One question I get asked really often about visiting Walt Disney World Resort® is how to know where to make dining reservations six months out when one doesn’t even know which park they’ll be in that day. What if that park is too crowded? How does one decide? Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule as to which park to visit which day but experienced Walt Disney World Resort® visitors do have a few “tricks of the trade” that are used when putting together an itinerary. Here are a few of mine. Continue reading
“But I don’t want to go to Walt Disney World!”
I’d love to say that no parent has ever heard that, but not only have I heard that, I know of others who have as well. It seems to hit around the Tween/early Teen years. My own son decided that he didn’t want to go to Walt Disney World a couple of years ago – around age 11. He’s also wishy-washy about Disneyland. What’s a Disney-loving parent to do? I’m sharing our tried and true ways to get our Tween (now Teen) to go.
Let him or her bring a friend – If you can afford it and your child has a friend whose parents are agreeable, the Disney Parks for Tweens and Teens are way more fun with a friend to hang out with. I had to face the fact that my child was getting older and hanging out with mom and dad just isn’t cool. OK. By bringing a friend (or sometimes a cool cousin will work), he was able to save his “cool factor,” and show someone around who hadn’t been to the parks as often as he had.
Highlight new attractions – For our son, the biggest draw for our upcoming trip is Pandora – The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Since my husband and I have already experienced them, we were able to give a first-hand account of them, but even if we hadn’t, a little research would have told us what we needed to know. Our son is excited to ride Avatar Flight of Passage. He also can’t wait to see the new missions at Mission: SPACE at Epcot. All this finally convinced him that a few days at Walt Disney World Resort®, his parents might not be so bad.
Compromise on time with family – Our son has been staying home alone for a little while now. While I’m not crazy about leaving him alone in a hotel room, we do if we aren’t going to be far or gone a long time. For example, we might let him stay in the room if we’re going to one of the resort’s restaurants for dinner. He’s also been allowed to stay in our room at the Disney’s Beach Club Resort while we were close by at Epcot’s World Showcase. If we’re going further, we got someone from Kids Nite Out to stay with him (we didn’t call it her a babysitter). All of this depends on your child and your comfort level, but we found that our child appreciated time to hang out in the room alone on his phone with friends or playing video games. We are giving him his “me time.”
If all else fails, it might be OK to leave your Tween at home. On a recent trip to Walt Disney World Resort®, we gave our son the option of going or staying with family or friends elsewhere. He chose the family or friends. At first, I wasn’t thrilled about it, but it turned out to be a lovely trip. Yes, I missed my son but having the freedom to focus on my husband (we have no other children) and do what we wanted to do was wonderful, and that’s OK. It’s OK for you to take a trip with another child. Your Tween may be thrilled to have the time with family or friends and your other child or children may love having special time with mom and dad. I found that it also worked well when it came time for the next trip. He didn’t like missing out on what we did; he wanted to go.
For more ideas on what to skip at the Disney Parks,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
My 13-year-old son has been going to the Disney Parks since he was 10 months old. He’s been on at least one Disney Parks trip per year since then, sometimes more. Because of that, he often prefers that we hang out at the resort and resort pool rather than the parks. For today’s post, I asked him what his favorite pools are at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World and these were his picks. Continue reading
No one wants to spend all their vacation standing in line waiting to get on an attraction. With advance planning using the FastPass+ system, you don’t have to at Walt Disney World. FastPass+ allows you to reserve a one-hour window to go to an attraction and enter via the shorter FastPass+ line instead of the regular, standby line. This can cut the wait time down to 15 minutes or less, and it’s free. Many first-timers make the mistake of assuming it’s an extra cost. It is not so be sure to take advantage of it. Continue reading
Reservations for those restaurants that take them, dinner shows, or dining packages can be made 180 days in advance. If you are staying at a Disney World Resort, then you can make them 180 days from your check in date through your check out date as long as it’s within 10 days, so slightly longer than 6 months. Certain restaurants book up really, really early such as Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom and Le Cellier in Epcot. Many character meals (restaurants that have Disney characters visit your table while you’re dining) may also sell out early as well. In addition, during peak periods such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, ALL restaurants that take reservations are likely to require reservations well in advance. For those that don’t make reservations, there are still fast food type options available in all the parks and at the resorts that don’t require nor take reservations. Continue reading