The Definitive Guide to Visiting Disney World With Kids

You know those families who go on at least one Disney vacation a year, have a detailed itinerary, and know the entire park like the palm of their hand? Well nothing except serious dedication will turn you into one of those . . . but we asked a few of them for Walt Disney World trip-planning pointers! Check out our list of must-do tips for families vacationing at the Orlando resort, and your next trip to the Magic Kingdom will be extraspectacular.

Flickr user drdeer

  1. Come prepared with line activities: To keep your kids from getting bored (and yourself from going nuts), figure out activities to keep them entertained in long lines.
  2. Set up FastPasses on the first available date: If you purchase your family's Disney World tickets in advance, you can begin making FastPass reservations 30 days before your visit. Walt Disney World hotel packages also entitle visitors to an additional 30 days of FastPass fun, so you could log on 60 days in advance to make reservations! Don't worry — you can always change them later.
  3. Know where the park's baby care centers are located: If you've got an infant or diaper-clad toddler in tow, be sure to use Disney's map of baby care centers. These comfortable, quiet spaces are great for nursing, changing, and soothing little ones!
Flickr user rhysasplundh

  1. Don't schedule FastPasses for earlier than 2 p.m.:When you're scheduling your passes ahead of time, be sure to schedule them for after 2 p.m. The morning lines are far shorter, so scheduling during peak hours will save you lots of time.
  2. Bring a stroller with a storage compartment: To avoid your kids crashing midday due to all the walking, make sure that you bring a stroller. The storage areas will be good for you, too!
  3. Make a must-see plan ahead of time: Attempting to see everything in a single day will just result in disappointment, so figure out which experiences your kids have to have during your day at the park. Create a game plan for seeing these things, and then work on everything else.
Flickr user Jennifer Lynn

  1. Know where characters will be during your visit: By getting informed about character meet-and-greet experiences, parades, and usual haunts, you increase your family's chances of meeting characters by quite a bit. Our favorite is meeting Goofy, Donald, Daisy, and Minnie at Pete's Silly Sideshow!
  2. Eat during off-hours: If you use usual dining times to ride popular attractions, you can avoid plenty of other vacationers. Bring snacks to hold your kids over for lunch until 2:30 p.m. or so!
  3. Plan for a nap: You and your kids will be a whole lot happier if you take an hour out of your day for a nap — you'll all be rested and rejuvenated in time for fireworks in the evening.
  4. Download the Disney FastPass+ app: This app allows users to make changes to their FastPass reservations and select new passes without having to use kiosks, not to mention analyzing wait times, finding characters, and sharing plans with the whole family.
Flickr user blakespot

  1. Make autographs as seamless as possible: When you spot a character, be sure that your kids have marker in hand and their book already open to the right page. And in order to avoid bashfulness, introduce your little one to the character once it's his or her turn to say hello.
  2. Meet the mouse first: Before starting your day, stop in Town Square to let the kids meet Mickey Mouse. He's the most famous character in Disney World, so he's hard to meet once masses of people enter the park! Cinderella or Tinker Bell typically accompanies Mickey to Town Square in the mornings too.
  3. Be aware of height restrictions: There's nothing worse than waiting in line only to be turned away from a ride, so be sure to know height restrictions before making a game plan.
Flickr user mblphotography

  1. Be prepared to recharge: Long Disney days can be exhausting, especially in the sticky Orlando humidity. Know which areas and rides are best for relaxing, and your kids might be able to sneak in a quick doze before continuing the day.
  2. Bring all the essentials: Disney World parkgoers with kids should bring along bandages, wet wipes (for sticky hands!), sun gear (like sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses), extra socks or comfy sandals for after Splash Mountain, snacks, and water bottles.
  3. Avoid back-to-back park days: After a long day exploring the park, kids are likely to be tired and crabby. By allowing for free days in between park visits, you all get a chance to relax and recuperate!