Beat The Lines With Early Entry
One of the perks of staying in a Disney resort is that you can take advantage of early entry to the park. Doing this means that you can get more done in the morning when toddlers are still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, leaving everyone to rest and relax as needed in the afternoon.
Each day, you can get a 30-minute head start on other guests at any of Disneys four parks. Youll get the chance to make sure that you fit in any rides that your toddler might have their heart set on. Its best to hit the most popular attractions as early as possible since lines are bound to be longer later in the day.
Early entry also gives you more flexibility in your schedule, especially when it comes to rest time. With an additional 30 minutes to enjoy yourselves each day, your family will have more time to stop and relax without missing any attractions.
Shop For Mickey Ears Hats Here
Weve talked about the sun, but youre also very likely to see some rain on your Disney trip, no matter what time of year youre there! If you dont want it to put a stop to your fun, dont forget a rain poncho so you can put it on quick and keep on moving! You might also want to bring an umbrella in case it gets super rainy!
You can get a 5-pack of clear rain ponchos for $10.98 on Amazon. Theyre one-size-fits-most and have drawstring-closed hoods! These can often fit a lot better than Disneys own ponchos.
Now that youre prepared for everything that crazy Orlando weather can throw at you, lets see what other items you should throw into your suitcase!
Bed Rails And Pack N Plays
With all the families traveling to Walt Disney World, Disney is prepared when it comes to beds.
To help make bedtime easier, Disney has both bed rails and Pack n Plays available to borrow.
You can request one when you get there or, even better, you can call 934-7639 to have the request added to your reservation.
Read Also: How Much Is Parking At Disney World Orlando
Go Before Their 3rd Birthday
We went to Magic Kingdom a week before our sons 3rd birthday to save several hundred dollars.
It worked out perfectly because he was tall enough for everything we wanted to ride. He understood better and was a little more mature than when we visited LEGOLAND California, so he had a lot of fun.
Toddlers under 3 can still get on several rides at Disney World, so dont think they are too young. You are never too young for Disney!
Phone Apps To Download:
Before you leave the house, be ready to head off any meltdowns by downloading these fun Disney apps. These will keep the kids occupied while waiting in long lines.
My Disney Experience- This is the official Disney app where you can link up all of your tickets and Fast Pass information. Once youve used up your three Fast Passes for the day you can add more FPs all day long. This app makes it easy to add Fast Passes.
Life360 This app will pinpoint the location of anyone in your family down to the square foot, so if you get separated you can find each other again really easily.
Techy tip: Take a picture of your cars parking lot section and text it to someone else in case your phone dies so you can remember where you parked.
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Stay Cool With Cooling Towels
These are a game changer! We got these for a trip to Disney World in Florida during the hot part of the year. The parks get sweltering. All we had to do was wet the towels in the morning when we left. When they got warm, all we did was snap them and like magic, they were cool again.
**Pro Tip** Rinse the towels and let them dry flat and they will be in perfect shape for the next day
Book Character Breakfasts Or Dinners Early
Book your dining reservations in advance, especially character breakfasts or meals, early. These fill up quickly!
Be sure and check all of the options for character breakfasts, like this one at Topolino’s Terrace, to see who’s coming and what’s on the menu. Character breakfasts and meals are great for the toddlers because they get up close and personal with their favorite friends, and it saves you having to wait in line for a picture in the parks.
Currently, Advance Dining Reservations are available 60 days in advance for all guests.
Kids love seeing their favorite characters at Walt Disney World Resort character meals.
Read Also: Popular Rides At Disney World
Super Comfortable Walking Shoes For Walking 5+ Miles
Its fun to wear a cute pair of sneakers, but you will be walking a LOT at Disney World.
Pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes and get Dr. Scholls inserts to add extra cushion to your shoes.
I personally LOVE the pink Nike Pegasus shoes and the On Cloud shoes without shoelaces .
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Disney Park Touring Bag Packing List
Some days, we make it our mission to travel into the parks as lightly as possible but these days are the exception rather than the rule!
We know that being well prepared for a day in the park particularly if we have a mission and a plan is going to help us have a hassle-free and more enjoyable day. First, you are going to want to choose the Best Backpack For Disney World!
Dont feel that you need to take everything thats on this list every time you go into the park, but weve created this comprehensive list and, we feel, it has everything you may need. Obviously, if you have young kids, youll need to take your diaper bag, food, and extra drinks, pacifiers, etc for them. If you want our full list of what to bring, we have an entire article on What To Bring In Your Disney Park Bag!
