Families with Young Children Itinerary Plan Walt Disney World: A Stress-Free Guide

Families with Young Children Itinerary Plan Walt Disney World: A Stress-Free Guide

Welcome to Walt Disney World, where dreams come true for families with young children! This stress-free guide is designed to help you plan the perfect Disney itinerary, ensuring a magical and memorable experience. By strategically scheduling rides, attractions, and downtime, you’ll navigate the parks with ease. Start by downloading the My Disney Experience app to check real-time wait times, book Genie+ selections, and manage your plans on the go. Prioritize must-see attractions, schedule shows, and incorporate rest breaks to keep everyone happy. With this guide, you’re set for a fun-filled adventure that your family will cherish forever. Let’s make your Disney dreams a reality!

Planning Your Disney Itinerary

A well-planned Disney World itinerary maximizes your visit by strategically scheduling rides and attractions. Start by downloading the My Disney Experience app. With this tool, you can check real-time wait times, book FastPass selections, and manage your Genie+ service, which replaces the traditional FastPass system and allows you to bypass lines for an additional fee.

  1. Prioritize Attractions: Decide which attractions in Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios are must-sees for your family. Aim for a mix of popular rides and lower-wait attractions to keep wait times manageable. Favorites like “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train” in Magic Kingdom often require early booking.
  2. Use Genie+ Wisely: Incorporate Genie+ selections into your plan. Choose rides that usually have the longest wait times early in the day to ensure availability. Repeat usage of Genie+ after initial selections are redeemed.
  3. Plan Around Shows: Schedule times for shows or parades at all parks. These do not typically have long wait times, but knowing showtimes helps in planning your meal breaks and rest periods.
  4. Monitor Wait Times: Continually check the app for attraction wait times in all parks. Flexibility allows you to adapt plans if unexpected opportunities to ride popular attractions with shorter waits arise.
  5. Rest and Recharge: Allot downtime, especially in the midday when parks are most crowded and hot. Consider returning to your hotel or finding a quiet spot in the parks to relax.

Remember, Disney World itineraries should be flexible. Constantly update your plans based on real-time information provided by the app for a seamless Disney experience.

Choosing the Right Accommodation

When planning your stay at Walt Disney World, selecting the right resort can greatly enhance your experience, especially with young children in tow.

Resort Selection

Disney has a range of resorts that cater to different preferences and budgets. The first aspect to consider is the resort category – Deluxe, Moderate, or Value. Deluxe resorts, like The Contemporary Resort and The Polynesian, are closest to the parks and offer the most amenities, which is ideal for easy rest breaks during your park day. Moderate resorts offer a middle ground with themed environments and good dining options. If budget is a priority, Value resorts provide affordable accommodations with fun themes that children love.

  1. Deluxe Resorts: These include amenities such as character dining, extensive pools, and closer proximity to the parks. Examples are The Contemporary Resort and The Polynesian.
  2. Moderate Resorts: These offer a balanced experience with nice theming and pools. They are a good option if you want some Deluxe-like features without the price.
  3. Value Resorts: The most budget-friendly options, often outfitted with larger-than-life themes perfect for younger children.

Booking Tips

To secure the best deal on Disney resorts, it is crucial to book early. Demand for accommodations, particularly Deluxe ones like The Contemporary Resort and The Polynesian, can be high.

  • Compare Offers: Look for special promotions and package deals on the official Disney website. This can lead to significant savings.
  • Consult Calendars: Avoid peak times where resort rates are highest. Visiting during off-peak seasons can make Deluxe resorts more attainable.
  • Plan Ahead: Reserve your room up to 499 days in advance. You can often modify bookings if plans change, giving you flexibility with early planning.

By considering these factors, you can find the Disney accommodation that best suits your family’s needs and enhances your Walt Disney World vacation.

Navigating Transportation Options

Efficient transportation is essential for a smooth and enjoyable experience at Walt Disney World, especially for families with young children. Knowing your options and how to use them will help you optimize your travel within the Disney complex.

Park Transport

When you’re moving between parks and resorts, Disney offers a variety of free transportation options that are designed for convenience and accessibility.

Buses run regularly from all Disney resorts to each of the four theme parks, two water parks, and Disney Springs. Wait times are typically between 15 to 20 minutes.

The Monorail system serves three of the deluxe resorts, the Magic Kingdom, and EPCOT. Its iconic trains arrive approximately every 10 minutes.

