Taking the kids to Disney World is a little bit stressful no matter what. There are a lot of factors to consider, and this is one of those things you definitely want to get right.
That said, things get even more complicated when you decide to tackle a Disney trip with the kids on your own. Whether you’re one of the many single parent families out there, or you just find yourself going it alone for this trip, you are likely feeling a little overwhelmed at the idea of taking your little princes and princesses into the Disney parks as a single mother or father without another adult to help.
The good news? Visiting Disney World as a solo parent is 100% doable. Not only that, but you can actually have a really good time visiting the most magical place on earth with only your kid or kids as company.
The catch? You need to go in prepared. That’s where this article comes into play.
Below we’ve compiled a list of our top tips for visiting Disney World as a solo parent. Use these suggestions and you’re sure to have an awesome time with your tiny Disney fans.
First of all, we highly recommend that you stay onsite. Honestly, we recommend this to most travelers, regardless of marital/parental status. However, we find it is especially important if you’re a parent who is going solo.
The Walt Disney World Resort hotels provide all kinds of incredibly helpful perks that parents who are trying to juggle everything on their own greatly appreciate. One that stands out most is transportation to the parks. This transportation means you won’t be wrangling kids into car seats, trying to navigate a new place, and dragging kids back through the enormous parking lot after a long day.
Use Disney’s Package Delivery Service
Another major perk of staying onsite is the package delivery service that Disney Resort guests have access to. This service is 100% free and allows you to have items purchased in the parks delivered to your hotel room.
When you’re trying to navigate the parks, keep track of kids, and ensure all of your stuff stays with you, you definitely don’t want to have extra items to take care of, making this service a lifesaver.
Purchase Memory Maker
Everybody wants photos of their Disney World vacation. Unfortunately, when you’re the only adult in your party, getting those photos can be difficult, and even if you do manage to snap a few, you aren’t likely to be in them.
For this reason, we suggest investing in the Memory Maker service. This allows you to use Disney’s PhotoPass stops to have professionally shot photos taken and then download them all to your computer when you get home, ensuring you end up with some awesome vacation photos you’ll treasure forever.
Make a Safety Plan
Many parents are afraid of losing their children in a crowded place like Disney World, and when you’re on your own, this fear will likely grow. The solution? A solid safety plan. Give your children wristbands with your contact information, and make sure they know what to do and where to go should they become separated from you.
Related: 10 Ways to Stay Safe at Disney World
Take a Stroller and Choose It Wisely
Wondering if you should take a stroller? Worried your kids might be too big? If you have any doubt in your mind at all, just take it. Even if the kids don’t ride in the stroller at all, it makes for a good bag storage area and drink holder, and considering how much walking the average person does in Disney World, we’re betting the kids do ride on and off.
All that said, it is important that you carefully consider the type of stroller you take. You want it to be comfortable for the kids, of course, but you should also be able to maneuver it easily, even in crowded areas. Additionally, you’ll want a stroller that folds down easily for when you get on the buses. A storage basket and cup holders are major bonuses.
Order Grocery Delivery
Yes, Disney World has plenty of restaurants to choose from, but let’s face it, kids like to snack. On top of that, many children can be incredibly picky, making it difficult to ensure they eat well at every meal. Having some things to munch on might just mean the difference between a grumpy bunch of kiddos and smiling faces.
Of course, going to the grocery store by yourself with the kids isn’t exactly something you want to do on vacation. Therefore, you might want to think about placing a grocery order to be delivered to your Disney hotel so you have plenty of snacks to keep you going throughout your getaway.
Make Use of Family Restrooms and Baby Care Centers
Have a toddler who still needs help using the restroom? Feel anxious about having the kids wait outside of the stall while you use the restroom? Family restrooms are a great solution that allow you to take all of the children with you to use the restroom.
Another great thing that Disney World offers? Baby Care Centers. There is one Baby Care Center in each park, and they are the perfect place to feed a baby, change diapers, and let young kids decompress for a bit before heading back out into the hustle and bustle.
Do Your Ride Research
If you’re traveling with multiple kids, it’s important to do your research and know who can ride what before you go. Understand that kids under the age of 7 must ride with someone over the age of 14, meaning if you take multiple young kids you will be limited to rides you can all enjoy together.
There are several rides that seat three or more across, and if you’re taking two little ones, it can be helpful to know which rides these are beforehand.
- Gran Fiesta Tour (Epcot)
- Journey Into Imagination (Epcot)
- Living With The Land (Epcot)
- Soarin’ Around The World (Epcot)
- Mission: Space (Epcot)
- Test Track (Epcot)
- Star Tours (Hollywood Studios)
- Tower of Terror (Hollywood Studios)
- Walt Disney World Railroad (Magic Kingdom)
- Jungle Cruise (Magic Kingdom)
- Pirates of the Caribbean (Magic Kingdom)
- Haunted Mansion (Magic Kingdom)
- it’s a small world (Magic Kingdom)
- Mad Tea Party (Magic Kingdom)
- Peter Pan’s Flight (Magic Kingdom)
- Dinosaur (Animal Kingdom)
- Kilimanjaro Safari (Animal Kingdom)
- Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom)
- You can also squeeze three together onto these rides:
- The Sea with Nemo & Friends (Epcot)
- Alien Swirling Saucers (Hollywood Studios)
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin (Magic Kingdom)
- Big Thunder Mountain (Magic Kingdom)
- Dumbo (Magic Kingdom)
- The many adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Magic Kingdom)
- Peter Pan’s Flight (Magic Kingdom)
- Journey of the Little Mermaid (Magic Kingdom)
- Tomorrowland Speedway (Magic Kingdom)
- People Mover (Magic Kingdom)
- TriceraTop Spin (Animal Kingdom)
Plan a Resort Day
Wrangling kids in a Disney park by yourself is tiring. Give yourself a break by skipping the theme park one day and taking some time to chill at the hotel. You can enjoy the hotel dining options, check out the poolside activities, and see the nightly outdoor movie. This day of rest is sure to do your family good and bring more magic to your Disney vacation.
Related: 8 Best Resort Pools
Give Yourself a Break
Need an option for a kid-free break as a single mom or dad? Give yourself a night out by hiring a sitter through Kids Nite Out. The sitters that this company sends are amazing, and an evening in the parks or at the spa by yourself is definitely well deserved when braving single parent travel.