We recently returned from our second trip to Walt Disney World and in my first blog post about our holiday I chatted all about how to plan what to do before you go. Whilst I was away I had a lot of questions on social media about what we do with our children. So I thought I would pull together 10 of our favourite things to do in Disney with our little ones...
1. Character Meet And Greets
One of the most obvious things to do with younger children when you are in Walt Disney World is to take part in the character meet and greets. These provide the most magical experience. To ensure that your little ones meet their favourite it is possible to book in a few via Fast Pass on the My Disney Experience site. However generally if you arrive in the parks early enough the queues are relatively short. It's a good idea to have autograph books ready as each character has a special signature and my children often draw in pictures whilst waiting in the queue which the characters love.
There are a lot of great rides in all of the four parks for 7's and under. Whilst my little girl braved Mount Everest and Splash Mountain this year. My five year old preferred to stick to the tamer rides such as It's A Small World and Ariel's Undersea Adventure. A good way to prepare you children for rides is to watch what happens during them on YouTube. Here they can get a good feel for if they will enjoy it or not.
Days in Walt Disney World can often be hot and very long. So it's a really good idea to break your day up with one of the shows on offer. My two love The Lion King show in Animal Kingdom and Frozen Sing-A-Long in Hollywood Studios. Whilst it is possible to get seats on the day I found that it is a good idea to book Fast Passes so you can guarantee a place inside at the time you want.
This year my two really embraced the different free experiences on offer in the parks. They both took part in Jedi Training Academy in Hollywood Studios (arrive at the park early to secure your place) and my son got up on stage and took a live pirate class with Jack Sparrow in the Magic Kingdom. These once in a lifetime opportunities are amazing for your little ones and but warning...they may make you a little bit emotional!
5. Collecting Memories
I mentioned before that we collected character autographs whilst we were in the parks. This year we also collected pressed pennies. This is a great thing to do in between rides. You will find pressed penny machines around all of the parks and we loved collecting them as a family. In Epcot you can often do a relatively cheap challenge around the showcase which you will find in the Trading Post. Alternatively this year for free we picked up a Duffy card in Mexico and went round each of the countries and got it stamped.
6. Take A Break
On both of our trips we found arriving in the parks early (preferably during extra magic hours) and leaving around lunchtime meant that our children enjoyed every moment without getting hot and overtired. Afternoons were spent around our Port Orleans pool or jumping on the bus and going to one of the two water parks; Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. In the evening our hotel offered an outdoor cinema and with Disney programmes on the hotel room TV we often had a quiet hour relaxing in bed.
7. Grab Some Food
If your children are really excited about meeting a particular character but don't want to wait in the queues it may be an idea to book a character meal. We did a few this trip and had the best fun. We loved The Garden Grill in Epcot and the Hollywood Vine meal in Hollywood Studios. This is also a great way to get out of the heat and refuel before going back outside to have more fun.
Exploring the parks and finding hidden gems is all part of the Disney experience. Dotted around Epcot are little water pads to dip hot feet in as well as a lovely park. Animal Kingdom also has a great park in Dinosaur Land and the affection section on Rafiki's Island was one of my favourite places to visit all holiday. This year we also did the free Sorcerers of The Magic Kingdom interactive park game (found near the entrance). Which is so much fun and was a great way to fill up some time before the fireworks came on.
9. Pin Trading
Each evening we would pop into Disney Springs and do some pin trading. The concept is that if you have a metal pin with the Disney logo on the back of it you can trade it with Cast Members who have pins with them. We took a few packs of Primark pins which you can trade, and also bought a few for relatively cheaply in the Disney Character Warehouse located in the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. You can trade up to two pins per cast member. Since we've come back these are now pride of place in my children's bedroom.
10. Take It At Your Own Pace
There is the temptation to leave for the parks at 7am and return when the park closes. This did not work for our children. Take a look at my planning blog post here to see how best to plan your holiday and take it easy. Fast Passes can be changed on the My Disney Experience App. You may decide one day just to hang around the pool and relax. Whilst visiting Walt Disney World is an amazing adventure. It's also supposed to be a fun holiday! So don't let over planning and exhausted children ruin it.
This post was written in partnership with Walt Disney World
who sprinkled a little pixie dust on our recent visit