I would like to add a few very important other DO's and DON'T's for a Disney Family trip:
DO pack drinks, snacks, cold cuts and bread to make sandwiches and any other type of food you can think of.
- If you hotel room has a fridge, TAKE ADVANTAGE of this and get there with a cooler full of food to store for the days you are visiting the parks. This way, every morning, you can pack lunches for everyone and avoid paying $5.45 for a hot dog and/or $4.50 for a small bucket of popcorn. Prices for food at the parks are expensive, even if you are just buying off the cart. Make sure to also pack lots of water or juice since drinks are just as expensive. Disney doesn't mind that you do this. Your bags will be searched at each gate before entering, and no one ever told us that we couldn't bring in our food. We had sandwiches, sodas, juices, chips, goldfish, you name it and we saved a ton on eating.
Speaking of eating DO give yourself some extra cash just to eat a funnel cake.
- Seriously, if I have to explain this, then you don't deserve to enjoy the heaven on a plate that is a funnel cake.
And now a few more Don't's:
DON'T plan on keeping any sort of nap schedule.
- You're fooling yourself just as I was. I had it all planned. We'd go to the parks early in the morning, leave at about 1pm and go back to the hotel for naps. Fat chance. We got to the parks early sure enough, but with all the excitement and fun and "look at that!" and "let's do this", by the time we looked at our watch for the first time it was already 2:15 in the afternoon. Time is irrelevant in the parks. It's not your friend. It's got its own mind and before you even realize it, you've spent 6 hours wandering around the Magic Kindgom having a great time. You'll only realize it when you get back to your hotel and your feet are either bleeding, on fire, or missing altogether. So don't even think about naps. Bring a stroller. They will nap there.
Speaking of strollers, DON'T forget to bring one, and DON'T forget to bring a child leash because the stroller is basically going to be used to carry everything BUT your child or children.
- At one point, I think we had about 4 bags, 3 umbrellas, 4 jackets, empty water bottles, a bag of Jack and Sally dolls, 3 swords, 1 gun, and extra socks in the stroller. No child.
- The child leash is also a must (thanks Kristin) because your child will think that the best game ever is "hide behind something while a crowd of people walks by and give your parents a heart attack". Sure, the more uninitiated parents and/or childless folks will give you "the look" for having a kid on a leash, but the amount of people who DO carry their kids on leashes outweighs the judgmental idiots.
Oh, and last but not least...
DO expect this to happen: