Tips for Walt Disney World with Toddlers
As Annual Passholders to Walt Disney World, we travel to Disney at least twice a month. My daughter’s first trip was when she was only 4 months old (read why you should bring your baby to Disney) and as she’s grown over the past two years, we’ve learned a lot about bringing a little one to the parks. If you’re planning a vacation with a 1 or 2 year old, here are my best Disney World tips with toddlers in tow.
Get to the Parks Early
When traveling with little ones, I highly recommend getting to the parks earlier in the morning when they’re fresh and full of energy. If you plan to arrive for Rope Drop (when the park first opens), you’ll be able to ride lots of attractions with a short wait time. Be sure to book FastPass+ reservations for later in the day when wait times are longer.
Use the MyDisneyExperience App & Book FastPass+ in Advanced
The MyDisneyExperience App is a great resource for planning your trip. Download the app and set up your account before your trip. Book up to three FastPass+ reservations per day per park. Use the app later in the day to book additional FastPasses to save time waiting in line. The app also provides real time wait times for all attractions, showtimes for parades, entertainment and nighttime shows, character meet and greets and more.
Have A Plan, But Be Flexible
To maximize your time spent at Disney World, it’s important to have a plan. I don’t think a trip should be scheduled every minute, especially when bringing a toddler along. However, having an overall plan and knowing what your must-do’s are will help ensure you see everything you want to during your trip. Make sure to build in free time and breaks throughout the day and account for time spent napping in the stroller.
I highly recommend building in some free play time too. When constantly confined to a stroller or waiting in a line queue, toddlers will need an opportunity to burn off extra energy. Disney World has lots of fun play areas where little ones can run free and moms can catch a little break.
Read my list of Best Play Areas at Disney World for toddlers
Eat During Naptime
Naps are important for little ones and can help keep them energized for a busy day. I always pack a lunch for my toddler to snack on earlier in the day, and plan to eat a later lunch myself during nap time. Strollers are not allowed in ride queues or in a lot of entertainment venues and Florida can be HOT year round. I love finding a nice, quick service restaurant in the AC for my little one to nap quietly in the stroller while I take a break and eat lunch in peace.
A well timed snack can be the difference between a happy toddler and a full blown meltdown. I always pack LOTS of snacks for our Disney trips. If you’re staying in a resort, most cafes have snack items for purchase that are easy to take with you. Disney also sells Snack Packs in several of their quick service restaurants. My daughter loves peanut butter crackers, fruit, Goldfish crackers, applesauce pouches and other easy to pack snack items. I love this Disney Diaper Bag Backpack which has a cooler at the bottom that is perfect for holding snacks.
Bring a Stroller
This may seem like a no-brainer, but a stroller at Disney World with a toddler is essential. There is a lot of walking involved when it comes to Disney World’s four theme parks. Even traveling from the parking lot can be a hike.
TIP: You’ll have to fold up your stroller to ride the tram from the parking lot to the park entrance. The walk is not usually too long so we typically opt to just walk straight to the entrance. It saves time and gets you to the park much faster.
Having a stroller is great for your little one to be comfortable and for all the ‘stuff’ you may need to bring along too. Strollers must be parked for all attractions.
There are stroller attendants who will move your stroller to keep the area organized and easy to access. We have never had an issue with items being stolen from our stroller by other guests. Keep in mind, wheel locks and any type of bike chain is not allowed when parking your stroller. If you are worried about your valuables, be sure to carry them with you once your stroller is parked.
Make sure any food items are sealed and put away. Disney squirrels and birds LOVE to snag snacks from vacant strollers in the parking areas. If you’re in the market for a stroller for your trip, I love this list of Best Disney World Strollers from Trips with Tykes.
Here are some of the must have’s when selecting the best toddler stroller for Disney World.
- Must recline for good naps! Strollers that lay completely flat are the best
- Be Easy to Fold Up and Carry for traveling and any bus travel from resorts to parks
- Good storage space for Diaper Bag and other essentials
- Cup holders for mom and kid (or invest in a good strap on organizer)
- Easy to push and maneuver
- I recommend avoiding cheap “umbrella” strollers since they tip over with heavy weight and don’t usually recline for nap time which is very uncomfortable for little ones
- Don’t forget a rain cover! These are fairly cheap. You will not regret buying one!
Toddler Approved Rides at Disney World
It’s hard to know which rides are appropriate for toddlers. To help you plan your trip, here is my ultimate list of Toddler Approved Rides at Disney World. Keep in mind, toddlers and babies can ride anything that does not have a height requirement. This list does NOT include shows and/or character meet and greets which are also a favorite!
Magic Kingdom Rides for Toddlers
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Haunted Mansion (it is dark and scary)
- It’s a Small World (a must ride)
- Jungle Cruise
- Liberty Square Riverboat (kind of boring for toddlers)
- Mad Tea Party (my daughter’s favorite)
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Love the activities in the line queue)
- Peter Pan’s Flight (not worth a 90 minute wait but great if you have a FastPass+ or can ride for 45 mins or less)
- Pirates of the Caribbean (dark, has small drop and loud noises)
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (another favorite)
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
- Walt Disney World Railroad
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress (boring but great place to cool off)
Toddler Approved Rides at Epcot
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (features Donald Duck)
- Journey into Imagination with Figment (Fun interactive stuff at the end)
- Living with the Land
- Frozen Ever After (FAVORITE at Epcot! Two small drops, one backward and one forward)
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends (also a favorite! Be sure to explore the aquariums after)
- Spaceship Earth
What to Do With Toddlers at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Toy Story Mania! (Lots of jerks and sharp turns)
Animal Kingdom Things to do with Toddlers
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- TriceraTop Spin
- Wildlife Express Train
- It’s Tough to Be A Bug (must wear 3D glasses, is dark and has a few scary parts)
- Navi River Journey
Also, check out the animal walkways (stroller friendly) and Rafiki’s Planet Watch for a hands on petting zoo. We love The Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical. Both shows are entertaining and great spaces to cool off during the hotter times of the day. My daughter loves the Bonyard playground and dino dig site too.
Disney World Tips with Toddlers
In conclusion, Disney is a great family destination for kids of all ages. I strongly feel that babies and toddlers truly appreciate the joy and magic of Disney, even if they won’t remember everything. Seeing their expression as they soak it all in will become a lasting memory for you and the rest of your family. I hope these Disney World tips with toddlers are helpful in planning your vacation.