And if you have a dining plan, you may not need to take snacks with you, although if traveling with smaller children, wed take some snacks with us because our kids liked to graze when they were small. Even when were on the Disney Dining Plan, we still take a very small insulated back with juice pouches and water bottles to the park, though, because we feel its a bit of a waste to use our snack credits on drinks!
Have you wondered whether the Disney Dining plan is worth it? Everything you need to know is covered in our full, in-depth article.
- Park maps
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Best Deluxe Resorts For Toddlers
Polynesian Village Resort
If you are considering a Deluxe Resort, you cant beat staying at The Polynesian with toddlers.
Its super easy to catch the monorail right at the hotel to Magic Kingdom, just a short walk to the monorail to Epcot, and its in a location where you can view Magic Kingdom fireworks from your hotel .
The Contemporary Resort is another Deluxe worth considering.
With the monorail going right through the building and the ability to walk to Magic Kingdom, its hard to imagine it not being fun for anyone, especially families with little ones. It also has Chef Mickeys restaurant located right inside a popular choice for families at Disney World.
Free Disney World Backpack Packing List Printable
While I believe its important to be prepared, you really dont have to bring much in your Disney day bag.
I created a printable checklist to get you started and left some spaces so you can add your own personal items if needed.
or screenshot it so you can be sure you have everything you need for a magical day in the parks!
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Stroller Lock And Hooks
I have never had an issue with a stroller at Disneyland , but it does happen. If youre worried about it, add a simple stroller lock to your Disney packing list to keep your stroller in place.
You may not lock your stroller to Disney property, but you can use a lock to secure the wheels, or your bag to the stroller, which may deter theft.
Stroller hooks come in handy to hang bags or water bottles. There are specific hooks if your stroller has two separate handles, or use a carabiner type hook if your stroller has a bar handle.
Take Advantage Of The Baby Care Centers
You may be saying Wait, I have a toddler, not a baby. Yes, but the Baby Care Centers are still amazing. The entire Walt Disney World Resort area can be hot. Getting out of the sun and into some air conditioning can do wonders for parents and kids alike. The Baby Care Centers are decked out with restrooms, changing tables, movies, rocking chairs and nursing areas.
My husband loves that you can buy Pedialyte there, which we always give to our kids to prevent dehydration. Be sure to pay the center a visit. Each park has a baby care center.
Don’t Miss: Disney World Orlando Customer Service
Activities For Waiting In Line
Its no secret that youll be waiting in quite a few lines at Disney World.Everything from restaurants to rides to restrooms have queues, and its really easy for children to get bored during those long waits.
Thats why we suggest packing some activities! Handheld games, coloring books, stickers, and any other small item that can be stored in a backpack would be great to keep your kids occupied during the most tedious parts of your day. We loved keeping a coloring book and crayons in our bag for restaurants too those Disney menu/coloring sheets get really boring and repetitive real fast for kids!
When Its Time For Autographs
While character autographs are suspended thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, we hope they will return one day. Meeting characters is a Disney World vacation ritual for my family.
Before Covid, each time we visited, we made sure our Disney packing list included a mat for a picture frame, like this one from Michaels. Plus, we would bring a Ziploc bag full of retractable sharpies in a variety of colors . These markers are easier for most characters to use they arent able to pull off the caps of regular markers and pens.
We have the characters sign the mat around the edges. When we get home, we add one of the family photos we shot in the park and frame the whole thing for an instant memory of another fabulous Disney vacation.
TravelingMom Tip: Heres where to find the best spots for a family photo at Disney World.
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What Age Should My Kids Be
I think if you have the opportunity to take a Disney World trip, you should do it. Regardless of kids age. Disney is magical for everyone. I absolutely understand wanting to wait until your children can remember it, but youll also never see your kids absorb the magic quite like they do when theyre super little. AND, theyre free under three, so it can be a more economical trip if one or more of your kids are young. Point being, if you want and can financially afford to take a trip, dont feel like you have to wait until all your kids are elementary school age because everyone tells you youre crazy. Youre not! We started taking Arlo at age one and he had a BLAST, though his very first trip was at just two months old! For what its worth, if you do have a super young baby you want to bring along, just wear them! We wore Arlo on almost every ride we wanted to go on and had a blast. The Baby Care Centers are super helpful too, with places for feedings, diaper changes and quiet time.
Consider How Well Your Toddler Can Walk
All toddlers are different: some will ride happily in baby carriers on Mom or Dads shoulders and many are happy to walk some of the time, too. You know your toddler, so you are in the best position to decide, but we hope our insight will help you with some extra tips for doing Disney with toddlers while still having fun.
