But sometimes, such as when you also have older children, waiting becomes more difficult. The good news is that is easy to enjoy the theme parks with small children if you just follow some of the simple tips below.
This is the most obvious section in the list of tips, but some parents seem to forget that Disney World is in Florida. The Florida sun burns hot, and it is easier than you might think to get a sunburn – even if it isn’t very hot, and even if it is cloudy. A bad sunburn can quickly ruin an entire vacation, so be sure to apply liberal amounts of sunscreen and time you are outside in the daylight. Remember to reapply throughout the day, particularly after your little guy or girl has spent some time playing in water. A hat is a good idea as well.
You also want to keep hydrated. Just make the kids take a few sips of water between each ride and that should be sufficient.
Some parents bring a babysitter along with them. This is fine for some parents, but Disney provides many options for babysitting, kids clubs, and similar services that will allow you to enjoy some time with just the adults or with the older kids.
Some hotels, such as the Westin Hotel called the Walt Disney World Swan, are particularly kid-friendly. Most of the hotels in the resort, even the value options, provide some type of babysitting. Naturally, there is a fee to use the babysitting services, but it is certainly worth it in order to be able to have an afternoon to enjoy some of the rides or to have a quiet dinner at one of the many fabulous restaurants located in Disney World.
The good news is that there are plenty of activities for the grownups to enjoy while the kids are safely being watched – from the Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba show to exciting restaurants at Disney’s Epcot theme park, including adventurous food at the China and Italino Pavilions.
Yes, it’s Disney World. Yes, there much to see. Still, make time for naps. This is especially true if your little ones are used to a regular naptime at home. Taking a couple of hours out of each day for the little ones to rest will give any teens in your group a chance to have some time alone AND will make the rest of your day much more enjoyable.
You Can’t Do it ALL
On the same note, understand that Disney World Resort and the four theme parks contain so much to see and so many attractions that you are not going to be able to see it all in one visit. Even if you are staying for a week, you won’t be able to do it all, and that is perfectly ok.
Make a short list of attractions that you absolutely don’t want to miss. Once you have seen those, you can move on to some others if time permits. Do not get stressed out trying to rush around to every attraction. Instead, slow your pace and take the time to savor the attractions that you do see.
It’s the Big People’s Vacation, Too!
Yes, a Disney vacation is largely about the kids, but the grown-ups should get to visit some attractions that they like as well. Even in the parts of the park that are not necessarily geared toward children, there is often plenty to keep them busy.
For example, you can enjoy the history and art in some of the World Showcase pavilions, while the little guys get a kick out of stopping at the Kidcot stations and meeting the many costumed characters roaming about.
Also, take advantage of the “baby swap.” You won’t see details about this advertised, but your entire party can wait together in the queue or line, and then when it is time to ride, mom can do so while dad holds the baby. When mom is done riding, she holds the baby while dad rides – all without waiting in line again. Be sure to ask the cast member at the attraction entrance for help and details.
Choose Your Hotel Wisely
As mentioned above, The Westin hotel in Disney World is very kid-friendly as are some others. The Westin hotel has a club just for kids called the Camp Dolphin Kid’s Program. This fun “camp” provides numerous very well-supervised activities for kids ages 4-11. The camp is open from 5:30 to midnight, so you will have plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely dinner and romantic fireworks display and know that your kids are having a great time.
Other amenities to look for in a hotel are kid-friendly pools, game rooms and on-site dining options with a kid-friendly menu.
The Westin resort hotels at Disney offer great adult options too: VIP concierge services, a great health club, and easy access to golf courses and water parks. You can even take advantage of extended park hours.
Stick to a Schedule
Every parent knows that when you are dealing with small children, sticking to a schedule is important. This is still true even at Disney World! You do not have cram 10 hours of theme park time into every day. It’s just too much. Instead, decide before you go on vacation what your routine will be like. As much as possible stick to the same meal and nap times as when you are at home.
Beware of the Scare
Just because a ride or attractions allows small children doesn’t mean your kids will enjoy it. Such attractions can still be scary. If you are unsure about how scary a particular ride is, be sure to ask the staff. If you think it might be a bit much for your little one, take turns riding and keeping the little ones entertained.
Eat Breakfast In
This will not only save you money during your Disney family vacation, but it will allow for more leisure time in the morning which may translate into less crankiness later in the day. Eat a hearty room service breakfast or, if your room has a kitchenette, prepare something simple.
When you have little ones, it is important to keep a stocked bag of supplies with you at all times as you visit the theme parks. The bag should include simple snacks, water, a change of clothes, and a few favorite toys. Even though you’re at Disney World, there could still be times when the little ones complain of boredom, such as while you are sitting in a restaurant or waiting in line. You should also keep a spray bottle of water to help cool off little ones on particularly hot days and, of course, the aforementioned sunscreen.
Plan Ahead And Plan For Fun
By planning ahead and using some of the tips above, your Disney World family vacation with small children can be a huge success. Don’t be afraid to bring your little ones to Disney World Resort. Just know what to expect and be prepared!