Taking the Grandkids to Disney World? Here's What You Need to Know to Travel Without Their Parents

Few things are more exciting to children and grandparents than a trip together, and few places are more enticing than Disney World. Disney World doesn't just include the Magic Kingdom, it also includes Epcot Center, Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Animal Kingdom, ESPN's Wide World of Sports and two waterparks. There's a lot to choose from in Orlando that will appeal to both the grandkids and their grandparents. But chances are you’ve got a few questions about your plans and how to best ensure a trouble-free trip across the border to sunny Florida.

What documents should we have to travel with our grandchildren to Disney World?

The Canadian government recommends that you prepare for your trip to Florida well in advance. All children under 18 or 19 (depending upon their home province) need appropriate documents to travel across the border. Children must have a passport and supporting identification, including birth certificates or citizenship cards.

You will need a consent letter from the children's parents, as well, confirming that they know you're taking the trip and have given you permission to travel with the kids. Global Affairs Canada provides an interactive form for a consent letter that includes all of the necessary information. You can fill the form out and print the letter. Each of the children's parents should sign it. Global Affairs Canada recommends that once the letter is complete, you notarize it to reduce questions about its authenticity.

What are some tips to make our trip to Disney World memorable for our grandchildren and ourselves?

First, involve your grandchildren in planning the trip, even if they're very young. Perhaps their only feedback will be that they want to visit with Mickey. You'll know that a stop to see Mickey Mouse is essential.

Disney World covers over 100 square kilometres. Part of the area is conserved land, but there are still many theme parks and activities. Choose some "must sees," some "would like to see," and allow some time for happy surprises along the way.

What are smart food options for our Disney vacation with grandchildren?

Don't neglect accounting for exchange rates while on your trip. You may find special offers for Canadian residents on the resorts, experience tickets, and meal tickets. You may also consider the Disney Dining Plan, which offers a set number of quick meals, sit-down meals, and occasional snacks during your stay. Most restaurants within the resorts accept the Disney Dining Plan.

How shall we pack for ourselves and the grandchildren when travelling to Orlando?

Many Orlando travellers say you'll enjoy the trip more if you pack lightly. Laundry facilities abound in the resort and nearby. You'll also likely want to buy some themed clothing while you're in the resort. Who could resist a Mickey and Minnie t-shirt or two? Be sure that everyone's shoes are comfortable and broken in. Although there are many trams and shuttles throughout Disney World, extensive walking is still a must.

One final word of guidance: Disney World is an active place. You'll want to take many photos and videos, but it would be wise to speak with your children and grandchildren ahead of time and come up with a policy for their use of mobile phones and other electronics while in the resort. It would be a shame if your grandchildren missed a chance to hug Mickey Mouse because their noses were buried in a mobile phone game.

You may also want protect your trip from flight cancellations and lost luggage with travel insurance. You may even want to investigate "cancel for any reason" travel insurance. One thing is for certain however, both you and the grandkids should be covered under a travel policy for emergency medical insurance. It’s essential when travelling to the U.S. as your provincial health care will cover little, if anything at all, should a trip to the emergency room be necessary.

Plan wisely to enjoy the trip of a lifetime to Disney World with your precious grandchildren and get ready to enjoy the happiest place on Earth.