My princesses started visiting Disney World at 8.5 months old. Based on my trips with my family, here are my top 10 pieces of advice when traveling to Disney World with younger children.
-Go while they’re cheap – 2 and younger are free! Park admission is free and they can eat off of an adult’s plate.
-Take your time! Ride it’s a small world or the Carrousel 7 times in a row if that’s what they want to do. Don’t try to do it all.
-Know your kids. If your child will, let them nap in the stroller. If not, budget enough time to head back to your resort. If your child does better on a schedule, keep one. If they’re more flexible, try staying late for a parade (just don’t plan on morning extra magic hours the next day). If they are easily over stimulated, plan a day at Downtown Disney or at your resort enjoying the pool and playground.
-Prepare your kids (and yourself!) – There may be rides they’re not yet big enough to ride, so be familiar with height restrictions. Mickey Mouse and his friends are very big in real life, and a lot of the characters don’t talk. Your child will have to wait in lines, sometimes LONG lines, to meet them. Take them to Chick Fil A, your local fair or rodeo, a local amusement park, etc. to see how they respond to costumed characters. Watch Disney movies. Listen to Disney songs. Watch ride videos or parade videos on YouTube. Check the refurbishment schedule. Don’t promise anything unless you are 100% sure it’s going to happen! My girls get a lot of “we’ll have to see which characters are there when we get there” answers to requests to meet certain people.
-Bring your own stroller. My girls will nap in our cozy strollers they are used to. They HATE the hard plastic park strollers. Plus, it’s nice to have a stroller at the resort (especially if you’re staying at a Value or Moderate resort). Be sure to have one that folds up easily. And tie a bandana or something around the handle to be able to find it in the sea of strollers that is Fantasyland! When you park it, know that Cast Members move them around, so it might not be exactly where you left it.
-Bring a grandparent. This is not always easy or convenient, but if you can swing this one, it will be worth it. Having adults outnumber children makes it very easy to get on and off the buses. Plus, you’ll have a babysitter to have a night out just you and your spouse!
-Stay onsite – You can use Disney Magical Express FREE from the airport. The best part about this for our family is NO CAR SEATS and Disney claims our checked luggage! Plus being onsite it makes it VERY easy to go back to the resort for naps. You can also send packages that you purchase back to your room instead of having to lug them all over the parks.
-Purchase small souvenirs ahead of time. Check the dollar bins at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Target or dollar stores. Get some small Disney souvenirs ahead of time. They can give your child something to do in the long lines. Glow sticks, necklaces and wands for the parade are MUCH cheaper if you buy them outside of Disney. If your little Princess is under 3, buy sparkly children’s makeup and hairspray at Wal-Mart and do your own makeover in your room! Also buy ponchos ahead of time at the Dollar Store.
-Use Garden Grocer for diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, etc. Garden Grocer also has milk, fruit, snacks and more. On our last trip, we even ordered some wine to enjoy in the room after the girls went to bed!
-Each park has a Baby care center. These can be great quiet (air-conditioned) escapes if you or your child needs a break. The care centers have baby items for sale, microwaves, high chairs, nursing rooms, rocking chairs and more. A lot of little ones also like to nap on the monorail, the railroad trains, or the Tomorrowland Transit Authority.
-Have fun! Remember, Walt wanted to entertain the child in all of us. Let loose! Enjoy the little things. Your child may or may not remember this trip, but I guarantee you will keep the memories forever.
If you have any other questions about traveling with young children, feel free to contact me. My daughter’s first plane rides were at 3 months and 1 month.
Let me help you plan a trip for you and your family! Contact me at Amy@travelwiththemagic.com or 1-800-670-4312, ext129 today for a FREE quote!! You can also visit me at http://www.facebook.com/TravelWithTheMagicAmy