How To Survive At Disney As A Parent

How To Survive At Disney As A Parent

Your kids have been begging you to take them to Disney again. But based off of your last adventure, this may seem like a nightmare. Knowing how to survive at Disney as a parent is a true work of art. I have been going to Disney with my kids on and off for the better half of twenty years. Thankfully they’re grown now, so I don’t have to deal with the kicking and screaming anymore. 😉

So this advice stems from what I learned all those years ago about what it takes to get through a day at Disney as a parent. Don’t get me wrong; I might have liked visiting Disney parks more than my kids did. But there’s a huge learning curve when it comes bringing your kids to Disney. At least if you want to be alive by the end of it.

Here is It’s Your Dream Travel’s parental advice on how to survive at Disney as a parent!


RELATED: Book a Trip to Disney!

5. Go At The Right Time of Year


We used to take our kids to Disney World during the summer because, duh, that’s when they are out of school. What I’ve quickly learned by spending decades upon decades at these parks at various times of the year, is that summer is the absolute WORST time to go to Disney parks. If you have brought your kids to the parks during the summer, it’s a no wonder you’re searching for tips on how to survive Disney as a parent.

Disney in the summer is miserable; it’s a thousand degrees out, the lines are long, and there are people everywhere. Spring break is a bit better, but it’s still ridiculously busy. If you can’t find time to take a quick weekend trip to Disney with your kids in the middle of the school year, your best bet is to visit Disney with your family during their winter vacation. It will be a little bit cooler, and the Christmas directions make the parks seem all the more magical.

4. Lay Down The Law


You have to understand, that as grumpy as you are going to get during this strenuous adventure, most kids will put their irritability on display for the entire world to see. As fun as Disney is, there are going to be a few times during the day where one (if not all) member of your family is going to feel the day weighing in on them. Your kids might react negatively to this– which is usually when the tantrums or the waterworks begin.

That’s why it’s important to lay down the law before you head into the parks. Work with your partner to determine what the consequences will be if your kids act up. And then let your kids know. Remind them the night before, the morning of, and each time your child might seem ready to put on a show when you’re actually at Disney. Some consequences you can give your kids might be:

  • Leaving the park early (which means missing the fireworks)
  • Skipping one of the character meet-and-greets
  • Not purchasing the famous Dole Whip or Mickey Mouse ice cream bars


3. Budget For The Entire Family


Disney park tickets are expensive in and of themselves. Not to mention hotel rooms, feeding your entire family, and transportation costs. Of course, it’s only natural to want to pick up a souvenir for your kids, but spending $500 on Mickey ears and t-shirts is not the way to do it.

You want to budget your spending expenses accordingly if you want to really survive at Disney as a parent. Browse Disney’s website beforehand to get a feel of how much items cost in the gift shop so you can determine how much you can spend on your kids. Determine if they can get one large/pricey keepsake or allow them to pick out several trinket items. And don’t forget to budget for yourself! You at least deserve some Mickey ears.

I also encourage you to consider buying into additional experiences (i.e. Disney Springs) before souvenirs, but this is totally up to you and your family.




2. Give Your Kids Incentives


In addition to giving your kids behavior guidelines for your Disney trip, I also think it’s important to give them incentives. I’m sure this is a tactic you use in your everyday life, but you want to make sure you use your Disney incentives sparingly. This way, they won’t expect a reward every for gold star behavior.

However,  if they can make it through the morning on their best behavior, tell them they’ve earned a special treat. You’ll have to determine how many “treats” you can afford and how often you can dole them out. I recommend setting three incentives during the day: once in the morning, afternoon, and night. It shouldn’t always be a monetary incentive, though. For instance, if one of your kids remembers to say “excuse me” to a stranger, maybe they get to decide which ride to go on next.


1. Pack Appropriately


For the love of God, do not overpack for your Disney family vacation. It will be a nightmare trying to remember it all and to stuff it all back into your suitcases. For that matter, try to limit the number of suitcases you bring. Use one suitcase for every two people in your family. If you end up with more, then you know that you’ve overpacked. You can cheat this rule a little bit by bringing backpacks, but again, don’t overdo it because I promise you that you will regret it later.

And don’t let anyone tell you that fanny packs aren’t cool. They are definitely cool.




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