Disney World. The happiest place on Earth – and personally one of my favorite places to escape everyday life. Mom life never stops, not even at Disney. So whether you are going for a few hours or the whole day, here are my Mom Tips & Tricks to make your Disney visit as smooth as possible.
Planning and preparing for your visit
1. What to pack!
Here are my top 5 go-to items that I have in our family’s Disney bag:
- Snacks. Disney parks allow you to bring your own food and drink (non-glass, non-alcoholic) into the parks. I pack easy on the go snacks like squeeze-it applesauce, juice pouches (remove the straws, especially if going to Animal Kingdom), pretzels and dried fruit.
- Water. Here’s one of my favorite Mom Tips: Bottled water is available everywhere in the parks. Restaurants, outdoor food carts (like popcorn and ice cream locations) and in retail shops. This can cost you anywhere from $3-5 for one bottle! There are plenty of locations around the park where you can find FREE water. Go up to any restaurant or concession stand that serves fountain drinks and ask for cups of ice water. Also, Starbucks! If you can resist ordering an iced coffee, Starbucks is a great location to get filtered water. Plus, it’s an opportunity to soak up some air conditioning!
- First Aid Kit
- Ponchos. You never know when a pop-up downpour will happen in Florida.
- Portable charger. Nothing is worse than a dead phone battery while trying to navigate the parks, so bring a charger with you on long days.
Some other things you may want to consider bringing:
- Sunscreen. This is essential in Florida for both adults and littles. You will save yourself time and money if you take this along with you.
- A change of clothes or a swimsuit for the kids and a towel. Disney parks have some awesome splash areas located within the parks. (Magic Kingdom: Storybook Circus area and near the jungle cruise, Epcot: Walkway to World Showcase and near Test Track, Disney Springs: Near Earl of Sandwich.)
- Wipes (even if you don’t have a child in diapers). This is a MUST for sticky hands and cool sweaty faces!
- Glow sticks. If you are going to be there in the evening, purchasing glow sticks from a dollar store will save you A LOT of money instead of the tempting vendor cart full of light-up toys!
- One last item that I recommend bringing is a stroller, especially if you have kids 5 and under. (And honestly, even if you DON’T have little kids!) Disney is massive, you will easily walk 5-7 miles (probably even more) in one day at the parks, and little legs tire and need rest. Bonus, in crowed areas your child in the stroller won’t be bumped or accidentally stepped on.
2. Park Tips:
- Disney parks are popular with tourist and locals alike. You may find that some days, especially weekdays, are less crowded than others. Here are some other traditionally less crowded times: September-Mid-December, Mid-January-Mid-March, and April-May. We have also found that on days of special ticketed events (like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party) the crowds at Magic Kingdom are super low in the mornings and early afternoons before party goers are allowed to enter. If you want to save big on your next Disney trip, check out this article about how to save big on Disney vacations.
- If you take a stroller and use the parking lot tram, be prepared to fold the stroller for the tram ride.
- You will go through security at the entrance. Have all zippers open on your bags. Be sure to take out your umbrella and glasses’ cases to help avoid additional screenings. This helps the guards and speeds up the line.
- If you are at the Magic Kingdom you will find you have two options to get to and from the actual park. Option 1: the Magic Kingdom ferry. It holds 600 guests. Option 2: the monorail holds around 300 guests. Depending on the time you arrive, it may be quicker to take the boat or monorail. This also applies for when you exit the park. If you’re exiting late at night, do not forget about the resort monorail as an option (it makes a stop at the ticket and transportation center).
- Once in the parks, take your time and enjoy.
- You may want to book a character dining experience. This covers a meal and you get to meet different Disney Characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald or even Disney Princesses depending on where you eat. This will save you time on waiting in line for character pictures and signatures.
- Each Disney park has its own unique evening fireworks and light show. If you are at the parks in the evening you will definitely want to catch one of these.
- If you’ve already seen the fireworks, during the show is a great time to make your way to a popular ride for a shorter wait time.
3. Have a rough idea of what you want to do
If you are a local visiting for your 3rd time this week or are visiting for the first time – plan ahead. Know what you want to do at the park – what rides you want to go on, characters you want to meet, entertainment you want to see and food you want to eat. Knowing what you MUST do or see during your trip helps give your day structure. If you are looking to introduce your littles to rollercoasters, we have a great guide for what rides we think you should start with, and the ones you should save until the end!
Disney cast members (Disney calls all employees cast members) are amazing. If you have any questions or need anything don’t hesitate to ask. They really like helping guests and spreading Disney Magic. Also, know that if your child is accidentally lost (7 things your child should know if lost), Disney has never not found a lost child or parents!
I hope your visit to the Disney Parks is magical, and perhaps smoother with the tips above!
First posted on 12/26/2019, updated 9/20/2023