Disney World is crowded, depending on the time of year. A toddler who is determined to walk is a force to be reckoned with, so whilst youll absolutely want them to be independent and walk some, you may want to pick more secluded areas. This way they dont get separated from you and you dont have to worry about their safety.
We actually found a great time for them to toddle was while the rest of the party staked out a spot for the parades, one of our little ones loved to toddle backwards and forwards along the parade route. Here are more tips on Walking at Disney!
The Obvious Disney World Packing List For Toddlers
These are the things that you know you should pack- but a list never hurts!
- Everyday Outfits
- Nice Outfit for Dinner
- Several Pairs of shoes
- Jacket or blanket
- Activities like Coloring Books and Ipads
- Snacks, Gum
Big note on the shoes shoes are the bain of my existentance when I take the kids to theme parks. It can be Disney World, it can be Universal Orlando, it can be seaworld, legoland or any of the smaller attractions I check out for this blog.
Shoes are the enemy of parents at theme parks. They get wet and cause blisters thanks to water rides and splash pads. They fall off and get eaten by the custodial staff. They get left behind at the play areas and thrown off in the many entertaining shows.
So if you see me with the kids at one of the parks, dont laugh when they are ALL in crocs. yes, those midly ugly shoes have come to the rescue. They dry easy, I can put socks on them if theres a blister and the ones with straps are loud if one of these munchkins try to take them off!
Take Advantage Of Early Theme Park Entry
If you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, you have access to early theme park entry for certain theme parks. If so, use it! Toddlers are up early, and this means you can get into the park earlier than the day-ticketed guests and get a head start on some of the rides.
Do also take advantage of Disney Genie + and Lightning Lanes for some of the more popular rides, and have a plan. And, if you visit Disney World with toddlers in 2022, take advantage of the new Disney Genie Service! This complimentary service on your My Disney Experience app will help craft an itinerary based on your interests
It is best to try and ride anything your tot has his or her little heart set on first, to be sure you fill that bucket and then go from there to other rides you would be disappointed not to do. If you attend during a busy time of year you will experience less than the less busy times of the year.
Dumbo The Flying Elephant is a great attraction for youngest guests.
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Best Table Service Restaurants
Ohana, Polynesian Village Resort
This one is an all you care to eat restaurant, but with no characters. The food comes highly recommended and is also brought to your table. It includes noodles, stir fried veggies and chicken, shrimp and steak all on huge skewers, served at your table. Theres also entertainment in the evening which allows the kiddies to get up and move around the restaurant. Perhaps this is not so great for very little toddlers, but fine for bigger ones or ones with older siblings. Your decision!
Coral Reef Restaurant, Epcot
This is not an all you care to eat restaurant, so your under 3s will need to share from your plate, but the portion size is great and the Coral Reef serves a good variety of food. We love that the windows look into the fish tank and you can watch the fish swim about as you dine we reckon most toddlers will find this quite interesting, too.
Snacks That Wont Melt
Be mindful of the snacks you bring when packing for the parks. Whether you are in Florida or California, the sun gets hot and the last thing you want is a soggy bag of chocolate.
Snacks that are easy to eat while walking are also a safe bet. We love individual bags of cheese crackers, applesauce pouches, fruit leather, pretzels and cereal bars to keep on hand.
Heading to Disneyland? Read: My Top 5 Disneyland Tips for Walt Disney World Regulars
For an in-park treat that is also budget friendly, we usually buy a refillable popcorn bucket at the beginning of our trip.
You can refill it in any park during your stay for $2 and popcorn is great for sharing, which is also nice for the budget!
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Best Times To Go To Disney World With A Toddler
Walt Disney World is such a popular resort that it can get a little crowded.
Ive been on some of the busiest days of the year, and while it is still magical, its not very fun waiting in a two hour line especially with little kids! What you can do is check the best weeks to go and pick the week that works best for your family!
The park is pretty busy with all of the fun 50th Anniversary Celebration things going on. This means that the heightened demand with the labor shortages gives the impression that the parks are busier , but you can always stay off property
The Very Best Weeks to take the kiddos to Disney World are
- The last week in January
- First Two Weeks of February
- Early May
- Second Week of October
- Second Week of November
Ideally, youll avoid RunDisney Weekends, and any weeks where there is a large tournament or new addition .
Thankfully, Disney World is large enough that you can move around the resort without having too many issues but certainly avoid Spring Break and Christmas Break if you can help it.