Disney feels like a rite of passage for many families, but what if you are a newbie, or the last time you went to any Disney theme park, you were thirteen years old? Have no fear, Trekaroo families, we enlisted the help of fifteen family travel writers and bloggers who have all shared their best expert tips for your Disney vacation.
So whether you are headed to Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland California Resort, or even on a Disney cruise, read up on these top 15 tips for a Disney family vacation and you’ll soon be enjoying the parks like a pro.
And as a special bonus, we are giving away a Walt Disney World AND Disneyland Vacation to celebrate our 2016 Disney Days. Read through the tips and then enter below! Our 2016 contest ended 4/10/16. Check out the winning families below!
Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation – All Parks
No matter what, even if you are not a morning person, you must get to the parks at “rope drop” (right when they open). That’s the ideal way to get the most popular rides out of the way without having to wait in huge lines. Read more on WonderandCompany.com
Don’t overlook Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for boys too. At $19.95 it is an excellent value to take your son to Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom Theme Park and it made our son feel special at the same time my daughter was being transformed into a Princess.
Read more on EvanAndLaurensCoolBlog.com
If you want a flawless and crowd-less photo in front of Cinderella’s Castle, book an in-park breakfast reservation as early as you can (between 8 and 8:30 am). You’ll gain access to the park before it opens to normal guests, giving you a chance to not only get onto rides without waiting but also gives you a VERY RARE view of the park with NO CROWDS and the perfect opportunity to snap that crowd-less castle photo! Read more on JetsettingMom.com
As a photographer, I thought I could get away with not purchasing the Disney photo pass. I can take all my own pictures, thank you very much. Looking back, I wish I would have purchased that photo package, because it would have allowed ME to be in more photos with my family, and worth the price tag. Read more on KristenDukePhotography.com
If you have a young child, you may already be familiar with Disney’s Rider Switch service that lets parents trade off riding the thrill rides and watching the kids while only waiting in line a single time. What many do not know, however, is that a return Rider Switch pass can be used any time later that same day. Save the passes up and use them when lines are at their worst (usually in the mid-afternoon) to minimize your overall wait times. Read more on TripswithTykes.com
Keep your smart phone charged while visiting a Disney park, especially if using your phone as your camera. Be sure to start your day with a fully charged battery, portable charger, and extra rechargeable battery (if you have one). Pack your charging cable so you can plug in at a charging station locker or ask your server in a sit-down restaurant to plug in your phone for you while you dine. If worse comes to worse and you forget your portable charger, you can purchase a pre-charged mobile charger from Gadgets on the Go in Downtown Disney at Disneyland. Read more on TravelMamas.com
Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation – Disney Hotels
When choosing where to stay, factor in transportation costs and availability when comparing a Disney Resort (AKA “On Property”) to a location offsite. You may think you’re saving a few bucks staying “off property,” but the cost of the shuttle to/from the airport, transportation to/from the parks or a parking lot pass will add up quickly. Those are complimentary when staying on property. Read more on SAHMReviews.com
Send your purchases back to your Disney host resort for free! Don’t shove them in a backpack, tuck them under a stroller or make someone carry your treasures all day long. It is a complimentary service when you stay on property. Note: Packages show up the following day after 1 pm. DO NOT send packages back to your resort the day you check out.
Read more on SavoringtheGood.com
Enjoy the special amenities offered at the Disney hotels, even if you are not staying at one. For example, take a park break at The Grand California Lodge at Disneyland during their story hour in the evenings. If you are visiting Walt Disney World, be sure to stop by the Fort Wilderness Chip N Dale Sing A Long held in the evenings or head to the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World for a Dole Whips while listening to Island music on the white sand resort beaches. Read more on ThriftyNorthwestMom.com
Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation – Disneyland California Resort
Our favorite souvenir from Disneyland’s California is actually free! Head to the Animator’s Academy where you be taught how to draw one of your favorite characters and then bring it home with you! The pictures say Disney’s California Adventure on them and are a sweet and personalized reminder of your trip. Read more on HousewifeEcclecic.com
Plan a visit to Cars Land at Disney California Adventure just before sunset. At dusk, Sh-Boom plays as the neon lights go on down Route 66, just like in the movie. The time is NOT posted anywhere so you just have to plan to be in the area around sunset!
Read more on MomEndeavors.com
Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation – Walt Disney World Florida
There are so many behind the scenes tours you can take at Walt Disney World, including the Disney Youth Education series and the new Kingdom Keepers Quest where you can defeat the Villains from taking over the Kingdom! Read more on MyLifeIntheSun.com
At first thought, encountering rain at Disney might seem to be a magic killer, but it’s actually a great time to slow down and enjoy the whimsical ambiance. If there are showers in the forecast, bring ponchos for the family and plan to ride the rides in the rain (yes, rides run in the rain, assuming there is no lightening) and meet as many characters as you can. Space Mountain is ideal since it’s an indoor rollercoaster as well as It’s a Small World. On the other hand, Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids are water rides, so they are great for visitors who don’t mind getting wet. The Princess Fairytale Hall and Mickey’s Toontown Fair both offer indoor meet and greets with celebrity characters. In case you forget—the gift shops all around the park sell ponchos. Read more on TheVacationGals.com
Expert Tips for your Disney Vacation – Disney Cruises
Those pricey Premium Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bars that you pay several dollars for in the Parks? They are not listed on the Disney Cruise Line Room Service Menu, but you can order them (FREE) by request! Read more at MamaCheaps.com
Cruisers that are at the second seating for dinner should take advantage of the Dine and Play program – Kids 3 to 12 years old will be served first and Youth Club staff members will pick up the kids from the dining room and take them to their play/hangout area while parents can enjoy a more leisurely dinner.
