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If you are organizing your Disney Trip, you already know that it will be an experience for your family. But with so much to think of from choosing amongst Disney World Hotels to making advance dining reservations, things can get overwhelming.
So here are 79 Disney World Tips for families, that will help you make the most out of your trip, recommended by parents of the Gowhee App, the only global travel app for kids and their parents.
For a shorter wait in line, it’s best to arrive at least 30 minutes before the park opens. You’ll be standing around for 30 minutes but the line to get in can be much longer than that!
Accommodations in Disney resorts can run high. The good news is that you don’t have to compromise on the “magic”. Stay in some amazing properties throughout the area and extend the fun at night like in this boutique family-friendly resort called Magic Village Views just 10 minutes away.
>>> Find accommodations great for families in Orlando, Florida
The Disney Dining Plan is currently suspended, so if you want to save money on food, consider bringing your own lunches to take to the parks.
Every Disney park has a Baby Care Center. These centers are fully staffed and offer a private nursing room, feeding area with high chairs, and other amenities for parents and kids. It’s a great place to go to get your kids out of the heat for a little bit.
If your kids want to meet their favorite character, make a reservation for one of the park’s character meals. Instead of waiting in line, the characters will come right to you!
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If your kids are really little, go when bigger kids are still in school.
The World Showcase at EPCOT has “Kidcot” stations where kids can do crafts, color, or do other activities.
>>> Discover more indoor places for kids near Orlando.
The monorail at Walt Disney World Resort is a great place for a baby to take a nap. It’s air-conditioned and usually quiet.
Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort has lots of great restaurants and fun things for you to do in the evening after you’re done at the parks.
Some Disney hotels have easier park access than others. The Beach Club, Boardwalk, Yacht Club, Swan, and Dolphin hotels are within walking distance of both EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom.
Most of the bathrooms at Disney parks have changing tables.
Thinking about bringing a bag to the park? A backpack or fanny pack lets you stash your stuff hands-free.
If you have little kids, use the Rider Switch program. One adult can watch the baby while the rest of the family rides, and then the baby watcher can ride without waiting in line. The watcher can bring a guest with them, so an older sibling can ride again.
Some families love the strollers at Disney, but if you don’t, you can of course bring your own stroller into the park.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to the Disney Jr. Singalong. This is a great show to attend if your kids are feeling a little tired from the Florida sun.
To avoid tears in the gift shop, give your kids a pre-paid Disney gift card. They can choose the souvenirs they want, and once the gift card is used up, that’s it.
Disney transportation makes it easy to get back to your hotel for a midday nap or dip in the pool. You can come back to the park in the afternoon or evening and enjoy the rest of your day.
>>> Find tons of places that kids and their parents can enjoy in Florida.
There are lots of places to play at Walt Disney World. The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom and the Big Top playground in the queue for Dumbo at Magic Kingdom are great places to work out any extra energy.
If you want to reduce wait times at Walt Disney World, you can sign up for the Genie+ service to book additional Lightning Lanes for you and your family. These will get you on the rides faster.
Bring small toys and activities to engage your kids while waiting in line. If your child has a phone or tablet, they might enjoy the free Disney Play app that changes based on where they are in the park.
Dietary restrictions in your family are no problem for Disney’s dedicated cast members. Just make sure to call your restaurant ahead of time and they’ll make sure there’s something for everyone.
It is highly recommended that you plan at least one sit-down meal every day when you’re at Disney. It’ll give your kids a chance to take a break and recharge with food.
Glass isn’t allowed in any of the Disney parks… except for baby food jars. You can bring baby food jars into the park with you.
Water is free at Disney parks, and you don’t have to wait in line for it. You can walk up to the counter at any restaurant and ask for a glass of ice water.
Don’t forget sunblock, especially at Walt Disney World– the sun is strong all year long in Florida!
Bring rain ponchos with you. They’re expensive at the parks and you never know when you’re going to need them.