Boats provide tranquil rides to select destinations from several resorts and parks. Their availability and frequency depend on the specific route.

Walking paths are available between certain resorts and parks which can be the quickest route depending on your location.

Airport to Hotel

Your journey to Walt Disney World typically starts when you land at the airport. It’s important to plan your route to your hotel in advance.

Mears Connect offers a fee-based shuttle service from Orlando International Airport to Disney Resorts; reservations are recommended. Shuttles depart within 20 minutes of check-in at the Mears Connect counter.

Alternatively, services such as Uber or Lyft provide direct transportation at a variable cost, which you can manage through their respective smartphone apps.

Experiencing Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is the iconic heart of Walt Disney World, encapsulating enchantment with its classic attractions and fairy-tale ambiance. Your adventure begins with the awe-inspiring sight of Cinderella’s Castle, a must-see spectacle and the park’s central landmark.

  1. Begin your day by marveling at the majestic Cinderella’s Castle. Take a memorable photo as keepsake of your family in front of this magical backdrop.
  2. Satisfy your thrill-seeking spirit by riding the exhilarating Space Mountain. The indoor roller coaster takes you on a high-speed journey through outer space.
  3. Relive childhood fantasies aboard the Peter Pan’s Flight. Soar through the night sky over London and head towards Never Land in a magical flying ship.
  4. Join the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as it winds through a diamond mine. The family-friendly coaster offers both smooth dips and spirited turns.
  5. Cool off with a splash on Splash Mountain. The log-flume adventure culminates in a heart-stopping drop—a refreshing respite on a hot day.
  6. Explore the eerie corridors of the Haunted Mansion. Brave the supernatural with your family as you encounter friendly ghosts in this classic attraction.

Tips for Your Visit:

  • FastPass+ reservations are your key to skipping lines. Be sure to book them for popular rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain.
  • Take advantage of Early Magic Hours if you’re staying at a Disney resort to enjoy certain attractions before the general public.
  • Remember to hydrate and rest, especially if you’re visiting with young children. There are plenty of shaded areas and spots to sit and watch the world go by.

Seeing Cinderella’s Castle at night during the fireworks show is a majestic sight you shouldn’t miss. Enjoy the park’s ambiance, parades, and various entertainment offerings throughout your visit to make the most of your magical day at Magic Kingdom.

Discovering Epcot

Epcot is a theme park at Walt Disney World Resort featuring attractions that celebrate technological innovation and the culture and cuisine of 11 countries. Your adventure begins with the iconic Spaceship Earth, a geodesic sphere serving as the park’s symbolic structure. Inside, you journey through the history of communication on a ride that takes you from the Stone Age to the digital era.

Test your driving skills on Test Track, where you design a virtual concept vehicle and then board a “SIM car” to experience exciting speeds and performance tests. The rush of twisting turns and high-speed loops makes this attraction a favorite among thrill seekers.

For a serene and awe-inspiring experience, visit Soarin’ Around the World. This flight simulator provides a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of wonders across the globe. Feel the wind in your hair as you glide over famous landmarks and landscapes, all with the sensation of flight.

If you prefer a magical adventure, board the Viking ship on Frozen Ever After. This enchanting boat ride transports you to the wintery world of Arendelle, featuring scenes and songs from the hit film “Frozen.”

Explore the World Showcase, where 11 country pavilions immerse you in the traditions, cuisine, and entertainment of diverse cultures. Meander through the UK’s quaint streets, savor authentic Mexican cuisine, or watch an acrobatic performance in China. Each pavilion is staffed by natives, offering authentic experiences and personal interactions.

  • First, visit Spaceship Earth for a historical perspective.
  • Next, experience adrenaline-pumping action on Test Track.
  • Then, feel the magic of flight on Soarin’.
  • Finally, enjoy Frozen Ever After for a family-friendly adventure.

The permutations of fun at Epcot are endless, offering something for every member of the family to discover and cherish.

Adventuring in Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is a Walt Disney World theme park that brings the wonders of nature and fantastical wildlife adventures to life. Begin your exploration with Kilimanjaro Safaris, a guided tour through an African savanna where you will see real animals like lions and elephants in a naturalistic habitat. Board the safari vehicle and keep your camera ready for the unforgettable sights.

Next, challenge yourself with Expedition Everest. This thrilling roller coaster simulates a high-speed train ride through the Himalayan mountains, with a mythic Yeti lurking around. Prepare for drops and sharp turns amidst scenic mountain landscapes.

