Walt Disney World is often cited as being a place for kids – but it’s just as enjoyable as a place for those young at heart.
Whether you’re planning to visit the parks with your parents or grandparents, or you may be someone of a certain age, anyone can easily enjoy a day at Walt Disney World. Below are a few quick tips to help make a vacation or weekend trip to the Florida parks stress-free and enjoyable, especially for those in their 70s, 80s, or higher.
(Please keep in mind that these tips are merely suggestions. Each individual or family must make the best decisions regarding each person’s physical capabilities, needs, and resources.)
1. Budget-Friendly Spending
Many seniors today are living on a fixed income. If this applies to you or any Guests in your party, it is something to remember when planning a Disney vacation. Theme Park tickets alone can cost a few hundred a person, depending on options and times of the year. But it’s important to be aware that the cost of food, drinks, parking, souvenirs, and hotel stays can add up fast, too. So make sure it is a trip that is affordable – or at least properly budgeted for.
2. Know Your/Their Limits
There is no getting around two simple facts regarding Disney World: it is big and hot (some months are better than others). When it comes to getting around the parks, there are options to rent wheelchairs and scooters for those with certain mobility limitations. However, for those who are up for the exercise of walking a few miles a day, it’s essential to be mindful of footwear. Proper fitting and comfortable footwear can be the difference between a pleasant day with minor aches at the end of the night and excruciating foot pain with blisters and sore soles that make it unbearable to even stand.
3. Pack Everything You/They Need
Disney allows all Guests to bring backpacks, purses, and bags (within reason). If you or a party member requires medication, pack it in the bag. Other suggestions would be a light jacket if it gets cold later, a change of socks/footwear if it rains, over-the-counter pain meds for headaches or sore feet, a hat, and sunblock. Many of these items are available throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Still, they’ll be marked up, harder to find, and less convenient than reaching into a purse or backpack on your person.
4. Take Breaks
This is good advice for any individual of any age but is often ignored by families trying to get the most out of their day. As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of walking, and there may be a lot of heat, humidity, or even rainfall. These elements can turn a pleasant day into an irritable one. Therefore, a game changer can be taking time to rest on a bench or enjoy a leisurely lunch (instead of a quick service grab-and-go). In addition, each Park has at least one long indoor attraction that provides a great chance to cool off, kick up the feet, and relax. Examples include the Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom, the American Adventure at EPCOT, the Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom, and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Hollywood Studios.
5. Consider Your/Their Interests
Disney owns an extensive library of movies, tv shows, attractions, and other intellectual properties. Some more modern franchises, such as Guardians of the Galaxy or Star Wars, may have a weak appeal to those who grew up during World War II. This is not to say that some seniors won’t enjoy those movies or attractions – but some may prefer more Disney classics such as The Carousel of Progress at Magic Kingdom that may highlight aspects of their childhood or Spaceship Earth at EPCOT that provides a more cultural and historical experience than Test Track.
6. Prioritize Safety
Not every attraction is built for everybody. Although Disney World provides Guests with many unique experiences that the whole family can enjoy, some come with a list of precautions. There are thrill rides, roller coasters, and other intense attractions that require one to be healthy before boarding. Although this may go without saying, if one has never been to Disney World, it’s not always easy to tell which rides are the thrill rides. This is partly because many attractions are 100% indoors. Someone unfamiliar with Disney may think the ball in front of EPCOT (Spaceship Earth) is a thrilling coaster due to its size and name…but it’s not. Likewise, when one looks at Space Mountain, you don’t instantly see a roller coaster – just a big white building that could easily be a theater.
In addition, every Park has first aid stations where one can get help if needed.
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Anyone of any age can enjoy an excellent, fantastic day at Disney World at whichever Park they choose to visit. But proper planning and a little bit of research can go a long way in helping ensure it’s the best vacation it can be.