Some families like to wear matching shirts or mouse ear headbands to help spot each other in a crowd.
Disney parks are usually quite crowded. For toddlers who don’t want to sit in a stroller, a child strap or harness is a great way to keep them close.
Furry costume characters can be really confusing to little kids, who have only seen these characters in 2D before. Listen to your kids– if they don’t want to meet Mickey, don’t force them.
Ask them what their must-see and must-do park activities are, and see what options are available for engaging with their favorite shows.
Every Disney hotel will happily bring a playpen to your room– don’t worry about bringing yours. Cribs, too!
>>> Find Hotels with all kid’s amenities you need, here.
Four Disney World restaurants offer family-style dining that can make it easier (and cheaper!) to eat with a crowd. These are ‘Ohana (at The Polynesian), Whispering Canyon Cafe (at Fort Wilderness Lodge), Garden Grill (The Land pavilion at Epcot) and at the dinner service for Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom).
Bring small electric fans and make sure the batteries are good. These are lifesavers when it’s hot!
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority is an excellent ride for relaxing and offers great views of Magic Kingdom. It’s another good place for a really little kid to take a quick nap.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a high-energy show that’s perfect for kids who love things that go.
If you arrive before check-in time or want to leave after check-out time, you can store your luggage with your resort’s bell service desk.
The Main Street shops in the Magic Kingdom are open for up to an hour after the park closes. Do your shopping once you can’t do rides.
For newer rides with really long waits, you can get in the line towards closing time. Everyone who’s in the line gets to ride, even if it’s after the park technically closes.
One of the best-kept secrets at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the train ride to the Affection Section petting zoo. It gives you a free behind-the-scenes look at animal care.
>>> Extend the fun with other animal experiences around Orlando, here.
There’s a LOT of walking at the Disney parks. Be sure to bring bandages in case anybody gets a blister. Having a travel-size family first aid kit like this one, is always handy.
Keep a backup battery pack or charging cord with you. You can bring your own pre-charged pack or plugin inside some restaurants and on Disney buses where USB outlets can be found under the seats.
Disney hotels are categorized into three tiers: value, moderate, and deluxe + deluxe villas. Amenities vary, but every resort hotel at every price point has a themed pool, places to eat, and activities for the whole family.
If you’re planning to shop at Disney Springs, check the bottom of your dining receipts from Walt Disney World. The quick-service restaurants often offer 10% off Disney Springs purchases.
Unless your kids are really into parades, skip them. Lines at attractions are often shorter during parade times.
Disney hotels and some participating outside hotels offer a 30-minute early entrance to the parks. Since this is technically before park opening, not all of the shops and concessions are open– but many of the rides are!
If you’re leaving the Magic Kingdom by monorail, take the Resort Monorail. The Express Monorail usually has long lines, while the Resort Monorail does not.
Uber is cheaper than using a local taxi service, and if you’re at Walt Disney World, the Orlando area offers Uber Car Seat. This ensures that you have a front-facing car seat in your car.
Wagons and wagon/stroller hybrids aren’t allowed in the Disney Parks. If that’s what you normally use, you may need to rent a stroller.
You are allowed to bring your own food and water bottle into the park. Coolers must be no longer than 24 inches, no wider than 15 inches, and no higher than 18 inches.
The smaller the stroller, the easier it is to navigate through the park! Also, strollers must be folded on all Disney transportation.
If you want to do Turtle Talk with Crush but you don’t want to ride the Finding Nemo dark ride, you can enter through the gift shop in the Seas pavilion.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to over a hundred macaws, who fly from the Tree of Life to a designated spot near the front of the park several times each day. It’s incredible to watch.
Disney has phased out the use of straws at its parks, so bring reusable straws. Additionally, straws and cup lids are not allowed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom because they pose a risk to the animals if they are discarded improperly. Plan accordingly and bring your kids’ favorite sippy cups or reusable water bottles.
