My family adores our Walt Disney World Resort vacations. The magic, the food, the family time…who doesn’t, right? With three kiddos all different ages and interests it can be a struggle to ensure our plans cater to all. I’m often asked how we make it work, especially with a pre-school to teen age gap. There is really no perfect plan and you know what works best for your family, but here are just a few tips I’ve found useful in planning trips sure to end with…
Use your FastPass+ Selections & Rider Switch Wisely
When choosing our FastPass+ selections. I try to choose something each kid will enjoy and something we can do as a family. TIP: It helps to watch the online planning videos or look at the online park maps or descriptions so that the kids can get excited and choose something they like. With three kids, it works out well to let them each pick and then schedule a fourth “family” FastPass+ selection in the parks after we’ve used our original three. When we’ve brought friends or family along, we’ve just rotated the kid’s choices, so one day they may not pick, but we will start the next day with their selection.
Remember to utilize Rider Switch. Again, take a few moments pre-trip to make sure you know which attractions offer the service. This not only allows my husband and me to each experience the attraction, but this way my eldest has been able to ride with each of us. Now that our middle child is tall enough for most rides, we switch who rides with who and who is first at each attraction.
Make Meal Time Part Of The Adventure
I’m all for saving money on vacation and appreciate the value that Quick-Service locations offer in both time and money, but we try to schedule at least one meal per day that can truly be an experience. Character Dining is one of our favorite ways, but it doesn’t always have to be a meal filled with our favorite Disney pals to be an experience. Sometimes it’s venturing to a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel for a unique meal and new atmosphere. Sometimes it’s as simple as grabbing Casey’s hot dogs and finding a spot together to watch the parade. Or perhaps even trying new options from Pandora – The World Of Avatar or from multiple countries around the world in Epcot’s World Showcase. Speaking of new, that’s the next tip.
Create A New Family First On Each Trip
We’ve been blessed to have many family adventures, but every visit “home” has had new surprises and fun. From the first time we visited with our oldest, we started the tradition of finding, doing or trying something new each trip. (We get really dorky and dance or slow-motion high-five while all yelling “Disney Family First.”) Perhaps it is a Disney Special Event like attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the new Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or a enjoying a Dessert Party. Maybe we go on a tour that we’ve always eyed, stay at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel we’ve never been to, head to the Disney Water Parks (now a favorite), go mini golfing or visit the Tri-Circle-D Ranch. It doesn’t matter how big or little it is, or if we pre-planned it or spontaneously added it, it’s about doing something new, stepping outside our norm and sharing the experience as a family.