Friday, June 24, 2022

Disney World With A 3 Year Old Tips

Disney World Baby Swap

Tips for Taking a Toddler to Disney World | 7 trips from 1-3 Years Old | All my tips!

Baby Swap is also known as Rider Switch or Child Swap, but I think Baby Swap is more fun to say.

This is a free service for rides that you and your spouse want to ride, but that your child cant ride either because they dont meet the height requirements and/or because theyre too scared.

The best way to explain it is with an example.

Example: You, your spouse, and your 9 nine year old all want to ride Avatar Flight of Passage, but your 3 year old is with you and obviously cant ride it.

What do you do?

Go to Avatar Flight of Passage and ask the cast member at the entrance of the line for a Rider Switch Pass.

Your spouse and your 9 year old ride Flight of Passage while you and your 3 year old grab a Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse at Satuli Canteen.

Then, when your spouse and 9 year old get back from the ride, you get to enter the FastPass line and ride Flight of Passage along with your 9 year old.

Do you notice who really wins out here?

The 9 year old!

Just another example of how life is good to the first-born.

Its a smart idea to do practice runs of the Rider Swap/Baby Swap process when youre at home so that your toddler understands how it works and doesnt get confused or scared, thinking theyll be left behind. Little kids love acting out stuff like that anyway. If your kids are like my girls, theyll want to practice it many more times than you actually care to.

Prepare To Compromise With Rides

Not every ride will suit every person in a multigenerational group. My cousins, aged 17 and 25, wanted to ride certain ones that didnt interest my grandmother, like Test Track and Mission: Space. While they went off to do those, my grandmother, sister, and I went to Soarin Around the World, which was Memes favorite of the trip. She enjoyed watching the large-scale images of places shed visited. Living With the Land was another highlight, which shows riders greenhouses where food is grown to be served at Disney restaurants.

It was also important to throw in some indoor rides to stay cool, which I might have skipped in the past. Jungle Cruise and Journey into Imagination with Figment turned out to be welcome additions due to their slower pace and covered vehicles.

Arriving before park opening and coming back after sunset are also best for staying coolboth were possible because we were stayed at an on-property resort, and got access to Extra Magic Hours. At times, Meme was able to return to the hotel while a few of us went back for more.

The 85th birthday crew outside of the Grand Floridian Cafe

Best Disney Parks For 3 Year Old

We really wanted to spend our time relaxing at the resort during this short trip to Disney World. However, my 3 year old didnt remember visiting as an infant. So, I wanted to take her to at least one park.

If you are trying to decide which park is best for a 3 year old, I would argue that it really depends on what your child enjoys.

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A Mom Shares Her Adventure Of Taking 3

Youre crazy is the first thing out of everyones mouth when I told them I was taking my 3-year-old twins to Disney World alone. Even my husband thought I was certifiably insane.

Well, spoiler alert, I took my twin toddlers to Disney World all by myself and although some of you may still think Im crazy for that it was the most magical day ever.

As soon as I decided the three of us were going to make the trip I started planning. Being someone who meticulously plans everything I knew that our Disney World trip would have also have to be mapped out to best utilize our time.

I used my Disney account on their website and bought our tickets. After purchasing tickets I downloaded the Walt Disney World app on my iPhone where I booked all our fast passes.

Next, I pulled up a detailed map of the Magic Kingdom and made an entire list of all the rides and experiences I could potentially see the twins and I doing during our day.

If you are curious to see the list I made, here it is:

  • Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger
  • Ariels Grotto
  • Journey of the Little Mermaid

My twins are 3 so this list was tailored to their age group, but I think making a ride/experience list is one of the most helpful preplanning tools you can use, no matter what age your twins are. As you can see its a very extensive list, and I knew we would never get to each thing on the list, but having it all written out in front of me helped me to plan our day.

Do One Park At A Time

Disney World with a One Year Old

When planning a trip to Disney, people often ask me which Disney park is the best for toddlers. While Magic Kingdom IS the most toddler-friendly with the most options for rides, like it’s a small world, Under The Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Peterpan’s Flight , there is something for toddlers in each of the theme parks.

Epcot gives you space for walking and has an aquarium, as well as tot favorites like the Frozen Ever After and the Seas with Nemo and Friends rides. And, don’t underestimate the World Showcase for the little ones, because it is very kid friendly. Each country has a Kidcot stop, where kids can collect a card from the Cast Member about that country. They can get out and stretch their legs while stepping into a new land.

The Animal Kingdom has wild animals, and great rides for toddlers. There is a whole dinosaur playground area, a carnival area, and plenty of areas for strolling. Plus there are unique features like monkeys up in the trees, and the Kilimanjaro Safari is a favorite of my kids.

