Today we have a guest post by Diane, who travels often with her 3 kids. Thanks, Diane, for the great tips!!
- Get dollar store trinkets and wrap them in wrapping paper to pull out when kids are very good and/or they need a diversion on the plane/in the car
- Bring your own band-aid box with neosporin and kids Advil or Tylenol in the box. Have this on you all the time, esp. at the parks
- MOST IMPORTANT: Teach your child how to find a Disney employee anywhere. Make it a game. “If you can’t find us and need help, find a Disney employee. See? That man over there has the oval tag with his name on it. You can ask him for help. Now, you look around and find a Disney employee. You can say, I need help and my name is ____.” I was doing this with Dutch (4yrs) on our November trip, and when I first pointed out an employee, the young man came over, squatted down, and said, “I am a Disney cast member. Anyone with this tag will help you find your parents. Can you see my tag? Good job!” Do this often throughout the day.
- Fanny packs for everyone with a bottle of water in them, identification (including photo of child) and any allergies/meds listed.
- I recommend giving kids a disposable camera on the first day. The pics they take will offer a totally different perspective than yours!
- Magic Kingdom is a must, then in order of my preference, Animal Kingdom, MGM and maybe Epcot.
- Take them to Mickey’s Philharmagic movie in 3D at Magic Kingdom for sure.
- You can rent lockers at the entrance to each park if you want to have snacks or stash purchases
- Get a daily bulletin from the info booth at the entrance to the park to see where you can meet the characters and get pictures (this is great)
- A good family souvenir is a dated Christmas ornament from the parks (I got a 2007 on this trip)
- The BEST souvenir to get the kid (on the last day, so you can utilize this on the trip home) is only 9.95. They are these characters you hold and when you push the button there are 3 lighted soft lighted ‘tentacles’ that spin around. These will be the BEST money you spend, trust me. The kids love them. Get 2 or 3. They come in all different characters and are sold all over the parks, wherever you see souvenirs.
- Take the train that goes around the park
- Take the monorail somewhere (TIP: if you are the first one at the first car of the monorail, you can ask to sit in the front car with the operator!!!)
- See Mickey’s Philharmagic 3D movie
- If you like, the Frontierland Swiss Family Robinson tree house is a hike but cool (not for the height-fearing)
- Tomorrowland is fun
- Make SURE to walk through the bottom of the Cinderella castle. The mosaics are beautiful.
- Rides: Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan
- LOTS of walking
- GREAT parade (see daily bulletin for times)
- Tree of Life? WAY COOL carved tree
- Dinosaur dig area is great, and has the sand pit with the mammoth to dig up. FABULOUS
- There’s a dinosaur ride inside, in land rovers…WAY too scary for little ones and way to wrenching for most adults. Hello, whiplash.
- There’s a Nemo movie/show here Dutch LOVED (Joe took him)
- I loved the show Festival of the Lion King. It’s a remarkable theater/acrobat show. Wonderful. I wanted to give them a standing ovation!!!
- Do NOT go to Fantasmic. It is loud, heavy on the villains, and frankly I didn’t like it. It’s well done, but very dark and loud and frightening.
- Honey I Shrunk the Kids is fun, b/c kids can walk through huge blades of grass, etc.
- Muppet 3D movie is wonderful.
- The Little Mermaid Show is a delight.
- If they like Bear in the Big Blue House, you can go to a live show of that and it’s fun.
- Disney All-Star Resorts (Movie resort is the most fun for the family, I think) Great buy, parking isn’t too far, nice food court, gift shop and pool area, and you can walk to all three resorts in that area. Low key, but still Disney-style, and when you have a 4 year old, who needs the high end resorts? (Tip: We had the kids in their suits and clothes over them, and we took the monorail to different resorts like the Grand Floridian, etc., and went swimming there, then left!)
- Ask to have a fridge in your room. It may cost extra. Buy cereal and milk to keep for breakfast and snacks (and whatever else)
- When you stay on site, you can take the bus to the park entrance 1 hour before it officially opens and enjoy everything with shorter or no lines.
- Get up early, get to the park and enjoy things. Then go back to the resort for lunch, napping, swimming, whatever. Go back to the park later for fireworks and the lights, etc.
Guest post by Diane: happily divorced mom of three, legislative staffer and bookaholic. (My custom home on 10.5 wooded acres in Wisconsin has been for sale for over 2 years and I’ll buy dinner for anyone who helps me sell it!)
This article really covered everything, I loved it. I’m not a morning person, but I know kids are, so it surprised me to see that you could beat the lines by getting out there early. Also loved the part about “home” to rest up and then back out for fireworks at night. Beat the heat. Even being from MN, that sounds just right. Thanks, Diane and Stephany! (Good luck on that house sale!)