In order to have an enjoyable Disney holiday, planning ahead is imperative. The more preparation you do, the better your trip will be.
Decide Who Is Going
My husband is a Florida native. We lived in Florida for five years at the beginning of our marriage and, of course, visited Disney World. I was broken hearted when my husband insisted we take our two older boys, thirteen and eleven, and leave our three-year-old daughter with Granny. During the day, I observed the tired parents and cranky, crying toddlers and was thankful I had listened to him.
I am not saying don’t take your baby or toddler. Just remember:
Check the Disney website to find age specific activities and attractions.
Pick a Date and Time
Check the park calendars on-line for special events. Remember, the parks will be busier on days when there are parades, live entertainment, and fireworks.
Mid-week days are not as busy as weekends. Also, consider the time of year. Off season days are less crowded. People vacation in Florida during the winter months, so that is when Disney World is busiest.
You need to think of your family, their ages, needs, and personalities. Ask yourself how they will deal with crowds, which times of the day are they most alert and pleasant, and how they deal with heat and cold. Also, decide if you want an early morning visit, or would prefer to see the lights late at night and perhaps view fireworks.
Purchase Your Tickets
Check for vacation packages, they can save you money and take the vacation planning out of your hands for the most part.
There are base tickets with options available. It is best to visit the Disney site, see what they have available and then think about your options for a while before making your final decision. Don’t hesitate to ask friends and family who have visited Disney for advice.
Plan to Get Around
If you are driving to the park, check out parking options and prices. Consider using the Disney Transportation System. Options include the comfortably cool free Disney buses which will ferry you from between the parks and resorts. There are also the Disney monorail and several boat shuttles.
Plan Your Meals
On hot, humid days, your children are going to need to stay hydrated. Everything they eat and drink can cut in to your vacation budget, so bring snacks and drinks.
Consider one large meal in the park; a large early morning breakfast or a lunch buffet can delay another meal for hours. Look for bargains you can share. Also, you can make advanced reservations and plan your day around your meal and not have to wait in line. Check online for special meals with Disney characters. Our daughter is an adult now and still talks about her lunch with Cinderella.
Get the Most Out of Your Visit
Plan your Disney trip well ahead of time. Doing so will make it possible for some flexibility on dates, allowing you to pick and choose from the many seasonal and special activities offered.
When you are at the park, remember that most people eat lunch and dinner at regular times. While everyone else is eating, the lines for the rides are shorter. If you can eat early or later, it is a good idea to do so.
Also, if you get to the park first thing in the morning, walk to the rides at the farthest part of the park and work forward. Most people start at the front of the park. Guess where the lines are longer and shorter – you will get on faster for rides at the back of the park. If you ride while everyone else is at lunch, you will be enjoying the rides at the front of the park during the afternoon lull when many families are leaving and the evening attendees have not yet arrived.
Be a bit creative at you plan your Disney get-away. My husband booked a condo for our visit. He found one that slept twelve at a lower price off season than a five-person family-sized option. The kitchen was huge and totally furnished. We saved money by eating in for breakfast and dinner (A great deal of pizza and take-out to save Mom from cooking!) and only having a light lunch at the park.
With a bit of planning and preparation, your family can enjoy a Disney adventure with memories which will last a lifetime.