Hollywood Studios has more thematic restaurants as well as Toy Story Land, Star Wars, a show with the Muppets, Lightning McQueen, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Coaster, and so much more. There are plenty of fun things tots will love in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Best Hollywood Studios Shows For Toddlers

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration is playing during Covid!

The Frozen Sing-Along Celebration is a good chance for kids to see Anna and Elsa on stage. They dont appear too long though, and you wont get any pictures with characters. Its a funny show with current pop culture jokes and a chance for the audience to sing the songs from Frozen together.

Olaf used to meet and greet right outside of the theater and will hopefully be back soon!

Is Your Child Afraid Of The Dark

Amy reminds us that many of the everyone rides at Disneyland are in the dark. If your child is scared when the lights go out, you might want to avoid Pirates of the Caribbean, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, and Roger Rabbits Car Toon Spin. Even the train has some spooky tunnels. Whitney still feels guilty for taking her son on Pinocchio: it was terrifying for him.

Many of the California Adventure kiddo rides are lighter and brighter, so we recommend spending a majority of your time here when visiting with little ones!

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Bring Plenty Of Fluid & Snacks

You will spend a lot of time walking with your toddler at Disney World, so you need plenty of fluid and snacks.

We werent prepared for the first day at Magic Kingdom with our toddler because the airline lost our bags, and the shuttle took nearly an hour to pick me up from the airport.

Our first mistake was not having snacks, so we spent a lot of money on food at Magic Kingdom on the first day, but it was fun.

On the second day, we were prepared with lunch. We had included sandwiches, fruit, chips, jerky, tea packets, fruit snacks, and a gallon of water.

We also travel with Pedialyte packets to keep from getting dehydrated its a must when out and about with toddlers exerting a lot of energy,

Make The Most Of Disney Rides

DISNEY WORLD WITH A 3 YR OLD! | Our Experience & Disney Hacks For You!
  • Plan for Height Restrictions – Research height restrictions online for all the parks you are planning to attend. Know before you go which rides and slides will work for your children. Doing this will help prevent disappointments.
  • Use Your Fast Pass Wisely – When you purchase a park ticket, Fast Pass is a complimentary benefit that allows you to make three reservations per ticket to an attraction by signing up for a specific date and time. Purchase your tickets in advance, so your family can use this timesaving tool. Sign up for Fast Passes online or via the My Disney Experience App.
  • Make Fast Pass Reservations Early – When you stay at a Disney hotel, you can make Fast Pass Selections up to 60 days before arrival. If you are not staying at a Disney hotel, you can utilize your Fast Pass up to 30 days in advance.
  • Earn Three Additional Fast Passes – After using your first three Fast Passes, you can sign up for three more via the My Disney Experience App regardless of where you are staying.
  • Know the Best Rides for Fast Pass – Utilize the line-skipping system for attractions that constantly have the longest lines. Magic Kingdoms Splash Mountain, Hollywood Studios Toy Story Midway Mania and Epcots Frozen Ever After, Test Track and Soarin are the rides with the longest lines.
  • Plan a reunion at Disney World with an online sign up. SAMPLE

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    Toddlers And Strollers At Disney

    Interestingly, I heard that there are WAY less strollers at Tokyo Disney that at Disney World in Florida, suggesting that we Americans expect our kids to be less capable of walking than they actually are.

    Personally, I would recommend a stroller for each child five years old and under.


    Magic Kingdom is 105 acres, and Epcot is 300 acres. I do not want to discover what will happen when I tell an exhausted four year old who is on the brink of tears that we have to trek through the blazing Florida heat for another fifteen minutes just to get back to the parks entrance.

    Other than their obvious purpose, strollers are also a convenient way to store the things you need to bring into the parks, like snacks, water bottles, diaper bags, etc.

    Weve never used the Disney strollers, because theyre:personally dont recommend the Disney rental strollers, because they

    • Fairly expensive

    What Rides To Go On At Magic Kingdom

    Since Disney World was still in its reopening phase from the pandemic, some of the rides and attractions were not available at the parks during our trip.

    My favorite attraction for 3 year olds at Magic Kingdom is Enchanted Tales with Belle. Unfortunately, this was one of the entertainment options that had yet to re-start.

    Luckily, we were able experience lots of rides appropriate for 3 year olds including:

    • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
    • Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid
    • Its a Small World
    • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    • Peter Pans Flight
    • Transit Authority People Mover

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    Visit The Disneyland Baby Care Center

    My 3 year old enjoyed watching Disney movies in the air conditioned Baby Care Center. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

    Disneyland insider tip: Even if you dont have a baby, the Baby Care Center is a great stop.

