When you think of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, the first thing that pops into your mind might be “it’s for kids”. That’s absolutely true. Walt Disney World is for kids…and teens…and tweens…and adults! There is truly something for everyone at Walt Disney World. However, for a place that is designed for the young and young at heart, WDW can be a trying vacation for families with young children. Central Florida can be a very hot, muggy, often rainy locale and the weather is just the first issue that many first time parents run into. As a parent who has been on several (11) WDW trips with young children, here are some tips that my wife and I have figured out the hard way!
Have Realistic Expectations – For many parents and families, a Walt Disney World vacation is a once in a lifetime experience. Therefore, some parents tend to want to go go go from morning until night without ever slowing down. Take it from someone who’s made this mistake before…kids get really tired really quickly in the heat of Central Florida. Plan on going out to the parks early in the morning, taking a break at your resort for a nap or a swim in the pool in the middle of the day, and then return to the parks in the early evening for the night.
Bring Along Some Favorite Foods – Nothing can get a meltdown started more quickly than a toddler who can’t get what he/she normally gets to eat while out at a restaurant. I don’t know about you, but my toddlers have all been picky eaters and are used to eating certain things that you just can’t find in Disney restaurants. The Disney Parks allow you to bring in your own food and my family does this to some degree each and every day that we are in the parks. Full, happy children trump hungry, grumpy children every single time!
Travel With Or Rent Strollers – This tip may seem like common sense, but it truly amazes me how many children I see in the Disney Parks who are trudging along next to their parents, overheated, crying, and having a miserable time. The average guest at Walt Disney World walks A LOT (last trip I averaged over 10 miles per day). Your children may never need a stroller at home so it might not even cross your mind, especially if you’ve never taken a trip to WDW before, but trust me, bring a stroller. You’ll avoid some meltdowns and you and your children will be much happier for it. As an added tip, if you’re out at in the parks at night with your kids in the stroller, pack some pajamas. My wife and I do this and often the kids will fall asleep in the stroller. It makes bedtime a breeze once we get back to our resort!