I’m very sorry that our very first get-together has been postponed.
Next Saturday we’ll be learning all about our upcoming family vacation. There’s lots to learn, and there’s no time like the present to get started! Everyone will need to cooperate to make this a success.
Check out these tips for how planning in advance can ensure that you make the most of your time visiting Mickey and friends at Disney World.
Make Dining Reservations
Dining reservations can be made 180 days in advance. That said, if you don’t have that much lead time, don’t panic. Reservations for certain places are available even the day of, or you might even get lucky and find a prime spot that had a cancellation.
You can now use Magic Bands to secure your FastPass+ times, which replaces the old Fast Pass paper system. You can select your attractions up to 60 days in advance online. You can book only 3 FastPass+ attractions per day and they must all be in the same park. You can read more at Disney’s FAQs about FastPass+ here.
To make the most of the above mentioned FastPass+, do some research and figure out what your top attractions are.
There are great guidebooks out there. The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World is my favorite, and there are a ton of websites with great information. Many travelers to Disney swear by MouseSavers.com.
Disney also has its Moms Panel where you can ask questions and get answered from season parental visitors to the Mouse House.
Get in shape
Seriously. The average Disney park guest walks between 6-13 miles a day, according to Tips from the Disney Diva. You aren’t paying a ton of money to huff and puff your way through the parks, right? So get out there and exercise. I’m not saying you’re in training for a marathon, but make walking a big part of your pre-trip plan and log some miles.. The more used to hoofing it you (and your kids) are, the easier your park days will be.
Make sure your slippers fit
Cinderella offers a lesson on the importance of properly fitting footwear. Exercising in preparation for your trip will help you know if you have the right footwear. I realized that my shoes started to rub if I walked more than two miles. That gave me time to get new shoes and ensure that they are broken in before we stroll down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. Be on the safe side and grab some band-aids, moleskin and/or blister pads to take with you just in case a foot issue arises.
Read some fun fiction
The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson the series is about five teens who are transported to the park every night and battle Disney villains. Pearson is the only person who has ever been granted full access to WDW, day and night. You and your kids can read the books together and have a fun family book club.
Have a party
Amp up the excitement by bringing a bit of Disney to your home before you depart. To me, part of the fun of a Disney vacation is the anticipation. You’ve paid a lot of money, so why not enjoy everything surrounding your vacation, not just the days that you’re there. Building up the fun at home, even just with the family attending, is a fun way to do that.
It rains in Florida. Chances are, it will rain when you are visiting a park. Instead of shelling out nearly $10 for a poncho on the property, get some far cheaper ones at home and bring them with you. Not only will you save money, a few rain showers won’t mean you lose valuable time in the park.
Stock up on sunscreen and hats
The Florida sunshine will be a welcome respite from the permacloud that’s covered the Midwest for months, but sunscreen is a must. One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their life time, including myself, and the best way to protect yourself is sunscreen with SPF 30 that you reapply every two hours when at the parks. Also make sure everyone you’re traveling with has a good hat.
Advance planning will ensure that you have the best time ever at the happiest place on Earth.
“We believed in our idea – a family park where parents and children could have fun – together.” – Walt Disney
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