Five Tips for Taking Your Toddler to Walt Disney World
July 19, 2018
Walt Disney World with a toddler can be such a wonderful experience. Seeing Disney through such innocent eyes is such a joy. It almost feels as though you are seeing the park for the first time all over again.
Even though Disney with a toddler is an amazing experience, you need to have a plan of attack to make sure you and your little one have the best time possible.
First thing I would like to mention is that the goal of a Disney vacation with a toddler should not be to do everything Walt Disney World has to offer. The goal should be to take it easy and just have fun! Stop and pop the bubbles along with your two-year-old! Slow down and actually relax on your vacation!
Below I will list out five tips for enjoying Walt Disney World with a toddler. These are tips that I have learned during the eight Disney World trips my now three-year-old and I have gone on. I may have learned these tips the hard way, but you do not have to!
Stay on your child’s schedule and go at their pace
It may be great advice to wake early and get to the parks before they open, however, with a toddler if they don’t wake up until the parks open I would suggest letting them sleep in. I have found that if I don’t keep my daughter’s schedule as close to normal on vacation she will get sick, which can ruin the entire day. I would much rather show up at the park after opening than spend the next day in my room because my little one got sick. And believe me, I have spent days in our hotel room because I did not take my own advice.
Same goes with nap time. If your little one takes naps, make sure you go back to the resort and rest at their usual nap time. I would suggest going back even if they don’t take naps anymore just to allow a bit of downtime for them. Too much stimulation can overwhelm their little minds and bodies.
While you are at the park, if they are getting a bit fussy and seem to need a break, take them to one of the baby care centers. There is a baby care center in each park which is a great place to relax out of the sun in the nice cold a/c. Your kiddos will enjoy sitting and watching a Disney movie for a much-needed change of pace. Each baby care center has a changing room, private nursing room, feeding area with high chairs, kitchen with microwave oven and sink, and an on-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing for purchase. If you have forgotten to bring something for your little one check they baby care center. They may very well have what you need.
And make sure you get them home that evening by bedtime! Their little bodies will need the rest to make it to Walt Disney World the next day for another fun-filled park day!
Eat well & bring snacks
When on vacation we tend to eat quite a bit more junk food. Snacking around the world is one of our favorite things to do, however, it’s not always the best idea with toddlers. I have quickly realized that my kiddo needs to eat as normal and healthy as possible to avoid any tummy upsets. Planning food for your little one before going on vacation is a very good way to make sure that they are eating well. You can choose your restaurants ahead of time and even look at the menus online.
One thing you may not know about Walt Disney World is that they make eating healthy easy. Many restaurants on Disney property offer something called Kid’s Disney Check Meals. These are meals that meet Disney nutrition guidelines for complete meals without substitutions.
I will give you one current example of a Kid’s Disney Check Meal from Columbia Harbor House. They have a garden salad with chicken meal which is served with Dannon® Danimals® Smoothie, GoGo squeeZ® Applesauce, and a choice of a small Lowfat Milk or a small Dasani® Bottled Water. Applesauce, milk, and chicken are some of my toddler’s favorites, and won’t cause any tummy upset. This meal would be a win, win for us!
Another thing you can do to keep their tummies satisfied is to bring your own food into the parks. Disney allows you to bring food into the parks, just no glass containers. Make sure you have plenty of normal healthy snacks with you for when your little one gets hungry between meals.
Have a basic understanding of what your toddler can ride before going to the parks
The good news is your toddler can ride almost everything in the park! The only rides they may not be able to ride are the ones with height restrictions and there are only a handful of those rides in each park. Even with height restrictions, your little one may be able to ride some of the rides with restrictions depending on how tall they are. My two year old was able to ride the Barnstormer and she loved it! There is no doubt about it, your little one is going to have a blast right alongside you which is what Walt Disney himself intended when he created Disneyland.
See below for a list of rides with height restrictions.
Magic Kingdom Park
The Barnstormer 35in or taller
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 40in or taller
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 38in or taller
Space Mountain 44in or taller
Splash Mountain 40in or taller
Tomorrowland Speedway 32in or taller
Mission: SPACE 40in or taller
Soarin’ Around the World 40in or taller
Test Track 40in or taller
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster 48in or taller
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue 40in or taller
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 40in or taller
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Avatar Flight of Passage 44in or taller
Dinosaur 40in or taller
Expedition Everest 44in or taller
Kali River Rapids 38in or taller
Primeval Whirl 48in or taller
Take advantage of Rider Switch
One of the great things about Disney is their Rider Switch option. If you would like to ride one of these rides listed above, however, you have someone with you who is too small or scared to ride, you don’t have to skip the ride. Ask a Cast Member at the attraction entrance for a Rider Switch pass. Make sure to bring the other adult and child along because the Cast Member may ask to see your toddler. Rider Switch is essentially a paper fast pass that can be used by up to three people at one time. When you ask for a Rider Switch, (also commonly called a rider swap) you will receive a pass which allows the adult who is currently waiting with the child to walk through the fast pass line when it is there turn to ride while you wait with the child.
Take a stroller
It may be obvious, however, make sure to take, purchase, or rent a stroller when you visit Walt Disney World! A stroller can be a great place for your toddler to take a nap while you explore the shops. It is also a great place to store any souvenirs, popcorn buckets, drink cups or whatever else you may collect throughout the day. While stroller theft is rare in the parks, keep in mind that it does happen. Because of this, you may not want to leave anything valuable in your stroller.
I have written a whole post on taking strollers to Disney which you can read by clicking here.
Those are my five tips for taking a toddler to Walt Disney World! Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention in this blog post or questions I did not answer? If so, let me know by commenting below!
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