Guests staying at Disney resort hotels can make their first pay-per-ride Lightning Line Pass reservation starting at 7 AM on the day of their visit. Guests staying at a non-Disney property must wait until the park opens to make their reservation.
For the greatest flexibility, get the park hopper option for your tickets. That lets you move freely between the parks.
>>> Discover more theme parks for your family in Orlando.
Disney now offers free wi-fi in the theme parks and hotels. Make sure that if your kids have phones or tablets, they turn data off if they’re going online.
Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios doesn’t have much shade. It’s best to avoid it during the middle of the day or when rain is in the forecast.
If you’re driving, it’s very easy to forget where you parked. Drop a pin in Google Maps to help you find it again!
Whether you’re renting or using your own, bring something to make identifying your stroller easier. Tying a colorful ribbon or bandanna to the handle can be very helpful.
Disney’s Imagineers have hidden lots of Mickey Mouse shapes in various locations at Disney parks. Encouraging your kids to search for these “hidden Mickeys” is a great way to beat boredom in lines.
You don’t have to eat in the Disney parks, to experiences the amazing food scene and keep the kids happy. You can find tons of local and delicious places to eat all around Orlando. Many of which love to accommodate families.
>>> Find tons of kid-friendly restaurants near Disney World on the Gowhee App, here.
The Hoop-de-Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness Resort is a high-energy dinner show full of live music and dancing. Kids love it, as well as the fried chicken served at the show!
As a family, check out all the attractions and restaurants for each park. Make a plan for each day so that you know what to do and where to go in each park before you get there.
Ask a PhotoPass Cast Member to take photos of you with your own camera or phone. It’s free and they are happy to oblige, and it’s safer than asking a stranger.
You’ll need to keep your items separated and organized. Place snacks, toiletries, and wet or dirty clothes in a separate waterproof bag so they don’t ruin your other items.
If you have a large family, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort sleep up to six. If you are traveling with a very large group, look to book the Lake Louisa Chateau. This unique vacation rental sleeps up to 45 guests and is located only 35 minutes away from the parks.
If you are celebrating a special occasion, make sure to pick up a button at your hotel or in the parks from Guest Services. You might receive a little special treatment if you’re wearing one.
If parents want to spend a night out at Disney Springs or anywhere else, some Disney resort hotels offer in-room babysitting for kids 6 months to 12 years of age.
Plan how you’re going to leave the park. Your kids will be tired, so it helps to know where you’re going, when you’re going to leave, and how you’re getting back to your hotel.
>>> Find tons of activities and indoor fun for kids and parents in Orlando, here.
Disney offers a My Disney Experience app that, among other things, lets you order ahead at quick service restaurants. It’s perfect if your kids don’t want to wait for dinner.
If your kids want to see animals but you aren’t planning on visiting Animal Kingdom, stop by the Animal Kingdom Lodge. You can see plenty of wildlife for free that way.
If you book an early character breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom, you will be allowed to enter the park before everyone else and get a head start on your favorite rides and attractions.
The Disney parks have loads to do, but so do the Disney hotels. Check your resort’s programming to see what’s happening.
Stand upwind of the fireworks at EPCOT. They’re lower than the other parks’ fireworks shows and you don’t want smoke blown in little kids’ eyes.
Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris in Disney’s Animal Kingdom at sunset– the animals are way more active than during the day.
If you want drink refills at Walt Disney World, Sunshine Seasons and Regal Eagle Smokehouse at EPCOT, Backlot Express in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Restaurantosaurus and Satu’li Canteen in Disney’s Animal Kingdom all have stations for free refills.
Lots of families swear by the Frog Toggs Chilly Pad cooling towels. They’re water-activated and can help you stay nice and comfortable.
If you want to save money on stroller rental, consider renting from an outside company. There are lots of stroller rental companies around the Disney parks that are cheaper than renting a stroller in the park.
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