All children at some point in their lives will want to go to Disney world, something that is not easy for a single parent on their own to manage. This single parent guide to Disney World is full of the information that you need to ensure that your trip is a successful one that is not characterized by disaster. As a single parent you will have already developed a number of techniques for surviving outings with your children on your won. These techniques need to be kept in place to offer stability to the adventure, but there are also other skills and rules that you will have to develop to complete your Disney experience with a smile on your face.
Set Clear Ground Rules Before You Arrive
Before you even leave home you need to start preparing. Firstly you need to set some ground rules. This should include things like:
- Stay together.
- Follow the instructions that come with each ride.
- If they are separated from you they should go to a park employee or another mom for help.
With older children you need to give them more freedom so discuss with them where you will meet them and at what times. Children need to be prepared for the fact that there will be many long lines that they will have to be patient in and that there may be certain rides that they will be too young to try.
Recommended Disney Services
There are a number of services offered by Disney and you should take advantage of them to make your trip go more smoothly. For example you could rent a locker at the park for around $10 a day. This will mean that you will not need to carry everything with you that your children will need and want throughout the day. In addition you have the option of renting a stroller for smaller children. There are certain areas of the park where you may not take the stroller in with you, but in those cases it can be parked outside for when you return. Renting a stroller at the park may even be easier than taking your own stroller with you.
Cut Back On Wait Time With Disney Fastpass
At Disney World there is a Fastpass option. This works in the following way:
- You will have a ticket that allows you to enter the park.
- This ticket (which is often a card) can be inserted into Fastpass machines for certain rides.
- When you insert the ticket you will be given a Fastpass which allows you to jump to the head of the queue during a specific time slot only.
- Usually you can only have one Fastpass at a time with a few exceptions. Usually you will have to wait for the time to elapse before you can get another Fastpass. In some cases the same Fastpass can be used more than once during two separate time periods.
Know Which Disney Rides Your Kids Can Go On Alone
There are a number of rides where only two people can ride at the same time. If you have more than one child with you at Disney World you will need to know which rides they can go on alone. As a single parent you will not be able to sit with both children at once and there will not be another adult around to sit with the other child for you. Consequently you need make use of the measuring sticks at the entrance to each ride which tells you whether or not your child is old enough (based on his or her height) to go on the ride alone. Then you can sit with the younger child. If they are both old enough, let them take the ride together while you wait behind. Sometimes letting your children go on rides on their own even when there is room for you is a good idea as it fosters independence. As long as your child is old enough and mature enough to handle it, this is a good idea. Many children will tell you that rides are more enjoyable for them when they are allowed to go on them on their own. This should, however, be kept as a special treat and should not be the norm for your trip.
Know Which Disney Rides Will Comfortably Fit Three People
There are a number of rides that will allow you to fit three people. Magic Kingdom offers the following rides that can seat at least three people comfortably and is one of the better parks to go to as a single parent:
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Jungle Cruise
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Walt Disney World Railroad
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- The Haunted Mansion
- It’s a Small World
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Snow White’s Scary Adventures
- Cinderella’s Golden Carousel
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Mad Tea Party
- Astro Orbiter
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
All of the Disney Parks have options that can seat a number of people. These are the better options to choose.
Note: Not all rides are suitable for children of all ages. The “Haunted Mansion” ride for example may not suit a younger child. However to a certain degree this will depend on the child’s actual character and preferences. And adventurous three year old may love a scary ride while a more skittish one would prefer to stick to more cheerful rides. You as the single parent in charge of the adventure need to decide what your children can handle and what they cannot. If you feel that your child cannot handle a ride, but they insist, perhaps consider letting them on the ride with the proviso that they must not complain if they do not like it. You will only have to do this once or twice before your child starts following your judgment. On the other hand you do not want to stifle your child’s adventurous spirit, so try to let them make as many of the decisions as you think they can handle while at the same time remaining in control of the expedition.
