Now, I’m no expert on Walt Disney World, but I just want to share some observations from my weekend at the Mouse’s House.
1) Walt Disney World is HUGE. To give you a visual- it’s twice the size of Manhattan. Without the subway. Walt Disney World has free transportation that will take you from park to park, just be prepared for each trip to take anywhere from 30-45 minutes, depending on how long you wait for the bus.
2) Sometimes it is quicker to walk- which I found out after catching a boat from Epcot to the Boardwalk Inn… And saw a man walking with two small children reach it before me.
3) Your kids are going to get tired. I saw it over and over again… Children asking to take a nap; kids falling asleep on buses only to have their parents wake them so they could go to another park; parents yelling at their kids because they were slow, cranky or just didn’t want to “have fun” anymore.
I understand that, for many families, a trip to Walt Disney World is a once-in-a-lifetime event (it probably will be for mine) and the cost can be enormous. You want to get your “money’s worth”. But you just can’t see it all in one trip- no matter how hard you try. So don’t try. Pick a couple parks to really enjoy, take a day to spend by the pool and another day to play at Downtown Disney. Slow down. Take breaks. And make magical memories.
Side note: As I watched parents yell and kids cry I wondered if that is part of the reason that people think travel with kids is an oxymoron. Do they have memories of terrible family vacations?
4) Rent someplace with a kitchen. Walt Disney World has amazing food and something for everyone. But you will easily spend $100 per person per day if you only eat at the parks. Do yourself a favor and stay at a resort or a condo with a kitchen. (Do the math, of course, to see what works best for your family.) Other options: free dining for fall or purchase a Walt Disney World dining plan.
5) Do your research! I went into Walt Disney World unprepared. I planned it that way as I knew much of my time would be scheduled. And I was still overwhelmed. I met a couple great ladies from the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. Everyone on this panel is a Disney-phile and can answer any question you throw at them. So ask! The ladies I met are Kathie F and Amy R. These ladies amazed me with their knowledge and tips. You can ask them Disney questions directly from their (linked) profile pages. Below their bio at the right is a button that says “ask a question”. And tell them I sent you.
Have a magical time at Disney!