I don't know who is more excited about planning our trip to Florida, my children or me!
We visited the Orlando area 3 years ago, and are ready for our next visit, with our children three years older.
The last time we visited Orlando, our children were 7, 4, and 2.5 years old.
When planning this vacation, we made sure to not lay our plans in stone!
We knew our children would get tired, and overstimulated, and we tried to build in rest time for everyone.
We visited a theme park every other day, and stayed at our resort to "rest" on the off days.
Resting usually included activities like visits to the pool, craft time, and watching movies.
On the days we visited the theme parks, we made sure to arrive early, and let the kids set the pace.
My children were not afraid of the costumed characters, luckily, so we made sure to take advantage of photo opportunities as often as possible.
If you are visiting Disney World, we highly recommend getting a "Photo Pass"! Disney hires photographers to capture your family with the characters, and will store all of your photos digitally when they scan your card. You can purchase all of the images at the end of your visit, or simply pick and choose prints of your favorites. My husband and I bought all of our images on a cd-rom, which included frames we could add to each photo if we chose to. The CD also includes printing rights, so you can make your own prints inexpensively at home.
Character Dining is always a fun option for us, as it provides us with predetermined meal times, and the pace of the meals tends to be relaxing.
If you are visiting the Disney Parks, you can reserve your Disney Character Dining up to 180 days before your trip!
Some of the dining locations fill up FAST, so be sure to reserve your preferred dining options as soon as you know you're going!
One of our favorite dining experiences is at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom. If you dine there for breakfast, you can be the first guests inside the park just by making your breakfast reservations at a time before the park even opens! You feel magical VIP service, because there will be no other guests in your photos, and you can enjoy Main Street casually and without the crowds!!
Pick up inexpensive Disney toys on clearance before you go. Wrap them, and pack them in your luggage. When you go to the parks, bring a bag with water, snacks, and these little souvenirs. When your children start begging you for the souvenirs, you can pull one out of your bag and present them with a gift!
My biggest hints recapped:
1. Plan rest time! Take a day or two at your resort to just hang around. Sleep in, lounge by the pool, walk around, and just play low-key.
2. Photo Pass - Take lots of photos, or have the Disney photographers do it for you! That way, you'll actually make it into some of the photographs as well!
3. Character Dining - Make your reservations early, and have fun!
4. Buy Souvenirs Ahead - and bring them with you!
We are also planning on visiting Legoland and Universal Studios during this trip, so look for more hints and resort travel tips coming up on Good 4 Kids ~ Good 4 Parents!