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Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Walt Disney World as a Family

By Cassie

Walt Disney World is known as a Family Park, so why do so many families split up at the Parks? Children age 7 and older are permitted to travel through the parks on their own riding whatever they like. If a child is under the age of 7 they must be accompanied by someone 14 years or older. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, that makes it very easy to get around the World on the complimentary transportation. Your 8 year old could ride to the park on the monorail, or a bus, and spend the day alone in the park, but why? This is a place designed to cater to families, so try it out. Here are some suggestions on what to do together, as a family, at Walt Disney World.

10. Stay at a Disney Resort to be totally surrounded by Disney theming. It reduces your time getting to the parks, reduces stress, and it has everything you need right there. The food courts and restaurants are enjoyable and the Disney pools are so much more than pools! Each resort offers activities that are different from the others, so do some research when choosing your resort. Do you like fishing? Maybe you would like to try your hand at Port Orleans Riverside that offers fishing for the family. They also have a bicycle “car” that your family will fit in that you can drive around the paths of the beautiful resort. Maybe your kids are older and they would enjoy renting Jet Ski’s at Disney’s Contemporary resort. Does your dream vacation include truly getting away from it all as in retiring into the woods after a possibly hectic day in the parks? They you may want to reserve a Tree House or a Cabin in Fort Wilderness Campground. You can ride horses on trails at Fort Wilderness too. Choose a resort that appeals to you to be your home away from home. Plan on spending one of your days exploring your resort to see all they have to offer.

9. Stay together. My family has tried both ways of moving through the park, such as when the older ones could go through the park together, riding what they wanted and the younger ones and I would visit attractions they enjoyed. What happened was, the older ones decided they wanted to see the reactions on their younger siblings’ faces when they experienced a ride for the first time, so we wound up coming back together and thoroughly enjoyed our time that way. Standing in a queue together gives you time to talk and stay connected. My family is on the larger side, so getting time with each kid to catch up with them is a treasure all its own. If your party just does not want to stay together, plan on joining up for meals, at least. This is when memories are made.

8. Check out post-ride activities. If you don’t want to ride something, like Mission Space, don’t miss the fun in the post-ride section. There is a great game you can play together as a family. You can man a rocket ship or remain in the lower section that sends necessary items to the rocket ships to keep them going. Even if it is raining and the attraction next door, Test Track, is down due to weather, you can still enter the post-ride area here too to enjoy some games together as a family. You can create your own race car then participate in a digital car race with everyone racing their own design.

7. Do something interactive together in one of the parks. These things I have listed are all included in your park admission and there is no additional charge for them. In Epcot is Agent P’s Great Adventure that families enjoy every day where you join with Perry the Platypus, from Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, to defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz while visiting the countries of World Showcase. Animal Kingdom has the Wilderness Explorer’s activity where children earn badges (stickers) to put in their WE’s book as they answer questions while moving through the park. Magic Kingdom gives you two games; Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom and Pirate’s Adventure. Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive game where you play with free cards you can pick up at the Firehouse in Town Square that you use to defeat Disney Villain’s through most of the Magic Kingdom. Pirate’s Adventure recruits players just outside of Pirate’s of the Caribbean in Adventureland. You are given a map, one of five available, and you set off to help Captain Jack Sparrow rid the seas of ilk. If you succeed you will become one of Captain Jack’s crew. If you visit the Water Parks make sure you ride the Family Raft rides. The one at Blizzard Beach is longer and better, in my opinion. Floating along together in inner tubes in the river pools is also very relaxing. When visiting Hollywood Studios make sure you visit Artist Academy and take a drawing class together. You sit at a light table and the Disney Character Artist will teach you how to draw a Disney character in 20 minutes and you get to take it home with you.

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6. Go to the French Bakery at Epcot’s World Showcase. Everyone gets to choose something they want to try and divide all the pastries, sandwiches, salads or soups (ask for some additional cups) and enjoy them together outside at the little tables. See who likes what, and if there is anything you definitely want to have for their own the next time you visit. Perhaps pick up some items to have breakfast in your room the next morning. The frozen beverages here are really great too. Seeing my children’s faces as they looked through the glass at ALL those French Bakery items and watching them select something to be added to our box was so much fun, and then to taste them all together was a blast! This is also when my kids realized that Epcot was no longer boring; there was food there, great food. I never had to force them to come to Epcot after that.

5. Participate in an attraction such as becoming a part of the Cast at Indiana Jones or the Back Lot Tour, both in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Does someone in your party want to be an actor/stunt person? Those two would be great to visit if you have someone who likes to be in the middle of the action. Magic Kingdom offers the Monster’s Laugh Floor which is a great show for the whole family and don’t be surprised if one or more of you become part of the “show”. Visit the “Flights of Wonder” bird show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where volunteers of all ages are chosen from the audience to interact with the stars of the show. These attractions are a lot of fun and great to experience as a group. One that is especially fun for young children is Turtle Talk with Crush at The Living Seas, Epcot, where they have the opportunity to converse directly with Crush and it can be pretty hilarious!

4. Enjoy a Character meal. Choose the characters that most of you would like to interact with, but also choose the meal you will all enjoy. It would be a shame to choose a menu that does not have food everyone would order. The buffets are pretty good for offering food everyone can find something at. Let the kids eat ice cream there to help keep them hydrated. (And since it is part of a buffet they can have all they want instead of spending more money for Mickey bars in the parks.) Make sure everyone gets in the pictures taken with the characters. This is one of the easiest ways to meet characters.

3. Does your family like to ride the rides more than anything else? You can ride more rides during the Parade times if you are not interested in the Parades. You have to work around that Parade though so it is helpful to be in the “land” that you want to focus on. For instance at Magic Kingdom riding things in Adventureland would be easy because the Parade does not go through there, but Tomorrowland and Fantasyland are even easier and they are on the same side so you would not have the challenge of getting through the parade route. Use the train if you need to to get around to another land. Disney World resorts Guests get to visit the attractions during Extra Magic Hours open only for them. If your family loves the Parades and it is at all possible, get a FastPass+ reservation for the Parade. This cuts down the amount of time you have to spend saving a spot and waiting for the parade. The FastPass+ viewing area is the best viewing area and you can check in there shortly before the parade begins. You can still visit Plaza Ice Cream Parlor first so you have ice cream to enjoy along with the great Parade view.

2. If you will be there for a few days, change “ride buddies” each day so you get to experience the attractions with everyone. If you will be there for one day try switching at each attraction. Sit next to that ride buddy on the attractions that only seat two. When your party gets to the Cast Member loading guests onto a ride make sure you tell them the total number of your party so you get seated on the same ride vehicle.

1. Last Day Marathon. The last day of our Walt Disney World vacations were always very sad, until we tried this. Each member of the family chose 1 attraction and 1 food item they wanted to revisit on our last full day. That meant we were traveling to 3 or 4 parks so a Park Hopper or Annual Pass is needed. We would plan the day the night before in the resort pool or food court. Instead of feeling sad because it would be our last day we were very excited, but not stressed out, and we all enjoyed doing these things together. It was sometimes pretty funny what combination of things we did. It sure beats the last-day-at-Disney-Blues!

I hope that you may have gotten an idea that you want to try when your family comes to Walt Disney World. Just have fun, together. You’re on vacation!

 

 

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.