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Harsh Realities Every Parent Should Know About Visiting Disney

We all want our trips to Walt Disney World to be magical and perfect. The reality is that we will probably have some road bumps along the way. A big part of a successful Walt Disney World vacation is planning. We have some hard truths about traveling to Walt Disney World with kids.

By sharing these complex realities, we hope you will be more prepared for your trip and have a magical time.

Credit: Disney

Don’t Skip Naps

Once you enter a Disney park, it can be hard to drag yourself out of it. You want to experience one more thing before leaving, and before you know it, you missed naptime. The combination of long days, heat, and overstimulation can lead to meltdowns in even the biggest of kids.

Schedule time during your day to head back to your Disney resort to enjoy a nap. Even if no one naps, having time out of the elements is essential. This time allows everyone to rest, reset and be ready for more magic.

If you aren’t staying at a Disney resort, consider taking time away from the parks in the afternoon. Head to a nearby resort to relax and rest. The harsh truth is even adults need some quiet time.

Resort Pool

Pool Time is Key

You have spent years saving money and planning the trip, and all your toddler wants to do is hang out at the pool. No matter how often we visit Walt Disney World, our kids enjoy the pool just as much as the park rides.

As you plan your trip, make sure you have scheduled pool time. Knowing when this is going to happen can help prevent meltdowns. You might start your morning with a swim or head back in the afternoon for a midday swim. No matter where it fits into your plans, ensure that pool time is there somewhere.

Related: Best Pools at Disney

Shoes with good support

Good Shoes are a Must

As you prepare for your trip, ensure everyone has good walking shoes. From big to little kids, comfortable shoes are essential to a happy experience. Make sure that everyone practices in their shoes before arriving at Walt Disney World. Doing this will help make sure they aren’t going to rub or cause blisters.

We often recommend having two pairs for everyone. This can be helpful when you get caught in those Florida rainstorms or when the heat and humidity cause your perfect shoes to rub. Being prepared with good shoes is vital for an enjoyable park experience.


Bring the Stroller

We understand that your big kids haven’t been in a stroller for a while but aren’t used to walking ten to fifteen miles daily. Bring the stroller if you are unsure how your kids will do, especially those ages five to eight.

You can park it somewhere while you enjoy your day, but if your kid gets tired, you can quickly grab it to avoid a meltdown. The Disney strollers aren’t the most comfortable, and they are also expensive to rent each day. Consider bringing a small one from home or renting one from an outside company. This will allow you to use it at your resort which is extremely helpful at the end of the day. Just understand that your little one won’t be able to walk all those miles, so have a plan to help them be successful.

Baby Care Center
Baby Care Center

Use the Baby Care Centers

In each of the four Disney parks, you will find Baby Care Centers. These fantastic areas provide essential items such as formula, diapers, and medicine. They also are excellent for those that need to take a break.

The Baby Care Centers have feeding areas, rocking chairs, and air conditioning making them an excellent location for little ones (and their parents) get to take a break. Take advantage of these throughout your trip.

Know Height Restrictions

Before you arrive at Walt Disney World and rush your little one for a ride, ensure you know the height requirements throughout the parks. Disney has these to keep everyone safe. Know what your little ones can and can’t ride before you show up.

Having these conversations ahead of time can prevent meltdowns when they aren’t able to join members of your group on bigger rides.

Also, take time before hitting the rides to talk about them. We know that as adults, we enjoy the surprise of a ride, but this isn’t often the case for younger guests. Walk them through what to expect so they aren’t terrified and unable to enjoy any rides.

Memory Maker Magic Shot
Credit: Disney

Get Memory Maker

We always think that Memory Maker, a Disney photo package, is worth it, but it becomes even more critical with little ones. Once purchased, you get unlimited downloads of the ride photos and those you take with Disney’s amazing PhotoPass Photographers.

We love how we can have everyone in the picture and capture those magical moments together.

Memory Maker

Have a Plan, but Be Flexible

When traveling to Walt Disney World, it is essential to have an overall plan. Knowing your must-do rides, shows, and snacks is vital so you have a clear goal for the day.

Once you arrive at Walt Disney World, being flexible with that plan is also essential. Your kids will fall in love with the most random ride, show, or snack, causing you to adjust your plans. Be ready to make adjustments or toss plans out if needed. The harsh reality is you won’t know what your kids like and dislikes until you arrive.

If you plan on heading down to Walt Disney World with your kids, make sure you know these harsh realities. They will help you have a great time as you manage your kids and the magic.

Related: 7 Helpful Tips for Doing Disney with Toddlers



Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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