The Dad’s Guide to Surviving a Disney Vacation

Mickey Mouse

A family trip to Disneyland will be a wonderful vacation that you’ll remember for years to come. That doesn’t mean, however, that everything will come together into the perfect day without some planning and effort. While there are a number of basic tips that everyone should follow, here’s a dad’s guide on how to maintain your perspective and good humor while navigating the happiest place on earth.

Prepare Your Wallet

There’s a joke amongst Disney-bound parents that goes something like this: Take a 100-dollar bill and flush it down the toilet. When you can do this without flinching, you’re ready for your Disney vacation.

In all seriousness, though, don’t do this—you’ll need that C-note (and many more) in the days ahead. There are other ways to prepare your wallet for the drubbing it will take, although you should remain realistic about the fact that Disney is not a budget destination.

You can somewhat lessen the ouch in your bank account by looking for discounted tickets. Purchase multi-day passes to save the amount you spend per day on park admission. If all your children are under the age of 10, you’ll save even more, as anyone over that age is considered an adult by Disney ticketing standards. If your hotel offers a free continental breakfast, take advantage of that before leaving for the parks in the morning, and purchase meals from counter-service establishments whenever possible.

Bring the Basics

It is best to travel light at Disneyland. However, while it can be tempting to bring nothing but your park pass, your phone, and your wallet, you’ll be glad to have the following items on hand:

  • Foam first aid tape, such as Nexcare (in case of blisters)
  • Mirrored sunglasses
  • Phone charger
  • Sunscreen

Stash them in a fanny pack, and you’re good to go. If your child is at an age when he or she needs a stroller, it is best to bring a cheap, lightweight stroller as opposed to an expensive, bulky beast that you have to push around all day (and which might get stolen). In addition to these basics, it may be smart to bring a travel pillow for sleeping on the go. Whether your child needs extra support to nap in the stroller or if you need to snag a nap in your car, you’ll both be glad to have the extra support. Disney is certainly fun, but all that fun can also be exhausting.

Keep an Open Mind

Disney entertainment is full of surprises, and often contains more depth than you might expect. Some of the experiences you might be looking forward to the least could turn out to provide the foundation for the best memories of your trip. The bottom line? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Though we’ve referred to this as a survival guide, it’s really more of a primer to ensure that you get the most out of your trip. Once you’ve experienced the magic of Disney, you’ll likely want to return again and again.

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