Walt Disney World probably ranks among the top place in the world for parents planning an awesome family vacation. Young children, in particular, will be thrilled by the sheer extravaganza of it all and the chance to meet cast members dressed as their favorite Disney characters. The happiest place on earth may be the perfect place to build memories for a lifetime. The entertainment complex, located in Bay Lake and Buena Vista in Florida, opened in October 1971, has become one of the most visited theme parks in the world, with over 52 million people from all over the world visiting every year.
If your kids have never been there before, explain the difference between the parks as a way to manage expectations. Otherwise, it can be only too easy to get disappointed because you can’t cover everything. Your kids will probably appreciate the trip by age five. However, height is more important than age because rides have a minimum height requirement. For most rides, it’s 44 inches. A few, like Primeval Whirl and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, have a height requirement of 48 inches.
Now might be the perfect time to buy them their first smartphone, too. Not only will they be able to take photos and videos of things that delight them, but they can also call you if they get separated. It’s easy to get lost because of the large crowds, which can be terrifying for a small child. However, make sure that the phone is protected, and pick a case from BodyGuardz that won’t inhibit little hands from using the smartphone correctly.
If your kids are too young to use a smartphone, then it’s a good idea to give them an ID tag. Attach metal tags to their shoes, with their name and your cell phone number. Teach them how to approach park members and show them the tags if they get separated. These tags will help them out if they are shy or have limited verbal skills.
When to Go
When planning a trip, the first question that comes up is deciding on the best time of the year to go. There is no perfect time, of course, and it all depends on your schedules and your interests. With that said, fall and spring have the most clement weather, and most of the rides are still open. Summer can often be too hot and crowded while winter has the perfect weather (it’s not cold but between the 60s and 70s) and far less crowded. However, many of the water rides are renovated in winter, so it’s not the best time to go if you have your heart set on specific rides.
Where to Go
Since Disney World is huge, the size of San Francisco, it’s not possible to see all the parks in a single day. So depending on how many days you have available, assume that it will take you about two days to explore each park. If you can’t see all the parks, prioritize the ones you most want to see first. It can be bewildering figuring out where to go and what to do. The Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, and the Water Parks all have so much to offer it can be hard to make a decision.
One way to decide on what you want to see and do is to watch some Disney movies a month out from your planned trip. This will help your kids decide where they want to go, and they will enjoy visiting an attraction even more because they will feel more engaged when they visit one. For instance, the Swiss Family Robinson tree house is just a delightful tree house to the uninitiated, but it becomes a fascinating place for kids that know the story behind it.
What to Wear
Choosing the right clothes can make all the difference when it comes to the weather. Being too chilly or too hot can spoil the fun. If you are visiting the park when it is cool in the morning but then starts to get hot in the afternoon, take a backpack for jackets and sweat pants. Carrying this extra clothing around will also work out when the temperature drops in the evening.
Carefully Select Attractions and Rides
Once you get to the park, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and choose attractions impulsively. At the end of the day, you might regret having missed out on certain attractions that you had hoped to get to but never found time. By planning ahead, you’ll be able to put your limited time to the best use.
Some attractions may fascinate your kids, while others may scare them. It all depends on their age, interests, and personality. Big Thunder Mountain, for example, might scare your five your old or thrill him or her. The Haunted Mansion might fascinate some kids while terrifying others. Despite your efforts to downplay the more scary rides and attractions, it ultimately depends on what your child thinks is scary or fun.
A Place to Remember
Your kids will remember their magical trip to Disney World for years. They’ll remember watching the parades, meeting their favorite characters, watching nighttime fireworks on the water from a boat, sharing a Dole whip, and feeling brave enough to participate in a live show.