Disney with Toddlers: Magical Memories Minus the Meltdowns
Traveling to Disney with Toddlers
So many people have told me, “I would love to go to Disney, but we are waiting for the kids to get a bit older”. My reply is often “Disney is perfect for all ages, especially our little ones!’. However, I totally understand the concern of traveling to Disney with toddlers, the fear, the worry, anxieties about crowds, heat, lines, and of course the dreaded meltdown. If you plan things correctly, you can have a wonderfully magical trip, minus the meltdowns. I am confident saying this because I have a 4 ½ year old headstrong Princess and a 2 ½ year old rambunctious Prince, and we have enjoyed Disney with great success, and minimal meltdowns.
Preparation is key to traveling to Disney with toddlers. My first issue was whether or not to drag my cumbersome double stroller with me on the plane. I have found that the Disney rental strollers can be a bit pricey and not as comfortable as the strollers my kids ride in every day. They are also limited in the amount of “cargo” that we parents need to haul with us (yes the diapers, the sippy cups, the puffy snacks, the sunblock, the binkys, and my son will not go anywhere without his Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger! With all of this in mind, I researched a stroller rental company and they were amazing! They offer an array of single and double strollers, they deliver them to your Disney resort (or off property location) completely sanitized and in “like new” condition, and you can drop them off on the day of your departure with your bell hop. When we arrived to that double stroller waiting for us, I knew the magic had already begun!
Next, know your children’s limitations and don’t try to “do it all”. My husband and I found that if we broke up the day we could pretty much ensure a happy prince and princess while avoiding any tumultuous tantrums. Again, this relates back to preparation. When visiting Disney with toddlers, it’s important to utilize your park maps, your advance dining reservations, and your travel specialist (me!) to help you know where to go and when to see it. I also knew in advance which attractions offered fast pass and either myself or my husband would go grab fast passes for us. This also helped us create a little park itinerary, and a tentative “schedule” to follow! We found it best to start our day fairly early with breakfast, head on over to one of the parks, head back to our hotel midday for some pool/naps/lunch time. Once we were all refreshed, we could enjoy dinner and some more time at the parks. You know your children best and what schedule will work for them, try to anticipate when they will be hungry, sleepy, grumpy…no pun intended!
Disney offers many services to help Mom’s and Dad’s keep their little ones happy, smiling, and enjoying the magic throughout the trip, take advantage of these! One of the best offerings for parents with little ones are the Baby Stations located within the Disney parks. These stations are life savers if you need to change, feed, nurse, or just take a little break with your child. I have had that moment of panic “Oh no, I forgot the sunblock!” No worries, for a small fee, these stations are equipped with all the necessities that one of us was bound to forget (diapers, formula, basic medicines, and extra baby Disney clothes).
Another amazing service that Disney provides their guests is the “ride swap” option. This is offered at the Walt Disney World Orlando and my husband and I have taken advantage of this option countless times! This service allows a guest to wait with a child who may be too small to ride a certain attraction, then “swap” with another adult in their party to experience the ride without standing in line twice!
Visiting Disney with toddlers can and will be an amazing experience. I will tell you that there is absolutely nothing like the feeling you will get when seeing Disney through the eyes of your child. I still have to fight back the tears of happiness when I think of the first time my kids walked down Main Street and saw Cinderella’s castle, with their eyes lit up and smiles on their faces! Let me help you and share all of my tips and expertise, so that you too can experience the magic with your toddlers!