Please welcome another special Guest! Today we have Alea from Diary of a Scrapbooker. Alea is a diehard Disney fan whose kids participate in our Earn Your E.A.R.S. program. She’s got some great travel tips for visiting the Disney parks with kids that I’m sure you’ll find pretty resourceful.
Hi, I’m Alea! In addition to getting to stay home and spend every day teaching and playing with my two kiddos, I like to unofficially help friends plan their Disney vacations! My husband and I went to Walt Disney World on our honeymoon in 1999, and have gone to either Disney World or Disneyland once a year ever since. Here are some of the tips I jotted down from the last time we were “home.”
We bring Pediasure shakes in case our little one doesn’t eat well that day. Then at least we feel he’s getting some nutrition. We just stick them in the fridge and he likes to drink them before or after we hit the parks.
In a Ziplock-type bag, we pack an easy-to-rinse bib and kid-sized plastic utensils and take them to the parks each day for our little guy. You can also pack a one-use plastic table cover. Forks at Disney restaurants can be huge!!! ( I keep a baggy like this in my purse for eating out locally as well.)
It’s ok to bring bribes if you think it might encourage your child to try something. I have given my daughter prizes when she goes on big rides and offered her a bribe when they asked her to be in the Lion King show. Sometimes she leaves a ride saying she will never ride again, but more often, she’s glad she tried it.
I bring special glow stuff for every night we are going to be at the parks after dark. It’s so much cheaper, and the kids love it just as much. Often people will ask us where we found it.
I found thick, yet short clip-on pens at the Family Christian Bookstore that my daughter could clip right to her camera case. We got lots of thumbs-up from the characters since they were chunky enough to hold, and some of them would change the color of ink to their preference. Plus we never had to hunt through our bags for them.
Find something fun to take pictures of in each country at Epcot. For example, I took a picture of my 3 year old in a different hat that reflected the type they would wear in that country. We looked for hats in each gift shop as a family challenge.
Bring paper and journal each day so you won’t forget anything. I have made a booklet for my daughter to fill in her most magical moment and other things that only take a minute to fill in but will help her to remember her favorite things from that day.
Bring a small bag of toys for the kids so that they can play in their downtime at the resort. Kids need time to just play! Toys that can be played with in the tub are great because you can kill 2 birds with one stone! You can bring matchbox sized cars to the park in your bag for the kids to drive around while waiting for shows or parades or while in lines. Hexbugs & small posable plastic figures work well too. Four crayons and a tiny Dollar Store sticker/coloring book is also great for a long wait.
At 10, my daughter feels too big to dress like a princess, but I found a cool tiara headband that she agreed to wear and she loved being recognized as a princess.
For our breakfast with the princesses, she wore an outfit we put together which I called a modern-day Belle. She wore a blue ruffled skirt, a white ruffled shirt, and completed the look with her hair in a ponytail of curled ringlets off to the side. We added a blue bow in her hair and a French inspired necklace. I let her wear makeup & sprayed her hair and outfit with glitter spray found in the party section at Walmart. There are tons of ideas online for a modern Disney look.
On our Way:
We always do a countdown of some kind, usually involving trivia. This year, we did a special activity each day. This took planning ahead because of our busy evening schedule, but it was worth it. Some days, we played a Disney game or completed a Disney puzzle, other days we created a craft or had a special food item in honor of a certain Disney character. On Mickey Mondays, we had a party that included games, music, decorations and dinner themed around a Disney movie, which we watched to end our party. (We used items we already had in the house to decorate.)
We drive to Florida and have found that having small containers for each kid that we can fill and distribute as we travel is definitely the way to go.
I only recently realized that all the little things I’ve learned could really be helpful to other parents, whether this is their first time to Walt Disney World or not. Thanks for letting me share them!
Thanks so much for joining us, Alea! You’ve provided a lot of helpful ideas here—some of which my family will be trying out in the coming months! I hope you’ll consider being our Guest again sometime.
Take a virtual trip to Walt Disney World! Talk to your kids about what’s involved in trip planning (putting mail on hold, kenneling the pets, travel arrangements, etc.). Have them pack a bag (backpack or small suitcase). See if they can do it on their own and pack all the supplies they’ll need. You can use toy foods or props if you don’t want to pack actual snacks or toiletries. Apply some of Alea’s suggestions above and hit the road! You can “drive” there by walking around the block and returning to your backyard or “fly” by running down the street and back holding out arms like an airplane. Have a magical trip!
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Home Economics / Recess
SKILL LEVEL: Elementary
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