    Since it has A/C, its perfect for cooling down overheated kids in a quiet environment. They also have microwaves to heat up any food/snacks you bring into the park.

    My favorite part are the bathrooms. They usually arent too crowded and they are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who are potty training.

    My son was a bit over-heated and started to tantrum. We brought him into the Baby Care Center while I nursed my baby and it helped improve him mood immensely!

    How To Do Disney World With A 3 Year Old

    I Took My 3

    Yesterday I shared some tips for the planning stage of your Walt Disney World vacation. Today I wanted to share some tips on making sure you get the most out of your day at the parks. When it comes to doing Disney World with a 3 year old, its all about maximizing your time within the parks and hitting them EARLY !

    Below are some KEY things we have learned to get the most out of our park days. I am going to be speaking primarily about Magic Kingdom in this post, as this park is typically the biggest hit with the toddler/preschooler crowd. However, these same principals can be applied to any of the Walt Disney World parks.

    Set Your Alarm + Arrive Early

    This is key. We all know that preschoolers are early risers, so you will want to take advantage of this and set your alarm to get up and going early. We always try to arrive 30-45 minutes before the park opens. If you are staying at a WDW Resort Hotel, be sure to check the daily schedule for any Extra Magic Hours at the specific park you plan to attend that day. Most days you can expect Magic Kingdom to open at 9:00 AM .

    Tip: Eat breakfast before you arrive to the park ! Unless we have a character breakfast reservation, we always eat before we arrive so we can hit the ground running as soon as the ropes officially drop!

    Head Straight to your Must-Do Attractions/Rides.
    Take a Break for an Afternoon Nap
    Mobile Order Your Food
    Magic Kingdom Itinerary
    A.M. HOURS

    Cinderellas Castle:Dream Along with Mickey stage show


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    Park Your Stroller Once Per Land

    Toddlers will want to walk a bit and not be confined to the stroller full time, so we found the perfect compromise that also makes logistics easy. Use the stroller to get your child quickly from land to land. Then park it in one place in each land and allow your child to walk from ride-to-ride within the land. This saves you a lot of time hunting for the stroller and strapping your kid in and out of it unnecessarily.

    Think About A Trip Before Your Kiddo Turns 3

    Children younger than 3 get into Disney for free! Some folks think that Disney should be a trip you do when your kids are older and will remember. Thats great! For us, though, weve brought most of our kids before we had to pay for their ticket. They still loved it.

    And while my daughter at age 28 may not be able to articulate her trip to Disney at age 2, right now at 8 she can. She can tell us about what she saw, what dress she wore and what we ate. Memory fades over time, but to her right now? That experience was worth it.

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    A Small Backpack To Take On Rides With You

    Youll want to bring a small backpack with you. Lines can be long and you want to have snacks, water and entertainment with you for your little ones while youre queuing. Plus, for most of the rides in the Magic Kingdom there is room by your feet to easily place your bag. Of course, youll also want to bring your main diaper bag, and you can see what I pack in mine right here.

    What Height Requirements Affect Toddlers

    Walt Disney World with a Toddler Tips | Family Travel with Two Year Old

    Since this trip plan is focused on little ones, the thrill rides arent included in our touring plans for families with little ones. However, there are a few non-thrillers that also have height requirements, and those are indicated on each of the touring plans.

    You can also check out the overview of attractions with height requirements for a complete list.

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    What To Do About Strollers

    Your toddler may not use a stroller any more, but they will very, very likely need one at Disney World .

    Strollers are very handy for not only providing your little one with a spot to rest their feet, but they also provide a place for you to store some of that extra stuff toddlers need.

    Youll have lots of options when it comes to strollers renting offsite, renting from Disney, bringing one from home, shipping a new stroller to yourself, etc.

    Be sure to read our comparison of stroller options to decide how you will want to handle strollers for your trip.

    Whatever stroller you decide to use we highly recommend you also consider bringing along, renting, or purchasing a rain cover.

    Going when the temperatures are predicted to be hot? If youre using a stroller, youll likely want one of these stroller fans, too.

    Naps Dont Skip Them At Disney World For Your Toddler

    For the love of Mickey, please please dont skip naps when you travel to Disney World with toddlers.

    If your child still naps at home, make sure they have the opportunity to nap while on vacation.

    We made the decision a few days to power through nap time.

    Rookie move.

    My daughter was alright one minute and a hot flaming mess the next.

    While the distractions and rides allowed her to be a little more flexible with us, it soon became apparent that we were ALL better people if we made a trip back to the hotel for a swim and nap midday.

    Big Thunder Mountain WILL be there for you when you go back, we promise!

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