As a child, I grew up going to Walt Disney World. My oldest son, Sebby, who just turned 8 first visited WDW in 2009. Since Florida is a challenging and long flight for our family of five, we haven’t been back. Yet.
We made our very first trip to Disneyland for Sebby’s 6th birthday in 2014, with his younger siblings, Quincy and Edison in tow. (at the time they were 3 and not quite 1) and we had a blast. We vowed we would be back when Sebby’s siblings were a bit older so they might enjoy the parks more.
Last month, we went back to Disneyland, this time, bringing my mom & step dad long. My kids are still in the age of awe and wonder, and we really wanted to share the excitement with their grandparents.
Another trip to Walt Disney World is still on our list. I’m hoping to take the family either later this year or early next year. They say that the sweet spot for visiting Walt Disney World is under 5. My kids are 3-8 and let me tell you, it’s even magical for my 45 year old husband.
They say that the best time to take kids to Disney is before they turn 5. It helps dispel any fears and objections over the trip. Whether you’re traveling with young children, or like my family, a combination of young children and special needs (my oldest has Autism) I’ve come up with some tips that have really helped us on our trips.
Embrace the technology! Even if you’re normally anti-screen time, having a tablet is a good thing when you’re waiting for your flight. Between the airlines recommendations to arrive at the gate early, to inevitiable travel delays, having a kid friendly tablet is a must. Check out this great article from Scholastic.com for the 14 Best Travel Apps, Games & Toys for Preschoolers
Stay on site. I know that there are sometimes significant savings when you stay outside the parks. Let me tell you though, you cannot put a price on the convenience when you stay at a DisneyParks hotel. From the Extra Magic Hours, the convenience of sending park purchases back to your room to the ease of grabbing a quick nap in your room – it’s worth it’s weight in gold. We usually upgrade to a park view room, which the kids adore. They love looking out at the park during breaks.
Depending on the length of your stay, book at least one character meal. I love character meals for several reasons. The first is it means your children are guaranteed to see some characters. Many of the restaurants will not guarantee WHO you see, but you will SEE characters, and have time to interact with them, get autographs and have photos taken. No waiting in line! I’ve also been very happy with the quality of the food served, whether it’s a buffet or meal served to your table. Character dining is something you have to budget for, but to me, it’s worth the investment. It’s a less stressful way for your children to interact with their favorites, and there isn’t the same rush you feel waiting in line.
Get the kids involved in each day. Talk about a general goal for each day – whether it’s seeing Tinkerbell, Mickey Mouse or riding It’s a Small World. You’ll find with small goals, your children won’t get overwhelmed. Be flexible and don’t worry about sticking to the perfect plan.
Take photos! Don’t worry about getting everyone looking at the camera everytime. Instead, capture the moment. When you look back on your trip, you will be glad you have the photos of your children staring in wonder, or talking to their favorite fairy!
One final thing. While a visit to the Disney Parks is a lifetime trip for many, don’t feel you have to do it all. Confession: We just spent 5 days at Disneyland and don’t have a single photo of any of us in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle! The kid’s didn’t even notice!
Remember that anything is possible and dreams do come true. Be sure to enter the Tiny Travelers Sweepstakes where Disney is giving away a free 4-day, 5-night trip to Disney World® for 4. Plus the first 2,500 entrants get a free Scholastic book! Enter here: http://www.scholastic.com/tinytravelers/. The sweepstakes starts February 28 and is ending April 28.
What advice to you have for traveling to Disney Parks with little ones?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Disney. The opinions and text are all mine.