We’ve all been there. You’ve spent your child’s entire college savings for the perfect, magical trip to Disney (or so it feels like). You are finally standing on Main Street looking down the most famous stretch of pavement in the world. You’ve got on your mouse ears and are thinking to yourself that nothing is going to ruin this moment – this day.
A couple hours later your precious little princess or pirate is in line for Dumbo crying their eyes out and throwing a Wreck-It-Ralph sized fit. This wasn’t supposed to happen! How are they this miserable at the “Happiest Place on Earth?” You’re at your wits end and just want to hightail it to the bus and go back to the resort. Heck, even maybe back home!
I’m here to help. You stay at that park momma (daddy) and don’t let the Disney meltdown happen to you! Here are my top 6 tips to help your chances of keeping your little royalty Practically Perfect in Every Way.
1. Don’t arrive clueless – especially with littles. Do your research! The younger your kiddos, the more helpful it is to arrive with a plan and be prepared. Your ticket comes with a FastPass perk added to it – USE THEM! This will help you pre-plan bigger rides and character meet n’ greets so you can bypass longer standby lines. A plan can also help you know which rides are must dos and which can wait for next time. Nothing is worse than talking up a ride and your pirate not being tall enough to go on once he’s there. Also, make those advanced dining reservations so you aren’t walking from place to place to find somewhere that can seat you! Even if you think you won’t need it – pack it. Don’t forget the sippy cup, bandaids, hand sanitizer, extra paci, hair tie, kitchen sink, etc. You will definitely “pay” if you forget something and have to buy it in the park.
2. Plan breaks. Use meals as a chance to sit and take a break. Table service restaurants are great places to refresh in the AC (and maybe meet some familiar friends)! Be sure to locate where the Baby Care Centers are in each park. These are great for the under 5 crowd. Don’t overlook the small nooks n’ crannies of the parks. Places like the Tangled rest area in Magic Kingdom, or rides such as Spaceship Earth and People Mover offer chances to sit back, relax, and take a breather. Use that FREE Disney transportation, too. Take a bus, ferry or the monorail back to your resort for a midday nap. Your kids will thank you for it later!
3. Use those snack credits. If you are on the Disney Dining Plan you have snack credits built in to your package. Use them mid afternoon when that “hunger hour” hits and take a break! Quick service restaurants will give you a cup of water for free – just ask. Disney understands the importance of staying hydrated and so should you.
4. Be flexible and bring your patience. The first thing I suggested was have a plan – but be flexible. What if it rains unexpectedly? What if your princess has an accident in her Cinderella gown? What if a ride breaks down? What if the power goes out in a restaurant? Disney is the all about bringing the magic, but things do happen. Don’t be so scheduled to the minute that you can’t deviate from your plan. In knowing that things can happen, remember to also bring your patience with you. When you get home it isn’t going to matter whether or not you marked off every ride on that map. What will matter is the smiles on your kid’s faces in those photos and the lifelong memories that you’ll forever remember!
5. Don’t skimp on good shoes or sunscreen. Nothing is going to ruin your’s or your kids’ trip like a bad blister or sunburn. Even if you think you don’t need it – use sunscreen! A good walking shoe is a MUST for every family member. Make sure you wear them in a bit before you arrive at the parks, too.
6. Get some sleep. Visiting Disney is like visiting a small city. You wouldn’t expect to explore an entire town in one day to see it all and Disney is no different. You likely won’t see or do it all. That’s what next time is for! Don’t push yourself to be at rope drop every morning and up for late night Extra Magic Hours every day. Your family will only be cranky and the magic is sure to NOT flow.
How do you handle the Disney meltdown? Do you have any other tips and tricks to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.