Disney World is a magical place for kids of all ages. There’s so much to see and do and so many memories to be made. If you’re planning a trip with toddlers in tow, this information is provided especially for you.
Keep reading, to learn more about exploring Disney World with a toddler. Following this advice will help to ensure everyone has tons of fun!
When to Go and How Long to Stay
Visiting Disney World during the off-season makes perfect sense when you have toddlers. It’s not as crowded, which means the lines are shorter and things aren’t as hectic as other times of the year. Consider going during the last two weeks of January, September, October, or the first half of November or December.
Related post: Best Times of Year to Visit Disney World
Many parents recommend planning a trip of just two to three (full) days when traveling with kids this young. Not only will you save money, your little ones won’t get totally worn out in the process. This gives you a good excuse to plan a longer Disney World vacation when they’re a little older. Am I right?
Stroller Rental (or Bring Your Own)
Disney World is HUGE. For that reason, even if your child has outgrown his or her stroller at home, stroller rental is a must… seriously! Since strollers aren’t allowed in some waiting lines, you may also want to bring some type of wearable child carrier as well.
Where to Stay
The most convenient accommodation options (as far as getting around Disney World) are the on-site monorail resorts. You have three to choose from… the Polynesian, the Contemporary and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The monorail actually runs right through the Contemporary. How cool is that? Yes, you do pay more for the convenience. However, all three resorts are pretty luxurious and offer extra perks to guests.
A less expensive option, your toddler will love is Art of Animation resort. Many of the family suites are decorated in fun movie theme style. Think Little Mermaid, Cars and Finding Nemo.
Let’s talk perks! All four of these resorts offer perks such as shuttle service from and to the airport, complementary park transportation, magical amenities and in-room child care.
Rides and Attractions
For safety reasons, many of the rides and attractions at Disney World have height requirements. But, don’t panic! There’s still plenty of things for your toddler to enjoy. These are just a few of them:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom)
- Princess Fairytale Hall (Magic Kingdom)
- Journey into Imagination with Figment (Epcot)
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Magic Kingdom)
- TriceraTop Spin (Animal Kingdom)
- Kilimanjaro Safaris (Animal Kingdom)
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends (Epcot)
- Prince Charming Regal Carousel (Magic Kingdom)
- The Barnstormer at Storybook Circus (Magic Kingdom)
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage! (Hollywood Studios)
- The Boneyard (Animal Kingdom)
Here’s a great tip for families traveling with little ones who aren’t tall enough to ride the “big kid” rides. Take advantage of Disney’s Rider Switch policy. Two members of your party are allowed to take turns waiting in line with small children and switching places when it’s their, so they don’t have to wait in line twice.
Where to Eat
When comes to where to eat, many parents find success with two quick and easy meals and one sit-down meal per day. However, the choice is totally up to you. In regard to the sit-down option, children under three eat for free if you share off of your plate.
Buffets are highly recommended and a fantastic choice. They give your kids the chance to meet some of their favorite Disney characters. Some options include:
- Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom (Winnie the Pooh and friends)
- Donald’s Dining Safari at Tusker House Restaurant
- Chef Mickey’s located in Contemporary Resort (Mickey and friends)
- Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast Character Dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant
- Little Einstein’s Preschool Show hosted breakfast
If you prefer a big meal minus the character interaction, the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Tree Tavern gets yummy reviews. The child’s menu includes entrées like oven roasted chicken, New England pot roast and macaroni & cheese.
Perfect “quick meal” eateries include Cosmic Rays Starlite Café (Tomorrowland) and Pinocchio Village Haus (Fantasyland). Pick from foods like uncrustable PB&J sandwiches, chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, yogurt, fruit and more.
It’s important to note that you are allowed to bring your own cooler into Disney World, as long as your food doesn’t require heating. Just be sure to inform a member of the security team, when entering the park. Coolers cannot be larger than 24-inches long, 15-inches wide and 18-inches high. In addition, you cannot bring in alcoholic beverages or anything in glass jars, except baby food.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to visiting Disney World with toddlers. In this case, research really is your friend. Take the time to visit the official Disney website. It’s packed with answers to almost every question you can think of. There’s also lots of other great sources of information at your disposal with just the click of a mouse.
One last tip. Take advantage of making advance reservations (dining, entertainment, etc.) whenever you can. Events such as kid’s character breakfasts typically sell out way ahead of time. Most restaurants allow you to make reservations up to 180 days prior to your arrival date. Let the vacation planning begin!