Walt Disney World: Practical Tips and Positive Mindsets

Where to Stay, What to Spend
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ROCK ON: Zoom into the Rock ‘n' Rollercoaster (courtesy, Disney)

Book On-Property Lodging
Way back when, Walt Disney World had only a handful of on-site hotels, all costing a fistful more than cheaper motels and hotels in nearby Kissimmee. Things have changed. Now Disney offers thousands of on-site rooms priced from inexpensive to luxury. This cuts travel time to the gate and adds convenience by enabling you to return to your hotel in the afternoon for naps and swimming without having to pile everyone back into a car.

Also know that each day one of Disney's Orlando theme parks opens an hour early or stays open three hours later just for guests staying at a Disney on-property lodging. That gives you more park time with fewer crowds. Win-win result in anybody's book. Check the Disney website ahead of time to find out which parks stay open on the days you're visiting (visit disneyworld.disney.go.com and search for "Extra Magic Hours").

Establish Allowances Per Kid
Figure out how much money you will give your kids to spend on souvenirs and try to stick that limit. Don't get angry when your kids demand more—because they will.

The first time I wheeled my four-year-old daughter down Magic Kingdom's Main Street, she pointed to the five-foot Minnie Mouse in the window and loudly said she wanted that. First I tried patiently to explain that no one really buys those life-sized dolls. To no avail. I changed my tack by offering a smaller version of the same doll. Alissa screamed harder. My husband waited with Alissa outside the store while I purchased a reasonably priced, doll-size Minnie. Of course, when I handed the gift to Alissa she threw midget Minnie on the ground. I reassured her that our Minnie would be waiting for her when she was ready. It took two Tylenol for me and lunch and a nap for Alissa until she finally accepted petite Minnie, who went on to become Alissa's favorite doll, traveling with us for years.

So the moral is: you can survive the souvenir wars. Bend the budget a little if you can, but don't be guilt-tripped into spending more than you can afford. Resist yelling back or calling your kids "ungrateful" even if those words spring immediately to mind. Stay calm, continue to walk to the attractions, and wait in line. Be a little deaf to your kids' grumbling and don't fight back. Eventually, your kids will calm down and get back into the fun of the thrill rides and attractions.


Away.com's resident family expert Candyce Stapen has written the book on family travel, having authored some 1,400 travel articles and 27 books, 26 of them on family travel. She is the winner of the 2004 "Caribbean Travel Writer of the Year for North America" award and a three-time winner of the Society of American Travel Writers' Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism award. Her articles have appeared in publications including Nick Jr , FamilyFun , Parents , Better Homes & Gardens , Conde Nast Traveler , National Geographic Traveler , and the Family Travel Network , among others. Her book, the National Geographic Guide to Caribbean Family Vacations is available from Amazon.com.

Published: 11 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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