Read more on KidsOnAPlane.com
Hungry for more tips and information on planning your next Disney getaway? We’ve got an entire library full of tips, planning tools, details on what’s coming to the parks this year, and much, much more. Head to our Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Disney Vacation website for more details and information.
To celebrate our 2016 Disney Days, we gave away TWO Disney Family vacations
Check out the details below and enter to win today and every day, through April 10, 2016 via the Rafflecopter below. Two lucky families will win! Two very lucky families did indeed win! Check out the details below.
Win a trip to Walt Disney World!
Package includes three-day park hopper passes for a family of four (two adults, two children) from Undercover Tourist and six (6) nights’ accommodation! Start with a three-night stay in a spacious suite at the newly renovated DoubleTree Suites by Hilton – Orlando Lake Buena Vista, the only all-suite resort hotel in the Disney SpringsTM Resort Area, plus three additional nights at the lush, 18-story Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel, which overlooks scenic Lake Buena Vista and the Walt Disney World® Resort.
Sponsor Spotlight – Disney SpringsTM Resort Area Hotels
Disney SpringsTM Resort Area Hotels (DisneySpringsHotels.com) are ideally located in the Walt Disney World® Resort, within an easy walk to the significantly expanded and enhanced Disney SpringsTM, formerly known as the Downtown Disney® area. Guests at the Disney SpringsTM Resort Area Hotels also receive complimentary shuttle transportation every 30 minutes to all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, two water parks, and to Disney SpringsTM.
Sponsor Spotlight – Undercover Tourist
Undercover Tourist is the largest online seller of discount Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, and other Orlando-area attraction tickets. Book discounted Disney hotels and car rental reservations for maximum vacation savings. Use the popular Crowd Calendar to see the best day to visit each park, along with all of the special events for that day.
Win a trip to Disneyland & Southern California!
Package includes CityPASS tickets for a family of four (two adults, two children), which includes three-day park hopper entrance to Disneyland and California Adventure, plus one-day entrance to LEGOLAND® California, and SeaWorld® San Diego. Winner stays three nights’ at the Anaheim Courtyard Theme Park Entrance hotel –with an in-house waterpark!
Sponsor Spotlight – Anaheim Courtyard Marriott
This brand new custom hotel with an in-house waterpark is located by Matterhorn Mountain and just a 5-minute walk to the gates of Disneyland! This is the first ever Courtyard designed entirely for families. Rooms boasts over 530 square feet, two queen beds, a twin bunk bed, large family bathrooms with two separate showers and sleeps up to six people!
Sponsor Spotlight – CityPASS
Save $128 on admission to Southern California’s most family-friendly theme parks with the Southern California CityPASS card. Cost: adults, $329 (value $457); children 3-9, $294. Visit CityPASS.com. The pass includes: 3-Day Park Hopper® ticket to Disneyland Resort: unlimited back-and-forth access to both Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park; one-day admission to SeaWorld® San Diego; and one-day admission to LEGOLAND® California.
Enter to Win a Disneyland or Walt Disney World Family Vacation
Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. A variety of entry options from checking out social media accounts to following along with some of our fellow family travel bloggers will help you snag entry points. Good luck!
- Vacations must be redeemed within one year of issuance
- Subject to availability
- No cash value
- Airfare and transportation costs not included
Rules and Guidelines:
- No purchase necessary
- Two raffle winners will be selected. The first winner selected (FIRST PLACE WINNER) will receive choice of Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacations (FIRST PLACE PRIZE). The second selected winner (RUNNER UP WINNER) will receive remaining vacation after the First place prize winner has selected (RUNNER UP PRIZE).
- Winners will be selected randomly and your chances of winning are based on the number of entry points you acquired against the total number of entries for this giveaway.
- 18 years of age and older
- US and Canada residents only, excluding residents of the Provence of Quebec.
- Winner will be notified via the email provided and must respond to the notification to confirm their prize within the time specified in the email. (Usually 3 days)
- After the winner has been confirmed, the winner will be announced on this blog post.
Entry Period: March 14, 2016 12:00am PST to April 10, 2016 at 11:59pm PST.
What is Monday Madness?
On select special Mondays, Trekaroo announces on our blog, either a fantastic giveaway or an incredible deal. It could be a green water bottle, a hotel stay in Maui, or theme park tickets. Return every Monday to the Talking Trekaroo Blog for details. Want a reminder? Become a Trekaroo member or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.