We recently headed to sunny Orlando with 5 adults and 5 kids under age 4 to enjoy a fun-filled adventure at Disney World, so out of my own experience and observations, here are some tips to keep you and your family pain-free on your next Disney vacation.
1. Wear tennis shoes. I know that women may prefer to look cute, but 12-15 hours of standing/walking in anything other than tennis shoes will likely cause you more pain throughout the day. At Disney, your feet and legs will be tired regardless of your shoes, but you will feel better with good, supportive sneakers. I once wore flip flops at Carowinds all day, thinking I would get on a lot of water rides. But at the end of the day I could barely walk because my legs ached so much.
2. Use sunscreen and re-apply it frequently. Vacation is no fun if you or your kids get sunburned.
3. Do not try a new sunscreen on your first day of vacation. Thankfully we tested out a new sunscreen the week before vacation and learned that my son was allergic to it. So on vacation we resorted to our usual Banana Boat, and it worked great, just like last year. An allergic reaction to any new skin product can cause terrible itching, discomfort, redness, rash, etc, so don’t risk it.
4. Wear a hat. This is one of the best ways to prevent getting a sunburn on your face.
5. Pack a ton of bottled water. Disney allows you to bring coolers (under a certain size), so pack them full of drinks. This will save you a load of money and will keep you hydrated. Trust me, you will need a drink even as you wait for the shuttle out of the parking lot. Then you will have to wait in line for the ferry or monorail, so you will likely finish your first bottle before you even enter the front gate of the park itself. If this was true for us in May, it will only get worse during the hottest summer months.
6. Arrive early at your favorite events to get good seats. Otherwise you will strain to see and you will hurt your neck from holding your child on your shoulders for the duration of the parade, show, etc. If you want a good view of the Electric Parade, arrive around Main Street more than an hour before the show starts in order to get a first or second-row view.
7. Take rest days between park days. Or plan water parks or smaller outings on those days. You will have to wake up early on park days, if you want to enter the park around opening time (9:00 am). This means arriving at the parking lot between 7 and 8 am. And likely you will not leave until after 10 pm, so you will be exhausted even on day 1 of your vacation. Try to build rest into your vacation, or you will truly need another vacation to recover.
8. Have sufficient stroller seats for all younger children. Our double stroller is not comfortable for sleeping, so we rented a double stroller for the week, and the kids slept great in it. It was well worth the cost. It is not comfortable to hold a sleeping baby for a long period of time. There are benefits to using infant carriers, in which your baby is strapped onto your chest or back, but I would not recommend them at Disney, simply for your own comfort. A stroller is ideal both for you and your baby. Plus it gives much-needed storage space!