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It’s no secret Disney World vacations can sometimes be overwhelming.
From chaotic crowds during the holidays to changing Genie+ rules to theme park reservations fluctuating, Disney World vacations can often require a bit of preplanning to help it be the most magical vacation possible. All of this normal vacation worry plus the added aspect of a toddler (or two) can sometimes feel like it’s a bit much. Luckily it’s quite literally our entire job to help alleviate stress before you make your next trip to see the mouse — so now we want to make sure you have all of the best tips for heading to Disney World with a toddler.
Disney World with toddlers can sometimes be a whole new ballpark. While it might seem a little daunting to some people, we don’t think you should be worried at all!
Disney World has tons of accommodations you probably aren’t utilizing or may not know about, and we have a few tips to help with other aspects of toddlers in Disney World! First, up is thinking all about what to wear.
Costuming and Wardrobe
One thing you might not consider before heading to Disney World is costuming and wardrobe. And we don’t mean just how you dress them, we really mean costumes! Lots of kids will be wearing princess dresses, costumes of their favorite characters, or even just cute Disney shirts. The last thing you want is for your kiddo to be begging for a costume, only to realize just how expensive they can be in the parks.
Planning ahead and buying before you get into the parks can save some potential meltdowns from happening and it might even save you a bit of money by avoiding those premium prices for things in the parks. Going for something like this Jerris Apparel Princess Costume can help your toddler feel included in the magic without breaking the bank for you.
This set includes gloves, a dress, and jewelry for only $29.99.
Or if you’re toddler is more of a little hero, this Kids Superhero Costume could be perfect for anyone looking to save the world.
This costume is available for $27.99.
One thing that is SUPER important to remember if your little one wants to wear a costume is that they can be uncomfortable — and Disney World gets HOT. We highly recommend tossing a spare change of clothes into your park bag just in case you find yourself with a cranky kid.
And, if your kid doesn’t seem too keen on wearing a costume (or you don’t want to shell out the dough for one — we get it!) make sure you dress them in clothes you know they’ll be comfortable in — including shoes. Even if they might be in a stroller for most of the day, it’s just not worth the risk. Speaking of strollers…
Another aspect of bringing toddlers to Walt Disney World is deciding whether or not you need a stroller. First, you have to determine if a stroller is a necessity for your toddler. Going to Disney includes lots of walking (we can’t state that enough) but using a stroller means you also have to worry about parking it and finding it later. They can also be pretty cumbersome to navigate throughout the parks.
Once you’ve determined if a stroller is right for you, you then have to decide if you’re renting one or taking your own. Luckily for you, we’ve dedicated an entire post to everything you need to know about stroller rentals at Walt Disney World.
The main things to remember with renting a stroller from Disney are that they’re not the most comfortable, and they can be expensive.
You’d think that might be the end of the stroller conversation but not quite! If you decide not to rent but still plan on bringing your own stroller, you need to make sure it follows Disney World guidelines. We have also done extensive research on that topic too, and have a list of strollers that do meet Disney World requirements if you’re in the market for a new one, or want to know if yours is a good fit!
While strollers might not seem like a complicated topic, it’s better to prepare beforehand than figure it out on your trip.
Baby Care Centers
Some of the most under-utilized free amenities in all of Disney World are the Baby Care Centers. These are located in each of the four theme parks by the First Aid Centers — and they can seriously be beneficial for anyone with a little one.
Baby Care Centers offer private rooms with rocking chairs for breastfeeding, changing rooms with tables, highchairs for feeding, and an on-site store that sells baby formula, juice, diapers, over-the-counter medication, and more! All of these amenities with the exception of the on-site store are free to all guests who need them. Not to mention, they have pretty adorable theming in some instances.
This Baby Care Center in Magic Kingdom is inspired by Alice in Wonderland, and you’ll find little nods to that story all around the room.
And, just because your toddler might not be a “baby” doesn’t mean the Baby Care Centers aren’t for them. Sometimes we all need a little break or maybe your kiddo has an accident that requires a little bit more than what a regular restroom can handle. These places are fully stocked with what you might have forgotten or run out of. There’s also a kitchen area with a microwave if you need it for formula or anything else!
