bippity boppity boo!
Mouse ears, fairies, pirates & princesses. You have entered Fantasy Land of all young imaginations. Disney World is a place I believe every child should have the chance to go, however, there are many parents who dread being in this giant land of sparkles and never ending smiles. I personally loved Disney World growing up, and still love it today. Here are some Magical tips to get through Disney with your own munchkins….
If finances allow, stay at one of the hotels on the Disney grounds. I have stayed both on the grounds and off- and thoroughly enjoyed both- but having access to hop on that monorail saves so much stress from not having to squeeze onto the crowded bus…with your stroller and children on top of it. Plus, I was extremely fascinated by the monorail as a child – it’s like a ride in itself.
Everything at the park will be extremely over priced. It’s Disney. Every parent wants to make their child happy, which obviously means they are not saying no to a $25 pair of Mickey ears that will be worn once. Pick up Mickey/Minnie ears at home – on e-bay for $2.00 or even the Disney Store would be cheaper, try to find an autograph book (Or if you are crafty, make one- all you really need is blank pages for them to sign and you could have your children decorate the cover of a small notebook with markers or photos) ; bring a costume from home if your child is going to want to dress up (you know their personalities – I wore my Pocahontas shirt the entire trip). If your child is super into stuffed animals, consider buying some Disney characters at home as well and find a way to still make it special— 1) Pick one of the above “gifts” to give them when you tell them you are going to Disney. Wrap it, turn it into a scavenger hunt – make them guess that you are going to Disney. 2) Pack an item in your suit case without them noticing and pull it out once you get there.
Don’t forget to bring the small umbrella stroller if it fits into Disney’s permitted stroller dimensions…. those little legs get tired quickly in the big park!
Disney will try and suck you in with a food package. Two things: 1- you will not utilize the food package to make it worth the money and 2-the food is very subpar. The best food value deal in the park? The Giant Turkey Legs at Animal Kingdom – and they taste Great.
Tip? Pack snacks – this is where that loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter come in handy. Some of the hotels have good restaurants, along with downtown Disney. Pack Kind bars, bring a homemade trail mix for energy and whatever snacks your family prefers to hold you over in between meals.
I would suggest having a character breakfast on main street (make reservations way in advance) (some hotels also offer them- Such as the Polynesian), but the one on Main Street is by far the best I have encountered.
Having lunch with Cinderella inside her castle was fun and definitely memorable (if you are traveling only with little princesses’, definitely do it), but the time spent with Cinderella is limited.
The Magic Kingdom : Plan on spending a full day here (Get there early, take a nap mid day if you have really little ones, and head back in the evening when the heat passes). Spend 2 days here if you are planning on missing half the day due to naps – there’s plenty to do between the tea cups, dumbo, splash mountain and more!
Epcot : Epcot is wonderful for adults and older kids. I went to Epcot when I was in high school and loved visiting all the countries. I had little interest in Epcot when I was 6 and 9 (there are a few rides, but very limited compared to the other parks). Make sure to check out the ride “Soaring”!
MGM/Hollywood Studios: The Hollywood Tower of Terror is a must if traveling with slightly older kids. This park also offers plenty of activities for younger kids — You will not need more than a day here, and this is a great park to split the day with hanging out at the hotel pool/relaxing.
Animal Kingdom: Animal Kingdom is great for all ages. I definitely recommend this park, and don’t forget to take the safari ride!
Blizzard Beach: Spend a day here if looking to escape from the typical theme park scene. There are awesome pools for all ages, water slides and lots of splashing.
Sea World: I am very opinionated on Sea World. We’ve all seen, or at least heard, about Blackfish — so why would we continue to pay money to enter the park, reinforcing demand? I am a huge believer on treating animals with respect – after all, we are keeping them captive from their native grounds- and making sure their quality of life is not being affected for the purpose of entertaining humans and providing them with pictures. Before I visit any site housing live animals, I always do research to make sure the animals are in a safe haven- I mean, why would I support a cause I am extremely against? If you want to feed sting rays, head to Grand Cayman and feed the friendly sting rays in the middle of the ocean.
Downtown Disney: Lego Land, Disney Quest — You could easily spend a few hours here, if not a day. There is plenty to do here, whether you head here during the evening hours or spend an afternoon here.
The Harry Potter World was built the year after I last went, but I encourage everyone to check it out!! It looks amazing!
There are a lot of shows you can attend (the Hoop de Doo (not my favorite but my aunt still loves it after seeing it 12+ times), Cirque Du Soleil (I really enjoyed this) and many more. If shows are your thing, definitely check them out — just remember to plan accordingly and factor in how tired you and/or the little ones will be that evening.
The firework show at the end of the evening is definitely worth staying for or returning to the park to see. Tink makes a pretty specially appearance 🙂
Enjoy the Magic!