*This is a guest post by Jennifer Scott from SpiritFinder.org*
A family trip to Disney World seems like the ultimate dream vacation for families with young children or even teens, yet many parents find the experience completely overwhelming and end up feeling stressed as they try to cope with meltdowns from kids instead of being able to truly enjoy the magical experience. With so much to experience and so many activities to fit into a few short days, the cost of paying for it all can make for a stress-filled trip…unless you follow these tips.
Whether you’re flying or driving to Disney, the last thing you need is a lot of luggage weighing you down. Remember, you’ll be spending much of your trip exploring Disney’s many attractions so think comfort when packing for the family. Pack clothes that can be layered, comfortable shoes, and hats to protect everyone from the sun. If your kids are old enough, put them in charge of getting their own suitcase from place to place. Small, carry-on size rolling luggage with four wheel spinners are great options for kids because they can be pushed or pulled. When the kids are able to help by getting their luggage to and fro, it’s a big relief for Mom and Dad.
Study the Parks and Know Your Must-Dos (and Where They’re Located)
Disney World has four theme parks and two water parks, each packed with tons of rides and attractions. It’s helpful to study the parks and identify the activities you most want to experience so that you can plan your time accordingly. Families with younger children will want to plan for ample time at the Magic Kingdom, where the most appropriate rides are located. Teenagers will appreciate the more thrilling rides, such as the Tower of Terror, located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Get Park Hopper Passes
Park Hopper Passes are an add-on to a standard ticket, allowing the ticket holder to visit any of Disney’s four theme parks throughout the duration of the ticket. Park Hopper Passes can be a lifesaver if you find that your children particularly enjoy one ride or theme park and want to return the next day. On the other hand, if you have single tickets for each park on a given day, you won’t have the same flexibility with your plans.
Choose the Best Time to Visit Disney World
Every family is different, but few enjoy spending hours after hours idly waiting in lengthy lines. Disney World is likely going to be crowded regardless of the time of year you visit, but certain seasons can be less crowded than others. Also, visiting in the winter months, such as January or February, mean that the weather is less likely to be sweltering hot, which can lead to increased crankiness among youngsters (and adults, too). [Ed – Luckily, I know of a pretty great Disney World Crowd Calendar]
Staying on the Disney property can be more expensive than some off-site rentals, but many families find the cost of staying on-site to be well worth the time it saves not having to fight traffic and crowds in the parking lot. Utilizing Disney transportation also takes you right where you need to go, providing easy access to all the Disney properties.
Get to Bed at a Reasonable Time or Plan for Mid-Day Naps
A Disney vacation is exhausting. So much to do, so many sights to see, and the sheer excitement of being in such a magical place is enough to leave anyone feeling fatigued. Making an effort to get to bed at a reasonable time or planning for a mid-day nap can help you get the rest your family needs to cope with the general stress and excitement of such a fantastic family experience.
Hit the Parks Early to Experience Your Must-Do Rides
If your family made a must-do list, with each family member’s most-desired rides and attractions, take advantage of your early bedtime to hit the parks early in the morning. The parks will become increasingly crowded as the day progresses, so get there early and hit your must-do rides first. This allows you to ensure you’re doing the things your family most wants to do, while saving time by avoiding long lines for the most sought-after experiences.
A Disney vacation is sure to be a memorable experience for your family, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed and allow the stress to take over. These tips will help you plan for maximizing your time at Disney World, reduce stressful and frustrating situations, and have a more enjoyable, magical Disney vacation.
Jennifer Scott is a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and depression. She created her website, SpiritFinder.org, as a platform for advocacy on opening up about mental health. Through the site, she hopes to share the types of steps and success stories that can help others realize their own power. When she isn’t working on her website, she enjoys traveling, working with animals, and seeking out new friendships and adventures.