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Cindy enjoying a hammock at the beach of the Polynesian Resort

Cindy Lynn's
Magical Adventures

A Mom’s Perspective on
Doing Disney with Kids

Part 1  Don’t Be a Packhorse

I am a single mother of 3 girls and have taken my family to Disney world on several occasions.   Here is what I told a friend of mine who is preparing for her first trip to the world with 2 children, in August. Hot! Hot! Hot! Get prepared.

You can average walking about 10 miles a day, so get in shape.  They, the kids, have more energy, move faster, and are a lot of fun if you can keep up with them.  Wear good supportive shoes, plan sit down meals in air conditioning, and rise early with a scheduled trip back to your resort in the afternoon.  The best ride at the world is the bus, trust me.  The days in the world are really 2 days long if you can get that break around 3 pm.  I have had glorious fun with my kids in the world, I have had other times when I was the glaring pack horse following them around.  The key is to strike a balance here, like we do every day, where I am the Mom in charge, but I can still have fun with my kids and act a little silly sometimes.  We want to be safe, comfortable and each family member should have a good time, including Mom.

What to pack:

      Spritzing fan – you can purchase these at the world, but if you remember to take one from home you’ll save yourself about $20, each.  I found that if each child has their own (especially in the summer months) my life was easier.  I didn’t need one for myself because they get a big kick out of making me squeal, and I often was carrying someone else’s anyway.  Establish rules for spritzing the very first morning – don’t spritz anyone in the face, do not twirl it with the strap and risk smacking some stranger with it, and make a game of spotting the water fountains for refills.

      Disposable rain ponchos are .88 at Walmart, $8 at the resort.  I packed 2 for each family member and we were always prepared for that afternoon downpour, and were able to keep moving through the parks on any drizzly days.   We spent a glorious drizzly day at MGM one year when everyone else left the park because of rain.  They also come in handy on water rides and sitting on Main Street for the parades.  They are folded so compactly that you can carry one in your pack, and I even used one to wrap the wet clothes in till I could get back to our room after a particularly active afternoon.

      Chapstick – It helps, I promise.  Of course, this is probably easier with girls, but it protects from sunburned lips, thirst, and gives them something to do when standing in line.  A mirror is also good for those middle school aged girls!  It can entertain them for hours!

      Hand sanitizer-it just made me feel better, and I found some tiny bottles that were easy to carry in their pack.

      Water Bottle Strap – These can be found from some of the drink vendors.  I found mine on Main Street.  I quickly learned that if the kids are carrying their own drink, they will drink more.  Keeping everyone well hydrated is important at the parks in the summer.

      A hat.  One that protects from the sun and heat. 

      Sunglasses are required.

      Fanny pack or SMALL backpack – the first time I took the kids, I carried everybody’s stuff.  Wrong.  Strap something onto the ones with all the energy and you’ll stand a chance of keeping up.  I put all the above items on my kids on the next trips and the whole family was much happier.

Now, you may not realize it, but you have an activity pack strapped to each of your children.  Get in line for Space Mountain, Test Trak, or Soarin.  Its shady, there’s a little breeze and you are going to be standing here for about an hour.  These have been some of our best family moments.  Use this time to talk to your kids, they aren’t going anywhere.  Refresh your sunscreen, sip your water, grease your lips, talk about boys, choose a college, write a poem.   I carry a backpack of items that no one else has just for these slower, more relaxing times:

      fruit chews or gummies have been the favorite over the years.  They are sweet, individually packaged with a variety of flavors

      individual packs of some salty treat – peanut butter crackers, pretzels, nuts.  Chips don’t work well because I usually smash them in my backpack somewhere between Big Thunder and that Yetti.

      Bandaids, advil, nail clippers – I’ve always seemed to need those daily

      Sunscreen-the good stuff.  You have to carry this because it needs refreshed during the day.  Do everything you can to avoid living with a kid with sunburned shoulders and nose.  We don’t want anyone to be miserable on Day 2 of the trip!  Just take it with you, and use it.

      My extra shoes. I learned quickly that if I can change my shoes my legs last longer.  I usually start out in socks and sneakers, but by mid morning, I’m ready for my sandals.  The kids switch to sandals earlier than I.  And I don’t know how, but those girls of mine could walk around Magic Kingdom all day in flip-flops, not me, and I wouldn’t allow them to do that until they were old enough to deal with the consequences of such radical behavior. 

I wouldn’t trade our family vacations at Disney for anything.  They are some of our most precious memories.  It has also been the scene of some of our more trying times.  Over the years, we have learned how to reduce those tense episodes.  Include rest in your itinerary, go with the knowledge that there is no possible way to do everything, and when Mom starts to lag behind, stop and have an ice cream.


Cindy Lynn's Magical Adventures Articles
A Mom's Perspective On Doing Disney With Kids - Part 1 - Don't Be A Packhorse
A Mom's Perspective On Doing Disney With Kids - Part 2 - The Thrills
Disney Adult R&R
May I See Your Pins, Please?
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
A 4 Day Cruise On The Disney Wonder
Bay Lake Tower At Disney's Contemporary Resort
Advantages of DVC (Disney Vacation Club)


Cindy Welch is a huge fan of Disney World and all it has to offer. She practically raised her kids there, and continues to visit at least once a year. She is now a member of the Disney Vacation Club.

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