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Disney Travel Tips

February 22, 2012

Written by Contributing Writer, Sarah Farthing.

Our boys were lucky enough to celebrate their 5th birthday in Orlando at Disney World!  Here is my quick list of Disney Travel Tips for your reference whenever you might need it:

Disney Travel Tips

  1. If your child can fit in any stroller- use it! If we are lucky enough to go back in the next few years, I wouldn’t hesitate to put my 8 year olds in the park issued double strollers for at least half of every day.  There is so much walking.
  2. Clearly mark your stroller, park issued or not. We used a bright red ribbon on the handles of ours and it was a breeze to find them. We could even scan stroller parking to see if others in our group were in a certain ride or not!
  3. Speaking of “others in our group,” it’s really nice for adults to outnumber kids on a trip like this! It is exhausting and having extra eyes and hands can’t be beat. I’m so glad my parents were with us.
  4. Skip Animal Kingdom. This is my opinion, of course, but no matter how strong my kids’ interest in animals becomes, I would skip this park altogether in the future. We can study animals on a separate trip to another destination, I wouldn’t waste my Disney time on it again.
  5. Keep in mind that ‘park-hopping’ isn’t as easily accomplished as the ticket name would have you believe. A 25 minute bus ride, preceded by and followed by a 10-15 wait, is common when you’re changing parks so account for that extra time in all your planning.
  6. Ride again, and again! In our rush and desire to do all the rides we knew our kids would love (and they did) we didn’t really take the time to let them get right back on some of them that I now wish we had. I was determined to get to all the rides while the waits were short, and we did, but they wouldn’t have missed what they didn’t know about and it would have been worth it to slow down.
  7. Make reservations! I expected delicious food throughout every park but found that the best meals are far and away the ones you have to make reservations for far in advance. Fortunately we had and we did enjoy some fantastic food, especially at the Disney resorts.
  8. If you’re planning on it at all, promise a souvenir the last day.  This way the kids can ‘shop’ all week and then you’re only spending money on one thing! Honestly, there is so much merchandise in your face that you kind of become numb to it, even the children.
  9. Let someone with a lot of Disney travel experience help you plan your trip. We used an agent from MEI-Traveland a trusted friend whose experience and advice was invaluable.  It wouldn’t have been the same trip without their input.
  10. Speak up about any need or service problem you encounter.  My expectations were arguably too high in that I assumed service would be near perfect everywhere we turned (it is The Happiest Place on Earth, after all!) and when it wasn’t I was almost too stunned, and committed to keeping the vacation fun, to make a stink right then and there. When I e-mailed our travel agent about our problems upon our return, she forwarded the e-mail to guest services at Disney and they called to get more information and ultimately refunded the gratuity for the meals we experienced with below average service.
  11. Go in the ‘off-season!’ February and October are great times to visit Disney World.  The weather is ideal and the crowds and prices are low. If you can at all work around having your children out of school for a period of time, do it; the payoff is worth doing schoolwork in advance or making it up when you return.

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  1. Julie R.

      on February 22, 2012 8:16 am

    Another hint is if you have a Disney store near you to take advantage of their sales and stock up on “souvenirs” you before you go. Nothing like pulling a $3 light up spinny-thingy out of your bag when all of the other kids have them in the park at night, instead of paying $15 for the ones in the park. Also laying out a new pair of Disney pjs on the bed the first night (especially when you got them on clearance from the store) is also a big hit.


  2. Julie R.

      on February 22, 2012 8:18 am

    Also if you go during a birthday, don’t be shy, go to “town hall” and let them know. They will give you a button to wear (or bring your own button, hat, shirt, etc.) and you get extra-special service from the staff on your special day.


  3. Julie R.

      on February 22, 2012 8:24 am

    more info about special occasion buttons at Disney. (they also do just married, 1st time visitor and anniversary)


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