This post is sponsored by Johnson's Baby, all opinions are my own. Disney family vacations are my ultimate happy place. I've shared before that I find the planning is almost as much fun as being there! Enjoyment aside, planning and being prepared ahead of your trip has major advantages for allowing you to make the most of your Disney experience. Below are my top tips for planning, preparing and enjoying your vacation, especially with young children!
TOP TIPS FOR DISNEY'S YOUNGEST VACATIONERS
- Book your vacation as soon as possible: If staying on site, this ensures you will be able to get the resort and preferred guest room of your choice (plus, you can start a "for sure" countdown!). Disney books up very quickly, especially during peak travel times of the year. 6-12 months in advance is my recommendation for when to book.
- Pre-book dining reservations and Fast Passes: You can book Fast Passes 60 days out with a resort booking and 30 days in advance when park tickets are purchased. Take advantage of being able to get on all your family's favourite rides by booking as early as possible. Dining reservations fill up quick! Make reservations as soon as you are able.
- Have a family "planning session": If your little ones are old enough (and know they are going *wink wink*), involve them in the fun! Ask them what their favourite characters are, what they want to see and do. If it's a first visit, watch YouTube videos and/or the Disney planning videos to get them (extra) excited!
- Plan for slower days: Especially when vacationing with preschoolers and young children, it is important to factor in R&R days. Enjoy the activities around the resort or pool-side at your vacation home.
- Recognize and accept that you will not be able to see and do everything: Disney has so much to offer, there is literally no way you will be able to take in everything during your visit; but it's nice knowing there's still lots of magic to come again to!
- Travel light: Whether staying at a Disney resort or other accommodations, packing with a plan keeps things so much easier and more manageable. With little ones there is always unavoidable luggage, but keeping the rest to a minimum allows for easier travel.
- Pre-plan outfits: Use packing cubes for each member of your family or use plastic bags that are pre-labeled by child and day. This comes in extra handy when sharing luggage.
- Go early!: Whether staying on or off site, plan to be there when the parks open. This is especially encouraged when staying off site as you will need to park and possibly make your way via additional transportation. Little ones tend to be most apt for the parks in the morning when rested, the parks can be less crowded then and wifi is most reliable.
- Have one party member go through bagging check: This is really convenient and will likely get you into the park sooner than trying to manage everyone having their bags looked through together.
- Bring a stroller: Strollers are key! Even if your child has long outgrown the stroller, they'll be climbing in by the end of the day. Aside from more easily being able to move about the park with little ones, strollers are great for housing all your stuff!
- Snacks and drinks are permitted: For convenience sake alone, bringing in your own food and beverages is helpful when on the go.
- Water is free!: You can easily obtain water at any restaurant or concession.
- Pre-order food via the My Disney Experience App: This can potentially save you so much time when not having to wait in line to order, pay and pick-up. Simply choose your restaurant via the App, make your food selections and mark when you're near by and your food will be waiting for you... seriously, so easy!
- Take advantage of Disney's Baby Care Centres: If you have a baby or preschooler you may find Disney's Baby Care Centre's especially useful for warming bottles, changing, feeding or just taking a short break. You can find out more and where to locate them in the parks here.
- Bring Pyjamas: If you are planning on staying at the parks well into the night, bring some PJs to snuggle your little ones into before you leave (they'll be out before you get them into bed). Before changing my children into their sleepwear, I used the Johnson's Head-To-Toe Washcloths to give child a quick "bath on the go". These pre-moistoned wipes are 2x the size of regular wipes to provide a great cleaning, but are still gentle and mild in formula.
Whether you travel with little ones or as a party of big kids at heart, I'd love to hear of your Disney tips! Let me know in the comments below.