For years, we planned to take the girls to Disney. In Spring 2022, we thought, “Let’s do it. Let’s go to DISNEY!” Our girls, Harper-6 and Henley-4, still believe in the characters and will remember this trip as they age. Here's what we learned on our first trip.
#1: My first recommendation: Book a Travel Agent.
Disney is a world of its own and has so many options. For your first trip, book a travel agent. Our Travel Agent booked accommodations, chose which parks on which days, and even scheduled dinner with Disney characters.
# 2: Get the Disney app and use Lightning Lane.
You will live and die by the app. It keeps your schedule and tells you the wait times for the rides and attractions. Sign up in the morning; the best rides sell out quickly; The “you won’t get to do them at all” kind of sell-out. If your kid only wants to ride the Slinky Dog roller coaster but you don't use the app, you will likely regret it.
Also, use Lightning Lane. Lightning Lane is a special entrance that allows you to reduce the wait times. For us, patience is something we could all use more of, But at Disney, there’s so much to see and do that nobody has time for long waits!
# 3 Expect rain. Don’t buy the cheap ponchos.
I bought a pack of the rain ponchos on Amazon. They did NOTHING for us. We were soaked, and the Disney employees will not let you get under shelters, so get good ponchos. Pro tip: Wear shoes that can get wet.
# 4 Dining and meals.
For $300 for a family, we suggest planning one (maybe 2) character meal. Otherwise, eat at small restaurants in the parks, order on the app, and pick up.
Pro Tip: You can only get adult-size beverages inside the restaurants at Magic Kingdom.
# 5 Tell your kids there’s a shop/rest day.
Bring an extra suitcase for souvenirs! Tell the kids you’ll have a rest day. Two days at the park, a rest day, and finish with two more park days, e.g., a rest day = pool in the morning and shopping at Disney Springs in the afternoon. We toured the shops at the parks after each ride but then said, “We’ll get that on shopping day!”
#6 Say Yes!
My most significant advice: Let them be excited, run, touch things and jump on the bed at the hotel. Say yes as much as your budget will allow. We only get so much time with them, and the joy you'll experience at Disney is priceless!
Patrick, Casey, Harper & Henley