As one of the top family vacation destinations, Orlando brings in an amazing amount of families over the summer months. Guests come from all over to enjoy the theme parks and escape day to day reality for a few days with their families, making memories of a lifetime. Our family is no exception.
Orlando is our destination every summer, and this year we are hitting both Universal Studios AND Walt Disney World. Regardless if your trip takes you to the streets of Diagon Alley or Main Street USA, I have put together some tips in hopes that your family will have a fabulous summer vacation to your favorite Orlando theme park!
Plan to involve everyone of all ages
Of course, you have chosen a destination with something for everyone. But as you plan your park days, it is a good idea to plan a little bit to keep everyone happy ~ including yourself.
This may mean spending the morning in Diagon Alley and the afternoon at Seuss Landing. Or, if you have older kids who want a little independence, they can explore the parks on their own with a meet up spot later for lunch or dinner with the family.
Starting your vacation with plans and activities that meet everyone’s “must do” list is so important! It sets the stage for an awesome time!
RELATED READING: Walt Disney World with a Preschooler
Keep track of everyone’s park tickets
Even though Magic Bands make it so easy to charge to the room, tap into the parks and Fastpasses, and basically have everything you need….they still can get lost.
Have a designated pocket in your park bag, or even consider wearing it around your neck on a lanyard to keep track of it. Another good option is to wear your child’s MagicBand if you are concerned that he or she will lose theirs.
Traveling to Universal Orlando? The best way to keep track of tickets, keys, and Express Passes is in lanyards. Universal sells the perfect lanyard for this, with a waterproof plastic pocket, and keeps everything you need close to you.
RELATED READING: Top 10 Tips for Your First Walt Disney World Family Vacation
Remember to pack an external charger for your phone
Some theme parks have designated charging stations. Or, you can purchase a small and light portable charger and charge your device in your bag or at meals while you are touring the parks.
These come in SO handy, especially when you are using battery life with the My Disney Experience or Universal Orlando apps.
These are extremely helpful in the parks, but also drain battery. Plus you are using your camera on your phone, maybe sharing to social media. And with a family, chances are your kiddos have devices as well.
An external charger is one of the most important things you can pack for your trip.
Let your luggage do double duty
Consider taking your backpack as a carry on, or handy bag in the car if you are road tripping. Then, double this as a park bag when you are in Orlando.
When packing your park bag, consider a quart size ziplock with travel size essentials. Sunscreen, hand sanitizer, etc. take up less space in your bag as travel size. And, keeping them contained in a smaller bag makes them easy to access.
Be prepared to battle any minor health issues
Ibuprofen, allergy meds, sunscreen, aloe, and motion sickness medications should be at the top of your packing list. You want these handy, and to be ready for anything. Also, a small first aid kit, or just band aids, is a great idea as well.
Taking an afternoon break is the best way to keep everyone happy
The Universal hotels make this so easy, in my opinion. They are all so close to the parks, even walkable in a lot of cases. This makes going back so easy, and then you can swim and rest. Return for the evening if you want to enjoy some more of the parks. Or, head to Citywalk for a fun meal and some shopping.
Walt Disney World runs a variety of transportation to the resorts from the parks, and some are easier to access and less time consuming than others. But, a break is well worth it no matter what! Planning a 2-3 hour break will help everyone regroup and be ready for a fun evening.
Stay hydrated and cool
Orlando is warm all year round….but in the summer months, it is HOT. There are many ways to stay cool and hydrated, and it is so important to make the effort to do so. Like I mentioned above, going back to the resort to swim is a great idea.
Secondly, consider investing in a misting fan – here’s one similar to the ones sold in the parks (park ones are $20+!). This small carabiner keychain fan gets many positive reviews as well. We are going on year 3 of using our Disney misting fan!
Most quick service locations will give guests free cups of ice water, so take advantage of that! We also use a small stainless steel travel mug and carry it in our park bag. We fill it with ice and water in the morning, and the ice lasts a large portion of the day. It doesn’t take up a lot of room in our backpack, and gives us the opportunity to sip water all day long.
Above all, be flexible
This is the most important. No amount of research or rope dropping is going to prepare you for every situation. Your kids may love the lazy river at Cabana Bay so much, that they want to just float the day away. Or perhaps your teenager needs to try every churro in every theme park. So be it! The point is to have a plan, and expectations right next to a heavy dose of flexibility. Everyone will be happier!
You can easily visit multiple theme parks in Orlando in one visit. There is so much for everyone, and getting around both Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World properties is so easy!