Top 5 Tips for Having a Magical Vacation with Kids and Infants

If you’ve been following our blog for years, you know that we have talked about doing Disney with kids and infants on more than one occasion. However, many of those were written a couple of years ago, and it’s undeniable that having added even more kiddos to the mix, our parenting styles and Doing-Disney techniques have switched up a little bit. Not to mention, Disney has changed a lot since then then, as well. So I thought it would be a fun subject to revisit.

If you haven’t been following our blog for years, Tim and I have been married for 10 years and we have been to Disney every year, and often several times a year, ever since we said “I do”. We have four kids between the ages of seven and one, and all of them visited Walt Disney World for the first time before they were a year old. We have done Disney with infants and kids for the past seven years, and we are happy to say that Disney has been a consistently fun and exciting vacation, even with little ones in tow.

So how do we do Disney with four kids, keep everyone happy, and not lose our minds or run ourselves ragged? Glad you asked! Here are our Top 5 Tips for Having a Magical Vacation with Kids and Infants.

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1. S T A Y   O N   S C H E D U L E

Does your child usually nap in the morning or afternoon? Are they used to snack time at 10am and dinner at 5pm? Stay on schedule. Yes, for us that means leaving the park each day after lunch and allowing our kids to have downtime in the room. Our youngest will still take naps while our oldest loves to hit the pool and splash pad with Dad. Allowing them to stay on schedule with their nap and meal times always makes for much happier hearts for them and us! Even now when we take our “adults only” Disney trips, we find ourselves taking breaks in the middle of the day. I mean, it is a vacation, right?! Don’t run your kids {and yourself!} ragged.

2. S T A Y   O N   P R O P E R T Y

And I would even take it a step further and say stay where it’s most convenient. Trust us, it’s worth the cost. For many families with young kids, that means staying at a resort near Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park. While any of the parks have attractions for guests of all ages, Magic Kingdom offers the most family friendly rides, attractions, and meet ‘n greets that young kids will love. The easiest way to stay on schedule is to make travel times between the park and your room as quick as possible. Magic Kingdom has five different lodging options that you can easily access by either bus, boat, or monorail. They are Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. Each park has resorts that are more centrally located, but either way, staying anywhere on Walt Disney World property for your vacation will make your life with young kids run much smoother.

3. P L A N   A H E A D

The biggest complaint that people have with young kids is almost always wait times. We hear all the time about families that don’t plan ahead, and they end up having a miserable time, debating what to do next, where to eat, and standing in pointless lines. If you don’t know much about Disney, use a travel agent! Their services are free to you, and they can give you all of the best tips on where to eat and which rides and attractions you’ll need Fastpasses for. For example, if your kids want to eat in the Beast’s Castle at Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest restaurant, you’re going to need to make that reservation on the exact morning that your 180-day dining window opens up, because it books up quickly! Planning ahead and knowing what experiences you want to have will insure that you are able to do everything on your Disney bucket list.

4. T A L K   A B O U T   E X P E C T A T I O N S

Our kids love Disney, and they love to do everything in Disney. But we all know that it’s impossible to actually do everything all in one stay. As we are planning our trips, we are sure to ask our oldest three kids {ages three, five, and seven} what is the top thing they want to do during that vacation. The answers are usually all over the board; anywhere from eating a Mickey pretzel to riding Space Mountain. Our daughter’s answers are consistently meet ‘n greets, so we tell her to choose only one or two characters that she wants to meet most. As we plan, Tim and I try to accommodate each of their top experiences, and then explain to them that we’re not going to get to do everything. We’ve even had a few trips where we had to tell our thrill-seeking seven-year-old not to expect to ride all of the big rides, because we wanted to prioritize rides that we could all do together as a family, so that we don’t spend our day making the little one sit out on everything while we rider swap.

Another good expectation talk should revolve around souvenirs. Some trips we give them a budget and let them know they each have an allotted amount to spend. Other times, we will allow “one thing”, so amounts don’t necessarily come out evenly. But we have also had trips where we make it known that it is a no souvenir trip, and to not expect to bring home any toys or prizes. Either way, no matter their age, we’ve found that talking to them about what our expectations are for the trip, and allowing them to have a little input, keeps things a bit more peaceful as we experience the Place Where Dreams Come True.

5. R O P E    D R O P

What does rope drop mean? It means wake up and get to the parks before they open.

I know that there are families that will roll their eyes and say things like, “It’s vacation! I’m going to sleep in!” But if you are wanting to make the most out of your time, being at the park when it opens is how you will do that. The early morning hours are when you will have the best luck at hitting up rides that will have long wait times later in the day. The early morning hours are when you will avoid the bigger crowds and thick, humid Florida heat. Want to sleep? Take a nap from 1pm-3pm. I promise it will be a better use of your time.

Hope you found our Top 5 Tips for Having a Magical Vacation with Kids and Infants useful. Drop a comment below and let us know what your tips are for doing Disney with small children!

With love, Mal

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