“I’ve always loved the idea of summer and sun, and all things hot!” ~ Olaf
If you’re dreaming of summery things, and making plans for a getaway to meet Olaf and his friends, I’ve got some time saving, sanity saving, and money saving tips that will help you find more enjoyment as you navigate crowds to please the littlest people in your lives.
We’re talking Disney vacation sanity savers, today, specifically Walt Disney World, in sunny Florida.
We are nearing the end of summer break, but for Central Florida vacationers, the “summer heat” lasts well into October. There are many things you may forget as you plan for visiting the Disney parks, but here is a list of things you most certainly want to remember.
First things first! It’s hot, hot, hot in central Florida. Most people have never felt heat or humidity like this. The lines will be long, the walkways crowded and the people, well, you’ll be in good company with hot sweaty vacationers, looking to beat the heat. So, the first of my helpful and handy tips for this list is super important; staying hydrated!
- Water. Did you know, anywhere there are fountain drinks, you can ask for a cup of Ice Cold Water, for free? All of the parks offer this, so don’t get dehydrated, and keep your money in your pocket for this one. A bottle of water at the parks will run you right around $3.00, and for a family of 4, several times a day, which can add up quickly. Another simple way to save money and time is to bring your own water bottle and fill it up at the countless fountains throughout the parks. Little ones can overheat quickly, so hydration is the key to the entire family’s enjoyment of one less thing to worry about!
- Don’t forget the sunscreen. Handy tip 2 is also a pretty big one. Nothing is worse than planning a wonderful vacation and walking away the first day, burnt to a crisp and unable to enjoy the rest of an expensive trip. While there is sunscreen available for purchase in the parks, it’s expensive, and I’m sure you’d rather spend your hard earned money on something fun, and not a $20 bottle of sunscreen. This is a must for the hot summer, so don’t forget to apply and re-apply throughout the day.
Best prices on sunscreen found here.
- Sunglasses and Hats. Yet another way to protect yourself and your kids from the hot summer sun. Your eyes and faces will thank you!
Mom’s favorite sun hats for women are here.
- Ponchos. Something to count on for Central Florida Summers is an afternoon rain storm at least 2-3 times per week, and often daily. You’ve never seen rain come down until you’ve been in a Florida summer Thunderstorm. You will get wet, your shoes will get wet, your stroller will get wet, (I suggest a cover for this too) but it will very likely pass and bring with it less humidity and cooler evening temperatures. Ponchos in the park are going run up your tab quickly. It’s best to be prepared, as summer and afternoon rain, do go hand in hand. Being caught off guard can make for quite a mess, “Be Prepared”!
Save money and lines and buy your travel poncho before you go.
- Food. This is a big deal, and one of things you will likely spend the most money on (aside from passes to the parks), while you’re in the parks. If you are planning to eat in any of the restaurants, keep in mind, if you haven’t made a reservation for anything, (other than quick service) it will be next to impossible to get in. This can be the cause of a lot of frustration for many families that didn’t know to plan where to eat, ahead of time. If you are on a strict budget, Disney allows families to bring in their own food, which is a pretty big deal. I have to give Disney a hand for allowing this and doing what they can to help families make their dreams more affordable. So, if you want to save, make those sandwiches and bring meals in one of those handy soft coolers, and save your family time, frustration and keep even more cash in your pocket. This is great for when the little ones need a snack, too, as there will be long lines, everywhere.
- Fast Pass plans and Extra Magic hours. Save your family some stress and book your fast pass plans ahead by looking at maps and trying to keep things somewhat close by. If you don’t know where things are, look at the maps and get familiar. Little legs get tired, and the parks cover a lot of area. Planning for Buzz Lightyear on side of the park and Pirates of the Caribbean on the other side will make for some cranky kids and parents on a hot day. Also, keep in mind; the parks that have extra magic hours can make a park busier that day.
- Enjoy your time. Last, but not the least, I wish I could tell you that it’s all fun and games when families go on vacation, but, it’s very often stressful and people are in a hurry. People will run into your ankles with strollers, wheelchairs, step on your shoes and stop in the middle of walkways in a crowded area. I’ve found it’s best to just laugh, and enjoy as you navigate the parks with the rest of the tourists trying to make the most of their vacation. I’ve seen kids throw fits, parents yelling at kids and each other along with bad attitudes and manners. We have some hilarious stories to tell of others behaving badly, and on the other hand, some not so fond memories of our own family, behaving in a manner that is slightly embarrassing.
That being said, take this time to slow down, and take it all in, enjoy the wonder on your children’s faces, be light, leave your worries at home and make this a magical time for the family.