Family Moments: How to Survive Disney World with Kids


We just got back from another fabulous Disney trip. This time we took it super easy since we bought Silver Passes and knew we would be going back frequently through out the year. We have a tradition with my best friend Kat that we go to Disney every Fall. We usually do Disney's Not so Scary Halloween Party but decided on Silver Passes instead. 
My Mom with my sister, me and my brother at Epcot
Since I have been doing to Disney World since I was a baby here are a few tips on how we survive Disney with our whole crew. 
1. Arrive early. Getting to the park early is a must. This is the best way to get the most done before the crowds and heat become overwhelming. Being Floridians we are used to the humidity but even we need a break from the crazy heat in the middle of the day. We usually get to the parks when they open and take a midday break. 

2. Eat early as well. If you get to the parks early you can also eat early because you should have gotten a couple of rides in before the big rush. We like to have lunch at 11am. If places open before that than get in at 10:45am. You will beat the crazy rush to eat at noon. It is also nice to get in early because you want to be able to eat inside if the heat is really bad. It will be a nice break from the bright sun and you won't have to wait around for an open table. Been there, done that and it's not easy with a bunch of kids in tow. 
3. Bring your own snacks and drinks into the park. The great thing about Disney is they allow you to bring your own food and drinks into the park. I believe there is a limit on the size cooler you can bring in but generally you are good to go with a small cooler or backpack of stuff. Now that we are done with diapers we can really stock our backpack with the good stuff, snacks! My favorite things to bring are Goldfish crackers, some kind of fruit and lots of water! We usually bring the kid's sippy cups and refill them with water throughout the day. 
4. Get the My Disney Experience App. This app will save your life! First of all you can check wait times and see what rides are down. Sometimes rides will shut down due to weather or refurbishment. The best thing you can do with this app is get Fast Passes! These will help you get on rides much quicker and avoid the lines. You get a max of 3 a day and 30 days in advance so use them wisely. What we like to do is get Fast Passes for the rides we really want to ride and do not want to miss. We usually use our Fast Passes on rides like Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain and Peter Pan. If you don't get a Fast Pass for Peter Pan or Mine Train it will be a long wait so check the app for wait times. On the app you can also make dining reservations but you need to do this in advance. Don't wait till you get to the park. 
5. Splurge on a treat! This is something I love to do once in awhile in the park. Whether it is getting a special toy or an ice-cream it is fun to watch your kids eyes light up when they get a special Disney treat. One night we were at the park really late and Ace wanted to go on Buzz Lightyear but the line was crazy long. We were all exhausted and we decided this was a time to offer up that special treat. We went into the store right outside the ride and said the kids could split a toy since we were missing out on the ride. We ended up getting one of those sets with all the Toy Story characters and they were so excited. I didn't feel bad about missing the one ride he had been talking about going on all night and the kids all got a fun toy to split. It is one that isn't even that expensive so it was a win-win. 
6. Bring your own light up toys. If you plan on staying for the night shows or parades you will see Disney employees selling fun light up toys. My best friend and I realized that we could bring a little fun to the parks ourselves by buying glow jewelry from the dollar store. The kids love it and don't care it's not the Disney ones. 
7. Take a break. This one might be easier said than done since we have passes we can use throughout the year. I get not wanting to take a break if you only have a day or two to enjoy the parks but if you can take a break midday. The park becomes crazy hot and your kids are more likely to melt down at night if they haven't rested. We usually leave the park after lunch or for lunch and don't come back till 4 or 5pm if we are at Magic Kingdom on a late night. If the parks close earlier we will come back earlier. The kids all nap and eat before we head back to the park. My friend's daughters are older so they usually take a pool break and chill out while the younger kids nap. This is something I always remember doing as a kid and loved. Not sure why but I always thought it was fun to go in the pool then go back to the park. There is also something so fun about going to the parks at night. It's cooled off a bit and you don't feel like you are in such a rush. I would rather take the break and stay late than not take a break and leave the parks early for kids to go to bed early. 
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