Congratulations! Now for the hard decisions. We took a long trip to Orlando in December, so I thought I would blog about the steps required to get there–and the tips I learned from hauling two adults and three kids to Orlando for the holidays!
Your first step is to decide how long that you want to stay. There are four Disney parks now: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. If you plan to hit them all, you will need at least four days, but Disney also offers water parks, Downtown Disney and so much more. If you plan to take advantage of any of that, you may want to add in other days. We did four nights at a Disney resort and spent four days in the parks, then switched to a Universal Hotel and did a day in Universal Studios and one day in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. That made six days in the parks for us…which was at least one day too many. My twins are only 5 years old, and could have used a rest day in between, so you may want to take that into account. All three of my kids fell asleep at some point on the last day… (that is NOT a staged picture…I can’t wait until he starts dating!)
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You may also want to consider the time of year that you plan to travel. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the busiest one for Disney World, so we made sure to prepare our kids for the fact that they might not get to see everything and that it would be really crowded. We had several conversations about staying with us, not running off, all those usual parental things. One of the first things that we showed our kids was the special Castmember name tags that the Disney employees wear so they would know who to ask for help if they got lost. I also read a great tip that said to take a picture of your kids every morning so you will know exactly what they are wearing (I forgot to do this, but I guess we could have accessed the pictures that the Disney photographers took of us every morning).
How bad was it? The parks were crowded, but with some advanced planning it did not really affect our vacation. We got to ride most of our kids favorite rides multiple times, had two great character meals and even squeezed in a few shows. Just plan and book things ahead, and know the limits of yourself and your kids!
Some Great Websites to check out while you are planning:
Mousesavers This site has great deals and discounts, but also some good tips for traveling!