Build Breaks Into Your Disney Schedule
When you go to one of the Disney Parks have an approximate idea in your mind of what order you are going to do the rides in. this is because some rides are calmer than others, allowing you and your children to sit still for a little while and catch your breath. These rides should be interspersed fairly evenly with the more active ones so that your children do not become overtired. Longer rides that are more of a slow meandering story should be interspersed with rides that come with adrenalin spikes like roller coasters. Fast passes can help you plan for this as you may be able to do other rides while waiting for your allotted time period.
Disney Shows Will Allow You Longer Rest Periods
At the various Disney theme parks there are Disney shows that you and your children can watch together. This will give you a longer break than a slow ride as these last for longer periods of time, ranging from 20 to 30 minutes and are perfect for when you can see that your children need to calm down and have a break. Shows are good for the evenings when kids start getting irritable due to the excessive heat and excitement. It is essential that single parents find inventive ways to schedule subtle breaks throughout the day so that the children do not become cranky and run the risk of spoiling their enjoyment. Some children may find these shows boring and fidget, but they will still get the rest that they need, so it is worth enduring these 20 to 30 minute shows. However, as the shows are of very good quality and are generally speaking entertaining for parents and children this should not be a serious problem, as long as you do not watch too many shows on top of each other.
How To Buy A Cheap Disney Meal In The Park
It is more than possible to find cheap Disney meals in the park and you should mix and match so that your children get healthy food in. Include the following:
- A soft pretzel
- A turkey leg
- Fresh fruit
- Bottled water
- Frozen lemonade
Ensure that you and your children drink enough water throughout the day. Some packages at Disney World include meals. The ticket that you swipe to enter the park and that you swipe to get your fastpasses can also be swiped at certain restaurants. Usually you get two meals, two drinks, and two snacks a day through this system for each person who has a ticket. It is a fairly affordable way to eat at Disney World.
Use Family Bathrooms At Disney Theme Parks
A life saver for single parents at Disney World is the many family bathrooms that the parks have. This means that single parents will easily be able to go to the bathroom with children of a different gender. They are a great option for single moms traveling with sons, single dads traveling with daughters, and any single parent traveling with children of both genders. These bathrooms are usually signposted as “Companion bathrooms” and are found all over the various Disney parks. There are many of them and they are conveniently located to allow for you to avoid any bathroom accidents and to deal with bathroom needs without making a huge difference to your Disney schedule.
Budget For Souvenirs And Disney Shopping
You can’t go to Disney World without buying souvenirs and toys. Your children will simply not allow it. This can become a tearful process if children are unable to understand that they cannot have everything. A good way is to give them a daily budget for each day that you will spend at Disney World up front. This will:
- Decrease the amount of whining that ensues.
- Encourage responsible spending as they will need to make their own decisions regarding what they should spend the money on and what is not worth purchasing.
This budget is something else that should be discussed and decided on ahead of time and before you arrive at the park so that the debate does not infringe on the enjoyment of the Disney experience. You may also want to buy a few things in secret to be given to them after the trip. What you should not do is give into their every whim. Make it clear that they can’t have everything that they see and that they primarily there for the rides and not to go shopping. Spread shopping out over the duration of your stay at Disney World. Do not spend all of your shopping money on the first day (in the case of long trips) or in the first few hours (in the case of day trips). In fact it may be wise to save most of your money until the end of the trip and do all of your Disney shopping then once your children have had a chance to see what all the options are and decide what they really want more than anything else.
Travelling to Disney world with your children as a single parent will not be easy. However there are ways to make it easier for you and, just because you are a single mom or a single dad, this doesn’t mean that you need to avoid places like Disney World. This single parent guide to Disney world is full of useful tips and advice about how to survive this trip without anything major going wrong. Your attitude as the parent will help here as if you appear competent and certain about what you do, your children will feel safe and be more likely to listen to you.