Tips for Families with Children at Disney World
Did you know you can get a free Disney World vacation planning DVD or streaming video from Disney? This is a great way to learn about what each park has to offer, plus watching it is a fun way for everyone to get excited for your upcoming vacation. You can read more about it here, or you can click here to order your very own official Disney World DVD.
Are you visiting Disney World with a Star Wars fan between the ages of 4 and 12? Then Jedi Training Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a must do on your next trip. This show lets young Padawans dress in a Jedi robe, wield a lightsaber, and face off against villains like Darth Vader. Sign-ups open up right when the park opens, so be sure to check out our step-by-step guide on how to sign up for Jedi Training Academy to find out how to make sure your young Jedi can be part of the show.
Character meals at Disney World are a great place to get young kids used to being around the characters. They come around often enough that the kids really relaxed. Thanks to Chris for this tip!
If you want to see, take pictures, or otherwise interact with Disney characters, I highly recommend that you schedule a character meal. We did breakfast at both Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Although pricey, we got into the parks before other people, ate, interacted and took pictures of at least 5 characters at each venue. This will save an indeterminable amount of time waiting in line elsewhere in the park. Thanks to David for this tip!
Last year my 13 year old daughter and I bought personalized "Guest of Honor" pins at one of the Disney's Hollywood Studios stores on Hollywood Boulevard that sells customized hats, mugs, etc. We wore them every day of our visit this year and the reaction was AMAZING! Yes, Cast Members are already friendly and personable, but if you want extra attention and interaction, wear one of these pins! Our server at our Chef Mickey's Character Breakfast called us by name from the start and wanted to know why my husband didn't have a name tag. (They don't sell "Dale" name tags - or "Chip" either - go figure.) Several characters including Ariel and Mickey Mouse signed my daughter's autograph book "To Christine," and that's pretty cool given that Mickey doesn't talk! Everywhere we went - rides, shows, food stops - we got "Hello, Brenda and Christine" and extra attention. Wearing these pins made it clear that we were truly in the "we're ready for fun at Walt Disney World" mode. Whatever the reason, these pins were the best $3 investments we could have made for making a great visit even better. Thanks to Brenda for this tip!
In Epcot, the kids loved collecting stamps for every country visited. When we went there, they got to decorate a mask in Italy, and proceed to go to all the countries. It does take the whole day to do this, since there are a lot of things to see in each country. Thanks to Clarence for this tip!
Be sure to check out the unique activities for children around World Showcase.
To really enjoy Epcot to its fullest, do your best to catch the little shows they give outside of every country's pavilion at the World Showcase. It totally enhances your experience ,and even kids love the entertainment! These shows can help kids get into the whole concept of the World Showcase and help them enjoy this park too. Check out a full list of World Showcase's live entertainment here. Thanks to Miros for this tip!
Have small children at Epcot? Try The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Turtle Talk with Crush, or Gran Fiesta Tour – starring the Three Caballeros. These have all been big hits with both small kids and kids at heart.
Save time at the Magic Kingdom by using the Express Stroller Rental. It is located outside the park entrance.
We watched the fireworks at Magic Kingdom near Cinderella Castle, and my 7-year-old, who had been full of energy until that point, got very drowsy once we actually stopped running from ride to ride. Getting him through the crowds and out of the park after the fireworks was a challenge. For people watching the fireworks with kids, try this tip: watch the fireworks near Town Hall so that if the kids become very tired during the fireworks “downtime,” you don’t have too far to drag them to the monorail. It also still offers a great view! Thanks to Rachel for this tip!
A tip that some people don't know about is baby swap. If you have a baby or small child in your group, ask the cast member at the front of the line for a baby swap pass. One person can ride while the other person waits with the baby/child. Then they “swap” and the 2nd person can go right in the Fastpass line using the baby swap pass while the 1st person watches the child. The baby swap pass is good for up to three people, so someone in your party could go on the ride twice using the baby swap pass. We had 2 babies in our group, so 2 of us got to ride twice. Thanks to Carol for this tip!
If you are traveling to the Magic Kingdom with children under two years old, I highly recommend going in the month of October. Crowds are small and the weather is not too hot. (Actually, this is good advice for people of all ages going to Disney World!) Thanks to Julio for this tip!
October can be an ideal time to visit WDW
Don't miss Dream Along with Mickey, the show Disney World puts on in front of Cinderella Castle. You will see about 2 dozen of Disney characters, and after the short show they come down and walk around and interact with the guests. Thanks to Miros for this tip!
If you have a child, plan your trip so you are at Magic Kingdom when it opens. The crowd gets really heavy around 11:00 am. But it's amazing what you can do in those first two hours before the lines get long. When you get into the park, go straight to Space Mountain. You will have almost no wait! Then go to the Buzz Lightyear ride. You can ride that repeatedly with almost no wait until about 10:30am. Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear are two very popular attractions but if you hit them early, you can start your day with a bang without waiting in lines!! Thanks to Jerry for this tip!
We put our clothing together in outfits and packed them that way. When we got ready each day, we weren't trying to figure out what we wanted to wear and what would go together. This is great for everyone, but especially people with kids. Let your kids put together outfits before the trip, pack them so that when you pick it up you have the whole outfit together, you dress, and you're off! Thanks to Becky for this tip!
We tell our boys we only buy souvenirs on the last day of our Disney World trip. They can look the whole time we are there, but by the time it's OK to buy they know what they really want, and it prevents the gimmies during the whole vacation, which can add up. Thanks to Patti for this tip!
When it gets dark my kids always want the light/glow in the dark sticks, bracelets & necklaces. This can get very expensive with three kids. Before our vacation I pick these items up at Dollar Tree for $1.00 each & bring them with me instead of purchasing in the park. Thanks to Lisa for this tip!