As you know we recently took a trip to Orlando with Mila and spent a day at Disney World! We had the best time and she honestly did even better than I expected her to. This trip with a little one can be a handful so I wanted to share a few tips for doing Disney World with a toddler and a little more about what we did!
First let me say if you have a little one around Mila’s age (she’s 22 months old), it is totally worth it to go to Disney World! While I’m sure she won’t remember much from this trip, I know Ita and I will never forget seeing the excitement in her eyes and getting to experience such a magical place together. I am a big believer that it’s not about your child remembering every moment but more so having those positive and happy experiences together because ultimately I think that’s what shapes a big part of who they become. These can be something as simple as going to the park to play and have a picnic, dancing in the living room or something more grand like taking them on a trip!
Every family’s financial situation is different so if you think you’ll only go to Disney World once and want them to get the most out of the trip, maybe wait until they’re a little older. But if you’re looking for a fun family vacation that’s exciting for your little one AND the parents, I say go for it! I was shocked at how many rides Mila could ride and she absolutely loved them! Seeing her face light up and yell, “weee” with her arms up on Dumbo, the teacups, Aladdin, etc. was priceless.
WHERE TO STAY
There are SO many great places to stay in Orlando that are close to Disney World. Just about every hotel I looked at had a free shuttle to and from the park so you shouldn’t have to worry about transportation. We spent two nights at the Hyatt Regency and two nights at the Four Seasons Orlando which I recently did a blog post about. The Four Seasons Orlando was an absolutely incredible place to stay that is really like a park in itself. It is on the more expensive side so if you’re looking for a more affordable option we really enjoyed the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. It’s a huge hotel with a few pools, splash pad, volleyball, rock climbing and even a “beach” looking at a lagoon.
If you go on the Disney World website they have a list of Disney-focused resorts to stay at but they can get expensive. I’ve heard the one in Animal Kingdom is amazing but I’m sure you can’t go wrong!
12 TIPS FOR DOING DISNEY WORLD WITH A TODDLER
1. Get a FastPass
If you’re able I would highly recommend getting a FastPass. Standing in line for an hour for a 2 minute ride is hard on a toddler and hard on you! We had Fast Passes so we were able to secure our place in line on 3 rides then once we rode those rides, could schedule another. The Fast Pass will show what time to arrive for the ride to ensure you only wait a few minutes. Every ride we set up with Fast Pass we walked right up to and almost immediately sat down to ride! It just makes it more enjoyable for everyone and allows you to make the most of your day.
2. NAP TIME + RESTAURANT RESERVATIONS
The last thing you want for your day at Disney is a fussy baby so a good nap is crucial. We brought our Doona stroller and as soon as we noticed Mila getting restless we sat down at a restaurant so she could get a good nap in. I HIGHLY recommend getting a reservation at one of the restaurants. We did NOT do this and ended up eating at one of their burger joints. It wasn’t the greatest but Mila did sleep for an hour and a half. Our plan was to eat at one of the sit down restaurants where they serve alcohol so Ita and I could enjoy a beer and good meal while she slept. I underestimated how busy it would be and everywhere was an hour wait for lunch… so again, make a reservation!
3. DOWNLOAD THE DISNEY WORLD APP
Leave it to Disney to have an amazing app to make your trip that much easier and enjoyable. The Disney app will allow you to register your Fast Passes, set your place in line, make reservations at restaurants and just overall schedule your day! I realized I could actually order food from the app instead of standing in line! I swear I waited in line for 30 minutes for a pretty crummy burger and I could have ordered it from the app and just walked right up when it was ready… please, learn from my mistakes and don’t wait in line!
The app is really great for scheduling your day. I was able to look the day before at the schedule of events taking place at Magic Kingdom and add them to my itinerary. So for example I wanted to make sure we went to the Mickey parade that took place at 1:30 and see the fireworks that evening. Adding each activity/show to your itinerary was really helpful because it’s easy to lose track of what time it is and where you are in the park! I wish we could have taken her to see the Lion King and Frozen shows but I felt like it was just too much to try and go to another park. Magic Kingdom is HUGE so you can easily spend all day there. Maybe if your kids are older and you get to the park really early the Park Hopper passes are worth it but for us they weren’t.
