5 Best Tips.
So you have decided to take the kids on vacation to Disney World. Let me clarify something for you now – it will not be a vacation, it will be a “trip”. In my world, the word vacation implies, “some form of relaxation and potential escape from reality”. A trip is an excursion that should be planned out, can be loads of fun, but will most likely end up with you returning from your “trip”, with dreams of a “vacation”. In other words, don’t be surprised if you come home from Disney World more tired than when you left.
Hopefully these 5 best tips will allow you to relax a little more!
Having said that, both trips and vacations are great, and I would highly recommend every family try their best to spend more money on experiences than accumulating things. Anticipating a Disney trip is half the fun. The counting down days, the packing of the suitcases, the stories and expectations shared over dinner, the plane or car ride there, and then the memories shared with family afterwards – it truly is a magical place.
Enough with the sappy stuff. If you are in the middle of planning a Disney trip for the spring or summer, here are the top 5 best tips we discovered while there. I will preface this section with setting up the scenario – most of the tips are for those families who decide to stay OFF PROPERTY. If you are staying in a hotel within the main gates of Disney, all of these tips might not apply to you. But if you are like the vast majority of families who fly or drive to Orlando, rent or have a mini-van, and stay somewhere within 20 minutes of the park, these will help! We ended up taking our trip right when the kids got out of school last year, spending 3 days in Disney, and then 4 days down at the beach on the west coast of Florida – a true half trip / half vacation = AWESOME ADVENTURE!
Here we go…
- RENT A STROLLER, DON’T BRING YOURS:. If your children are still young, but can get themselves around enough at the airport, wait until you get to the Disney area and rent a stroller. But here is the kicker – rent a stroller off site. Don’t get the crappy, plastic, uncomfortable, big and bulky ones that Disney offers. We went to Orlando Stroller Rentals for ours. For the few days we had it, the stroller was reasonably priced, clean, held all of our stuff, came with a FREE small cooler (that we got to keep), and allowed us to roll the kids to the parking lot AT THE END OF THE DAY when everyone is worn out and exhausted, and good old Dad is not up for carrying two strung out kids the mile back to the car. They also came and picked it up at the end of the week right from the lobby of the place we were staying! This company made it easy – we had a great experience with them.
- BUY FOOD AT PUBLIX & BRING IT IN WITH YOU: Not only saves money, but also allows you to eat healthier than “nuggets and french fries” everyday. For those of you who are not aware of the greatest grocery store on planet earth, Publix stores are everywhere throughout Florida, and they just make shopping easy. Every morning while my wife was attempting to put sun tan lotion on the boys (which is like trying to grease a snake you just dipped in oil and then poked in the eye to make it real mad and squirmy), I was in charge of getting the cooler set. A phone call to the deli counter, a 5 minute drive and Dad has the sandwiches, bottles of water, snacks, and ice packs all set. Throw the medium-sized cooler in the bottom of the rented stroller, and game on!
- FASTPASS: If you don’t already know about FASTPASS, stop reading this post now, CLICK HERE and learn! Essentially, it is a free benefit that Disney allows which lets you get up to 3 passes to bypass the lines at your most sought after rides or shows, and DRASTICALLY cuts down on the wait times in line. Just read and understand, and come midnight 30 days out from your trip, be online to lock up your FASTPASSES.
- FROGG TOGGS CHILLY PAD* – These soft and flexible water towels are absolutely awesome at keeping everyone in the family cool on those extremely hot and humid Orlando days. You can roll them up, tie them around your neck, legs or arms, and re-use them all day long just by running the towel under some cold water from a water fountain. We used both of our towels not only for the kids, but for us too.
*This is an affiliate link where I earn a small commission if you purchase this product through Amazon. The price stays the same for you, but Amazon pays me for bringing you to the webpage! The pennies I earn help offset the 14 Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Heads I ate while at Disney.
- DISNEY WORLD IS NOT GOING OUT OF BUSINESS ANYTIME SOON: Meaning, you know your kids better than anyone – don’t push them to the breaking point everyday to jam as much in as possible. It is not worth it. A few days into the trip everybody is tired and cranky, the kids are a mess in the afternoons, and tempers shorten by the minute. Disney is not going anywhere – save up some money and come back again. Make a list of the top 7-10 things you want to do, organize and plan a bit (there is so much information online for planning including maps, suggestions, blogs, etc.), then accomplish those 7-10 things and have a blast at every one of them. Sure there will be a parade you didn’t know about the kids will love and you will detour. Sure you might stay out late to see the fireworks one night. Our suggestion is just don’t go dawn to close every day you are there – we have heard of more exhausted families with stories of regret (especially when they get home and the kids are out of sorts for a week after) vs. stories of a perfect Disney trip.
So there you go. The 5 best tips from our own Disney World trip – now go book a trip and use this advice, and let us know when you are going…
Chances are we might bump into you – we are going back!
PS. If you have ever been to Disney, share your #1 best tip in the comments below!