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Things to Do For Families in Disney World

Taking your family to Orlando for Disney World vacation can be the most magical place in the world. It can also be crowded, hot and very expensive. Here is are the top things to do in World Disney with tips for families.

  1. Meeting Mickey and other characters – There are a few places you can meet Micky in Magic Kingdom at the Theater by the entrance, in Animal Kingdom and even Hollywood Studios. There are also many opportunities to meet different characters throughout the parks, for example, Olaf was found in Hollywood Studios, while Winnie, Aladdin & Jasmine, Belle and Ariel were in Magic Kingdom. We also spotted Donald and Daisy as well as Chip and Dale in Animal Kingdom – Dino location during mid day.

Tip: Check out their app for wait times, and where the characters are going to be. Keep in mind, some line-ups can be 60 minutes long. You can pay extra, to not stay in line, but we found out that in most cases line-ups were under 20 minutes. Hint we went in the least busy time of May.

2. Rides: There are multiple rides that are ok for all ages and physical abilities. For those suffering from motion sickness, we found that all rides that are labeled for all ages had no issues as they are slow moving and usually do not last more than a couple of minutes. To avoid line-ups, use the app to try to beat the lines. Some rides did take longer than others and it varies based on time of the day. Rapids for example in Animal Kingdom had no wait times in the morning, but huge line-ups when it gets super hot mid-day/late afternoon.

3. Dinning – There are many restaurants throughout the parks but if you want fine dining, Epcot is your place to be. They have food from Mexico, Japan, France, Germany and Norway to name a few that serve local cuisines. Another fun way to dine is to dine with characters. We did the Crystal Palace Breakfast Buffett and got to meet Characters from Winnie the Pooh. They would walk to everyone’s table to interact and take photos. This was amazing for kids. The other part of dinning that we found amazing was the seriousness that Disney World takes in allergies and food intolerances. Everywhere there are books available that list all ingredients and Chefs come out to talk to ensure you do not consume something you cannot tolerate.

Tip: Book reservation ahead of time to secure your spot, also plan to stay in restaurants for 90 minutes at a minimum. It also can get pricey, so budget accordingly.

4. Firework Shows – There are two firework shows usually around 8:30-9:30, check the schedule in the app. These shows are incredible, we opted for Epcot and got to see the firework and light show, which had music that is familiar to all Disney fans. It was a perfect way to end the day. And do not worry about getting back to resorts or hotels, the traffic was none existent as Disney World is so well organized.

Hint: Epcot closes at 9pm when the fireworks begin, so if you want a drink or any last minute souvenirs make sure you get it prior to the show. Also, the boat that goes from Northern Africa (Morocco) to the Entrance stops working about 1 hour prior to allow for setting up for the show.

5. Animal Kingdom – Education – We found zookeepers all around the park which will answer any questions that your kids have about the animals found in the park. For example, we learned that Meerkat’s (also known as Timon from Lion King) that they eat scorpions.

Tip: do the animal kingdom safari to learn more about animals in the comfort of a safari vehicle which lasts around 20 minutes. Keep in mind, the line up in the morning was close to 60 minutes. It was worth it! Also, there are booklets they give at the entrance to the park for the young scouts out there. They get stickers and other activities throughout the park.

6. Shopping – Shopping is everywhere, you cannot escape it. For those traveling with kids, what we found helpful is to set either a budget or the number of toys per day. We opted for 1 a day, this helped us escape the multiple stuffed animals and other Disney memorabilia to a minimum. For those that love Lego, visit Disney Springs outside of the parks to make your own Lego figurine. There are also tone of stores for adults, including the art gallery of Disney, that even has artists painting and drawing at the store. Making it a unique experience. And for those that love Christmas, they even have a Disney Christmas store.

Tip: Opt for Disney Springs at the end of the day, as it closes at 11pm while parks close earlier. However, it will mean more crowds. Even had to stand in line to get into Lego (do not worry the line moves fast!).

Here are top things we found that really helped us ensure an awesome vacation with our 4 year old:

  1. Opt for Disney World Resorts – You get 30 minutes or even 1 hour earlier admission to the parks, which means better parking and less crowds to get the busy rides out of the way first. Also parking at theme parks is free by staying there.
  2. Opt for Suite with Kitchen – Availability is not great, however, there are rooms around the parks that have kitchens. This was a game changer, as we could eat healthy meals, and snacks (hint: you can bring snacks into the park along with water), it was also more affordable. You can order Kroger or stop at Whole Foods on the way. Coming back for lunch ensured we get rest before heading out again.
  3. Opt for Park Hopper – Park hopper allows you to visit a 2nd theme park after 2pm. We would do Animal Kingdom followed by Hollywood Studios, as well as magic kingdom followed by Epcot. You can also go back to the same theme park after a quick nap.
  4. Opt for Memory Maker – We were not sure if it was worth it, we got about 100 photos from it, and there are line-ups for most of the photos. Especially at opening times. However, it was worth it to get family photos, as most of our vacation photos do not contain everyone in it or we have to beg other tourists to help out. These are of high quality professional photos, which sometimes have a digital surprise added.
  5. Prepare your Children for Non talking Characters – Any character that is not a prince or princess such as Mickey or Winnie the Pooh do not talk, they communicate with gestures and gives hugs. However, if your kid will ask questions they will not reply, so letting your kid know that they cannot talk prior to encounter ensures a really fun interactive time.

For those looking for more family trips, check out Visited Travel Lists, the Kids Destination check-lists allows for a full list of activities you do not want to miss out on. Download for free on iOS or Android.

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