Tag: Disney

Please Stand Clear of the Doors: Practicing Skills for your Disney Vacation


When traveling with children you will feel the excitement and wonder of finally reaching the magical world of Disney. Before you reach the park and after there are many safety hurdles you must cross. Here are some ideas for practicing those critical skills for your Disney Vacation.

Listening Skills

Explaining to your child why it isn’t safe or appropriate to run away from you and to a character can be difficult. They may understand in theory when you are talking in the car, but how well is that going to work when they see a team of Storm Troopers walking around Hollywood Studios?

Games like red light green light are good introduction games to important listening skills. Other games can be you list off two things and they repeat them to you. Keep adding an item and having them repeat it back. This encourages the child to remember and practice listening to the words you say. You can also practice this by going shopping and having them walk beside you. If your child can manage their way through the entire store without asking for candy or a toy, running away, and being helpful. Give them a quarter in a piggy bank to spend at Disney. If you give them a quarter for every successful listening game. By the time you go to the park, they will have gained listening skills and souvenir money!


Walking Skills

Learning to walk as a family can be difficult. You walk too close to someone, maybe you have a child that is a runner, or your oldest likes to wander off. Practicing this so you know what to expect before you go to the park is important.

Going Out The Door Disney, Magic Kingdom Train Station

Going for family walks to your local nature park or playground is a great place to practice. Not only will you build up your stamina for walking the parks but you can practice walking past those tempting swing sets or keeping together even though someone saw a frog and really wants to follow it to where it lives. When you have mastered walking as a family, staying together with minimal walking over each other. Try taking it up a notch and walking the mall. There are more distractions here. Noise, toys, and people. This can help your children not only learn to walk with distractions but practice how we talk in public. Use these walks to make sure the shoes you are taking on your trip are broken in to avoid any blisters.

Table Manners

Table Manners are a very fun thing to practice in my opinion! But there are many types of eating situations at the park that can be hard to learn how to handle.


For Character meals: Have another dinner at home where everyone dresses up and eats very neatly using the best manners they know. Practice indoor voices and dinner conversation. Occasionally get up from eating as a family and do something fun like Simon says twirl like a princess, or Simon says- Jedi pose! This will help your children practice skills they will need for character meals. Stopping and starting eating when there is something else exciting happening is difficult for some. Practicing this can help smooth some of those bumps out.
For sharing snacks: Turn on a movie at home or go to a movie theater. Only get one popcorn. Have your children practice passing it and sharing it. This is a simple way to work on those sharing skills and can be a good way to watch through the movies you know you want to review before your trip.

The final test: The last table manners test is to go out to eat. If you’re going to a sit-down restaurant at Disney, you need to visit a sit-down restaurant before you go. A buffet, the same way. If both? Pick one you haven’t done before. Tell your children that they can dress in whatever costume they want to wear at Disney. Then while you are out you will practice using all your newly learned manners. This is a great way to know if there are any skills you still need to work on before you leave, or if there are any hiccups you may want to have a backup plan for on your Disney Vacation.

Travel Manners

Planning A Disney Family Vacation

This may be the hardest one to teach. Learning to ride politely in a car for a long trip or on a plane is tricky without actually doing it. Pointing out good habits in your short car rides is possibly the best way. Then sitting down with your children a day or two before your trip and coming up with some ways to handle the travel. Involve them in packing the games or toys they want to play. Encourage them to think of things they can do together or separately. Talk about things that may happen in the car or on the plane and how to handle them. If they need a bathroom break, if they are feeling overwhelmed, or if they are tired. Knowing what to do and going over the options for these situations for a few days prior can help ease some of the travel stress. Being able to communicate these needs while on your Disney vacation can help you avoid mid-queue bathroom runs.

We finally made it!

Akershus Going out the door

A large part of all these manners is teaching kids to recognize and communicate their feelings. Communication is always key. Working out ways to handle new situations and to communicate needs and wants will make your Disney Vacation smoother and more fun for everyone! If you’re still on the fence about whether you are ready for a trip or not, read our blog Who would take a baby to Disney?

You can also visit https://disneywildaboutsafety.com/ to view more safety tips, play games, and watch fun videos about vacation safety.

Surprise Disney Vacation Ideas


There’s something unique about surprise Disney vacations. Giving your family a surprise is always delightful. From bringing home someone a bottle of their favorite soda to surprising your whole family with a special vacation. You can feel the joy of their excited reactions. My parents have surprised us a few times with trips to Walt Disney World in Florida. Something I love to talk about with anyone who will listen is how I want to surprise my own family when I have a husband and children

Now that you’ve cleaned the house, what are you going to do next?!

The classic question. The Iconic, “What are you going to do next?” That I always want to answer with “I’m going to Disney World!”. I love to imagine this turned around onto my husband or children. Maybe turning on a Disney movie, or a cd and making it a game. Saying if we can get the whole house clean I’ll give them a surprise. Getting the house as clean and ready as we could in the set time period and then at the end showing them a commercial where they ask the question. Then turning and asking them, “What do you want to do next?” And then packing them and loading them in the car to go to Disney!

We’re supposed to go when??

