EVERY visit to a Disney destination is a magical one! But when it’s your child’s first visit, you want ways to add that extra dose of pixie dust!
Here on the Middle of the Magic Travel Parent Panel, we have 24 children between us, so we have some experience with first visits! Here are a few magical ideas to make your child’s first visit extra-special:
*Choose cute outfits! You will be taking A LOT of pictures, so be sure you pack up adorable costumes, matching shirts, and all the Disney gear! If you have older children, be sure to check Disney’s costume guidelines here, but children up to the age of 14 are welcome to dress up for the parks. Tip: watch out for anything itchy or scratchy, which could potentially become irritating to skin later in the day. And don’t forget special new pj’s for dreamy vacation nights, too.
*Add Memory Maker photo package to your vacation package! When you’ve got a lot of vacation pictures, you can’t beat the value of Memory Maker! Adding it gives you unlimited downloads of ALL your vacation pictures and videos- even if you take hundreds! And, possibly most importantly, letting Disney photographers take your pictures means you finally get to be IN them, not just behind the camera. Wouldn’t it be great to have pictures of the whole family at the Most Magical Place on Earth? (Instead of people wondering if you were there, because they only see the kids? 😉 )
*If you’d like even more family photo time, you can book a Capture Your Moment photo session at the Magic Kingdom! You’ll get 20 minutes with your own Disney Photopass photographer, for only $50! Plenty of time for both posed and candid photos, taken by a pro!
*Meet a favorite character! Traditional character meet & greets are paused right now, but there are still plenty of places you can spot your favorite character! Keep an eye out for character cavalcades- they’re sort of like mini-surprise parades that come through the parks during the day. (Keep an ear out, too- you’ll notice the background music changes right before one starts.)
There are also character meals available at select restaurants right now. Again, no hugs or autographs are taking place, but be sure to watch your child’s face light up the first time they see Mickey!
*Check your child’s height! Some of the “big kid” rides have height requirements, and you will never forget the first time they’re tall enough to ride Space Mountain, Tower of Terror or Test Track! For many families, this is a rite of passage- the first visit their child finally gets on the rides they’ve been waiting impatiently for. For younger children, taking a picture next to a ride height sign is a precious reminder that they are only this little once. And, checking your child’s height before you get to the ride is a great way to avoid meltdowns, by simply steering clear of the things they’re not tall enough for just yet.
And while we’re talking about height, many families like to re-create vacation photos each time they visit. Imagine seeing your child throughout the years next to the Space Mountain ride height sign, in front of Cinderella Castle, or stacking up next to the Lego statues at the Lego Store at Disney Springs.
*Choose your hotel thoughtfully. Some hotels have amenities that will make your child’s first visit unforgettable, such as their first ride on the Monorail or Skyliner. Disney hotels have an awesome selection of pools and splash zones for kids of all ages, so be sure to ask your favorite Middle of the Magic Travel Planner for recommendations based on your child’s favorite things.
*Pack wisely! Yes, you will want Disney shirts, a bathing suit and sunscreen, but you also might want to throw in some glow sticks or light-up toys for fun in the parks after dark. And sometimes Mickey or Tinkerbell might leave little surprises in your hotel room when they wake up in the morning, or after you return from your day in the parks- so be sure to toss in a few! Your Middle of the Magic Travel Planner will have a sample packing list for you, so you don’t have to worry about remembering everything. We’ve got you covered!
*Pick a personalized souvenir! Some of the gift shops in the theme parks, as well as at Disney Springs, offer personalization for a variety of keepsakes. One of my favorites is a little Christmas tree ornament, shaped like a princess ear hat, with 2014 added to it- the year my daughter was born, and the year of her first visit.
No matter when you visit, seeing Disney for the first time through your child’s eyes is an unforgettable experience. Whether they are 2 months old, 2 years old or 22 years old, you will make memories to last a lifetime. And hopefully some new family traditions, as well! And we are here to help everything run smoothly for you. So if you’re ready to plan your first- or next!- visit, use the contact form below to start planning.
About the Author
Sara Mahjoub is a founding member of the Middle of the Magic Travel Parent Panel. She has 2 princesses, 6 & 5 years old, who have been visiting Disney since before they were born.