Tips for Single Parents Visiting Disney Theme Parks

  • 01 of 10

    Set Clear Ground Rules Before You Arrive

    CInderella's Castle
    Disney. Google Images

    One of the most important ways to prepare for a trip to Disney--or any theme park--is to review some basic ground rules with your kids.

    When I recently took my 9-year-old son and my 5-year-old daughter to the Magic Kingdom, I went over three ground rules before we entered the park:

    1. Stay together.​
    2. Follow instructions on each ride.​
    3. If we get separated, go to a park employee or another mom for help.

    We also talked about expectations, such as anticipating long lines, our snack and meal plans, and...MORE taking turns choosing what rides we would go on. (This simple step made the entire experience more enjoyable for all of us!)

    If you have older kids, you'll also want to set up a meeting location (such as the castle at Magic Kindgom), synchronize your watches, and confirm that you have one another's cell phones numbers stored before going off in separate directions.

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  • 02 of 10

    Recommended Disney Services

    When you arrive at Disney, rent a locker so that you don't have to carry with you all of your kids belongings, jackets, sunblock, etc. Photo © 2009 Jennifer Wolf

    Plan to take advantage of these Disney services, designed to make your visit to the park more enjoyable:

    Lockers:
    Think about all the things your kids may need during your visit to a Disney theme park. For example, sunblock, bug spray, an extra sweatshirt, or a rain poncho. Rather than carry these items with you all day, plan on renting a locker once you arrive at the park, and store these items there. In Walt Disney World theme parks, lockers cost approximately $10 per day and can be found near...MORE the front entrance of each park.

    Strollers:
    If you have young children, I also recommend renting a single or double stroller. Single and infant strollers cost $15 per day, and double strollers cost $31 per day (not including multi-day discounts). Stroller rentals can be found near the front entrance of each park.
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  • 03 of 10

    Cut Back on Wait Time With Disney Fastpass

    Save time with Disney Fastpass. Photo © 2009 Jennifer Wolf

    Disney Fastpass is a system designed to cut back on your wait time--a huge plus for single parents visiting the park with one or more children. To use Fastpass, simply insert each of your admission tickets into the machine in front of the ride or attraction you are interested in, and wait for the machine to dispense a Fastpass return ticket, telling you when to return for the ride. This allows you to go and grab a bite to eat, shop, or visit another ride or attraction instead of waiting in line.

    W...MOREhere do I get a Fastpass?
    Your park admission ticket is your Fastpass. Children under three, who are admitted to the park for free, do not need a Fastpass.

    Can I Use the Fastpass More Than Once?
    Yes. However, in general, once you have inserted your admission ticket into a Fastpass machine, you can not use the Fastpass option again until after the return time has passed. There are some exceptions to this, though, such as times when the return time is hours away. In that case, your return ticket will have a second time printed on it, telling you when you can use Fastpass again.

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  • 04 of 10

    Know Which Disney Rides Your Kids Can Go On Alone

    Pay attention to height requirements so that you don't wait in line needlessly. Photo © 2009 Jennifer Wolf

    If you plan to visit Disney with two kids, you'll want to know ahead of time whether your kids are tall enough to ride two-person rides--such as the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway--alone, since you won't be able to sit with both kids simultaneously.

    At the entrance of each individual ride's line, you will find a measuring stick to help you determine whether your kids are tall enough to ride alone.

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  • 05 of 10

    Know Which Disney Rides Will Comfortably Fit Three People

    Before you arrive, know which Disney rides will accommodate three people. Photo © 2009 Jennifer Wolf

    Fortunately, most of the rides at the Magic Kingdom are built to accommodate groups of various sizes. This is a huge advantage for single parents and adults traveling with two children, because it means that you can ride most of the rides along with your kids, without one of them having to ride solo.

    Recommended Magic Kingdom Rides That Accommodate Up to Three People Per Car:

    Adventureland Rides:

    • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
    • Jungle Cruise
    • Pirates of the Caribbean

    Frontierland Rides:

    • Walt Disney World...MORE Railroad
    • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

    Liberty Square:

    • The Haunted Mansion

    Fantasyland Rides:

    • It's a Small World
    • Peter Pan's Flight
    • Snow White's Scary Adventures
    • Cinderella's Golden Carousel
    • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
    • Mad Tea Party

    Tomorrowland Rides:

    • Astro Orbiter
    • Tomorrowland Transit Authority
    • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin

    For pictures of each ride, visit www.allears.net.

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  • 06 of 10

    Build Breaks Into Your Disney Schedule

    Build breaks into your Disney schedule with rides like Snow White's Scary Adventures. Photo © 2009 Jennifer Wolf

    Your Disney schedule is going to be packed, but it's also important to build breaks into the day, so that your kids don't become overtired. For example, there are plenty of rides that will allow you to sit and catch your breath, such as:

    • Walt Disney World Railroad
    • Jungle Cruise
    • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Liberty Square Riverboat
    • The Haunted Mansion
    • It's a Small World
    • Snow White's Scary Adventures
    • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    • Tomorrowland Transit Authority

    Make sure that you build some of these...MORE amusements into your Disney schedule, in order to give each of you time to rest and recuperate as needed.

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  • 07 of 10

    Disney Shows Will Allow You Longer Rest Periods

    Give yourself a break with a Disney show. Photo © 2009 Jennifer Wolf

    Taking in a show is another great way to relax and rest during your visit to Disney. Whether it's an official show, like "Mickey's PhilharMagic," or a parade (as shown above), enjoying a couple of Disney shows throughout the day will allow you and your kids to rest periodically for 20-30 minutes.

    Particularly if you plan to stay at the park through the evening hours, building in a couple of breaks with Disney shows like this is essential to staving off the potential crankiness many kids...MORE experience due to excessive heat and excitement.

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  • 08 of 10

    How to Buy a Cheap Disney Meal in the Park

    Yes, it is possible to buy cheap Disney meals!. Photo © 2009 Jennifer Wolf

    Yes, it is possible to buy a cheap Disney meal inside the theme park! To save money, I suggest that you mix and match a variety of filling, healthy options, such as:

    • A soft pretzel
    • A turkey leg
    • Fresh fruit
    • Bottled water
    • Frozen lemonade

    In addition, make sure that you keep yourself and your children well hydrated throughout the day, and remember to reapply sunscreen often.

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  • 09 of 10

    Use Family Bathrooms at Disney Theme Parks

    Use the family bathrooms when you visit Disney. Photo © 2009 Jennifer Wolf

    It's obvious that at some point, you're going to need to use the bathroom with your kids. Throughout each of the Disney parks, you will find bathrooms labeled "Companion Bathroom." These restrooms typically contain a changing station, a toilet, and a sink. (Some of the family bathrooms even have kid-sized toilets, as well as standard toilets.)

    Family bathrooms are a great option for single moms traveling with sons, single dads traveling with daughters, and any single parent traveling with...MORE children of both genders. In addition, for any parent, using family bathrooms eliminates the risk of losing track of one another in larger public bathrooms that have many stalls.

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  • 10 of 10

    Budget for Souvenirs and Disney Shopping

    Give your kids a budget for buying souvenirs at Disney. Photo © 2009 Jennifer Wolf

    Finally, when visiting Disney, make sure that you plan ahead for the souvenirs and trinkets your kids are going to want to purchase. One way to make the Disney shopping experience more enjoyable for all of you is to give your kids a shopping budget up front. For example, allow each child to spend $5-$10 on something of his or her choice. This not only reinforces your kids' sense of personal responsibility, but it's also a great way to minimize whining and encourage thoughtful spending.