There really is no place like Disney World. From the pure childlike magic of your kids meeting their favorite Disney characters and stepping inside their favorite movie to thrilling rides and delicious Dole Whip, this Orlando attraction keeps the spirit of imagination and excitement alive for the young and young at heart.
While you know the experience is going to be appreciated by everyone in your family, preparing for it can become a daunting, time-consuming task when you’re a first-time Disney World goer—that is, unless you’ve got some help. The whole experience should be fun for your kids and for you, the kind parent planning the trip. Follow these 5 tips and it will be.
Tip 1: Get your family familiarized with all that Disney World has to offer.
[Image: CL Photographs/Flickr]
Disney World has a lot of Disney-related things to see and do. So whether your children haven’t seen several hit movies or you need a Disney refresher, dedicate some time before your trip to acquaint your family with everything they’re about to be hit with. Have Disney movie marathons, read books, watch YouTube videos to learn about the different rides and talk to your kids about some of the other fun things they’re going to see and do at the different parks. Doing so will get your whole family ready and even more excited for what they’re about to experience.
Tip 2: Plan for a recovery day.
There are some first-time families who visit a park, from open to close, every day of their Disney vacation. You’ll immediately recognize these families—they look exhausted and miserable. Disney World shouldn’t be miserable! And it won’t be if you plan for a recovery day or two during your trip. A good method is two days doing the park thing and one day off where you spend the day sleeping in, swimming at your hotel’s pool and maybe exploring Disney Springs. There’s shopping, dining and entertainment; plus it’s free admission.
Tip 3: Save money and buy your souvenirs from Disney’s Character Warehouse.
There’s no question, when you visit Disney World everyone in your family has to come home with some cool Disney merchandise. But, if you buy it at the park, expect to pay $20 for a youth shirt, $25 for Sorcerer Mickey ears, $50 for an adult sweatshirt and more than you want to for other souvenirs. Good news—you don’t have to spend half your vacation budget on souvenirs. Instead of buying them at the park, visit Disney’s Character Warehouse. It’s a great place to check out on a rainy day or your recovery day and still feel the magic of Disney.
Tip 4: Bring a backpack for jackets and sweats.
If you’re traveling to Disney World when the weather feels like spring or fall during the morning and night but summer during the afternoon, a backpack for jackets and long pants will be your favorite accessory. You could get a locker to keep your extra clothes in, but that means all or one of you will have to go back to the locker multiple times a day to take off and put on your layers, and that’s time you could be sailing on a pirate voyage through the Caribbean or taking your princess inside Cinderella’s castle.
Tip 5: Be prepared to meet Disney characters.
You’ll see numerous Disney characters every day and everywhere you go. There are a few things to note to be totally prepared for when those special meetings happen:
- Get each kid an autograph book before starting your first day.
- Have an over-sized pen. These are much easier for characters to hold and write with.
- Always have your camera or phone handy so you can quickly snap posed and candid photos of your kids with characters.
Another thing you can take advantage of is Disney’s PhotoPass Service. With this service, PhotoPass cast members will take pictures of your family for you, so now mom and dad can both be in all the pictures. You’ll find cast members stationed at all the best photo op spots throughout the different parks.
If you’re looking for an affordable hotel that’s close to Disney World and the airport, stay at the Holiday Inn.