4. Stay for the Fireworks
No matter how old your kids are, stay for the fireworks! I think the Magic Kingdom Happily Ever After fireworks show started at 9:15 and Mila normally goes to bed by 8:00… while we do our best to make sure she gets a good nap in, we usually throw bedtimes out the window on vacation. She was a little nervous when the fireworks first started because it is LOUD and the show is GRAND but after a little reassurance from us she was all for it! She just kept saying, “Fireworks! Fireworks! Woooow! Castle!” And it was the best thing ever. When the Moana song came on she freaked out and when it ended she kept saying, “mama! mama! More Moana, more Moana!” lol.
5. Take Water and Snacks!
The park allows you to bring in water which I highly recommend doing. It gets expensive buying bottles of water all day and you don’t want to drink the tap water. We tried… it was not good. You can also bring snacks! We had some pouches, crackers, etc. for Mila to have throughout the day but it probably wouldn’t of hurt to throw in a few things for me and Ita too!
6. Dress comfortably
If you’ve never been to Disney World before just know there is A LOT of walking involved. You’re literally walking the entire time you’re there… we clocked 7.5 miles our day at Disney and keep in mind we sat for her to sleep for a couple of hours and didn’t get to the park as soon as it opened… I want to say we got there by noon and left at 10:30. It’s a LONG day so you want to make sure you dress comfortably. I had a comfortable loose dress on with a t-shirt and sneakers. The only thing I would do differently is maybe try to take less in the diaper bag. Between carrying Mila and carrying a heavy diaper bag, Ita and I both were in a lot of pain the next morning!
*By the way I found Mila’s outfit at T.J. Maxx!
7. Check the Weather
The weather is always changing in Florida so definitely check it before you head out! We were there the beginning of August when it is very hot and there are daily showers. I bought a poncho at target before we left town and packed an umbrella. Both came in very handy since it rained on and off for a couple of hours the day we were there! It honestly was nice because it was so hot outside but we all ended up catching colds from being rained on to going into rides where they blast the AC. Obviously worth it though. 🙂
8. Take a stroller and a fan!
If you forget a stroller you can always rent one when you get there but just make sure you have one for your little one! While you are not allowed to stand in line with a stroller (you just park it out front of the ride), it is a must for walking around the park and if you’re lucky they’ll doze off in it too! If you feel like you don’t want to mess with bringing a stroller from home, definitely just rent one at the park or they can even deliver it to your hotel. We took our Doona stroller because it’s also a carseat. It was nice for napping but she’s about to grow out of it. If your baby is younger than 2 I would definitely check that stroller out because it’s great for travel!
If you’re visiting in a warmer month get a clip on fan for the stroller. It gets HOT and it’s even hotter for our babies in the stroller! I picked up one from Target before I left but there are a ton online to choose from. I bought this one.
9. Don’t Panic if you forgot something
Disney World has Baby Care Centers that have diapers, wipes, etc. along with an area for you to breastfeed, change your baby or even let them nap! There are a bunch of little shops and a first aid center too!
10. Try to Get There Early
I would recommend getting to the park when it opens so you can take advantage of cooler weather and shorter lines. If your baby is naturally an early riser I would plan on heading out as soon as you can so you can enjoy some of the park before nap time! We didn’t do this and Mila was pretty tired and fussy within an hour of us being there. It was fine because we sat at a restaurant to let her nap but it would have been nice to get there earlier!
11. SPACE OUT YOUR DISNEY DAYS
We only went to Disney World for one day BUT if you plan on going to the park multiple days I would try to space them out if you can. We could barely get out of bed the next morning and were so thankful to be at the Four Seasons to enjoy a chill day at the pool! I wish we could have gone to another park the following day but we flew back home. Next time we’ll definitely do at least two or three days at the parks but give ourselves a day off in between!
12. HAVE FUN!
Don’t forget this trip is all about having fun! It really is one of the most magical places on earth so be sure to enjoy yourself! Things never go according to plan (especially when traveling with a little one) so do your best to go with the flow and have fun! We had the best time and it is a day Ita and I will never forget! <3
*Lastly – this isn’t really a tip but get a Dole Whip… they’re so good! The regular and twist ones are better (this one is with pineapple juice) but they’re a must!! It’s near the Aladdin ride.
Minnie Mouse Outfits for your Mini
Ok those are all of the tips I can think of for doing Disney World with a toddler right now! If you have a specific question feel free to leave a comment below!
Thanks for reading!
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