We just returned from a great trip to Disney World!
Mind you, my mom and I traveled with 4 kids under the age of 10 and me being 6 months pregnant. We planned this trip a year ago, but had to push it back a couple times due to conflicts and Covid. Finally…the day came for our grand adventure.
We stayed at Walt Disney World’s Boardwalk Resort, a place we have been to many times in the past but had never taken my kids to.
First off, the resort was incredible… as all Disney resorts are. Super kid-friendly, with so many activities and an amazing swimming pool. We like staying at the Boardwalk and the resorts in that area because of the close proximity to Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
When traveling with little kids to Disney World there are quite a few things I’ve learned over the years to save a little $ and to save a little sanity, so I wanted to share some of these Do’s with you.
- DO: Pack water bottles. Water at Disney is expensive, packing water bottles for all the kids that we could fill at the hotel and refill when needed was clutch.
- DO: Pack cheap ponchos. It rains a lot in Orlando and the ponchos at Disney will cost you an arm and a leg. I found some really cheap ones off Amazon.
- DO: Bring the strollers. For anyone under the age of 7, I highly recommend the stroller. Here’s the deal, you can always leave them in the room if you decide against it, but you don’t want to have to rent or purchase a stroller when you get there.
- DO: Shop all your Disney clothes before you go. Target and Walmart have a surprisingly large selection of Disney gear, so does Old Navy. These shirts are usually about $8-12 when they’ll cost you $29.99 at the parks.
- DO: Bring glow sticks. If you plan to do any shows or fireworks at night, bring your own glow sticks… the light-up toys at Disney are cool, but last about 2 hours and break easily. I bought a 500 pack of glow sticks off Amazon before we left.
- DO: Purchase the souvenir popcorn buckets on your first day. You can refill them at any time, at any park for only $2. Legit the best deal in the park! We refilled these every day for a quick snack for the kids to avoid unnecessary and untimely meltdowns.
- DO: Bring food into the park. This is a little tricky and takes some planning, but Disney does allows outside food, so when you land in Orlando you can Amazon Prime some snacks or even the fixin’s to make sandwiches… pack the cooler, and you’re on your way to a cheap lunch.
- DO: Have your kids split meals. This is HUGE for us and a major reason why we’ve never purchased the Disney dining plan. Even though the dining plan is currently paused, we’ve still never done it because little kids never seem to finish their plates and honestly, the snacks are super rich and seem to always mess up my kids digestive systems. Oy. Not to mention, they really need to be chugging water over the drinks. I do let my kids splurge on a fun drink at dinner though.
- DO: Book your dining early, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t get what you want. A lot of people hoard the reservations and end up dropping the week before or even day before… just keep checking back!
- DO: Take your own photos. The professional photographers at Disney are great (but expensive). You can absolutely take your own photos and capture more candid moments around the parks. If you look on Pinterest, there are several blog posts about the best places to take photos at each park.
- DO: Anticipate meltdowns, letdowns and frustrating moments. I know you plan for a solid year (sometimes more) for this trip and I know you want to make everything perfect and to do and see everything…but you won’t. It’s impossible. If you go into the trip with low expectations you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much you are able to accomplish. Remember, it’s hot, tiring and overwhelming at Disney World. Take it slow and just breathe. If you’re having the best time ever, your kids will too.
- DO: Take afternoon breaks. Rope drop to fireworks is great, and it’s totally realistic with little kids but you most definitely need take a break from the parks during the heat of the day to reserve your energy. If you don’t want to go all the way back to your own resort, hop on the monorail and visit one of the resorts at Magic Kingdom. Grand Floridian is our favorite for that, they have a very large (very air-conditioned) lobby with a piano player. Super fun.
- DO: Wake up early for magic hours. Shower the kids the night before, give them a pep talk, lay out their clothes, grab a coffee and a quick breakfast for them and head out the door to the first bus/boat or monorail. Getting to the parks earlier than most not only will give you the advantage of hopping on rides extra early, but you’ll also get to snag some amazing photos without the crazy crowds. It’s soooooo worth it!
- DO: Slow down and take in the scenery. There are so many “extras” at Disney World like interacting with a cast member or searching for Hidden Mickeys. These little moments are the ones your kids will truly remember for years to come, not running from ride to ride and being pulled along the way.
I hope this quick list is helpful for your upcoming trip to Disney World. Especially if you are traveling with little ones!
Comment below and let me know if you found these tips helpful and / or what you would add to this list.