Walt Disney World with Babies and Toddlers!
Tips for Disney with Babies and Toddlers
Walt Disney World is a magical place and can be even more magical when seen through the eyes of a young child. I have four young children myself and we have been numerous times with the whole crew in tow. Yes, it can be a lot of work with young children, but the memories that they and you will take away are priceless. There are a few things I have learned along the way that have made this much more manageable.
1. Have a Plan
When you have little ones in tow, the last thing you want to do is waste time standing in line for an hour or more. You will quickly lose their attention and excitement. You also do not want to waste valuable time running from one side of the park to the other, when you could have a strategy to hit attractions in the same area. The key is to arrive to the parks early (e.g. before the crowds build) and hit as many attractions as you can while the lines are short. Then, by late-morning and into the afternoon as crowds will build, use your FastPass+ reservations to hit the longest wait attractions.
Another important aspect of your plan is to build in some down time for the little ones AND mom and dad. Some find that heading back to the hotel for the afternoon is a good way to relax, have naps and rest before dinner and evening activities. However, you might also discover that loading up kids and strollers to return to a hotel is more work and time than it is worth. In that case, if your kids will fall asleep in a stroller, just stroll until they are fast asleep and park it at Starbucks for a while. They can sleep, while you enjoy people watching and an ice coffee.
2. Make sure you have a stroller!
This may seem obvious, but I think it is important enough to mention. Even if you have an older toddler/preschooler who is quite independent and loves to walk, those little legs are not going to make it through the day (or even through the first hour most likely). Be sure you have a plan. My oldest child is now 8 and she will still gladly take a stroller seat if offered during the day. You have a few different options to choose from:
* Bring your own from home. Of course this is the free option and as long as you are driving and have the luggage space, it works great.
* Rent on-site at the Disney Parks. This works if you are okay getting around the resort or to/from transportation without a stroller.
* Rent from a local stroller rental company. This is what I recommend for many of my clients. For myself, I only use one double stroller at home, as my older children have outgrown strollers. But for Disney we will rent a second one for the duration of our stay (or of course if we fly I will just rent two). The local companies I use will deliver and pick-up from your resort at no extra cost.
3. Utilize Rider-Swap
Have you heard about the Rider-Swap program? It is amazing! This enables both adults to still enjoy the rides that your little ones are not quite big enough for yet. Just inform the Cast Member at the front of the line that you will need a rider swap for the adult who is staying behind with the infant/toddler. They will need to scan the Magic Band or Ticket of the adult staying behind (as well as any passengers who will return to ride with them; up to two). The first adult will ride and then the second adult (whomever stayed behind with baby) will then use their rider-swap pass to zip right through the FastPass line. Bonus is - they can take one or two others back on with them, so if you have an older child they can still experience the ride with both parents!
4. Baby Care Centers
Located in every Disney Park is a Baby Care Center. You will find a kitchen with oven, microwave, and sink so that you can prepare bottles and/or baby food. There is a feeding area with highchairs and a nursing area with rockers for nursing moms. There is also a sitting area with small chairs, television and couches and a changing area with padded changing tables. You will also find an area to purchase baby necessities such as diapers, wipes, formula and pacifiers. These Baby Care Centers are a great spot if you need to escape the heat and tend to your little one for a bit; away from the hustle and bustle of the parks.
5. Prepare your Park Essentials Bag
Make a list ahead of time for what you will need in the parks during the day. Store them in one (or two) easy to grab cinch bags or something that you can pull in and out of your stroller when you are loading off and on transportation or going through security. Here are just a few suggestions:
· Snacks! A few granola bars, some goldfish, anything to help bridge the gap between meals. With the heat and activity little ones can work up quite an appetite and that leads quickly to meltdowns.
· Diapers, wipes, pacis, etc...
· Sunscreen! Florida sun is brutal, even in the off-summer months
· A hand-held fan or water spritzer for cooling down
· A few simple activities/distractions for waiting in line
· Portable Phone Charger (you will be running down that battery using the My Disney Experience app – not to mention all the photos and video ops)
There is a start for your planning! There are many more tips I can share when you book your vacation! Planning services are always complimentary. Email me today for a free, no obligation quote!
Manager and Travel Planner