place, and I was eager to move on to bigger and better things. But, lets face it….where else in the world can your kids play in the sand with “dinosaur bones” and brushes? Disney is full of cool and exciting wonders for your children, and until you get there, you really won’t know which things they’ll enjoy the most. Once they find them, give them some time to enjoy them!
Children obviously can’t make all the choices. But at times, again, they will want to do things that might not be in your plan. Perhaps you wanted to head to Adventureland, but your child wants to ride Barnstormer five times. Without turning this article into a child psychology instruction course, sometimes it’s better to give in and allow your kids to do a few things that they like, even if it causes you to miss out on a few attractions. Which brings us to our next point:
Don’t Try and Ride Every Ride
With children, you might have to give up a few attractions. There just isn’t the time with kids to accomplish everything that you would if you didn’t have them. But the key is that your kids don’t know about everything in the park! As adults, we can often leave the parks and express disappointment over the rides that we missed. Meanwhile the kids are just thrilled with all the wonderful things that they DID get to do. Our negative attitudes can at times rub off. So be happy for the things you can do, because your kids likely have no idea what they’ve missed.
Plan Sit-Down Restaurants Carefully
As we already mentioned, children get tired easily at Disney World. If you can help it, try not to magnify things with strange dinner times. I recall once we were so desperate to eat at Ohana that we took a 10:30PM dinnertime. We were fine. The kids were not! Oh they managed to do decent all things considered, but it wiped them out the next day.
Again, this ties back to the original point about making sure your kids are well-rested. You may get by for a day or two, just due to the fact that you are in Disney World! But at some point, the exhaustion will rear it’s ugly head. Try and keep that from happening if you can.
How are you going to make sure you get good dinner reservations? Call 6 months in advance, that’s how! Our article on Disney Dining can give you a few more good tips in this area.
Have a Blast!
If you’ve never taken your kids to Disney, you are in for a treat! Just let the kids have a great time. It’s pretty hard to mess up Disney, unless as parents, you get too rigid and unrealistic with schedules. Let your kids have fun, and they will. It’s almost impossible not to! Keep them rested, and it’s very possible you’ll join the rest of us who go back year after year!