It is no secret that kids thrive with structure. It is why we we have bed times and nap times, why we have meals at the same time every day, and generally why we keep our kids on a schedule.
Going to Disney World, while tons of fun, is definitely a change in the daily routine. Here are a few tips to make things easier:
1) Start Early! -Both in setting the expectations and changing the schedule. With my four and a half year-old (Little Bear) we started six months early in setting expectations for the trip, and one month early adjusting bed time.
We started with setting expectations for our daily schedule, what he can expect to see/do, and his expected behavior. No matter how well behaved your child is normally, they are going to slip up. We were reminding Little Bear for months in advance that he would need to hold hands the entire time, what to do if he were lost, etc. In addition, Little Bear is not a morning person, so we had to adjust his morning routine by about 3 hours. Starting early definitely helped our trip run more smoothly.
2) Take a Nap! -Even if your kids are older, they are likely not used to this much activity, and you probably aren’t either.
Early afternoon is the perfect time for a nap. This is when the parks are most crowded, and when the temperature is highest. There are so many exciting things to do and see everywhere in the parks, but with all of the stimuli, people, and walking, you will likely find your self tiring more quickly. Little Bear always seems to have an unlimited supply of energy, but even he was tired by early afternoon. This is a great time to escape the crowds and the heat to rejuvenate with a nap.
3) Combat their Fears! -No one knows your kids better then you. You know what they like/don’t like, and what scares them.
Little Bear loves cars, dinosaurs, pirates, and fast rides. He does not like the dark, and while some surprises are good, he did not like not knowing what to expect on a ride. We found that by preparing him in advance for a ride, he was much more comfortable and had more fun. Waiting in line is the perfect place to do this. Little Bear’s favorite ride ended up being the tower of terror. It is his Aunt’s favorite ride, so there was no way he was going to miss it. We told Little Bear about the ride as we were in line and he had the best time. He asked to ride the Tower of Terror several more times.
4) Expect Break-downs! -No matter how well you prepare your kids, there will likely be a break-down before the trip is over.
Prepare yourself for their break-down. Disney World just has so much to do and there is never enough time do do it all. Make the most of your trip, and do as much as you can. Prepare your family, and plan for each day. However, no matter how much you plan, your family and children are deviating from their daily schedule. Understand that your children will likely have a stimulus overload as some point, and this will just be a small bump in an otherwise amazing vacation.
5) Enjoy! -Enjoy the fun, time and memories on your Disney family vacation.
These are the memories that will last a lifetime, so don’t spend all of your time planning and preparing. Before you know it the vacation will be over and you will have to go back to your every day life, so enjoy it while you can. Disney travel agents, like Between The Ears, can really help you in this. So take advantage of your free Disney World vacation planning!
Disney is a world in it’s own. It is exciting, fun and there is so much to do. Planning is one thing, but by preparing your family you can really make the most of such an amazing vacation! Remember to Start Early, Take a Nap, Combat their Fears, and Expect Break-downs, but most of all, remember to Enjoy it all!