There is a reason Walt Disney World is known as “the most magical place on Earth”, and with four whole parks to navigate, you will never run out of things to do and see. So should you bring babies or toddlers to Disney World even though they may not remember much? I say absolutely! Disney is a place for every age, and if a few pro tips are followed, every family can have a magical trip, even families with very young children. Here are my top tips for a successful Disney trip with little ones:
Timing is everything! Your children will have school schedules, sports, and extracurricular activities for the rest of their childhood- why not take advantage of the fact that you can travel outside of the school breaks? Plan your trip during one of the slower times, and plan for the Florida temperature too. If your small child doesn’t tolerate heat very well, plan for a November or January trip instead of July or August. Visiting the parks on weekdays can also be very helpful when trying to manage crowds. Of course, I am of the belief that ANY day at Disney is better than any day not at Disney- so if you’re only able to go during a peak time, don’t sweat it.
Stay on property. Staying on Disney property is so convenient, and offers so many added bonuses. Staying on Disney property allows you to forgo a rental car and use complimentary Disney transportation (including Disney’s Magical Express service to and from MCO Airport), you will have access to Extra Magic Hours when they are available, and you will be able to book your Fast Pass + choices 60 days in advance. You have enough to worry about and plan for when you are traveling with small children, why not take advantage of every extra convenience available?
Stay longer and take rest days. If I can be literally exhausted and overstimulated after a day in the parks, I can imagine how exhausting it can be for a small child. There is so much to see and do and it can become very overwhelming. Having a rest day in between park days to relax, slow down and let your feet recover can make all the difference. You can take this day to check out Disney Springs at a leisurely pace, or simply hang at your resort pool. You and your family will be rejuvenated and even more excited to hit the parks after your day of relaxation.
Be prepared! Disney allows guests to bring in their own food and nonalcoholic beverages, take advantage of this and bring plenty of water and snacks. No one wants to deal with a hangry toddler! Make sure you bring an umbrella or poncho in case the weather suddenly turns, and bring at least one change of clothes for your child- it is better to be safe than sorry! Plan out bathroom breaks and add them right into your plans, as children tend to get excited and may forget to tell you when they have to go. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer can also always come in handy!
Don’t force character interactions. I know its every parent’s dream to get those adorable character photos on their child’s first Disney trip, but make sure your child is ok with the character, and don’t force your child to pose for photos or meet characters if it is making he or she scared or uncomfortable. If your little one really loves the characters, try a character buffet meal, you will get so many memorable photos and wonderful one-on-one character interactions.
Take advantage of rider switch and experience every attraction you can! It is important not to forget about the adults or older children, luckily, Disney has a rider switch program that allows adults and older children to experience every attraction while one adult stays with the small child. There are also multiple attractions that even babies and toddlers can experience along with the whole family. My advice is to experience absolutely everything you can so that every member of the family gets the most out of Disney!
With a little preparation, planning, and pixie dust, Disney World can be just as fun and magical for families with babies and toddlers!