The Best Disney Travel Tips from Experienced Moms

The Best Disney Travel Tips from Experienced Moms

You’ve surprised the kids with the Disney news, you’ve made the reservations, now what? It can be overwhelming to say the least. We’ve been there and are here to spare you countless research hours.  

Main Takeaways

  1. Download and familiarize yourself with the My Disney Experience App 
  2. Early bird gets the worm 
  3. Zig when others zag 
  4. It’s okay to take breaks! 
  5. Make dining reservations 60 days in advance. 
  6. Rent a comfortable stroller from a third party if your kids are 7 years old or younger  
  7. Have essentials – and wine – delivered to your hotel. 

    We've expanded on each of these items below if you are looking for more information!

      1. Download and familiarize yourself with the My Disney Experience App. Disney is ever-evolving and this app provides IRL wait times, dining options, maps, etc. If you familiarize yourself with the Lighting Lanes and Genie +, you can minimize wait times for the most popular rides.  

      Note: Genie+ is different than Genie Service in the app. Genie service is a free tool to plan your day. Genie+ is a pay-to-skip-the-line type pass per person per ride. We recommend reserving these for attractions with the longest lines. 

      2. Early bird gets the worm – in the first 2 hours of the park opening you will be able to experience everything that would take 8 hours if you arrive later in the day. 

      3. Zig when others zag. Prioritize the parks that had Extra Magic Hours (EMH) the night before. Avoid the ones that have EMH that same morning. If you have older kids, a better option may be to sleep in and plan to go and stay late at a park. 

      If you stay at a Disney property, you may be granted early access to the parks - 30 minutes prior to the public. Most of the popular attractions will be open during this time.  

      If you head to the gates and wait at the entrance an hour before the park opens, the Disney staff will pick a family to “Open the park”. We've been picked twice when staff has seen our kids’ “Happy Birthday” pins. Others commonly picked: those dressed as princesses, honeymooners, enthusiastic visitors 

      Note: They do not pick from the breakfast reservation area, so if you are waiting for an early breakfast reservation, they will not choose you.  

      4. It’s okay to take breaks! If you are staying at a nearby hotel, some days mean taking time to nap in the middle of the day or taking a much-needed break from the heat by swimming!  

      VIP Tours: if you're short on time or worried about peak season wait times, an option is booking the Private VIP Tour with Disney. While this is a pricey option, it can minimize the days and time you spend at any of the Disney parks, saving the cost of multi-day park passes, nightly hotel reservations, and daily food expenditures. Note: the cost of the tour does NOT include your park pass.

      Disney World (Orlando, FL) Specific  

      5. If you have any interest in seeing some of the princesses, Cinderella's Castle opens one hour before general access to the park. If you can get the 8 am breakfast reservation and do not linger - you can join the early access at 8:30 am. Note: Eating here does not give you access to the park, you must also have a park ticket for the day. Reservations can be made 60 days in advance and go quickly.  

      6. If you have little ones, rent a stroller. I repeat, RENT THE STROLLER. The parks have strollers, but they are bulky and hard plastics. There are many stroller rental companies that will deliver the stroller you choose to your hotel. Yes, you must take it on the buses or monorail, but the comfort is worth it. Depending on your child, their needs, and the amount of time you plan to spend at the parks, we recommend them for 7 years old and younger, especially if you plan to have an all-day outing at the park. We’ve had a great experience with Orlando Stroller Rentals. 

      7. Eating every meal at the park can be expensive and inconvenient. Having groceries, diapers, Children's Tylenol, and even wine, delivered to our hotel was a game changer. Again, there are many options, and you’ll have to look at their websites to see where they deliver, but we were happy with Garden Grocer.

      Note: many hotels are accustomed to this and will hold your groceries in a refrigerator/freezer for a certain amount of time- you may want to check with your hotel first though.

      Essentials in our Bag 

       

      1. Blisters Bee Gone - all the adults and kids on our trip made it a morning routine to apply Blisters Bee Gone, to help prevent blisters from the all-day walking. We’d also reapply while sitting down for lunch. 
      2. Snacks for the kids, or anyone who gets hangry in your group- even the dining lines can become impossibly long depending on the season. 
      3. Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses – sun protection is a must.  
      4. Small First Aid Kit: Our favorite is Welly's Bravery Bandages On-the-Go first aid kit - yes, the park has first aid available, but no one wants to get out of line after 45 minutes to get a quick band aid.  
      5. Wipes- like Wet Ones- somehow seem to make an appearance every day. 
      6. Refillable water bottle (not a necessity, but we were glad we brought ours. Water bottle costs can add up. You can get free ice water from most of the dining areas). 
      7. Portable Charger- If you are using the My Disney Experience App, taking videos and/or photos, tracking any Air Tag you may be using, etc., your phone battery will probably die (Thanks, Apple). 
      8. Autograph book and Sharpie- if you have children that want autographs from the characters.  

        We hope these tips make your Disney experience smoother! For more tips and guides, we follow Disney Strategy Guide Wish Upon a Planner on Instagram. 

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