Planning on tackling the Disney Parks alone with the kids? I have completed quite a few trips to Disney World and Disneyland solo with two kids under the age of six – here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of doing Disney World solo or outnumbered by children.
1. Pick Your Disney Park Wisely
If you are outnumbered or traveling alone with very small children, it is best not to charge straight into New Fantasyland in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. This is the heart of long lines and extreme waiting times. On our last visit, even the lines for food were quite long with the newest restaurant Be Our Guest being almost a two-hour wait for quick service food.
If you will be visiting Disney World Resorts for more than a day, I suggest visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom first. Like the other parks it has rides, characters visits and all things Disney. The difference being that the park itself has a slower vibe to it. I never feel pressed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to rush off to the next ride or show. Make sure to check out Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. It is easier to find seats for this parade compared to the parades at the Magic Kingdom.
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2. Pick Your Resort Based on Location
As much as I loved Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, I found it very difficult to get my kids to and from the Magic Kingdom. My advice is that once you determine which park you will be spending most of your time at, you should book the closest resort to that park that is in your price range. Although Disney runs free bus service from all the resorts, it is easier to get back to resorts like Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa which is a quick boat ride away and also accessible by the Disney monorail.
When booking your resort, be sure to check where on the actual resort property your room will be located. A Finding Nemo room at Disney’s Art of Animation resort is approximately 100 yards from the bus stop but the furthest Little Mermaid room is at least a ten minute walk from the bus stop. Important information when your exhausted body is trying to carry two kids back to the room after a day in the parks.
3. Don’t Try and Do It All
A lot of parents feel pressured to make sure their kids get to do and see everything at Walt Disney World. The fact of the matter is that you will never be able to do it all. Being the mother of a 4 year old girl and 5 year old boy, I like to divide what we do based on interests and the height of the children. Will understands that he cannot ride any rides that Charlie is not tall enough for. Charlie also understands that we cannot spend the entire day waiting to meet the princesses.
While we were visiting, the line to meet Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen was 380 minutes. Some parents had one parent stand in line while the other parent visited the park with their children. You simply cannot do that – and should not feel compelled to. Your children will not remember years from now the one or two things they missed. They will remember all the fun things you did as a family.
4. Ask for Help
Disney has no official accommodation policy for solo parents visiting with more than one child. Still, I have had wonderful experiences with very helpful Disney staff in the past. I have asked for help carrying food trays, finding tables and getting around with strollers and have never had any Disney cast member say no.
On our recent trip to Disney, I checked out Disney’s recommended childcare service, Kid’s Nite Out. The service provides babysitters that will accompany you to the park and provide babysitting at the resort. This eliminates the problems with height restrictions and provides help while waiting in long lines. I used the service one night and was really pleased with our sitter. She came prepared with activities based on the kid’s age and sent me on my way. I was able to enjoy a late night out at Epcot alone knowing the kids were safely sleeping back at the Resort.
The Kid’s Nite Out service is a considerable additional cost at $18.50 per hour for two children with a 4 hour minimum. You must also pay the park admission for the sitter if a sitter with a season pass is not available on the day you require help. Still, it is worth considering if you are feeling overwhelmed or think it would make your trip easier on you.
I love visiting Disney solo with my kids and if you follow these tips, you can have a great experience with yours, too.