The summer is here and that makes it the best time for a trip to the land of Walt Disney and his imagination. Whether you’re planning on visiting Disneyland, Disneyworld, or to hop on one of the international Disney cruises, there are a few things you need to remember before diving into the House of Mouse and all of the adventures inside. ParkDIA wants to help you make your trip something memorable, which is why we’re diving into this theme park themed checklist.
Be Sure To Pack
True, there’s a lot to be packed already when you plan any trip. You need to bring weather appropriate clothing, toiletries, pajamas, wallets, and tickets. But whether you’re traveling to sunny Orlando, cheery Anaheim, or out onto the open waters, here’s a few more things you’ll want to consider adding to your checklist to pack or pick up once you reach your destination.
No matter which park you go to, you’ll be out in the sun most of the day. The summer sun is no joke no matter which coast you travel to, and definitely dangerous out on the ocean where the water is reflecting it back at you. Make sure you pack or pick up plenty of sunscreen to prevent serious burns that will ruin your trip.
You are going to be standing in lines the whole way there and back again. Whether it’s at the airport, in lines for a roller coaster, or waiting to get a signature from Mickey Mouse, you’ll be on your feet all day long. Be sure to pack something comfortable to be standing in line for all that time!
The sun is a serious concern, not just for sunburn, but also for overheating. Bring your own portable shade with a comfy hat to cut down on the risk for sunburn and help to keep you cool. While you’re at it, a pair of sunglasses wouldn’t hurt either.
If we haven’t made the point clear already, the sun is a super serious threat while you’re at a theme park. Your entire daytime is going to be spent outside. However, it’s almost inevitable that someone is going to get a sunburn. Don’t let a sunburn keep you stuck in your hotel room, so pack some kind of burn cream or aloe to heal up those pink patches.
With everything we’ve already listed, on top of anything you pick up, you’re going to have your hands full in a hurry. Picking up a big bag to carry all of your belongings can cut down on the hassle, and also provides an easy option to leave your belongings all together when you go on your next roller coaster.
Going to a park like Disney means getting to see plenty of characters from your favorite shows and movies. Be sure to pack a notebook or journal that your kids can get signatures in from their favorite characters to go along with those adorable photos. Grab a pen while you’re at it; Minnie Mouse doesn’t have a lot of pockets for pens.
Get There Early
Theme parks are already incredibly busy places, but summertime is a whole other story. Everyone is traveling to visit their favorite characters and try the new roller coasters, and big theme parks are particular targets to the rush. If you want to beat the lines, make sure you get up early, and we mean early.
Disney parks are open at eight, but you should be leaving your hotel around seven to be at the front of the line ahead of everyone else coming in to get there at eight too. Further, getting there early will give you a couple of hours without the summer heat, and you’ll be at the head of most of the lines. Make sure you head to the rides you can’t miss on your trip in these early hours before those lines get crazy long so you don’t have to leave before the park closes without getting a chance to ride.
Cast Members Are Still People
It can be exciting, particularly for children, to see their favorite Disney characters and become a little overwhelmed with that happiness. But it’s important to remember that there’s still an actor in there. This is definitely easier to separate for parents, though the wait in the summer sun can make it a grumpy wait for Ariel to take a picture with your family. Remember though that the cast members are out in that sun too, acting and in costume. While you shouldn’t ruin the illusion for children, try to remind them that even the villains are out here in the sun to say hi, and they should be kind and say thank you, even to Maleficent.
On the other hand, your child may be scared of the Disney cast, particularly those in the giant costumes like Goofy and Donald who tower over even Mom and Dad. If your child is nervous about saying hi to their favorite Disney cast member because of how big they are, try to help them build up the courage by seeing a few other cast members who aren’t in bulky costumes first so that they don’t pass when they get the opportunity to get Pluto’s signature.
Also, get signatures from cast members who aren’t popular Disney characters or even if you don’t like that character. Acting all day is a lot of work and getting to play their characters for your family can make the day of cast members who don’t live up to the excitement of Mickey Mouse. This goes for the villains too!
Lines Are Going To Be Long
Unless you spring for a Fast Pass, you will be in lines for most of the day. And that’s ok! One of the great things about Disney parks is that even in lines, the park has plenty to look at. There are always Hidden Mickeys to look for while waiting in line, giving you a guessing game on where the next one will be while you’re waiting.
Lines are also a great time to reapply sunscreen because, like we’ve said, the sun is a serious concern while you are outside all day. Once you finish that, take a look over the map to plan on where you want to go next after you finish the ride and orient yourself from the exit on how you would get there. This can cut down on having to do the same thing when you leave the ride and get you on the way to the next stop on your trip.
Beware the Souvenir Shops
If you didn’t know already, let us break some of the Disney magic — everything is overpriced inside the park. While some things may be necessary to get inside the park, like food, there are some things that you are going to want to plan on steering clear of as much as you can if you’re trying to avoid spending extra on this trip.
When you do go through gift stores, make sure your child understands they have a limit on how many souvenirs they can get. If you can’t afford any, then make sure to avoid these shops altogether to avoid ruining that Disney magic for them as well. If you’re not sure, then leave this trip for the last day, so your child isn’t seeing a bunch of things they would want the whole time and limit their scope of what they will be able to pick out.
Plan For Breaks
There is a lot to see at Disney, no matter where you go. You will not see all of it; there’s simply too much. That being the case, worry less about riding every single ride, and focus on the ones you really want to ride. Once you have a more relaxed day planned, start adding in breaks. This should go passed just your lunch break to a couple of sit down breaks between meals to give everyone a chance to rest, reapply sunscreen, and check the map.
This also gives you time to plan for new events you weren’t aware of. There are all kinds of events going on at Disney parks that you may not have planned on seeing while you were there. Finding out there’s a parade of all the Disney Princesses may change your afternoon plans if your child hasn’t been able to see Aurora yet. Having these points planned in your day to adjust and pivot your day will make sure you can still do the fun things everyone wants to do without cutting out parts for someone else.
Park Your Car Somewhere Safe
If you’re going to be gone for a long time, costs for parking at DIA are going to skyrocket. Don’t come home to a big long term parking fee from DIA that will put a damper on your magical trip. Be sure to leave your car somewhere safe and affordable. ParkDIA promises both of those at our offsite long term parking only five minutes from DIA. Start your Disney adventure without worrying about where your car will be. Book your reservation at our lot today.