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Disney Pre-Trip Checklist for Families

Yahoo! Contributor
Walt Disney World Resort
April 26, 2012

The magic of a Walt Disney World vacation awaits your family…but are you ready? Pre-planning can guarantee that your trip is a success, especially if you're traveling with your children. So what should you know before you to go Disney?

Get your tickets.

Whether you're staying inside or outside of the park, consider getting your tickets in advance. Be sure to price out options that do and do not include dining, research times of the year when you can eat free at Disney, and determine how many days you'll need at the parks. This will help you avoid lines and save time when you arrive at the parks, which simply means more time to play!

Bring rain gear.

It rains in Florida often. While you might not get a week's worth of downpours, it's not uncommon to experience a passing shower on an almost daily basis. Instead of heavy rain jackets and umbrellas, purchase inexpensive ponchos with hoods for the whole family and bring them along. Not only will you save yourself time searching for them when the inevitable occurs, you'll also save money as they're going to be more expensive within the theme parks.

Book meals in advance.

Make reservations ahead of time for any specialty or sit down meals you'd like to eat in the parks or hotels. This is especially true of character dining events, which begin taking reservations up to six months in advance. We were determined to enjoy the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian, so we made sure that was the first reservation we booked. If you know where you want to eat or who you want to eat with, don't leave it up to chance. Book before you depart.

Don't leave packing for the last minute.

I waited until the night before we left for our week-long stay in Disney to start packing. Big mistake. Some of the seasonal attire had been put away. Some was now too small. I couldn't put my hands on the bathing suits (and my youngest daughter didn't even have one). The girls had sneakers, but where were their flip flops? Make a list at least a week before your departure that includes every item you want to bring. Locate and purchase said items several days before your departure. What are you forgetting (there's always something)? Packing in advance can help guarantee that you've got everything you need once you arrive.

Prep the kids.

My children had never been to a theme park before our trip to Disney World. As a result, we knew that they had no idea what was in store for them; Florida heat, waiting in lines to ride rides and eat meals, lots of walking about, and busy days. So we took time to explain these things to them before the trip. When we arrived, we talked about them, and the girls' expectations, daily. It helped all of us that they were prepared!

Preparing for your Disney trip can, and should, start long before you walk out the front door!