Earlier this month, we took a family trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I’m not even kidding when I say that this was the trip of a lifetime for our family. When we travel to Florida, we never get the opportunity to go to all four parks. Time and costs are always factors, so we typically stick to one or two parks maximum. This time around we had the opportunity to check out all four parks and some we visited multiple times thanks to our 7-Day Park Hopper Pass. If you plan on staying in Orlando, Florida for an extended period of time, the multi-day pass is definitely worth the investment. If you want to the flexibility of going to more than one park each day, add the park hopper option. Truly it’s a personal preference and will depend on your family’s needs.
Although we were missing one child (my oldest daughter), there was still five of us in total. Disney Parks definitely knows how to accommodate families including ones with children in multiple age groups. Here are a few of my favorites Disney World resources for families, and how you can take advantage of them on your next visit:
The FastPass+ option was a lifesaver for us. I’m surprised that some people believe that it’s something you must pay for. Everyone gets 3 FastPass+ selections per day. Once you make reservations and purchase tickets, log into your Disney account to schedule your 3 FastPass+ rides. You can do this as early as 30 days in advance or 60 days if you’re staying at a Disney Resort. Once you use all 3, you can visit a FastPass+ kiosk at the park and schedule one at a time. We did this with no issues and we were able to get on the busiest rides with little wait. Try to book the popular rides early in the day because they tend to fill up quickly.
Rider Switch Pass
If you have little ones, you’ll want to pay attention to this one. This is not a secret, but there’s not a lot of parents that seem to know that Disney Parks offer this option. If you have a small child that can’t get on a ride due to height restrictions or they are simply too scared, you can request a Rider Switch Pass. For example, my husband got in line for Mount Everest with the boys. I went with them along with my toddler (bring your little one with you!) and we asked for a Rider Switch Pass. You can ask for the pass at the beginning of the line, so you don’t have to wait in line for one. Once they got off the ride, I went on the ride with the boys. Two perks to this: It works like a FastPass+ (so no waiting) and you can bring two guest with you. That was huge for me since I didn’t want to ride alone or miss out on fun ride photos with the boys.
I love the Memory Maker. As a mom that loves to capture memories with her camera, this was huge for me. I’m always behind my camera taking photos, but instead I was able to get in front of the camera and capture our memories together. Another perk to Memory maker is that some of the rides also take photos or capture a short video which was a pleasant surprise. You can also ask for Magic Shots, you’ll get asked to pose a specific way and the photo will be edited to include a Disney character. How fun is that?! Once your trip is over, simply log into your Disney account to check out your photos and download them. You may choose to purchase a CD with all of your photos, a photo book, prints or other gifts.
My Disney Experience Mobile App
The My Disney Experience Mobile App was a lifesaver during our trip. Once you log in with your Disney account information, it will link up your reservations including your FastPass+ times. I was also able to check for availability at the park restaurants and make reservations through the app. The app also allowed me to modify our FastPass+ if needed, which we did more than once when we were running late for our reserved time slot. The app also enables you to see real-time wait times for rides, park hours and you can even look up height requirements for rides. This came in handy when I wasn’t sure if my toddler could go on a ride. There’s also an option that allows you to share plans with family and friends.
There’s something about Disney that brings out the best in people and Cast Members were no different. In more than one occasion we were helped or treated kindly by a Disney Cast Member at the parks and resorts. I took the boys to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with only minutes before the park closed. We made it in the nick of time. After, the ride we made a stop for dessert at Main Street Bakery. The boys picked out their treats and as I was paying, one of the Cast Members offered us some free peanut butter cookies. The boys were thrilled and the cookies were amazing. It’s little things like this that sets Disney apart. Excellent customer service is sadly a thing of the past, but the Disney team proved that they still thrive to please their guests. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to approach a Disney Cast Member. They will gladly help you sort things out.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful for your future Disney trip. I know I couldn’t cover everything, so I would love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite tips for families visiting Disney World Parks? Feel free to comment and share with others!
I was invited to the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I received discounted and complimentary items from Walt Disney World and sponsors. I was not asked to write about my experience. All opinions are 100% my own.