I recently asked my daughter what she thought I should write about. (She just turned 5 a few weeks ago.)
She said, \”Well, Disney is really far away. How about what we are going to do on the way there!\”
So today I am going to share a list of fun activities to keep your family busy on the long ride to Disney. Whether by train, plane, or car, it seems like the hours to fill on that journey go on forever for kids since they are so excited.
Let\’s cover a few of the obvious answers first:
1. Watch movies:
I like to fill my ipad to capacity before we head out on a trip. Those digital copies of the Disney movies we paid so much money for are now finally useful!
If you rent a movie from the iTunes store and download it, it will be there even if you don\’t have wi-fi on your drive. But beware: once you hit play, you\’re on the clock for your 24-hour time window!
Disney DVDs in your car\’s system or on a portable DVD player.
Quick tip: I always ask my girls what their favorite Disney movies are a few weeks before we head down to Disney. With Amazon Prime shipping, I was able to get Bolt on DVD with a digital copy for just $4.75 shortly before we were surprising the girls with a Disney trip and it was a big hit! I didn\’t even know they liked Bolt!
I personally like to limit our movie time to one or two at most on the drive there since it\’s only an 8-hour trip for our family but to each their own!
2. Listen to music:
I like to burn a CD of our favorite Disney tunes before we hit the road. One of the best purchases at the theme parks for a Disney nerd like myself is a soundtrack. I own the Fantasmic CD, Spectromagic, and a few discs of the theme park ride soundtracks from over the years, and there\’s nothing better to put you in a Disney mood! Of course, we always switch it up with some of my hubby\’s music, too, to keep him happy while driving.
3. Coloring Pictures:
My favorite are the Crayola color wonder books and markers. This allows my kids to color with no chance of marker ending up on their clothes or of hot melted crayons being found in the car later (yes, I\’m saying this from experience). Buy them on Amazon.com or in your local store. And these clipboards (available at Amazon or your local office supply store) are handy to have for coloring time, too.
We love to play I-spy with Disney maps. I always bring brochures from my last Disney trip and pass them out to the girls and play \”Can you find…?\” Each girl has a Magic Kingdom map, and I will tell them to find Splash Mountain, a specific Disney character, etc.
We also play it with road signs. Who can find the first letter \”M,\” who can spy the Welcome to Florida sign, who spots the first palm tree, etc. And of course, there\’s a small prize for the first person who spots a Disney billboard!
5. Reading Books:
This is my favorite choice especially now that the Kindle app on the iPad makes reading even after dark super easy, but I don\’t highly recommend this for kids who might get car sick unless you\’ve given them Dramamine or something to make sure their tummy doesn\’t get upset. Often when reading in the car in the backseat, even the best junior travelers will find their tummies feel sick. When the kids want to hear a story, I pull out their Disney books (which I pack with the coloring books) and hold it up so they can see the pictures and read it aloud to them. Some of their favorites are photobook and scrapbooks of past Disney trips that remind them of how much they have to look forward to at the end of the car ride.
6. Planning our itinerary
I always make my dining reservations 180 days in advance and know the park hours and which park we\’ll visit each day so that I can make my Fastpass+ reservations 60 days in advance, but when we\’re all in the car, I like to ask the kids which shows, rides, and characters it\’s most important for them to get to and prioritize them on my list. This way no one is disappointed that they didn\’t see Ariel or get to ride the Peter Pan ride. Remember, those Fastpass+ reservations can be changed if they have to!
7. Play Mad Libs – especially of the Disney variety!
I make my own that are really simple for my girls who are 6, 5, and 3 and I\’m attaching the file at the end of this blog post. I have done the writing in the past, but my 6-year-old is about ready to take that part over! The best part is that at the end, they get to hear a story they\’ve never heard before.
8. Snack breaks
I love to pack fresh fruit (grapes, apples, clementines, and bananas) for the girls in addition to their favorites: Chex mix, Cheez-Its, Goldfish, and pretzels. But in addition to the fun things we bring on our own, the girls have a ball running into a gas station and each picking one treat while my hubby re-fuels, and we all take a quick bathroom break. I have to approve the size and cost of the snack, but then they\’re good to go back in the car and enjoy their little vacation goodies.
9. Toy time!
I always bring the small Disney toys my kids have – usually the little pvc multi packs we got from the Disney Store and a few soft princess dolls to play pretend with. Inevitably their dolls end up going to WDW, and they pretend they\’re on rides. This keeps my girls busy for a long while.
10. I\’m thinking of a Disney character…
Our family likes taking turns describing Disney characters. You can ask for up to 5 clues. To help little ones, we like to pull out Disney story books to give them ideas for clues.
I love to sing and paint.
My best friend is green.
I have really long hair!
I\’ll knock you out with a frying pan if you scare me!
I was locked in a tower for a long time.
It\’s Rapunzel from Tangled!
I hope these activities and planning strategies will help make your next trip to Disney smooth and fast! Feel free to share other activities you and your family enjoy on your trips in the comment boxes below.
About the Author: Special thanks for our Guest Blogger, Emily Lamb! Emily has been to Disney over 65 times! The tips she shares are from first-hand experience as a kid and now as a mother of her own beautiful children. She also writes a Disney blog to help you save time and money! Emily is also a Disney Planner at Wishdrawals Travels!