A trip to Disneyland or Disney World is a dream come true for most children. It is a magical place that lets their imaginations come to life. Although branded as “the happiest place on earth”, that doesn’t mean a visit with your kids is guaranteed to be all smiles.

Waiting in lines, the heat of the day, and hunger can all add up to make young ones as well as adults a bit cranky. Follow these great tips to maximize enjoyment and minimize stress when you plan out and attend your next Disney Park with your kids.

Pick a Meeting Spot in Case of Separation

Disney resorts are big places, so it goes without saying that getting lost is a common occurrence. There are numerous distractions and massive crowds which can have a family easily losing sight of one another. If your children are old enough to understand, discuss a meeting place should anyone get lost. Set a maximum time limit in which you search for each other before heading to that spot.

If you all have cell phones, still pick a meeting place as phones aren’t always 100% reliable as batteries can die and reception may not be adequate. International travel also means you usually aren’t equipped with cell phones for every member of the family.

ID & Contact Information for your Child

If you are bringing young kids to Disney, it is very wise to print out an ID tag for your child that they can wear around their neck on a lanyard.

Place information such as their name of course, what language they speak, what hotel you are staying at, contact numbers, and important medical information. Should your child get lost, a staff member will have a wealth of information so as to return your child fast and safely.

Pre-Purchase Your Disney Merchandise

Buying souvenirs directly from the Disney Parks can add up to be more expensive than your park tickets and accommodation combined. Check a local discount department store or go online to order a Disney subscription box to surprise your kid with authentic Disney merchandise before the travel.  Your kids won’t know or care where their toys came from or how much they cost, and this is a great way to save money at Disney.

Discuss with your children that they will be given a certain quota of souvenirs so they hopefully won’t be harassing you for more. You could also teach your kids a lesson in finance by giving them a set amount of money in which they can select how to spend it. Make it clear that once they use up their money, they won’t be able to acquire anything else.

Bring or Rent a Stroller

Bringing along a stroller is a no brainer for small children as you don’t want to be carrying them around all day long. It may even come in handy even if your kids have stopped using a stroller, as the parks can really tire out even the most energetic of kids.

It’s good to have a backup plan in case they become exhausted and at the very least can come in handy to carry around gear, snacks, and souvenirs. Note that the parks rent single and double strollers so you don’t necessarily have to bring along your own.

Baby Care Centres

Both parks have Baby Care Centres offering private nursing rooms, changing rooms with tables, unisex bathrooms, feeding areas with highchairs, kitchens, and a lounge room.

You can purchase formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, and OTC medications.

The Baby Care Centres are also where lost children will be escorted to by a staff member. Here they will be looked after until being reunited with parents or family members.

Bring a Change of Clothes

Because accidents happen regularly with kids, it is a good idea to bring along a spare change of clothes. Park rides can create tummy troubles for both kids and adults, and sometimes the excitement is so great they may forget they need to use the restroom throughout the day.

The parks can get quite hot and sweaty so a fresh change of clothes can be comforting and then there is of course water rides along with rain showers which can quickly soak a set of clothes.

Be Aware of Height Restrictions

Make sure you know park ride restrictions so as to plan your day’s itinerary accurately. This stops you or your child from building up a ride in their mind only to be devastated when they find out they are not tall enough to take part in it.

Knowing what rides are available for your kids may also influence which themed land or area you focus on so as to give them the most enjoyment.

Bring Snacks & Keep Hydrated

Nothing can make a kid or adult grumpier than hunger. Bring along healthy snacks that are light so as to not disagree with park rides. This is also important if your child has severe food allergies or intolerances. It will relieve a lot of stress knowing that your child will have food available which they can eat safely.

Bring along a water bottle and make sure to keep your kids and yourself hydrated throughout the day.

Prepare Games or Distractions for Waiting Lines

Because kids aren’t exactly always the patient type, it is a good idea to make up games like I-Spy, or bring along simple card games to keep them distracted when you wait in lines for rides.

Download some Disney tunes or bring along some puzzles that will keep them and yourself occupied. As tempting as it may be, try your best to not simply hand them your phone or iPad filled with games. Remember you are there to interact and experience Disney with them.

Bring Along a First Aid Kit

Although injuries may be uncommon, it is good to be prepared in case of minor scratches, bug bites, or other medical mishaps. You know your child best and therefore are wise to what dangers they may be prone to.

Disney provides First Aid Centres so if you do forget to pack a kit, you will still be covered.