Flight of Passage offers a breathtaking experience where you soar on the back of a banshee over the lush world of Pandora. This simulator ride combines visual effects and movement to create an immersive sensation of flying.

For water-based adventure, put on a poncho and embrace the refreshing sprays on Kali River Rapids. Navigate choppy waters and rapids that simulate a rafting journey through a rainforest landscape. You might get soaked, so pack accordingly!

The Lion King comes to life in a spectacular performance titled Festival of the Lion King. Watch acrobats, dancers, and singers bring the story and music from the film into an energetic and heartwarming live show.

Lastly, marvel at the iconic Tree of Life, standing at the park’s center. By day, examine its intricate animal carvings; by night, view the mesmerizing light show projected upon its branches. It’s not just a symbol but a visual centerpiece that celebrates all living creatures.

Enjoying Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is a Walt Disney World theme park that encapsulates the glamour and excitement of the movie industry. You’ll find rides, shows, and attractions inspired by popular films and TV shows. Begin your adventure with Toy Story Land, a vibrant area where Pixar’s beloved characters come to life. Ride the Slinky Dog Dash, a family-friendly coaster that weaves around the land. Meet Woody, Buzz, and the gang, providing a joyous experience for children and adults alike.

Within Hollywood Studios, embark on an intergalactic journey at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Pilot the Millennium Falcon on Smugglers Run, and join a battle against the First Order on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Both rides immerse you in a galaxy far, far away with groundbreaking technology and detailed storytelling.

For thrills, head to the Tower of Terror. Experience the eerie ambiance as you explore the Twilight Zone before plummeting on this classic drop ride. Next, feel the rush of adrenaline at the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, which launches you into an electrifying musical escapade.

Here is a quick reference for navigating Hollywood Studios:

Attraction Experience Type Minimum Height
Toy Story Land Interactive/Family Varies by ride
Rise of the Resistance Adventure/Immersive 40″ (102cm)
Tower of Terror Thrill/Drop 40″ (102cm)
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Thrill/Coaster 48″ (122cm)

Plan your visit to Hollywood Studios by prioritizing attractions and checking showtimes to maximize your enjoyment. Utilize the FastPass+ service to skip long lines at popular rides, ensuring you make the most of your day.

Dining with Disney Characters

Encounter your favorite Disney characters while enjoying a meal at various themed restaurants across Walt Disney World.

Character Dining Experience

Character dining is an entertainment-filled mealtime event where Disney characters visit your table for photos, autographs, and interactions. Unlike standard dining options, character dining allows you, your family, and especially young children to enjoy both delicious meals and the memorable experience of meeting beloved characters without standing in typical meet-and-greet lines.

  1. Reserve character dining experiences ahead of time; spots fill up quickly.
  2. Choose a mealtime—breakfast, lunch, or dinner—as different characters appear at different times of the day.
  3. Garden Grill offers a family-style dining experience with characters like Chip ‘n’ Dale while rotating slowly to give diners panoramic views of the Living with the Land attraction.

Restaurant Recommendations

At Cinderella’s Royal Table, you dine in a storybook setting inside Cinderella Castle. Enjoy American cuisine for breakfast, lunch, or dinner amid ornate Gothic archways and stained-glass windows, with visits from Disney Princesses.

  • Be Our Guest Restaurant in Fantasyland lets you step into the enchanted world of “Beauty and the Beast.” The French-inspired fare served here is as immersive as the surroundings, with three dining areas each meticulously designed to reflect scenes from the tale.
  • Columbia Harbour House specializes in seafood and offers quick-service dining. While not a character dining venue, it is a great option if you prefer a break from character interactions but still want to enjoy the ambiance of Magic Kingdom.

Essential Tips for Parents

Preparing for a Disney vacation with young children requires thoughtful planning to ensure that your family enjoys a magical and stress-free experience.

What to Pack

Bring a lightweight stroller for your child’s comfort and your convenience; it’s vital for navigating the parks. Pack snacks that are both nutritious and favorite choices for your kids to prevent hunger-induced meltdowns.

Staying Comfortable

Monitor the weather forecast and dress accordingly. Heat can be intense, so dress in cool, breathable clothing and regularly apply sunscreen. Schedule breaks to rest and encourage naps for your children, maintaining their regular routine as much as possible. Keep hydrated by bringing water bottles that can be refilled throughout the park.