Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Making the Most of Your Family's WDW Visit, Part 1

So, we know that Disney is the most magical place on earth.  This was intentional on Walt's part to ensure that parents and their children could have fun together.  And wow, did he ever achieve that goal!  But with so many options and so much to do, it can feel overwhelming and stressful.  For all of the busy moms and dads out there who want to enjoy a magical vacation with their families, here are some tips:

Tip #1: Don't Try to Do It All in One Day

It's often hot in Florida, and there is a lot of walking to be done.  Over-doing it will create cranky kids; cranky kids=cranky parents.  Going to Disney is pricey, and so there is always the urge to "get your money's worth".  Trust me, no one will be able to have a magical time if they are over-tired.  Ahead of time, plan out your family's "must-do" attractions.   Focus in on 1-2 attractions for each family member.  Since many people have similar "must-dos", lines at popular attractions can tend to be longer.  Do these first, and then if there's time and you have the energy, go do some other attractions that are of interest.  Speaking of lines...

Tip #2: Utilize Fastpasses!

Fastpasses are FREE.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The Fastpass system is included in park admission.  Just after park opening one day, I overheard a family who was experiencing their first visit to The Mouse.  The mother was clearly irritated that her son had insisted stopping at the Main Street Bakery for breakfast before doing any attractions.  She was expressing concern about the long lines, worrying that they would not be able to experience all of the popular park attractions.  After a few minutes, I could already see crankiness setting in, so I volunteered information about the Fastpasses.  She had totally ignored all of the documentation on this wonderful system due to a preconceived idea that you had to pay to utilize it.  After a quick explanation, she was much happier, her son felt relief, and they went on their merry way.  I didn't notice what they ended up ordering, but I hope they sampled one of the ooey-gooey Cinnamon Rolls before leaving the bakery.  I can't think of a better start to the day!  

Tip #3: Take Breaks

News Flash -- Florida is hot and humid.  Even die-hard Disney fans can occasionally get bogged down by the heat.  Disney does a great job at keeping the queues shaded and/or air conditioned, but there is still a lot of outdoor time.  Go first thing in the morning to the parks to get in some of the most popular attractions.  Take an early lunch to avoid the rush, then head back to your resort for some pool time.  Kids love pools, as evidenced by a friend's daughter, who asked as they headed to the buses, "Dad, when are we going to use this AMAZING pool?!"  So, while your kids are sure to enjoy the magic inside the parks, don't ignore the magic of the resorts!  You will be able to return refreshed and ready to enjoy the late afternoon/evening without feeling exhausted.  If you are planning to stay for the parade and fireworks, this tip is especially worth noting.  Since these events often happen past bedtime, a quick trip back to the hotel for pool/nap will ensure that all family members can fully enjoy the spectacular entertainment that only Disney can offer.

Stay tuned later in the week for Part 2 ... 

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