We all know Disneyland is the most magical place on Earth, but it can also come with some challenges. Long days, tantrums, and fatigue can all bring down the vibe of an otherwise amazing trip. We just got back from our Disney trip so I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips to help you make your next trip as magical as possible!
Avoid foot fatigue
The sore feet struggle is SO real! In our two days in the parks, we walked over 18 miles! That can take a toll on your toesies!
1. This Epsom Salt Foot Gel is great to refresh feet after a long day. It’s easy to travel with and available on Amazon Prime!
2. Change your socks and shoes midday. If you head back to the hotel for a rest you can do it then, or just bring a change to the park. Changing both is ideal, but even just a fresh pair of socks can make a big difference in helping keep your feet as comfortable as possible throughout the day.
Obviously comfy shoes are a MUST! But many people forget that socks can be just as important. Check out these arch-supporting socks for some extra help.
3. Find a show to enjoy. I’ll go into this in detail a little more in a moment, but finding a show where you can sit down is a great way to take in some Disney Magic while resting your feet.
Avoid souvenir tantrums
1. Use the picture method! We all know Disney is a marketing genius, so of course you’ll have to make your way through more than a few gift shops in the park. Unless you are on an unlimited budget, you’ll have to tell your kiddos no at least once or twice (or a million times). This tip was shared with me by a friend on our trip who is an annual pass holder, so she’s been through the struggle a time or two.
The method is simple. Whenever your child asks for a toy, take a picture of them with it. This adds it to their “wish list”. You’ll end up with about a thousand pictures that look like this –
At the end of the day or trip, let them look through their list and pick one or two items to purchase.
Setting this expectation before you walk into the park can help avoid tantrums ahead.
2. Buy them ahead of time! You can also snag super cute Disney souvenirs ahead of time from places like Target or Walmart, or even custom ones from Etsy! Surprise the kids while you are on the trip and they won’t be any the wiser. But, you can save some serious dough!
Avoid overspending on snacks and water
1. Pick one snack per day (or trip) to splurge on. We all know Disney is known for some epic treats. I’m a sucker for a churro funnel cake, what can I say? But you can save money by bringing a few of your own, and we all know I love saving money too.
We found a happy medium here by stocking up on bulk snacks before our trip to keep in our backpack, and each one of us picked one snack we wanted to treat ourselves with before we headed home. This saved us a ton of money over having to buy something every time the kids wanted to snack, but we also didn’t feel deprived since we each got our “must-have” treat.
2. Bring your own refillable water bottles. Even water doesn’t come cheap at Disney. Bringing in water bottles to refill throughout the day can keep you from blowing through your budget on water bottles. Many of the hotels surrounding the parks have filling stations, and you can also grab ice water cups for free at most of the food service options in the park. Make sure to stay hydrated, Disney days can be long!
Avoid messing with a purse
Trust me, you will have enough things to carry!
1. Wear a fanny pack! Not only are these back in style, but they are super functional! I nabbed a set of super sparkly fanny packs that I loved, but the glitter ended up scratching my arms pretty bad by the end of the day. I recommend this fun fanny pack instead, that my friend got for this trip. It still has some fun shimmer, but is a smooth fabric so you won’t end up roughed up like I did.
2. I also downsized my wallet for the trip so I didn’t have to carry around any extra bulk. This slim wallet from Amazon was absolutely perfect to carry only exactly what I needed, nothing more, nothing less.
Avoid tired kiddos
1. Make sure to schedule in some downtime. Not just throughout your park days, but travel days too. If I could do our trip over again, I would have made our flight there earlier in the day and our flight home a little later. While we ultimately made it work, waking up for rope drop on our first day was really rough when we didn’t even get to the hotel until 11:00 p.m. the night before. And whatever you do, don’t schedule an 8 a.m. flight after two full days at Disney. It was rough!
But don’t be afraid to head back to the hotel and rest for a bit. The parks are open late, and if you want to make it until fireworks a little downtime is essential.
2. Find some shows to enjoy! Rides and characters may be the most obvious entertainment at the Disney parks, but they are far from the only thing to do. Use the Disneyland App to search for some entertainment.
We enjoyed the Disney Junior Dance Party in California Adventure. With guests like Mickey, Minnie, Doc McStuffins and Vampirina, our kids had a ball. But it also gave us 30 minutes to just sit and rest while they were entertained. It was genius! There are a number of shows for different age groups, so you are sure to find one or two (or ten!) that your group will love.
3. Bring a stroller or wagon. We went back and forth on this one. Our kids are 3 and 6, and don’t really ever go in a stroller. Boy am I glad I did! And frankly, I wish I had a double stroller for the first time ever. We walked so much that they were both constantly arguing over who got to ride while we headed from one area to another.
Luckily for big brother Maverick, little brother Carter preferred to spend most of his time being held. For that fact I am grateful my friend brought her ring sling carrier. I hadn’t worn Carter in FOREVER, but man was that thing a godsend this trip!
Avoid carrying too much stuff
1. Opt for a shared souvenir instead of one for each kid. I love the idea of signature books as a fun memento from a trip, but it’s just more stuff to carry around! We opted for a small wooden plaque for the characters to sign, and the boys sharing it meant one less thing to carry around.
Here are a few things we were super grateful to have in our stroller:
blankets (if going in the winter)
Avoid Long Lines
I mentioned using the Disneyland App to find entertainment and shows, but it’s also a great tool to help you plan your day. In the app, you can see everything from current wait times for rides to where your favorite characters are popping up next. This is a must have for any Disney trip!
You can also snag fast passes on the app, and access your pictures from Disney’s PhotoPass service is you added MaxPass to your tickets. I was reluctant to get MaxPass, but I am so glad we did. We got some really magical family pictures we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Heading to Disneyworld? Snag that app here.
Avoid going hungry when you get home
This is more of a bonus trip for general travel. Here’s why: the week leading up to traveling, I always avoid buying groceries to try and prevent wasting money on food that goes bad while we are gone. On the days leading up to our departure, I try to use up any last ingredients that might expire while we are gone.
This is great and all, but it inevitably means that we return home from our trip exhausted to a house with zero food in it.
I got wise to this before our last trip, and scheduled a meal delivery service to arrive the night after we got home. We particularly enjoy Hello Fresh for their family friendly and easy to follow recipes. You can grab yours here and enjoy $40 off using that link!
You can also check out this post for some of my favorite travel tips to help get you to Disney smoothly!
Were there any tips I missed? What are your best Disney trip magical tips?
Ready For Your Next Vacation?
Pinot & Parenting has paired up with Middle of The Magic Travel to help make your next trip extra special without all the stress! Senior Travel Planner Heather Wilkinson specializes in all things family travel, including family vacations all around the world and OF COURSE those always magical Disney trips!
She can’t wait to help you plan your next getaway. It doesn’t cost anything extra to book through a travel agent, and she also has access to exclusive deals and experiences you wouldn’t be able to book on your own. The best part is, Heather can plan every aspect of your trip to take the stress off of you. You just have to get the airport!