Disney World And Disneyland Tips For Your Next Family Vacation

Magic and whimsy aside, a trip to Disney World or Disneyland can be exhausting and overwhelming ― unless you have some tips from insiders.

We asked the HuffPost Parents community on Facebook for the best tips and tricks for surviving a trip to Disney World or Disneyland ― and for getting the most out of it.

From affordable souvenirs to packing lists, check out their advice below:

“If you bring or rent a stroller, bring along a battery-operated string of Christmas lights to put on the handle. Makes it easy to find your stroller at the stroller parking areas in the dark!” ― Jenifer Wehmeyer

“Order food online on the My Disney Experience app for pick-up ― hardly any wait!” ― Jenn Sims

“The line to meet the characters is practically empty during the fireworks.” ― Samantha Wagner

“Bring a portable USB battery charger to charge phones throughout the day. The days are long and battery is drained from using [the Disney] app and taking pics!” ― Lauren Printke

“Get glow sticks at the Dollar Store and bring them to avoid the kids asking to buy some of the items at the night shows.” ― Kristen Hicks

Disney World features Cinderella’s Castle, while Disneyland is home to Sleeping Beauty’s.

“Make sure you take a break at the baby care centers if you have little ones. They are always quiet and never busy. Also, the First Aid center has actual nurses working, heaven forbid you need help, that are experienced and super helpful.” ― Tracy Cady

“Bring a roll of pennies and quarters. My 5-year-old loved hunting down the pressed penny machines scattered around the parks. And it is a super cheap souvenir, too.” ― Sara Neale

“Biggest tip is wear sunscreen, use Fast Pass and remember Disney is not always the happiest place on Earth. Little people get overstimulated. If you have a child with a disability make sure you notify a cast member to help reduce meltdowns in lines.” ― Angela Lamoureux

“The big bag of lollipops from Target and a box of the little party favor mini bubble wands. Hand them out to kids waiting in longer lines. Pass them out to literally any melting-down kids around you for everyone’s sanity sake! (We always try to discreetly ask parents before handing out any goodies in case the parent says no thanks.) I would also recommend lots of Wet Wipes. It’s not always easy to find a bathroom to wash hands before sitting down to eat.” ― Kim Mansfield

“Rider switch [on select rides]! If a kid in your group can’t go on a ride, one adult can stay with the kid while the other takes the other kid/kids/no kid on the ride. Then the adult who didn’t get to go can go through [the appropriate entrance without waiting in the regular line] with up to two more people from your group. It’s fantastic!” ― Danielle Fauske

Mickey-shaped balloons are among the popular souvenirs at the Disney parks. 

Mickey-shaped balloons are among the popular souvenirs at the Disney parks. 

“Take your time, don’t have expectations to be able to do everything, bring A TON of snacks (the kids burn it off quickly with everything they’re taking in), take a lot of pictures, and bring a phone charger.” ― Stefanie Buangan-Gee

“Enjoy some pin trading. It’s a great interaction with the cast members.” ― Suzy Chow

“We’re Disney junkies. Cooling towels, [comfortable] walking sneakers, battery packs.” ― Jaime Lynn

“Watch the rides on YouTube before your trip. That will help your children get used to the ride and know what to expect.” ― Erin Kim (submitted from a post on her blog The Momming Worker)

“Best tip was a random piece of advice from a total stranger. Book dinner at Wine Country Trattoria at Disneyland, which includes [packages with] passes to the preferred viewing area for the nighttime World of Color show. Made a chaotic evening much more civilized ― not to mention that alcohol is served at the restaurant.” ― Amy McHugh

“Make your own autograph books. The cast members really love looking at them. Grab your Fast Passes as soon as you can and get them for early morning. You can’t get more until all are used. We learned that the hard way. Obviously wear comfortable shoes and bring some flip-flops for the water rides. Schedule sit-down meals so you can rest. Also when doing so try to plan character meals. Then you aren’t standing in line wasting riding time.” ― Mary Mullenix

Submissions have been edited and condensed for clarity.