Whether you come to Walt Disney World once a week or once a decade, the moment that you step onto property should be one filled with magic – not stress. And while it might be inevitable to be somewhat exhausted when you leave, it should be the best kind of tired – not the kind that makes you need a vacation to recover from your vacation.
And so with that in mind, I pass along this handful of tips and tricks to make the most of your family’s Walt Disney World trip.
- Get Memory Maker.
If you have an annual pass, PhotoPass is included as a benefit. But you can also purchase Memory Maker as an add on to your vacation package and get access to all of the PhotoPass pictures from your trip. We all know I love PhotoPass for the fun of the Magic Shots and other memories that they capture – I’ve written guides to the shots available at Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios…but it’s more importantly a way to make sure that you go home with lots and lots of pictures where everyone in the family is in front of the camera rather than behind it.
- Don’t stress planning.
You guys – have FUN with planning your Disney trip!! Daydream about the attractions you’re going to ride and the meals you’re going to eat. Think about all of the fun things you’re going to do at your resort. Download the app and play with it a little and see just how fun and easy it is to use on the fly. And only plan as much as you have fun planning. No you don’t need to know everything you’re going to put into your mouth 6 months in advance or every ride you’re going to get on 60 days out. But it’s fun to think about and something that you can really delve into if you’re a Type A kind of person that enjoys planning things. And if you’re not? Just go in flexible and make your plans as you go. You can check out my post on scoring hard to get attraction FastPasses and dining reservations at the last minute for more tips on this. Because while Disney can definitely be overwhelming and I definitely recommend doing a little homework beforehand to see what’s important to you to do, it should never ever be a stressful process.
- Be Flexible Once You Arrive.
And no matter how much you plan in advance, go into the trip itself considering those plans just a rough schedule – especially if you’re traveling with kids or a large group. Give yourself permission to change plans on the fly. To miss a FastPass because your kids are having a blast on a splash pad. To switch meals because something else looks amazing. To sleep in if everyone is exhausted or stay out later than planned if everyone is full of energy and having a blast. You never know when an unplanned moment will grab you. Don’t let your schedule get in the way of it.
- Let Your Kids Dictate Once In Awhile.
And to that end – as a Type A momma with ALL the vacation goals whenever we travel, I get that this is hard. But at the end of the day, your Disney trip is about enjoying time together as a family and making lifelong memories for everyone. It’s not rare that parents are SHOCKED by what memories stick with their kids most after they get home. You might spend a week running around, spoiling them rotten, riding countless attractions and doing every character meal on property – and they might talk about nothing but the resort pool when they get home. My younger son could have cared less about the park attractions when he was wee – all he wanted to do was ride the busses around and maybe switch to the monorail on occasion. Let those moments happen.
- Make Time for Your Resort.
I cannot begin to tell you the extent to which Disney is *not* just the parks. I could beg you to spend some time enjoying Disney Springs or miniature golf or the Disney water parks. But – while I’d love for you to see ALL of those – the biggest takeaway that I want you to leave with here today is to take the time to ENJOY your resort to the fullest. Check out the pool. Watch movies on the lawn. Toast marshmallows. Do a fun run. There are SO many things to do at your resort if you’re staying on property. Try to take some time away from the parks to take advantage of some of what they have to offer.
- See the good.
You guys. Disney is so full of good people. From joyful guests to the amazing Cast Members that create the magic for us, it is an incredible example of the very best in all of us, That said, no one is perfect and those moments when a guest doesn’t act in the right way or even a Cast Member is having a human moment have a tendency to stand out here because up against the Disney magic they can be especially jarring. And so while I don’t want to preach from my soapbox here – see the good. See the tens of thousands of guests and Cast Members full of joy and thrilled to be where they are. Because it is pretty amazing.
- Breathe in the Moment.
Walt Disney World has 4 parks. 2 water parks. More than 20 resorts with full days of scheduled activities. Dozens of shows and attractions. Countless ever-changing hard ticket events. Hundreds of dining options. It is IMPOSSIBLE to do it all. If you focus on what you AREN’T doing rather than what you ARE doing, you are going to ruin your experience. Stop running to the next thing and breathe. Take in the moment. Be present with your family.
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Did these tips help with your vacation? Do you have tips of your own to make the most of your time here? I’d love to hear from you!!