Disneyland and Walt Disney World are places filled with Disney Magic for families to make everlasting memories, but there come some challenges when it comes to traveling with a toddler. Many guests wonder if their toddler will enjoy a Disney Parks experience when they cannot go on the thrill rides, might need snacks during the day, or might not remember the trip at all. This article will help address those concerns with tips and strategies to get the most out of your Disney vacation with your little ones.
Prior to your trip, it’s helpful to make a list of toddler essentials that you will want to take with you. Don’t worry about bringing a Pack-and-Play for your resort stay. Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts and the Good Neighbor hotels have cribs available for your room at no extra charge if needed. A stroller is highly recommended so the little ones can take a break or even nap during the day. It’s also the perfect item to stash any items you need during the day underneath. Make sure your stroller folds easily as you may spend some time boarding shuttles, boats, and other forms of transportation. It is also best to avoid bringing bulky strollers.
Guests are allowed to bring your own snacks as well as water bottles into the Disney Parks. You have the option to pack your own snacks from home or save time (and make packing a lot easier) by purchasing a box of snacks from companies like Amazon and delivering them straight to your resort. Make sure you have a blanket or sun blocker for your stroller. Either one of these two items would allow for your toddler to take a nap if they are a cooperative napper on the go. You won’t have to worry about going back and forth at your hotel allowing you to maximize your time in the parks!
Upon arrival at the parks with your bundle of joy, what exactly is there to do? There are many options available that will provide both you and your toddler with magical entertainment. Bear in mind that your toddler may not be able to handle being in line for long periods of time, so plan ahead using Genie+ or at least have an idea of which attractions you want to conquer. If there are any thrill rides you absolutely want to tackle, then you can divide and conquer with Rider Switch (check out my previous blog for more information). These act as a lightning lane where at the front of the line one group goes in while the other hangs with the little and switches right after!
Some families may not want to split up and focus on the attractions that you can all enjoy together. Not to worry as there are many toddler experiences to share with the whole family. A lot of attractions do not require height requirements like any of the rides in Fantasyland, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear, etc. One of my favorite memories was when my oldest son was one and half. We took him onto The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at Disneyland. This was by far his favorite ride of the day. He was fascinated by the colors and characters while my wife and myself treasure the moments we shared with him on that ride.
Other than attractions there is a plethora of wonderful shows that are geared towards children like the Disney Junior Dance Party at California Adventure or the Lightning McQueen Racing Academy at Hollywood Studios are both great shows the family will enjoy.
If your children have expressed interest in certain Disney characters, get ready for more excitement when they meet their favorites. Standard meet and greets scheduled to return as early as April 18th your child will once again be able to get up close and personal with their favorites. There are two good ways to best strategize for meeting characters. First, meet characters first thing in the morning when the parks just opened. Early morning lines often take less than five minutes. Be sure to have your camera ready or purchase Disney’s PhotoPass. The PhotoPass service provides great shots taken by Cast Members, sometimes with extra magic inserted like holding Tinker Bell in your hand.
Another great opportunity is to book a character dining experience. Within the parks and Disney Hotels here you get the enjoyment of seeing the characters and a sit-down meal with no lines. If you are planning on going to a restaurant during your Disney trip, this is a great way to ease into meeting Disney characters in person. No matter how you approach character meets, they will make for fun stories and pictures with memories that will last a lifetime!
Traveling with a toddler requires planning, patience, and a lot of backup planning. Some parents wonder why they would even take a child at this age. While it may be true that a toddler might not remember all of their time at the Disney Parks, there is more to it than just their memory. Disney trips are meant to be experienced by every kid at heart! Being a parent of young children myself, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your next Disney trip with your little one today!