Height Restrictions and Toddler-Friendly Rides
Another aspect of taking a toddler to Disney World is which rides they can and cannot ride. Unfortunately, we have experienced our own share of meltdowns when our little ones realized they couldn’t ride something. One way to avoid this is to know what they can and cannot ride before heading to the parks — and preparing them for it.
They might not fully understand why they can’t ride certain rides, but you CAN hype them up for the attractions they are able to experience. That way, you know which ones they’re interested in and you can prioritize your day.
In Magic Kingdom these rides do not have a height requirement meaning your little one can enjoy:
- Jungle Cruise
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Haunted Mansion
- It’s A Small World
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Dumbo The Flying Elephant
- The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
- Prince Charming Regal Carousel
- Under The Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Mad Tea Party
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover
- Astro Orbiter (Remember this one is pretty high up.)
- Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
- The Walt Disney World Railroad
Over in Animal Kingdom, your little ones can enjoy:
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- TriceraTop Spin
- Wildlife Express Train
- Na’vi River Journey
In EPCOT, anyone can enjoy:
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Living with the Land
- Frozen: Ever After
- Grand Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
Finally, in Hollywood Studios, anyone can enjoy:
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Toy Story Mania
Magic Kingdom is the most toddler-friendly when it comes to rides anyone can enjoy and Hollywood Studios might not be your best bet ride-wise when heading to the parks with your little one. But, another option you might want to consider if you’re planning on doing as many rides as you can with your little one is purchasing Disney Genie+.
This is a paid service that allows guests to skip the regular standby lines at several attractions, often resulting in shorter waits. We don’t know if you’re familiar with the average toddler’s patience level, but from our experience long lines are can be less than fun with tiny humans.
Character Meet and Greets
While not every park is the most ride friendly for toddlers, every park does have character meet and greets that your kiddo can enjoy! Character meet and greets can be one of the best aspects of bringing toddlers to Disney World since they are truly immersed in meeting their favorite characters.
One thing you might not know though is characters don’t necessarily meet all day every day. Different characters meet at different times and places so it’s important to know who you want to prioritize before heading into the theme parks.
Make sure to check out the My Disney Experience App for exact times and locations for your favorite characters so you can almost guarantee a meeting with them!
Another way to knock out a lot of character interactions all at once is with Character Meals! These are special prix fixe or buffet meals at various table service restaurants throughout Disney World that not only allow you to relax for a bit and recharge with some food…
…but the characters walk around and actually come to you! Some of our favorites are the Crystal Palace Character Breakfast in Magic Kingdom and Garden Grill in EPCOT!
Things That Are Free For Under Three
Finally, when bringing a toddler to Disney World, it’s important to know what’s free for children who are under three. This might arguably be the most important thing to know before bringing your toddler to Disney World because kids ages 0-3 don’t require a theme park ticket!
While a lot of people might argue that your toddler won’t remember this trip to Disney, you will remember it! Plus, if you can save $100+ on a ticket, we think a trip to see the mouse could be well worth it for you. With Disney’s recent change in park ticket pricing, it’s hard to ignore the fact that your kiddos won’t need a ticket while they’re little.
Kiddos under three can also eat for free at all-you-care-to-enjoy meals in Disney World! That saves quite a bit of money if you’re bringing a toddler especially because all-you-care-to-enjoy meals can be on the pricier side. Your toddler also won’t need Genie+ or Individual Lightening Lanes since they don’t have a theme park ticket. As long as they stay with an adult who has Genie+ or that Individual Lightening Lane, they can join you on those kid-friendly rides.
Overall, bringing a toddler to Disney World might not be as difficult as you might think! With just a bit of planning and some helpful tips from DFB, you can make it a magical trip for everyone. Remember to keep following DFB for all of your Disney planning questions and needs!
Want to take the stress out of planning a Disney World vacation? Reach out to our friends at Small World Vacations. Their services are totally FREE and truly make planning a Disney World trip easier!
Have you taken a toddler to Disney World? Tell us your best tips in the comments!