If you have a hard time keeping secrets and want to include the kids in the planning, then tell them a date further out than you really plan to go. Make plans with them as the days come up to book your fast passes, make dining reservations, or pick out the hotel you want to stay in. Then while you are waiting one day say, “I don’t want to wait till (date you had said you’re going to Disney), Why don’t we just go today?” And then when they say ‘yeah let’s go’ you just pack up and go for a wonderful surprise that they still got to be a part of.

Doin’ what comes naturally!

Going Out the Door Disney, Princess Wands

For some kids, they are so little that everything is very exciting. Their first plane ride, their first long car trip, their first roller coaster? It can be a bit overwhelming. But if you take everything one at a time and make them into little fun surprises all along the way you get to see that excited face over and over again. Telling a child you’re going to Disney World can be confusing, or frustrating because they don’t understand what it is or how travel works. Enjoy the little things let things happen naturally. Any Disney trip can be a surprise Disney vacation at this age.

Surprise, Surprise!

Walt Disney World, Hollywood Studios, Going Out The Door, Fireworks

The most surprising thing of all is always going to be how you find new experiences and friends at the park. Magic comes from meeting new people, exploring new places, and trying new things. Make your plans, prepare for excitement, and enjoy the process. That it is a surprise Disney trip is just an extra cherry to your vacation. You are sure to love the time you have with your family.

Creating Disney Magic

Discovering ways that your family can create their own magic will transform your Disney vacation into an enchanting Disney adventure that your children will never forget! Creating Disney magic is easier than you think!


One time when my baby duck and I were vacationing at Disney by ourselves, she had an amazing idea; she wrote a note that read “Your wish is on me.” and placed it on the side of Cinderella’s fountain along with several pennies. We then found a place in the distance where we could sit and watch. Some guests took a picture, others pointed out the note and pennies to people around them, and a few just picked up a penny and made a wish. One sweet lady was emotional and teary-eyed as she read the note. Every person responded differently to the act of kindness and the experience was unforgettable!


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door


The characters have a demanding job. They are required to constantly smile, take an interest in every person, and create lasting memories for the gazillion daily guests! Why not return the favor and create some magic for them? Present small gifts such as handmade pictures, jewelry (like macaroni necklaces), or candy. The cast is not allowed to keep expensive items so keep your tokens simple. The important thing is to provide an opportunity for your family to do something nice for someone else. Spreading magic is fun for even the smallest of Disney visitors.


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door, Akershus Royal Dining

It’s my Party!

Disney provides their guests with free personalized buttons celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, the last chemo treatment, or anything your heart desires to celebrate. When you spot people wearing buttons, it is fun to call them by name and offer congratulations. Little princes and princesses love this, especially when they are dressed up and addressed as their character. For example, ‘Happy Birthday, Cinderella’!


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door


When you see a family taking a group photo, offer to take it for them so everyone can be in the shot. My favorite way of creating Disney magic is to photobomb other people’s pictures. Smiling, of course!


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door

You light up my life!

Papa Bear LOVES to take our little ones shopping for fun light up toys for the parade which is a big deal for him and them. However, when you are staying seven nights and have 6 grands, the light up money runs out very quickly. We buy plenty of glow sticks at the dollar store before we leave home and our grands have a great time to share with other children! You can also buy light up disney themed bubble wands at department stores like Walmart.


Going Out The Door Disney, Chef Mickey, creating Disney magic

Flying Solo

When you notice a single guest in line for a ride, invite them to be part of your group, share seats, and make a new friend!


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door

Blooming Surprise

Our biggest surprise came when someone sent flowers to us at Disney World. Our plane had been canceled and we were stuck at the airport with no hope of getting to our Disney family trip before it ended. Out of thousands of people stranded that day, we met the sweetest couple ever. After twenty-four hours, we managed to get a plane to Orlando just in time to make our family dinner reservation at Ohana. To our total surprise, a beautiful bouquet of flowers decorated the table when we arrived, sent by our new friends! A month later, I ran into the husband again at a different airport while on my way to a work convention. It really is a small world after all.


Creating Disney Magic, Going Out The Door

Thank you to my sweet airport friends for the flowers. We will never forget you!

The Disney parks offer many opportunities for your little ones to share their giving hearts. Taking the extra time and effort to create your own magic while planning your Disney trip will truly be an exciting and remarkable experience for your family!

P.S.  After posting this blog my Disney loving friend Amanda Wilbourn shared her family’s magical activity.  Here is her description:

“My kids spend every day at Disney taking note of cast members who go above and beyond to create magic, help us out, or just engage them in conversation.  At the end of the day, we go to City Hall and film out exemplary service forms for each cast member.  We love this tradition and it’s almost like a treasure hunt for the kids.  They are actively focused on finding the good in other people and ‘rewarding’ them for it.”

She suggests that when you do this remember exactly where they were working, what time of day it was and be sure and get their name. Thank you, friend Amanda for sharing your awesome tradition of creating Disney magic. If you enjoy visiting with other Disney friends, please join us on Going Out The Door Disney Facebook page.

You can find other Disney blogs by Angie Roberts Harris at Going Out The Door..com ​​