We are a Disney family. We make Disney inspired apparel, we have Disney tattoos, we have Disney artwork all over our house, our second two children have Disney inspired names, and we go to Disney about three times a year. Get it? I feel like I’m not expressing HOW much we love all things Dis. Kidding, I know it’s excessive. But it’s something that my husband and I agree with whole heartedly and that’s pretty fricken rare for anyone. 

So being that we basically don’t vacation anywhere else. And being that I have braved WDW with a child, three months old to four years old, and then with two kids, an infant and a preschooler, I have some advice to give on the subject of trips. I have to honestly tell you how unbelievably exhausting it is. How much you will fucking loathe every single other family with a stroller (they will clip your ankles or run your toddler down and keep going. And your blood will boil). Sometimes it’s not always so magical, but you can survive the it if you know how. Don’t expect it to just be wonderful because it’s Disney. 

Timing Is Everything:
If you have a choice, never ever ever go to Walt Disney World in August with young children. It’s is so god awful hot your stroller will melt and stick to the pavement, and inside those scalding hot pressure cookers on wheels, are your tiny precious humans. Sugared up, over stimulated, probably lacking a nap and now sweating their teeny asses off. Most stroller parking is smack in the middle of the blazing suns path. There is no shady area to hide it in. Your stroller is your only savior, when your tantruming princess can’t walk anymore, or throws her bibidi bobidi booty on the ground in protest. And lord knows you’re not about to carry them because THE WALKING is unbearable on its own. So why bake your stroller to burnable degrees when it’s done nothing but be kind to you. It may seem stupid now, but wait till you have to throw your perfect peanut over your suburn shoulder and haul ass to the nearest air conditioned store. 

Get the room that is most like home:
When we brought our three month old for the first time along with our three year old, we booked a Studio Villa at The Wilderness Lodge. These rooms I think are meant for DVC but you can still stay in them even if you aren’t. These rooms have a little kitchenette with a sink, a microwave and a fridge. Cups, plates, dish soap, silverware a coffee maker...the whole set up. This made our life so much easier. We warmed up left overs from the amaze-balls (does anyone still say that? Ha, ha!!) dinners we had on property, ordered from Instacart some microwaveable snacks. The little store inside of the lobby has food as well, but I’m a fan of not spending a million dollars on a packet of ketchup, so I go the amazon prime and other delivery services route. The fact that I could make our home away from home just as comfortable as home, and bring and order things we would normally have in our pantry and fridge was a small victory. 

These rooms have a bed and a whole cute living room area. We brought our Apple TV from home and easily connected it to the tv In the room. We were able to kick back at the end of a hectic park day with a little Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Making your kiddos, especially the ity bitty ones, feel like they’re at home, makes staying in an unfamiliar place a little less scary and everything a little more tolerable. The cabins at Fort Wilderness are also great and honestly a more affordable choice, especially if you have a bigger family. So when booking a room, look for these amenities. 

Don’t over do it!! 
The character breakfasts, fast passes, rides and the lines, character meet and greets, parades, fireworks, sit down dinners.. ALL...THE...WALKING.

There is so much you want to do in each day. And so many people will tell you how you’re supposed to do Disney. And you feel the pressure to pack all that magic into your trip, short or long, and it’s so overwhelming. Don’t do it!! You will end up needing a vacation after your vacation from the stress of it all. You will be completely burned out and fucking hate everything. You can’t expect to go from 7am to midnight non-stop and not feel worn out and miserable by the time you ride that jam packed bus back to the hotel. And yes the Disney buses are so crowded that you will probably have to stand holding your child or even children, you might even cry because you will be literally standing with your body smashed into a complete stranger, who is sweating and also carrying a child. Your children will be double the crabby and exhausted. Don’t make your children do anything you wouldn’t do at home, don’t expect them to eat at a sit down restaurant and act like humans after an intense park day, it’s just not fun for anyone. I have made that mistake. And do you know what happens? No one is happy! It’s a complete shit show!! I suggest taking breaks mid day to go swimming. Do half park days, half day exploring your resort. Or taking a complete day off to sleep in, get breakfast at your hotel, and hit up one of the two miniature golf courses. Go explore other resorts for a day, like the Boardwalk which is so much fun and has lots to do, then call it a night early and get the rest you will need. You may think if you don’t park hop till you drop you won’t be getting the most out of your vacation but if you’re tired and stressed and your kids are miserable in the process it’s not really a vacation. WDW has so much to offer, and so much to see and do that doesn’t require you to be burned out. Take a boat ride, check out the spa, sit on the beach at the Polynesian and enjoy a drink in a pineapple. But don’t drive you and your kids crazy by creating an unrealistic schedule that you would never attempt at home. 

Disney is expensive, it’s a lot of planning, it’s very very crowded. It’s also a dream come true. A once in a life time, bucket list, beautiful place, and you should enjoy it, take your time and experience it. If you do it right, you will have the time of your life. 

Danielle Cohen