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Preparing Young Children for a Disney Vacation

A Disney vacation is supposed to be a dream trip, but it can be overwhelming for adults. Imagine how a small child can feel! Here are a few ways to prepare your children for your Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacation.

Toy Story Land
Credit: Paula K

Start by familiarizing your children with the different stories that they will encounter. This can be a great bonding experience. Read books that feature characters that you will see on your vacation. You don’t have to read the original, a Disney-fied version will do.

Related: Visiting Disneyland Resort: What You Need to Know

Play is another good way to prepare your children. Buzz Lightyear and Slinky Dog toys can give them an idea of what they will see in Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World. Take a Remy toy (or something that could pass for Remy) and pretend that you are scurrying through the kitchen.

If it’s Disneyland that you’re visiting, play ‘Monsters, Inc.’ with your children. Not only will it prepare them for a ride that they will love, it might help them to know that monsters are nothing to be scared of.

Mike & Sully to the Rescue
Credit: Disney Dreamer

Disney+ can be a help, but it is up to you how much time you want your children watching television. Children tend to want to watch the same thing over and over again, so try to steer them in a new direction. Focus primarily on stories that have ties to the Disney Parks.

Related: If You’re Traveling With Young Children…

You will also want to work on preparing your children physically. Even if you have a stroller, there will still be some walking. Take a walk daily, and tell the kids that it is practice for Walt Disney World or Disneyland! Make sure you have comfortable shoes for every member of your family.

Once your trip gets closer, let your children help with the planning. Take the kids shopping with you and let them pick out cute Disney shirts to wear on vacation. Talk about family friendly rides, and let each child pick one must-do.

Related: My Review of Goofy’s Kitchen

Skip the Theme Parks the day that you arrive. Instead, book a character meal for dinner. That will get the kids used to seeing the characters. Traveling will make everyone tired, and you’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep and be ready to hit a Park in the morning.

Gooofy's Kitchen at Disneyland
Credit: Paula K

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Paula K

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH, and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married, and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010, we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the Parks. Under the name Paula Brown, I penned the novels 'Dream Wanderers' and 'The Coffee Cruiser'. I also am a co-author of 'Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide'. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida.

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