Walt Disney World is one of the most magical places on earth, and for children, their first visit will likely be something they remember for their entire lives. But, as anyone with children knows, taking them on trips can be a stress inducing affair. Fear not though, there are several things you can do to make the whole experience more enjoyable for you and your children alike.
Be prepared to plan
The Walt Disney World you visited when you were a child is not the same Walt Disney World that you visit today. You have the opportunity to make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR’s) 180 days before your trip and book FastPasses 60 days before your trip, if you are staying on property.
While it is possible to dine and go on rides without these reservations, it will have you waiting around for more time than you may want. In effect, the days of showing up at the parks day of, without any advanced prep, and expecting to make good use of your time are over.
A great travel agent can help you with these things if you feel too overwhelmed to do it yourself.
Stay on property
You may have to do the math on whether or not you can stay on property, but if it works for your family, it can make a world of difference. Not having to drive around, deal with local traffic, deal with giant parking lots, etc… That is a lot of time you can spend with your family at the park instead of trying to get to and from.
There are also so many great themed resorts for kids, most of which are in the Value category. My favorite for little ones is The Art of Animation, but there are plenty to choose from.
Make your plans around your childs schedule and interests
Is your child a morning person or likes to stay up late? Try planning your touring schedule around their normal schedule. It may not be possible for your kids to go from rope drop to park closure one day or multiple days. So you may have to be strategic with how you plan your days. Also be mindful of not having a late night followed by an early morning.
Has your child gone on roller coasters or thrill rides before? Then you may feel comfortable planning all their FastPasses for thrill rides. Does your little one love characters and interacting with them. You may plan to spend your free time waiting in line for character meet + greets. You know your child best, but again a skilled travel agent may be able to help you figure out which FastPasses to pick and how to set up your daily touring plans.
Take it easy
This sounds simple enough, but may be hard in practice. If you’ve been to Disney before you may remember that you end up walking 10-15 miles a day just touring the parks. That can be hard on an adult, let alone a child. Remember to take breaks, get plenty of water, and if needed go back to your hotel for some rest or pool time.
Be prepared for things to not go your way
There are many reasons things may not go your way. There could be lightning and rain that shuts down rides or shows. Your child could decide that he/she is too scared to meet a character and want to leave the line after spending lots of time waiting. While Walt Disney World is the most magical place on earth, it doesn’t mean nothing bad happens.
We all need to remember that it won’t hurt us if our plans change and to try to all go with the flow.
Buy Memory Maker
If you can afford it, memory maker is one of the best purchases you can make for your trip. With memory maker you get unlimited downloads of all your Disney photos and videos, select attraction and character dining photos, and magic shots. You have 30 days to download your photos, so keep that in mind.
For me, I am usually the one taking the photos, so it is 100% worth the price to not have to worry about taking photos or making sure that I am in them. There are also many photo pass photographers throughout the parks to take your picture. If you buy at least 3 days in advance of your trip you save $30.
Enjoy your visit
It can seem like you spent almost a whole year, or more, planning your trip and you want everything to go perfectly. Try to just take every day as it comes and enjoy being at Walt Disney World with your family. There is nothing like the first time watching your child enjoying the magic at WDW.
What is your number one tip to parents bringing their children to Walt Disney World for the first time? Let us know in the comments below. Or, until next time, have a magical trip.