In 2014, when our daughters were five and seven, we took our first family trip to Walt Disney World. On our six-day vacation, we learned a lot about surviving WDW. You might ask, ‘But, Jamie, if Walt Disney World is as magical as people say it is, why are you talking about surviving?’ Good question!
Yes, Walt Disney World is magical. Especially for kids. At the same time, it can be tiring and overwhelming, neither of which makes a great vacation.
So, to help everyone in your party feel like their first Walt Disney World vacation is a party, here is Part 1 of a two-part series. Below we offer 4 helpful Disney World tips for families from people who learned the hard way (us!).
Disney World Tips and Tricks #1: Pace Yourself
Is this trip to Disney World in Orlando your dream vacation? If so, you’ll want to maximize your time. However, squeezing all of the enjoyment out of your trip can be exhausting! So learn from us
Our first WDW day was at Magic Kingdom. We rode, saw, and did as much as possible between opening and closing. Near the end of a very long day, we were worn out. Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast. But while falling into our beds with sore feet and aching muscles, Jo and I chose a different, slightly less intense strategy for the rest of our days:
This plan let us focus on enjoying the rest of our first Disney trip at a gentler pace.
Disney World Tips and Tricks #2: Characters Meet-and-Greets
Disney World Tips and Tricks #3: Free Water!
This may sound like a lame tip, but trust me on this one, it is crucial with kids. Even though you can take your own drinks and cups into WDW and refill them at water fountains (something we recommend), at some point, they end up empty.
So when your five-year-old is thirsty, has nothing to drink, without a water fountain in sight, and you don’t want to pay for a drink, this might be one of the greatest Disney World tips for families you’ve ever read!
Here’s the tip - If you have a thirst emergency, simply ask for a free cup of water at a snack kiosk or quick-serve restaurant. Problem solved!
Disney World Tips and Tricks #4: BIRTHDAYS!!
A lot of people travel to Walt Disney World for special occasions, especially birthdays. Although this tip is not explicitly about surviving, it certainly adds joy and enhances the magic.
On our first WDW trip, both of our girls were celebrating birthdays. At check-in, each was given a special birthday button. Wherever we went, cast members (the people who work at WDW), told them happy birthday. Not only that, but each girl got special birthday treats at every restaurant.
Once, at Hollywood Studios, while standing outside a restaurant deciding which way to go next, a cast member walked out of the restaurant, said ‘Happy Birthday', and handed each of our girls a cupcake! True story!!
Regardless of whose birthday it is, celebrating at Disney is a great way to survive. You’ll get lots of birthday wishes AND special Disney treats!
Learn From Our Firsthand Experience
Walt Disney World is a magical place, but certain things can dull the shine. If you follow these four tips, you’ll keep the pixie dust flowing and keep the magic alive!
Next week, in Part 2, we’ll offer a few more tips for surviving your first family trip to Walt Disney World.
To book your first (or next) Walt Disney World vacation, contact us today!
Jamie loves to read, write, and draw.
Jo is a travel planner who loves all things Disney! She also has food sensitivities and lots of experience with special diets while traveling.
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