Disney Vacation Planning is one of those things that you either love or hate. Personally, I have always loved it – I love that each piece of the planning process is something I can look forward to doing that gets me one step closer to the ultimate goal – WALT DISNEY WORLD!
It used to be that I was just planning for myself and my husband, and it was relatively easy and fast to get everything together (we usually packed so little that we never even had to check any bags at the airport!) but as you all probably know, once you add kids to the equation – things get a little more – complex (to say the least!). We recently took our 3-year-old to Walt Disney World for the first time, and we had an amazing time, and we also learned a LOT about traveling with little ones, specifically what necessities that ended up being VITAL. So if you’re headed to Disney World with toddlers, you will want to make sure you check out my list of Disney Toddler Must-Haves:
Stroller Straps: I really wish I had discovered these when my son was little – but at least I have them now! These cup/bottle straps are made for high chairs, but they easily attach to their backpacks, strollers and car seats too – and prevent the loss of those expensive sippy cups/water bottles/snack cups/toys. We even used one to attach his travel pillow to his backpack – they have a lot of uses and can help you keep track of important items (since as we know toddlers are not great at keeping an eye on their stuff!)
Toys: Ok, this one might seem obvious, but if you’re like me, you are probably thinking about how to amuse them on the plane/airport/bus/car rides, and might not be thinking ahead to downtime in the hotel room. Smaller things like cars or dolls would work great to bring along, just a few more interactive things that they can play with before bedtime or while everyone else is getting ready for the day. I did NOT bring many actual toys, and regretted it – ended up buying some (overpriced) stuff at the gift shop for him to play with, and it worked out fine, but I wish I had brought more than just plane/travel toys/distractions
Stroller: this is a debate among a lot of people heading to Walt Disney World – “to bring a stroller or not to bring a stroller?” And I am here to tell you – BRING ONE. Even if your toddler walks everywhere at home and hasn’t used one in forever – BRING ONE. If you’re wary of bringing one through the airport – fear not, as you can easily rent one at the Parks or through an outside vendor. Or you can purchase a cheap umbrella stroller if you’re concerned about bringing your larger pricier one. Either way, you will want to have one on hand – even for children as old as 6 or 7 it can be useful, and while that may seem weird – the fact is that you’re talking about miles and miles of walking every day you’re in Disney – and that takes a toll on even the toughest of toddlers
Snacks: Disney World is known for its amazing food – they serve up any and all kinds of cuisine, catering to those of all ages and preferences – but as we know, the preferences of toddlers can be somewhat….limited. K highly recommend you bring plenty of snacks from home that you know your child likes and will eat – in case they are unable to find something they will eat at dinner, at least they will have some snacks to get them through. Things like fruit pouches, granola bars, fruit snacks/leathers, trail mix – things that won’t easily melt and that are reasonably healthy – these are what you want to pack and bring along. I put a big Ziploc bag of them in my carry on as well as both checked bags – just in case!
Ziploc Bags: speaking of snacks – toddlers are also known for their ability to eat half of about 14 snacks a day, and expecting you to hang onto the other halves for later. That’s where the bags come in. Bring them. Use them. Thank me later
Traveling with toddlers is an interesting and challenging experience – but seeing their faces when they first glimpse Cinderella’s Castle at the base of Main Street makes it all worth it. And if you bring along these items, your days will be easy breezy and focused on what matters – the magic!