Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World Orlando with Children

My 10 year old son and I have been frequent visitors to Walt Disney World Resort (WDW) in Orlando, Florida since he was 2 years old. The four theme parks we visit at WDW are Disney’s Animal Kingdom (our favorite), Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We are sharing some learnings and tips from our visits to Disney World.

I use these travel tips for WDW Orlando Parks in combination with my personal and business travel checklist.

What to bring to the parks

💡 We recommend carrying a backpack into the park containing the following useful items. The weather in this area is usually hot and rainy. My son and I often visit WDW for a week during the July holiday season and for another week after Christmas through New Years’ Day.

💡 Be sure to review the list of items not allowed in the parks. I once had a jacket with an attached whistle and had to discard the whistle to enter the park.

💡 Carry a transparent and waterproof backpack. It has often rained when I was at Disney Parks. #rain 

Transparent and waterproof backpack

💡 Be aware that items in your backpack may trigger the security alarm when you enter the parks. Be prepared to allow inspection of your bags. So don’t pack them too tight and consider using a transparent backpack.

💡 The Kali River Rapids ride now allows you to take your (waterproof) backpack on the ride, we learned on August 23, 2022. In previous years, pre the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to store our backpacks in lockers for the Kali River Rapids ride.

💡 Bring a portable waterproof umbrella. I recommend davek New York.

💡 Keep a light summer-weather friendly rain-jacket with a waterproof hoodie in your backpack. These are preferable to flimsy ponchos that can easily tear and are harder to do things in. Wear shorts or quick drying or waterproof pants. 

💡 Wear water-friendly shoes in the park. Your shoes are likely to get wet on water rides and when it rains. #rain

💡 Bring Klean Canteen or similar insulated flask that keeps water cold. Storing beverages in plastic bottles or non-insulated containers will quickly make them warm and no longer enjoyable to drink as you walk around in the hot weather in the park. This will save you money compared to buying bottled water because there are many free water and ice refilling stations all over Disney parks. Staff at most restaurants at Disney Parks happily let you refill your water bottle for free. Even if you purchase cold drinks, your flask will keep them cold. This is especially useful if you are carrying a transparent backpack which may have a greenhouse-like warming effect. Bring one flask per person in your party.

💡 Bringing a high quality water filter while traveling is important for access to clean water, cost savings, and control over water quality. Bring a Greyl or similar water filter for use in your hotel room. Also, bring protein powder to make shakes if you work out daily including during vacations

💡 Use Siri to set an alarm 15 mins before each Lightning Lane reservation 

💡 Consider wearing a secure fanny pack or clothing with zippered pockets to keep your wallet, keys, and phone secure and with you on rides.

💡 Consider carrying a camera such as GoPro or a mirrorless camera to take photos and videos to conserve your phone’s battery, specially when visiting the park with a child. Using a dedicated camera will also help you stay off your mobile phone and be more present in enjoying and staying safe in the parks. #children #safety #mindfullness #phone 

(At the parks we met this gentleman with a GoPro camera. Photo taken with permission.)

💡 Get the Disney app on your phone. It is (almost) necessary these days. It has a map of each park and tells you standby wait times for rides. #phone 

💡 Get and wear Disney magic bands. This way you will avoid having to take your ticket cards/passes/phone out of your pocket/wallet dozens of times. #phone

Disney Magic Bands

💡 Use the mobile order function in the app to order food at non-fine-dining table service restaurants. #food  #phone 

💡 Consider staying on a Disney Property. They have excellent transportation to and from the parks.

💡 Learn about significant changes to the parks since your previous visit.

💡 Check the weather before each day’s visit to the parks. However, always pack necessities for rain, regardless of the forecast. #rain

💡Wearing a sun hat will not only protect you from the sun, but also provide additional coverage when it rains.

Sun hat

💡 Keep a phone battery charger external battery and regular phone charging cable in your backpack. You can keep the charging brick on the side pocket of your backpack where water bottles are kept and keep your phone attached to it. This way you can keep taking photos even when your phone is low on battery. I recommend a normal charge cable, not the multi-tip cables as they get disconnected easily while moving.

Safety Plans for Children

💡 When traveling with children, tether a mobile phone to the child so they don’t lose it. Quadlock case works well for this. Or, have them wear an Apple Watch with a secure strap.

QuadLock case used to tether a phone to a child.

QuadLock case used to tether a phone to a child.

💡 When traveling with children, set a meeting spot with them in advance. Aim to pick a meeting spot which has rain shelter. Otherwise, if rains hard, the child may not be able to stay there if the spot is not rain sheltered.

💡 Have your child memorize your phone number and email address. Help them remember using a daily practice quiz every morning before heading to the parks.

💡 Teach your children how to identify Disney staff (called cast members by Disney) in the parks. They are friendly and helpful. Feel welcome to ask them questions.

💡 On one of our trips, my son and I wore N-95 masks due to concerns about COVID-19, the flu, and other airborne respiratory risks. Especially since we wore sun hats and I also wear eyeglasses, I converted the two behind-head elastic band loops on my N-95 mask to behind the ear loops. I did this by cutting the two bands in the middle and reattaching them on the same sides. This made it easier for me to take my mask on and off and then enter and exit crowded places. Warning: This is not medical advice. Modifying an N-95 mask this way is likely to reduce its effectiveness by potentially weakening its sealing around the nose and mouth.

Warning: This is not medical advice. Modifying an N-95 mask this way is likely to reduce its effectiveness by potentially weakening its sealing around the nose and mouth.

💡 Have Fun!

By Rajiv Pant

Rajiv Pant राजीव पंत 潘睿哲