Are you planning a big trip to Orlando and need some tips for chaperoning trips to Disney World? Whether it is a school trip, youth group, band students, or sports group, there is some key information you need to know for student Disney trips.
Tour directors, parent chaperones, school teachers, and the school administration need to be on the same page before a visit to the most magical place on Earth! After serving as a parent chaperone for a group of 400+ kids and working as a travel advisor, I have a few favorite tips that I hope help you plan a fantastic visit to the Disney World theme parks.
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Tips for chaperoning trips to Disney World: Consult a travel professional
If you are in the early days of planning for a group Walt Disney World resort trip, be sure to consult a travel professional who specializes in Disney group travel. Disney World is a unique destination, so it’s a good idea to have an advocate in your corner to help navigate the systems.
Travel professionals can help you stay organized, make decisions, order theme park tickets, determine hotel accommodations, and understand the best touring plans for your entire group. Even if you are a seasoned Disney traveler, a Disney vacation with a student group is a different experience. Having someone helping you plan a Disney group trip ensures that you have a good time too!
Tips for chaperoning trips to Disney World: Determine which resort best fits your group
Another essential decision is determining which resort best fits your group. You can reserve blocks of hotel rooms for your school group at both Disneyland resort and Walt Disney World. Some things to consider when selecting your Disney resort include:
- What is your total cost budget: value, moderate or deluxe?
- In which Disney park are you spending the bulk of your time: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, or Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
- How many students and adult chaperones will be in your small groups?
- Are there other popular attractions nearby like Universal Studios, Legoland, or Disney Springs that you plan to visit?
Select how students will be transported to Disney World
You will also need to consider how your group members will be transported from your hometown to Orlando. Are you using chartered buses and bus drivers? Remember that overnight trips will require rest stops and multiple bus drivers for necessary breaks.
Are you flying charter or commercial flights? You will need to prepare students and chaperones for airport security and packing tips. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to make these decisions so you can plan payments in a timely manner.
Decide on park tickets and your daily schedule
A part of being the group leader is determining the type of park tickets your group will need. If you are visiting at peak times like spring break or the winter holidays, consider waiting in line times. Do you want to purchase base tickets or park hoppers? Should you schedule free time or break days? This is all valuable information to consider while planning your trip.
Tips for chaperoning trips to Disney World: Get pricing for individual students early
When planning for a school field trip or group trip to Disney World be sure to plan the final pricing for individual students. Consider costs like park tickets, hotel stay, dining, and transportation. If your group plans to participate in a Disney educational program, consider that additional charge as well. Families and high school students may need time to save, so be sure to give plenty of advance notice of final costs so students can plan accordingly.
Decide how to handle meals
How will you handle meals in Disney World for a large group? Our group decided to use dining cards for each student. At the beginning of the trip, I purchased lanyards for our middle school girls and they used them to transport their dining cards and park tickets. You can use these dining cards for almost all of Disney dining and it is so easy to use mobile order with them! We also had the girls label their cards with a black Sharpie (which is always in my park bag!) to easily keep track of them.
Educate on My Disney Experience
Be sure to educate your group on the My Disney Experience app. This app is a crucial piece of Disney’s planning process, but it is helpful to become familiar with it before your trip. Teach kids and chaperones how to read wait times, use mobile order, find the map feature in the app, find Disney Genie, use Genie+ and lightning lanes, see ride photos, and more. It will ensure a smoother trip and a great time for all of you once you finally get to Main Street USA!
Understanding Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes
Chaperones, parents, and kids need to understand how Genie+ and Individual Lightning lanes work. If your group decides to use these extra paid features for going on rides like Galaxy’s Edge Rise of the Resistance, chaperones need to know if they will be reimbursed if they put their group on a credit card. If the process seems unclear to chaperones, Disney’s customer service is fantastic. Cast members and guest services always welcome questions and can easily be found in the parks to link tickets and help guests make Genie+ reservations.
Tips for chaperoning trips to Disney World: Make a cell phone group for kids and chaperones
Kids and chaperones need to be able to get in touch throughout your trip. Create a list of cell phone numbers and consider using an app like Remind for consistent communication. Be sure to clarify meeting times, plans for the next day, transportation details, and any new location information to have a smooth trip.
Establish transportation to and from the parks
How will students get to and from the parks? Are they using Disney buses, Skyliner, or monorail systems? Determine if students are permitted to use transportation on their own or if are they required to have a chaperone at all times. These are important issues to discuss at a mandatory meeting before the trip.
Give a packing list
Disney World is a unique destination. Students need to be comfortable and ready to walk. Include a packing list for your final tips, including items like walking shoes, medications, water bottles, ponchos, portable phone chargers, and outfits that will keep you cool in the hot sun.
Tips for chaperoning trips to Disney World: Hold a meeting
Hold a mandatory meeting before your trip to discuss expectations, transportation details, trip plans, and any final details. This is a great time for parents and students to voice any additional questions or concerns to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Discuss behavior expectations, curfew, and travel suggestions
One key piece of any tips for chaperoning trips to Disney World is discussing expectations and plans. During your meeting, talk about behavior expectations, curfew, and travel tips for your trip to Disney World! Items to cover might include:
- Is there a dress code?
- Do you have a curfew?
- Can students be without chaperones?
- What should you pack?
- Do you have medical needs?
- Who can you contact in an emergency?
- Will kids be allowed in other’s rooms or should they stay in their own rooms?
- If you are traveling by plane, what do you need to know about the flights?
- What is the weather forecast?
- Do you have the My Disney Experience app on your phone?
- Have you met your child’s chaperone?
Obtain medical information from parents and emergency contact info
Be sure to obtain required information like permission slips and any medical information from parents. Gather emergency contact info in one place so you know where it is in any situation. Talk to your school district and school nurse about medical concerns.
I hope these tips for chaperoning trips to Disney World are helpful to you and your group. I know you will have a fantastic time exploring the magical parks. Keep reading for more great travel tips and sign up for my free packing newsletter below! Have a fantastic trip!
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