As a Walt Disney World Passholder and someone who legitimately lives about 12 minutes from the Magic Kingdom gates, I go to DisneyWorld a TON. I LOVE taking the boys there while they’re still young enough to pass for “free” ages, and it’s such a fun time. Since my husband works, he’s not always able to go with us, especially during the weekdays- when I really love going to avoid crowds. I’ve heard a ton of people lately say how worried they would be to take two small children to Disney on their own, so I wanted to compose a list of my top tips for making a quick day trip to Disney a literal and figurative walk in the park.
- Pack Everything! Disney has gotten a lot more relaxed with allowing outside food and beverages into the park. I always bring a pint of milk, some small bags of chips/pretzels, and a few granola bars to have on hand when the boys ask for snacks. This enables me to save a lot of money not having to purchase snacks. You’re also able to pack sandwiches and bottles of water for yourself to enjoy lunch there if you so choose. Pro-tip: eat your sandwich on the PeopleMover in Tomorrow Land for a fun lunch-on-the-go!
- Know when to FastPass & When to Wait. Since the Disney App (which you need to download ASAP if you don’t already have it for your trip) only allows for 3 Fastpass experiences per day, knowing and prioritizing your rides is most important. In Magic Kingdom on a weekday here is what I prefer to Fastpass: Peter Pan’s Flight, The Little Mermaid & Haunted Mansion. My kids aren’t big enough for major rides like the MineTrain, Space Mountain or Splash Mountain, so we always stick to the smaller rides anyway. Dumbo, Mad Tea Party, Magic Carpets, and It’s a Small World, typically don’t have more than a 15-20minute wait on weekdays, which moves quick. Dumbo even has an amazing play area with a pager system to let you and your kids relax and play while you “wait” for your turn. And Pooh has a great play area as well for the kids to enjoy themselves while you make your way through the line. While the others can have 60+ min wait times even on a random Tuesday, and do not have exciting line waiting experiences.
- Plan your Experience. It goes without saying that a planned experience is going to be much more successful than playing it by ear when two toddlers are involved. I’m probably the most Type B person there is and I like to leave plenty of room for spontaneous Magic, but I do go to the parks with a typical game plan, and it is usually the same every trip haha. We start out on Main Street where I am sure to grab my Starbucks before heading to the Castle to watch the tail end of whatever show is playing when we get there. I get all my cute DisneyBound pics from Cast Members (also another tip- Cast Members CAN NOT tell you know if you ask them for a picture. I literally always go up to the Cast Members with their pro cameras, hand them my cell and ask for pics. It works well.) Then we head into FantasyLand. Depending on our Fastpasses for the Day we’ll typically hit up Mad Tea Party first, head to Dumbo, then Pooh or It’s a Small World or both. I love hitting up Gaston’s Tavern while in FastasyLand for a light snack- their cinnamon roll or chocolate croissant are great sharable options and LaFou’s Brew is an amazing non-alcoholic beverage to enjoy (think Sparkling Apple Juice Punch). From FantastyLand I we roam right into FrontierLand for Haunted Mansion, the Muppets Show, Hall of Presidents, The Riverboat, and a quick peek in the Christmas Store. I avoid the Splash Mountain/Huck Finn area just because I’m not trying to keep up with both kids on Huck Finn Island.. hahah. After our favs in Frontierland I’ll either stop at Casey’s Corner for Corn Dog Nuggets & Shoestring Fries or head straight to TomorrowLand. In Tomorrowland we’ll get on the People Mover & the Carousel of Progress. If we haven’t already had lunch I also love taking them to the Launch Pad in TomorrowLand, for classic chicken tenders with fries which the boys love. After we’ve been fed and enjoyed our TomorrowLand rides, I’ll start my journey back to the Castle, sometimes we stay for a show or Parade, while other times I simply take my time walking around gift shops checking out what’s new as far as Disney Merch goes before we slowly make our way out of the park. Each day we go is slightly different, but just to give you a general game plan idea- it’s a great start.
- Know where you want to spend your money. On an average day at Disney I spend between $30-75 depending. If I don’t pack lunch or if a new set of Minnie Ears has been released it’s definitely closer to the $75 range. Having a game plan for where you want to spend your money is crucial in a successful stress free Disney trip. I understand the need to be a on a budget but no one wants to be stressed about money at Disney, it takes away from the magic of the experience. So if you know you want to eat out and each child is going to want a $10 toy, plan where to eat and check the menus online for pricing ahead of time. As far as affordable dining options goes: Pinocchio Village Haus, Launch Pad, and Casey’s Corner are my favorite spots to dine in Magic Kingdom- meals run under $15 and now you can even order and pay on your phone and just pick up when you get there, so you can skip the lines at these spots. If you’re an annual pass holder like myself ALWAYS ask if the place you’re stopping at has a pass holder discount. This is one of the big ways I save 10-20% everywhere in the parks. For example- kiosks where they sell popcorn and ice cream don’t do the discount BUT gift shops do- so if I want to buy a diet coke I’ll get it in a gift shop instead of getting a fountain one. Buy souvenirs and toys from the gift shops as well instead of those carts they wheel around. Some carts do the discount and others don’t but it’s better just to shop gift stores instead to be on the safe side. My favorite shops in Magic Kingdom are: Emporium, Main Street Confectionery, and Big Top Souvenirs, all of which honor Passholder Discounts.
- Wear Comfortable Shoes. I feel like this is pretty obvious but like I need to elaborate a little bit. Just because it’s comfortable to you on a daily basis doesn’t mean it’ll be comfortable at Disney. On a short Disney day I never have less than 15k steps for the day, sometimes I’ll even hit in the low 20k’s, if you’re planning on Park Hopping, this is even more crucial as on my last park hopping day I hit over 30k steps. Adidas are my favorite park shoes, They provide a lot of comfort while still looking very cute on my Fred Flintstone feet. I wear my Superstars a LOT there and never get blisters or have sore feet the next day. I also have some Adidas & Nike Running shoes that work really well also. If I don’t do one of those I do sometimes wear my Chucks, but Chucks are a bit narrow for my fat feet, so I’ll only do those on days I know I’ll only be there a few hours. I definitely DO NOT recommend flat sandals or flip flops for a long day at Disney. You may think they’re comfortable but the bottoms of your feet will be screaming and blistered by EOD.
That’s all the tips I have for ya for now! Feel free to ask me anything anytime about a park visit you may have! I LOVE using my Disney knowledge to help people plan extra magical days!
“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney