Familiarize Yourself With The Maps
Before you head out the door of your hotel, you should be familiar with the layout of all the theme parks and water parks that you plan to visit. Doing this will help you plan out the route of least resistance and minimize walking throughout the day.
Looking through park maps also gives your family a chance to discuss which rides and shows are a must during your trip so that you dont miss out on anything. You should sit down together and discuss different attractions to plan out a rough schedule for the day. Doing this not only helps the day run more smoothly, but it can help to ease any anxiety about your trip.
Make sure to include the youngest family members in your planning to ensure that no one gets left out on the big day. Some rides have minimum height requirements that young toddlers wont be able to meet. Make sure that you explain ahead of time to your toddler why they cant go on certain rides to avoid a meltdown at the scene.
Fortunately, Disney World is home to more than 100 different attractions with no height requirements. Some even have a maximum height requirement. Check before your trip to see which rides allow toddlers to ride in a car or on your lap. Some popular classics include Dumbo the Flying Elephant in the Magic Kingdom, the educational Spaceship Earth at Epcot, the Triceratops Spin at the Animal Kingdom, and many more.
Disney Junior Dance Party For Toddlers
I was excited that the Disney Junior Live on Stage show was getting a makeover. The puppets were a little outdated. And when I heard the new name Disney Junior Dance Party! I thought it would be just that, a dance party!
The Disney Junior Dance Party! is not exactly a dance party where the characters are on the dance floor with the kids like other dance parties in the parks. Its still a cute show that little ones will definitely enjoy!
There are set showtimes throughout the day, so be sure to check the Times Guide or your My Disney Experience app. The show lasts about 25 minutes. Kids come in and sit on the floor while the show begins! A DJ comes out and gets the show started with music, lights, and fun!
Preschoolers and toddlers will get to see their favorite Disney characters on stage like Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, Timon, and Mickey Mouse. When Vampirina came on the stage, the crowd erupted in screams. I thought Beyoncé had come in.
Kids who are big fans of Disney Jr and shows like Doc McStuffins, The Lion Guard, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, and Vampirina will have a blast! The kids do get a chance to stand up and dance while learning some dance moves, so its a good time to get those wiggles out.
There is also great audience participation and some kids are called on to help push a button and others can see themselves on the big screen! And just wait until the bubbles and snow come out. Disney Junior Dance Party! is a fun addition for toddlers at Disney World!
Best Rides At Magic Kingdom For Toddlers
Like Donald Duck, Magic Kingdom Park is #1 for toddlers! Planning for Disney World with toddlers is a breeze at this park, because there is so much for them to do. The attractions and characters available for the little ones far outweigh the others. In fact, I often recommend visiting Magic Kingdom at least two days during your vacation.
Anything without a height requirement is fantastic for toddlers in Disneys Magic Kingdom Park. Fantasyland was designed for the littles, and theres so much for them to experience.
From character meet and greets everywhere, rides galore, an air-conditioned play area inside the waiting area for Dumbo the Flying Elephant, to a water play area in Storybook Circus , and the most amazing snacks, Magic Kingdom is a toddlers dream land. Okay, its my dream land, too.
If youre unsure what your toddler will like, start off with something tame, like its a small world or Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Once your child feels the excitement, then work them up to The Barnstormer. If they want something even more exciting, try Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Then you can try all the Mountains if they really love thrill rides and meet the height requirement!
I remember when Snow Whites Scary Adventures was still around and friends would start their toddler there, because it was usually a shorter line. Then their kids were too scared to try other things. I know youre excited, parents, and theyre excited, too, but start them off slow.
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Our Hollywood Studios Tips + Faves
Hollywood Studios turned out to be my second favorite experience with a toddler, errr it may have even tied Magic Kingdom actually. We really LOVED it between Toy Story Land and the amazing shows!!
Toy Story Land
Toy Story Land deserves its own category, its next level Disney magic. It is SO BEYOND colorful and really feels like you walk into the world the way a toy views it. The characters are walking through, Arlo loved watching the Slinky rollercoaster over and over and honestly I could have spent hours just soaking this land all in. SO SO well done. If your kid is into Toy Story this should be your number one priority.
- Frozen Sing-Along: L-O-V-E-D this with a capital LOVE! The hosts of the show were hilarious, and they told the story of the movie while pausing for full-on audience sing alongs of all the songs. It was glorious.
- Voyage of The Little Mermaid: This show is so perfectly untouched from my childhood. The special effects are fun and I just love how classic this show is.
- Disney Junior Dance Party: If your toddlers watch Disney Junior theyll love seeing all their fave characters from the shows, plus they get to sing and dance around with a bunch of other toddlers. Ha, its toddler heaven.
- Beauty and the Beast: This show doesnt need an introduction, right? You just cant go wrong! It is outdoors though so keep that in mind depending on the weather!
Which Disney World Park To Visit With Toddlers
There are four different parks at Disney World. Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios.
In our experience, the most toddler-friendly parks at Disney World for toddlers are Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
We had a blast at Magic Kingdom, and its a lot more manageable than I thought it would be, in terms of conquering one section at a time.
We explore more in our post on Magic Kingdom with toddlers and Animal Kingdom with toddlers, so if you need more information check them out.
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More Character Action At Hollywood Studios
Mickey and Minnie greet guests all day at Red Carpet Dreams. You can meet Disney Junior friends like Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy and Vampirina in the Animation Courtyard during the day. Want more characters? Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie also greet in Toy Story Land!
If you have tiny Star Wars fans, head to Star Wars Launch Bay. The large and fluffy Chewbacca is quite the hit with the kids . Darth Vader? Probably not. Next to the Frozen Sing-Along theater is where kids can meet Olaf, the worlds happiest snowman. Warm hugs all around!
Best Disney World Park By Age Group 6
We personally think that the best age to take your kids to Disney are between the ages of 6 12. Kids at this age are just about tall enough to ride everything in the parks but are still dazzled by Disney theming and magic. That is not to say that taking your toddler to Disney wont be magical.
Really any Disney theme park is great for kids between the aged 6-9, so your trip can be geared toward what interest your child has! If your kid loves animals, dinosaurs or thrill rides, Disneys Animal Kingdomis one of the best theme parks in Orlando for kids from ages 6 to around 9. Kids around this age tend to enjoy sightseeing at their own pace and will actually be engulfed in their environment. A safari tour will gives these kids a sense of exploration. Some rides include Kilimanjaro Safaris and Avatar Flight of Passage. Their minds will be blown!
If your kid is Star Wars or Toy Story lover, then Disneys Hollywood Studios is a wonderful park to spend the day in. It is not only one of the best theme parks for kids, it also has plenty of air conditioned attractions to escape the Florida heat. But, if you kid likes thrills, Hollywood Studios has the most thrill rides of any park sure to make an impact on those adrenaline seekers!
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Yes You Should You Take Your Kids To Epcot
COVID & Construction update: Disney is not offering traditional character meet-and-greets with hugs and autographs in Epcot at this time, but there are some socially distanced character appearances throughout the park where you can see favorite Disney characters.
Epcot isn’t just for adults – you and your kids can have a great day at Epcot! There is an Epcot myth that is so widely accepted that you will even sometimes find it in Disney World related guidebooks – this official sounding legend states “that kids will be bored by Epcot” and that “parents of small children should skip this theme park altogether.” We at Build A Better Mouse Trip want to expose this crazy anti-Epcot conspiracy once and for all!Epcot is a great place for the whole family – including preschoolers! It is true that Epcot is different than the Magic Kingdom but that’s not a bad thing. There are very few thrill rides at Epcot that will exclude the younger members of the family. Instead, there are lots of interactive opportunities to engage the senses and hold the interest of almost every age group. You will also find your favorite characters at Epcot and those little touches of Disney whimsy that delight young and old alike.
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,
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Best Disney World Rides For Babies & Toddlers At Epcot:
At first, Frozen: Ever After seems no more thrilling than Pirates of the Caribbean. Its a charming boat cruise through one of our familys favourite movies. But, SPOILER ALERT! When you back away from Marshmallow, hang onto that baby tightly and, if youre close to the edge of the boat, prepare to get wet! We thought it was an exciting surprise, but if I had a baby or toddler in tow Id want to be ready.
Its easy to miss this ride, which is hidden deep inside the Mexico Pavillion at Epcot. Its a boat cruise along the lines of Its a Small World but set to the story of the 1944 Disney film The Three Caballeros. Youll have massive deja vu watching Donald Duck scramble through Mexico with his feathered friends in pursuit. Im not sure when Ive seen this film but it totally seemed familiar.
I wonder how long before this attraction gets refurbished to reflect the story of Coco? I think it still would be wonderful but I hope they find a way to combine the themes.
Finding Nemo is a family favourite, so naturally we adore The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot. Its a clamshell ride similar to the new Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid ride at Magic Kingdom. Youre on a voyage through the movie and also through the aquariums located in The Seas main tank and exhibits.
This ride also lets out directly into a gift shop
Best Rides At Disney World For Toddlers
Toddlers are often forgotten at places where the attractions are geared to older kids, tweens, teens, and adults, but Walt Disney World takes good care of the youngest family members, too. Sure, theres plenty for their older siblings to do, but the four Disney parks have lots of attractions that are perfect for toddlers. Here are just a few:
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Book Your Fastpasses Asap
At first I thought it was crazy to do this, but having FastPass+ rides and attractions arranged in advance makes such a a huge difference. Just a small amount of structure to the day allows you to take it easy and explore the parks, knowing your must-do ride or show is in the books.
If you have a reservation at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, youre able to begin your FastPass+ selections as early as 60 days before your check-in date. You may reserve up to 3 FastPass+ experiences per day, per park.
T4 Astro Orbiter Dumbo The Flying Elephant The Magic Carpets Of Aladdin
Theres really no reason to quibble over where we rank the three aerial carousels of Magic Kingdom. Each is sure to have fans in kids who love some aspect of one more than the others.
In our opinion, Astro Orbiter has the best views and the added treat of being extra high. Dumbo is a classic with decent views. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin doesnt offer as appealing views, but Aladdin obviously has a good number of fans.
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Lightning Mcqueens Racing Academy
Location Hollywood Blvd.Height Requirement Any Height
Lightning McQueens Racing Academy is an attraction/show hybrid and great for little ones and fans of the Cars film franchise. Kids will find it super interesting as Lightning McQueen teaches the audience how to race. There is a huge screen all around the room to watch all the cars whizzing by, cool sound effects, and an incredible audio-animatronic at the front of the room of McQueen.
Kids Under 3 Years Old Are Free
Toddlers under age 3 do not need Disney World park tickets. Not having to buy park tickets for toddlers is a considerable savings. For reference, as of January 2021 a 4-day park hopper ticket for a 3-9 year old runs over $550 when purchased directly from Disney World.
Toddlers can experience much of the joy of Disney World for free if they visit before turning 3 years old. That leaves hundreds of extra dollars for your resort or meals when visiting Disney World. You can also save money for the rest of the family by buying Disney World tickets through our preferred travel partner, Get Away Today.
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Tips For Doing Disney With Toddlers
Here are a few more helpful tips that will help you to navigate a Disney Vacation with toddlers and small kids:
Nap Time: While it may be tempting to go all-out in the parks, every day of your trip, your children might not be able to handle that fast pace. You know them best, and if they are the kind that need some downtime, we suggest scheduling some nap time in the afternoon.
Be Selective with Rides: You also know how much excitement your children can take and how adventurous they are. Encourage them to try new things, but dont force them to go on a ride they are scared of, or they may be traumatized and not be keen on coming back to Disney World anytime soon.
Spend More Time at the Magic Kingdom: By far the best park for toddlers is the Magic Kingdom and if you have small children you should allocate a good portion of your trip going there. We suggest spending two full days at the Magic Kingdom in order to do all the rides and not have to rush through which would be very stressful and not realistic with toddlers.
Use FastPass+: We always recommend people use the FastPass+ service at Disney World, but even more so if you have small children. FastPass+ lets you skip the lines for your favorite rides so you dont have to spend hours waiting in line.
Monsters Inc Laugh Floor
Location TomorrowlandHeight Requirement Any Height
This interactive show is hilarious and enjoyed by guests of all ages, including toddlers. Characters from the Monsters Inc. films interact with guests in the audience, trying to make them laugh enough to fill the Laugh-o-meter.
Its a long show so it gives your kids a chance to rest their feet and they will love becoming part of the show!
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Book Your Dining Reservations Asap
One of the great things about the Disney World parks is you are allowed to bring in your own food and drinks, which is super handy when traveling with toddlers or picky eaters of all ages. Thats likely because they know that eating at Disney is not unreasonably expensive and there are lots of healthy and not-so-healthy options that will appeal to most. I used to pack a lot of snacks but now I dont bother. There are lots of water fountains around all of the parks for refilling bottles.
If you see a deal where the Disney dining plan is included in park tickets, grab it! Its decent value when you pay for it but a great deal if its included.
However, if there is a special dining experience or character meal you want to do, book that reservation asap. All guests, whether staying at a Disney resort or not, can make dining reservations as early as 180 days prior to their trip. You do not need to purchase theme park tickets or stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel in order to make advanced dining reservations.
Dont promise dinner with Cinderella unless you have that reservation confirmation. Dont ask me why I know this
You may need to guarantee your reservation with a credit card that will be charged if you dont show up.