Whether you’re a longtime Disney-going veteran or preparing for your first family trip, these 13 simple tricks can make your vacation easier for everyone! Save them for easy referencing while planning. 

The Happiest Place on Earth

If you’ve been following along on social media for a while, you’ll already know that my family is big on Disney! Whether it’s Disney movies, theme parks, or anything in between, we’re huge fans. As a result, we’ve become pretty familiar with how to navigate vacationing at Disney, especially with kids. So, using our most recent trip as inspiration, I gathered 13 of my best Disney tips to help you plan and navigate family vacations with ease! 

13 Simple Tips for Vacationing at Disney

1. Use a Disney Vacation Advisor. 

Whether it’s your 1st or 20th trip, having someone who knows the ins and outs of the parks is truly life-changing! A good advisor can easily assist with reservations and help answer just about any questions you might have about your trip. The best part? Their services are FREE! Our trip advisor, Michelle, has helped us out and been an invaluable asset to each of our 4 trips. See her information below. 

Michelle Cole – Personal Vacation Advisor

  • Magical Vacation Planner
  • m. 630-532-8290 f. 812-849-0913
  • email: m.cole@magicalvacationplanner.com
    website: www.magicalvacationplanner.com
boys jumping off a ledge at Disney

2. Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Good Surprise! 

Each of our trips has started with an early wake-up for the kids complete with a fun Disney-themed shirt, and the element of surprise. For our last trip, Roger and I woke the kids up by pretending to freak out and telling them that we had to hurry to get to the airport because a Disney adventure was waiting! Watching the kids’ excitement as they realize what’s happening is so fun and a great way to start the trip. Plus, I find that my boys don’t have the best sense of time, meaning that learning about a trip that is a few weeks out is not nearly as exciting as one happening right now. Of course, if your kiddos need more time to process events, maybe give them a hint first like a shirt, their favorite Disney character stuffed animal, or a trinket as a clue as to where you’re headed! 

3. Create Unique Experiences for Everyone! 

No matter the age, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy at Disney. Each trip we have taken, we have tried to create something magical for each kid such as seeing their favorite characters, trying new and delicious food, riding a special ride, or even planning extra pool time. Then, we divide each event by saying things like this next experience is for (insert name here, haha). Of course, everyone enjoys each event, but the kids get a kick out of the anticipation of waiting for their turn. It’s fun having everyone join in on the anticipation! 

a mom and her son smiling at Disney world

4. If You Can, Plan Pool Days Between Park Days. 

Trust me, spending all day at the park can really take it out of you. No matter the age of your kiddos, sleeping in, lounging at the pool, or even heading to the park for late-night rides instead of going all day long can often help curb the truly tired feeling that can result from a full day of rides, walking, heat, crowds, and adventure! I also found that this was a helpful way to accommodate my youngest’s nap time. Personally, I like the idea of him getting a solid, non-stroller nap, at least a few times. It cuts down on the number of meltdowns! Remember, kids who are well-rested tend to travel better, be more flexible, and bounce back more quickly from changes in their routine. 

5. Bring Your Own Water Bottle and Snacks.

While Disney is full of delicious treats, it’s always nice to have your own, slightly healthier snacks on hand. Not to mention, bringing your own helps cut down on costs. Plus, the parks have plenty of water filling stations to fill up your bottle throughout the day! It can get hot, and with all that walking, water is definitely a must! Hydrate on, my friends! 

a milkshake topped with whipped cream and a brownie

6. Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Good Stroller! 

For our youngest who is just 2 years old, a stroller was a must. However, our older boys are 6 and 8 and took turns enjoying the benefits of our double stroller. Navigating the parks involves a lot of walking, and sometimes you just need a good sit! Especially if you’re a little boy who is amped on less sleep than usual, a lot of walking, tons of adrenaline, and plenty of sugar! 

7. Don’t Put Pressure on Your Trip!

I often hear parents saying that they’re only going to Disney once and therefore want to get their money’s worth. Truth be told, this was totally me, too. I would have NEVER imagined I would have gone back as many times as we have. While I agree, Disney can be pricey, this mindset can result in you putting a lot of pressure on yourself to make things SO MAGICAL that everyone just ends up exhausted and stressed as they rush to experience everything. To help mitigate this, I’ve found that taking time to deliberately set an intention or create a goal for the trip can be very helpful. 

For example, is this trip about spending time as a family, trying new things, seeing your kids smile (This intention, in particular, can be a helpful reminder when they want to stand in line forever just to see their favorite character or themed ride. Those smiles afterward are pure magic.), unplugging, or just having fun! As much as we want to cultivate flexibility in our kids, it’s important for us, as parents, to have that same flexibility. Throughout our trips, we have had times when we were planning on a ride or dining experience, but the kids were tired, nearing a meltdown, or just plain over-stimulated. So, knowing when to call it a day proved to be an important piece to creating an experience everyone could enjoy and remember with nothing but the best feelings! 

two boys and their dad eating popcorn at Disney world

8. Don’t Forget the Essentials!

You’ll want to make sure to pack plenty of hand sanitizer, baby wipes, sunscreen, hats, and any other necessities you have. To make things even easier, I’ve bundled my favorite toddler essentials and big-boy essentials in one easy-to-grab place.

9. Use the My Disney Experience App

Seriously, this app will be your best friend. It’s crucial for a seamless trip! It helps with everything from knowing ride wait times, creating or canceling dinner reservations, checking into your room, and even making purchases at gift shops.

10. Send Souvenirs to Your Room

If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you can have any souvenirs you purchase sent to your room. Amazing, right? This is so helpful to avoid overloading an already full stroller or backpack, giving your hands more freedom to enjoy all those over-the-top delicious treats!

11. Give Your Kids a Souvenir Limit or Dollar Amount

Given that you have to exit a gift shop after each ride (Those tricky Disney marketers, haha!), this tip has come in hand on more than one occasion. Knowing the amount they are allowed to spend on souvenirs has helped our kids be more thoughtful about which items they want, and, of course, as you will likely find out, you do tend to make exceptions to the rules! For instance, we once forgot sweatshirts and had to purchase some. The kids were quick to point out that this purchase didn’t count as one of their souvenirs! 

a little boy drinking water at a dinner table

12. Stay at a Disney Hotel, If You Can

Disney hotels are about as close as you can get to the parks without actually being in them, and staying at one can help you get to the parks 30 minutes earlier than if you don’t. Given that Disney has done away with fast passes, this can be really helpful to give you a headstart on some of the rides that often have a longer wait time. I also found this a great opportunity to partake in less-crowded obligatory photo ops! 

13. Have Fun! 

Or course, along with everything else, make sure to have fun yourself. After all, it’s your vacation, too! Do some research prior to the trip, and find out if there’s anything that piques your interest. If not, there are always plenty of tasty items that should be enjoyed, and spending time with your little ones is truly priceless. 

I hope you found this guide helpful! Of course, if you have any more Disney-related questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to get back to you! 

In the meantime, enjoy!


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