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Disney Parks Moms Panel’s Maximize Your Magic Series: Making Magic with Preschoolers

Lisa Mendillo

by , Sr. Manager, Digital Integration

What an incredible week it has been looking at all the different reasons why you should plan your next Walt Disney World Resort getaway as soon as possible. Today, we are ending our series with a solid itinerary for those with little ones planning a five-day stay.

Tip #1 Select the best ticket option for you and your family.

Veronica finds the most value when she purchases theme park tickets with the park hopper plus option. “I suggest at least a three-day ticket when you’re visiting for five-days. This way you will have access to all four theme parks for three-days and plus options that include water park access for another three-days and, your choice of miniature golf or an ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex visit. It’s a great value!”

Two kids wearing Mickey ears hold hands

Tip #2 Start your day as early as possible.

Little ones like to rise early, so take advantage of this sometimes not so convenient habit during your Disney vacation. Guests staying at a Disney Resort and other hotels, can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours where they can spend extra time in one of the theme parks each day, and this can be before it opens. During this time, Guests can enjoy select attractions and experiences with fewer Guests in the parks.

And don’t forget, every morning from September 1 to November 2, 2019, Guest can enjoy even more time at select theme parks with “Extra” Extra Magic Hours!

Missy encourages early rising families to head over to Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. “By arriving early, we can usually experience several of our kids’ favorite attractions with very little waiting, and then we begin using our scheduled FastPass+ selections later in the morning.”

Minnie Mouse greets guests at Chef Mickey's

Tip #3 Make the most of Character Dining 

According to Ashley P., parents do not want to miss the opportunity of booking a Character Dining experience as little ones can enjoy a kid-friendly meal and unforgettable interactions with their favorite Disney Characters. Spending time with favorite Characters at meals, can also save you time in the parks waiting to meet some of your little one’s favorite friends. A few of our panel’s favorites include Cinderella’s Royal Table, The Crystal Palace, Chef Mickey’s and Tusker House Restaurant

Parent tip: Be sure to have a camera and an autograph book ready! Also check for last minute dining reservations during “off” dining times. You never know when a cancellation could mean a reservation for you! And lastly, remember dining during “off” meal times may give you and your family the ability to check off attractions faster while other families are enjoying a meal together.

Family watches movie in a Disney Resort Hotel room

Tip #4 Plan for down time!

There is no doubt that when a little one is done for the day, they are done. For this very reason, be sure you make time each day for some down time at your Disney Resort Hotel

Anne Marie reminds parents to build in time for free play and naps. Many Disney Resort hotels have playground equipment and don’t forget the amazingly themed-pools at each resort. She adds to be flexible and realize in that moment, maybe all your preschooler truly needs at that moment is an ice cream and a dip on the pool.

Disney’s complimentary transportation makes it easy to head back to your Disney Resort hotel for a swim or nap in the afternoon. And with a Park Hopper ticket, you can easily head back to your kids’ favorite park in the evening for even more magic and fun. 

Tip #5 Plan a surprise moment during your five-day stay!

At Magic Kingdom Park preschoolers can be transformed at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and The Pirates League, remember to make advanced reservations when planning your vacation. 

Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, kids can complete challenges and collect more than 30 sticker badges to become an official Wilderness Explorer just like Russell from the Disney-Pixar film Up! To get started, visit headquarters as you enter Discovery Island from the Oasis for a field guide. A truly fun adventure for your Wilderness Explorer!

Tip #6 Ending the days in the most magical ways.

“By the end of the day, our kids have some tired little legs from our adventures throughout the parks, so we like to find a spot early for watching one of the many nighttime spectacular events,” exclaims Tabitha. “This time of rest is a perfect opportunity to pick up a snack like Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar, find a bench somewhere and talk about everyone’s favorite activity of the day. Seeing the excitement on the faces of our little ones is what it’s all about!” 

Parent tip: Did you know several of the Disney Resort hotels offer great fireworks viewing all from the comfort of your room in your favorite jammies? This is also a great idea for those little ones who might not be a big fan of loud noises.

A few of the panelists’ favorite nighttime events include Happily Ever After, Rivers of Light: We Are One, Tree of Life Awakenings, and Fantasmic! 

“Strolling out of the park hand in hand with a balloon tied to our backpack is the sign of a truly magical and inspiring day,” reflects Lindsey M.

It’s been a fantastic week, and we hope our tips have helped you plan your next Walt Disney World Resort vacation. For even more great tips and suggestions on planning your trip with preschoolers, or for general Disney vacation planning questions, come visit us at the and get a personal answer from one of our knowledgeable panelists. 

Panelists receive compensation for their participation on the Disney Parks Moms Panel.


  • If doing character dining I also recommend the buffets, since it’s free for under 3. We never leave the parks once there, we just plan no fast passes during naps and stroll around in the stroller. We also have a rest day or two in between park visits as well.

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