10. How to tour a park
If you have small kids you need to follow the following schedule for touring the parks: Get up early, have a quick breakfast in your room and go to the parks at opening or “rope drop”. Even better; Disney Hotel guests get extra magic hours at 1 park per day. You will be able to go into a park up to two hours earlier than everyone else. When you arrive, hit all your must do attractions at that park as fast as possible. In the early morning the parks are way less crowded and about 20 degrees cooler. Most kids like to be up early anyway. You might as well use it to your advantage.
Then about 11:30am leave the park. You heard me! Leave! All the chumps show up at noon, eat lunch and try to keep their kids going for a 12 hour day at the parks. You can spot these people. They are the ones with their heads in their hands while their kid is having a meltdown in a stroller. Go back to the hotel for a much cheaper lunch, a swim and an afternoon nap. About 5 pm head back to the parks fresh and rested. Have dinner, see some attractions and shows and watch fireworks at 9 pm. Wash, rinse, repeat. This is a no fail plan for a tantrum free vacation. If you are anything like my family; when the kids are happy everyone is happy.
11. Disney Springs
A great option for a half-day is Disney Springs. This shopping and dining destination has to be seen to be believed. Hundreds of stores. The worlds largest Disney merchandise store. A stored dedicated to only Star Wars. Another to Marvel. Bowling! Movies! Themed restaurants! Free entertainment! Kids love the food options, souvenir shopping and shows. Adults will love the atmosphere and the wide array of cuisine and adult beverages.
Best of all its free and the Disney bus will take you there. My favorite places include the Boathouse and Raglan Road. Raglan Road has live Irish entertainment and kids can take free step dancing lessons. Kids love the T-Rex Café and the Rain Forest Café. If you go to T-Rex order the Volcano!
12. Stop and Smell the Roses
I know I just buried you with so much information that I may have scared you off a Disney vacation. Don’t be frightened. Embrace the madness. I go back to Disney time and again because of the attention to detail in everything they do. Yes its expensive. Yes, its corporate. But, it’s the most popular vacation destination for a reason. They do things bigger and better and they never skimp on the small stuff. The employees or “cast members” (all 75,000 of them) go through extensive customer service training and they also are the main reason for the magic. The parks and resorts are incredibly themed and impeccably clean. The landscaping is like no place on earth.
Try and notice all the details in the attractions, around the parks and even the hotels. They are master storytellers. Swim in the pools. Walk around the hotel. They can transport you to far off worlds and take you on fantastic adventures. My favorite reason to go is that I always feel like a kid when I go there. I can walk in any park and spend hours walking around and not go on one ride. It really is a magical place built specifically for families. I feel like I am at my 100% best Dad self spending time there. Just ask my kids.
A Dad’s Disney Dozen best attractions for you and your kids.