10 Things I Discovered About Disney World
We did it! We survived a trip to Disney World. It was great fun, but not a relaxing getaway by any means. But we knew that going in. I picked up a few things along the way that I thought might be helpful for surviving a Disney trip with young children.
10 Helpful Disney World Tips
The new Disabled Assistance System is in full effect
We got the card for Max, but never ended up using it. I will say that when we were in line, the woman in front of us tried to get one. She told the person at the counter she needed one. When asked what her concerns were, the woman simply said that she couldn’t wait in line. When prompted again what her specific concerns were, she just kept repeating that she couldn’t wait in line without providing other explanation. We were called up before I could hear how it was resolved but it really made me realize how many people must try that and why the system needed to be changed. That being said, I’m not convinced the new system is the right fit either.
Bring along a pair of noise cancelling headphones.
If you have a child who is easily overwhelmed or has sensory issues, you may want to bring along a pair of noise cancelling headphones. Max wore his pretty much the whole trip, from the bus stop, on the rides and to the shows. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to stay at the Disney World parks as long as we did and his behavior would have been far worse.
Pinterest is your friend and your biggest enemy when planning your trip
There are so many posts on secret stuff to do, things you can’t miss, photo opportunities etc. etc. that about a week before the trip, I cried uncle and decided NOT to keep reading those. I wanted to just go and experience the trip our way and that worked out just fine for us.
Don’t feel like you have to do EVERYTHING.
The first day we went to Magic Kingdom we skipped a few “lands” and didn’t get back to them until the last day of our trip. We didn’t browse at any of the shops, but did see shows we wanted and rode the rides we wanted. My kids didn’t know what they were missing, there was less stress and we were able to do the things they loved more than once.
Bring or rent a stroller even if your kids are older.
Max spent the majority of time in the stroller versus walking around the park and I know this helped him save energy for our long days. It was nice to have all the kids contained when we were trying to rush to something as well.
Divide things up between two backpacks.
You have to ditch your strollers a lot, so using them as a primary way to transport all your stuff gets annoying after awhile if you’re carrying valuables like a camera or your wallet. The first day we were there we loaded stuff into one backpack. It was way too heavy and too hard to keep going into it to retrieve water bottles, sunglasses etc. The rest of the trip we had one for kids’ stuff and one for adult stuff and that worked out much better.
Some of the magic might be lost on your kids (and you!), if you’re not a “Disney World” family.
My kids knew about Disney World as a place you go, somewhere their friends have been, that costs a lot of money and you have to take a plane to get there. My boys loved meeting the characters, but just as much as they have meeting Santa or a character at a children’s museum. Their favorite ride was the Tomorrowland Speedway (aka go carts on a track) which we rode five times I think. Max’s favorite part of the whole trip was the shuttle bus we took between the hotel and the parks. We basically could have taken a bus to the Go Cart track a few towns away and my boys would have been just as happy.
Spend some time at the hotel pool.
Especially if you go during colder months where you live. We had a great time spending one afternoon at the pool…knowing it was 80 degrees where we were and freezing rain at home made the pina colada I was sipping and the water slide my boys were going down feel that much more luxurious.
Set up a MyDisneyExperience.com account and get the app for your phone.
I think this is the most important tip. While there were some kinks, the app was a lifesaver for our large group. You can link accounts with others in your party (for us it was my parents, my in-laws, and my sister’s family), get Fast Passes ahead of time for up to three rides per day and see where the characters are that day as well as line wait times. We were able to look the night before at stuff we wanted to hit the next day, and then get back to back FastPasses resulting in virtually zero wait times for very popular rides like Dumbo and Space Mountain. You are also able to keep track of show times and restaurant reservations.
Take a day after the trip before going back to work/school, if you can.
We came home on a Thursday, so we all took the following Friday off. I did laundry, my husband caught up on some household things and my boys stayed in their jammies and lounged around all day.