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My family and I have a secret love. It is, and I say without hesitation or retribution, that we LOVE going to Walt Disney World in Florida. We are lucky to have been several times but return again and again for the precious and special memories that are created when the four of us run around with big smiles on our faces and ‘Goofy’ around!
Now all this said, you have to approach your WDW holiday with a plan. There are valuable tips that turn a frazzled, tantrumed holiday into a magical Disney holiday, and I would like share my top 8!
1) Rope Drop: Make the most of your jet-lag by getting to the theme parks as soon as they open (Rope Drop). You can easily do a number of rides before the park gets busy and the temperature gets too hot.
2) Advanced Dining Reservations: Book a couple of restaurant reservations before you go. This way you guarantee your tiny piece of heaven without crowds, with air conditioning before your angels have a melt-down!
3) Mid-day break: You are not expected to stay there from opening to closing time – especially if you have kids! We have always found our day more manageable if we leave after lunch. By this time the parks are heaving and normally very hot. BEFORE it gets to much pop home and have a swim/nap/timeout! You and your kids will feel better for it and you can always return in the evening by getting your hand stamped as you leave the park (or have a Park Hopper).
4) Autograph Book and Large Pen: The beauty of WDW is that there are surprises hiding around every corner! You never know when you are going to meet your favourite character so invest in an autograph book (they sell them all over the parks) so you can have their signatures to take home with you! Remember to buy a LARGE pen as some characters find it difficult to use the small pens with their paws!
5) Rain: I know we have enough of the wet stuff over here but Florida is well known for its downpours. About once a day, normally around 3pm, the sky will go black and the rain will just pour down! But don’t worry – as soon as it arrives it goes! Buy a poncho (you’ll be amazed how quickly they bring them out at the parks) and keep it with you every day. They are also handy if you go on any of the wet rides!
6) Cast Members: Point out the amazingly trained staff at WDW to your kids. They are easily recognisable by the costumes and the name tags they wear. If they get lost or separated from you these are the people your kids should approach to find you. The Cast Members are trained to help reunite lost kids with their parents and do a fantastic job!
7) Spending Money or ‘How Deep are Your Pockets…’: Disney are experts in getting you to separate from your money! We now have an agreement with our kids – they are allowed $5 per day. They can use it once a day on something small or save it up for something big at the end of the holiday. Think about how you are going to plan their spending money and if they are old enough, talk about it with them before they go so they are aware there is a limit. (If you have found a themed toy from a specific park – you may not find it anywhere else)
8) Stop and Smell the Roses: There is so much to do in WDW, let alone Florida that you are never going to see or do it all. Therefore, take your time, take a slow walk through the park and look for the little bits of magic that are hidden along the way. They are everywhere throughout the park and sometimes they are the things that you remember the most.
Amanda Mitchell is a Mum of two boys 8 & 4, Director of My Travel Surprise and complete Disney fanatic!
“My Travel Surprise was set up after going on the worst holiday ever and having nothing to occupy my kids with! The travel games and activities we sell are purposely sourced with busy families in mind, so when you’re going on any journey and need something to keep the kids busy – we can help you find the perfect travel toy! Please see www.mytravelsurprise.co.uk for our full range.”