Top Five Tips for Taking Parents to Disney World

My love of Disney started with my parents.

As a native of Florida, we were able to visit the parks every few years. They made a big impression on me. It was a time and a place when we could leave behind the troubles of the real world and enjoy a fun time together.

As an adult, I wanted to continue to share the fun of Disney with my parents, and I went on a few trips to Walt Disney World with my parents.

Taking your parents along on a Disney trip requires some advanced planning and some different kinds of thinking.

Here are five tips for taking your parents along to Disney World:

5. Choose a resort

When you start planning your vacation, determine at which resort you’d like to stay. Do you want to be close to the action like Disney’s Contemporary Resort Hotel just across from Magic Kingdom, have a nice pool like Disney’s Yacht Club and Disney’s Beach Club’s Stormalong Bay, or enjoy nature at The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort?

Whether you’re going budget friendly with one of the value resorts like Disney’s Art of Animation or splurging at a deluxe resort like Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, you’ll want to talk to your parents to see what they want and are comfortable with. Will they be okay with walking long distances? Would they rather walk than ride the bus loop? All of these things are important questions to ask when choosing a resort.

Talk with your parents about their interests and limitations.
Talk with your parents about their interests and limitations.

4. Discuss Meals

Meals are a major expense and not only an important but a necessary part of your vacation. Disney World has some great food, but there’s a range of what you can enjoy. Quick-service meals are great for getting fed. They’re affordable, filling, and even shareable. But maybe your parents want to enjoy a more adult atmosphere like a table-service restaurant has to offer. Would they like to dine with characters? If so, which ones?

Keep in mind that you don’t have to eat together for every meal, unless you want to, of course. Maybe your parents would like a romantic night together or maybe they could take the grandkids while you and your significant other have some alone time.

3. Let them enjoy the grandkids

Speaking of grandkids, it’s important to let your kids enjoy their grandparents and vice versa. Whether they want to ride Space Mountain or Dumbo or take in a show, let them do it together. This quality time is important for everyone. Remember, you’re with your kids all day every day, but your parents may have a limited amount of time with them. They might not always think it’s cool to hang out with Grandma and Grandpa, so step back as a parent and let the grandparent relationships shine.

2. Prepare them for changes

Whether they’ve been to Disney before or not, it’s likely that there have been some changes since your parents have visited. There are probably more attractions, more hotels, and maybe even more parks than they remember. What’s more, you don’t get around the parks the same way you used to. It’s now essential to have FastPass+ reservations and Advanced Dining Reservations. Perhaps when they visited last, these things weren’t required or maybe even available. Explain these things to them and why they’re important.

One of the main differences may be with technology. Just 15 years ago, cell phones were not as commonplace, and there certainly weren’t smartphones. If your parents don’t have smartphones, they might be out of the loop when it comes to apps like MyDisneyExperience. If they don’t have access to the app on their own, be sure to share your technology with them so they can take advantage of all that it has to offer.

Review the latest developments and discuss the role of planning and technology in today's Disney vacation.
Review the latest developments and discuss the role of planning and technology in today’s Disney vacation.

1. Get them involved

Even if you’ve visited Disney World with your parents before, this might be the first time as an adult. Just remember that you’re not a dictator, but you might know more than your parents do about the new things at Disney World. Express your opinions about food, shortcuts, viewing locations, and attractions, but allow your parents to be involved in making the decisions. Give everyone in your group the opportunity to make a list of must dos, would like to dos, and don’t want to dos then compile a plan including FastPasses and ADRs from those lists.

Would you like to take your parents to Disney World?