Four theme parks, two water parks and 32 resorts can add a lot of stress to planning a dream trip to Walt Disney World! With careful planning, you can ensure a trip that will be memorable for your entire family.
Before You Arrive 1. Plan your itinerary in advance. Park hours vary daily, and parades can only be viewed on certain nights. Park hours and a special events calendar can be found on the Walt Disney World website to help you prepare.
2. Make dining reservations in advance. Disney restaurants book up fast, and if you don't make reservations in advance, you may be out of luck. Make an advance reservation for at least one restaurant per day (this can be done 180 days prior to resort check-in if you're staying on Disney property).
3. Rent a stroller in advance from Magic Strollers.Magic Strollers will deliver single or double strollers to your room at a Walt Disney World Resort for your use throughout your vacation. These strollers are not only more affordable, but they're also more comfortable than those rented within the theme park, and you can take them in and out of theme parks.
4. Book a Magical Tour and Experience. See the Disney parks in a whole new light during Magical Tours and Experiences. Tours range from behind-the-scene tours of the Magic Kingdom, private fireworks viewing and Scuba Diving in Epcot. While You're There 5. Take a clear photo of the back of your Disney tickets. If tickets are lost, Guest Relations can reissue tickets using the numbers located on the back of each ticket. While you're at it, take a photo of the aisle marker where you parked so you can remember where you left your car.
6. Use Disney’s FASTPASS. FASTPASSes cut down your wait time at the most popular rides. However, the park only distributes a limited number of passes each day, they go fast. Stop by the FASTPASS kiosks as soon as you enter the park.
7. Celebrate a family member's birthday at Disney. Disney treats their guests extra special when they visit on their birthday. If someone in your group is celebrating a birthday, inform the cast members making your hotel reservations and assisting you with dinner reservations. Also, visit Guest Relations to request a free birthday button. Cast members go out of their way to recognize your special day and may even surprise you with free birthday desserts! Buttons can also be picked up if you are celebrating an anniversary, a honeymoon or if you are a first-time visitor to Walt Disney World. 8. Take advantage of mobile applications. Applications are now available that allow you to see FASTPASS return times and attraction wait times, locate character greeting areas and view restaurant menus. Check with your phone provider or search the internet for the latest and greatest "apps." 9. Leave the theme parks behind and explore Disney's resorts. Some favorite family dining locations include dinner at O'Hana’s (Polynesian Resort), The Hoop-De-Doo Revue (Fort Wilderness Campground), and the breakfast buffet at Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge).Writer Jennifer Brown takes advantage of every opportunity to explore the St. Louis area with her husband and three sons, ages 6, 4 and 6 months. She is proud to live in a city that has so much to offer families with children of all ages! Contact Jennifer.