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Our family is planning a big event and today I want you to be a part of it. We are planning our first trip to Disney World! It's something we've been talking about for years, and it's finally happening! If you are in the same boat, you are in the right place. Join me as I share 10 tips for preparing for your family's first trip to Disney World!
I think the biggest challenge for us is finding the right time of year for our travels. Josh and I go back and forth about whether to take the kids out of school, travel with friends or alone, stay on-site or off-site, etc. After some of our research and recommendations, I'm happy to say that the travel agency decided to go to Disney World with some of our closest friends and their kids at the end of September. During our trip, Dane turned 8 and Cora turned 5. we live on siteBeach Club ResortStayed for four nights and then we boardeddisney dream4 night cruise right after the land leg of our trip.
So now that we've picked our dates and locked down our resorts and cruise ships, what happens between now and then? We hired a travel planner to help us with the details of our itinerary, including rides/attractions and meal plans, and I look forward to working with her to create the most special trip our family has ever had. I think this is a good precursor to where this list starts. . .
1. Plan your trip with a Disney expert.
Take advantage of functions such as the trip plannerthe key to world travelPlan your family vacation to Disney. Using an authorized Disney Vacation Planner will not only save you time and money, but it will also keep you healthy. Authorized Disney vacation planners know the ins and outs of the parks and will tailor your family trip to your exact needs.
Let them answer questions about whether you want to stay on site, which resort to choose, how to organize your day, what discounts you may be eligible for, whether to purchase insurance and much more. There are many details that go into a trip, so if you want to make the most of each of your days and easily visit the parks during your vacation, trust the expertise of a Disney vacation planner. you investa loton this trip. . .So choose a good partner and make it great.
2. Don't forget to do your partmy ownResearch.
Even if you decide to work with a Disney-licensed planner and let them take the lead in planning, scheduling, and bookings, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do the research yourself. Heck, that's part of the fun for me. I look forward to planning trips for our family and am very interested in the details and have some background on the hotels, attractions and areas we will be visiting.
I immersed myself in the study of the great trips we took. I bet you're saying, "Why do you need the help of a Disney licensed planner if you love it so much?" Well, for one, I haven't been to Disney World in years, although I will gain a lot of knowledge from my own reading, but nothing can replace hundreds of Disney trips for families like mine with the help of someone with a plan. I would very much like to have a good partner with whom I can exchange ideas.
However, it's important to me to know that I'm involved in my family's travel plans, so some of my favorite resources I've found so far areThe Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, a namedWDW ready to go(Love, love Shannon) Just browsing Pinterest where I started my businessdisney world album.
A note about Shannon's WDW Prep To Go: I have become addicted to Shannon's podcasts and listen to all of her episodes every day while driving the kids to school. I plan to go over and listen to some of these short lists twice, and then as the trip gets closer I'll go over and jot down important notes again. shannon has anotherThe website is the gold mine for all things Disney World. She is so down to earth and easy to listen to. Her information was so informative, probably the most valuable resource I have found and helped us plan our trip and educate us on all things Disney.
3.Involve your family in the planning.
I know many parents who have big plans and want to surprise their children with a vacation to Disney World. I know some people who don't keep it a secret until the night before. Whatever you decide to do for your family is totally fine, but with my kids I know it's not a good idea to break big news so close to a trip. I want my child to be in the program. It's important to me that Josh and I talk to them and get their input on what they want to do. Highlights of this tripexistsThey, so it only makes sense to include their input in the itinerary.
4. Make it happen and count down.
Use the calendar to help count down the days to your trip and give your kids a visual idea of what's to come. Countdown calendars add excitement to travel and can be a "real" reminder to little ones that something very special is coming. There are lots of fun countdown calendars on Etsy and Amazon, such asthis here. Most start around 60 days. If your family loves projects and crafts, you can always design and create your own!
5. Make a plan to leave.
Start thinking about what plans to make when you're gone. you can considerpost tagUntil you come home, unless someone comes to inspect your house. Do you have pets Who watches them? Do you have flowers and plants that need watering while you're on the go? Do you have to travel during the school year? If so, be sure to check with your child's teacher to see if there are any projects or assignments to focus on during your vacation. If there is a possible way, find it!
6.Give your kids the chance to earn souvenirs before the trip.
plan to buy souvenirsforthreward your holidaydisney dollarorgift cardOn special occasions such as birthdays,Easter,julwait or help them passhouseworkaround the house. Disney gift cards are a good optionCan be used for almost any Disney item! Manage how much your kids can spend at the park each day by giving them a certain amount of gift cards. Most gift cards start at $25 and go up in price.
7.Start preparing your packing list months before the actual trip.
Do you think I'm crazy? Well, I am, but this suggestion is actually very clever. Goods purchased before the trip can be accumulated. We've all visited a Walmart or Target store before a trip and the bill can run into the hundreds of dollars. All the last minute things like sunscreen, dimenhydrinate, new cameras, etc. drained our account before we actually left.
Spread your shopping out and don't be unprepared. There are probably a lot of things that should be on your list that aren't. i like thisFarm Girl Chat Package List. Here is a good checklist to help you identify any items that may be missing from your checklist. and. . .If you haven't started your packing list yet, after reading this you might want to start ASAP. 😉
8. Keep your family looking their best.
So if you thought my last piece of advice was crazy, this might blow your mind, but if I didn't think it was important, I wouldn't share it with you. Let me introduce you to the size of Disney World. Covering over 25,000 acres. If you're wondering how many miles that is, it's about 40 square miles. if these numbersstillBefore you get home, Disney World is as big as San Francisco, California.
During your tour, you will walk around this huge building every day! This means that if you've been putting off training for a while, this might be the time to start. Go for walks with the family, ride your bike, park in a remote parking lot, take the stairs, etc. This is especially important with small children.
If your preschooler hasn't used a stroller for a year or two, you might want to consider itrent oneFor your Disney trip. My daughter Cora turned 5 the month we started our trip, and even though she hadn't been in a stroller for almost two years,willRent one for this trip.
9.Give your family a sneak peek at what to expect.
Give the kids a glimpse of the magic of Disney World and get them super excited for the ride. I have recorded Disney World shows on Tivo and talked to them about some of the fun things they want to see and do at the park. Now enormous resources are at your fingertips!
Introduce them to the characters they will see in the park through a Disney movie marathon and use YouTubeLet them experience some of the most popular ridesI Disneyland!
I can assure you it doesn't spoil the thrill of the actual moment. Everything gets bigger and better when you go to the park in person. If anything, it just gives your child some familiarity with some of the attractions before they get there. Don't be surprised if you see them pointing at things and yelling, "Remember this trip!" This is one of those we have seen! “Imagine them eagerly lining up for the right ride.
10. Prepare for travel cancellations.
If you've ever planned a major trip, you're probably familiar with trip cancellations. This is what happens after the long-awaited trip you've spent months planning, and it's happening now. . . Exceed. As much as you may be looking forward to coming home, you may feel a little sad or empty now that this big life event you've been looking forward to is over. Try to counteract these feelings with other things to look forward to.
Maybe it's the announcement of the next family trip, maybe it's the start of a new school year, maybe it's the arrival of a new furry family member, maybe it's a reunion with your child's closest friends. Giving your family something else to look forward to will soften the blow at the end of the trip and make it easier to get back to "normal life."
So there you have it! I hope these 10 tips for preparing your family's trip to Disney World have been helpful and that you've at least gotten an idea or two or resources to help you plan. I'd love to hear about your family's Disney trip in the comments and let me know which tip was your favorite!