Published on February 13th, 2017 | by Mickeys_admin0
Tackling Walt Disney World with a Toddler
People will say you are crazy, what are you doing taking toddler to Walt Disney World, it wont be worth it they wont remember any of it, it will be a waste of money! People said every single one of these and more too us when we said we were taking our 18 month old on an aeroplane for 9 hours (his first plane trip as well!) and we replied with – what does it matter to you, its what we want to do, we can show him the photos (he doesn’t stop looking at them now) and many other things! It was the best thing we EVER did! His little face when he saw Mickey for the first time was magical! Here we give you a few little hints and tips to help you along your way!
1. Positive reinforcement – the Tinkerbell rule
This is a fab way (and a bit of bribery) to get the kids to behave for the entire holiday! Commonly known as the Tinkerbell rule – people live by this and swear it makes your trip that little bit easier! It can include a few rules to live by such as no whining and no complaining especially when their little sister wants to go and meet a princess and they don’t! Another great one is if one person wants to visit the bathroom everyone has to at least try and go! Then every night if the rules have been followed and behaviour has been good all day Tinkerbell will leave a little gift for them to wake up too in the morning!
2. Arrive early
If you can get to your park of the day before rope drop, you will arrive before its too hot for little one and all the lines are typically shorter first thing in the morning rather than the rest of the day! Getting to the parks early will give you the best chance of getting lots done in not a lot of time and before the kids start getting tired and will give you a good opportunity to take a break in the afternoon when it’s too hot and the parks are heaving! If your park of the day is Magic Kingdom get there before rope drop and you will get to see an awesome welcome show!
3. Bring snacks
We all know food is a good way to our children’s hearts! Keep them happy and there energy levels stocked up with your own personal stash of snacks! Make sure you are well stocked up on drinks as well! Its thirsty work is touring the Disney parks!!
4. Bring help
The best thing we did with our 18 month old was bring the in-laws! Coming from the UK it was a great help from the beginning with a 5 hour car drive to the airport and then a 9 hour flight! So much so that we have invited them back again with us for our next visit with a 4 year old and a 16 month old! If you have got family willing to join you on your Disney vacation let them! It even meant we got an evening out by ourselves!!
5. Don’t force the rides/character interactions
If they don’t want to meet a character or go on a ride! Don’t force them, you will regret it forever more! If like us you will be visiting a lot, don’t put them off by meeting lots of characters the first time! Meeting a 5 foot tall mouse who is only 6 inches tall on a TV at home can be quite scary! And if like our son at the age of 3, you have a young child that is able to ride the 40” rides, make sure you explain what the ride is! Our son currently thinks he is going on the tower of terror when we go back! I however have other plans for him!!!!
6. Make sure you have the right attitude and let them lead!
This may sound silly but it is one of the best ways to keep your toddler happy and entertained! Yes we go on and on about planning to get the most out of your holiday but letting the little ones do what they want! If they want to ride the Mad Tea Party over and over again, do it, although that one might give you a touch of motion sickness!! If they want to watch all of the parades, do it! Enjoy it while they are little as soon the last thing they are going to want to do is the ‘baby rides’ or be seen doing the ‘baby rides’ with mum and dad!
Don’t be too stressful about ‘managing’ your toddler. They will pick up on these vibes and their behaviour will get a whole lot worse! Like we said earlier – if they want to do something let them! But don’t push them too far and don’t let yourselves get cranky it will only make the kids cranky as well!
7. Pack your bag carefully and bring a stroller!!
Strollers first! Your little ones may walk everywhere at home and despise the stroller but the average person walks 9 miles on an average day at Magic Kngdom! Are you going to want to carry a hot and tired toddler all day? Bring a stroller or rent one! You can rent one at the parks of rent one from an outside company. Be warned though the park rentals are not practical if you have a toddler who may nap, so for that we suggest renting from an outside company. We will be struggling through with a double on our next visit with our 4 year old that by then will not have been in a stroller for 18 months!
Packing that all important bag for a day at the parks is no mean feat! I have a list that I check off whenever I pack my bag in the morning (you can find a copy that you can download in our planning section). You need your normal everyday contents and then extras on top! We suggest a full chance of clothes, extra wipes, suncream, drinks, snacks, ponchos and even a stroller raincover just incase of a sudden storm. Its also good to have a few things to distract when waiting in long lines, waiting for food or even waiting for a parade!!
8. Avoid long lines
Make sure you book your fastpasses for the kid’s rides with no height requirement that you know are going to have long queues. And for the adult thrill rides that the parents want to ride – we cannot recommend the rider swap program enough. It means in effect both of you will ride but you will only queue once! The first person to ride will be given a fastpass to give to the second person when they have finished riding!
9. Know their limits
Avoid the meltdowns by knowing when they really have had enough. If you can anticipate this and head back to your resort for a well deserve rest your holiday will be so much more peaceful and enjoyable. We managed this on a few days and if we got to almost meltdown point and then got on a bus our little one was cheered up by the attention he got from others on our buses!
10. Plan plan plan
Planning is key to any Disney vacation but even more so with a toddler! If you are staying on site your 180 day advanced dining reservation and your 60 day fastpass reservation is key! Making sure you are able to get your dining reservations in line with your childrens normal eating pattern is essential in our opinion for an easy relaxed holiday! And being able to get those all important fastpass reservation is really important! Just don’t forget that once you have used your 3 fastpasses for that day you get a fourth – this is why we try and book our first 3 for the morning then decide what you are doing for the rest of the day. If you head back to your resort in the afternoon and want to head to a different park in the evening try and score a fastpass for the evening! And don’t forget that the park with Extra Magic Hours in the evening will be noticeably quieter the next day!
If you remember at least one of these tips on your holiday it will be that little bit easier! And remember you aren’t crazy! Enjoy it and take as many photos as possible! It really is worth every penny it will cost you to see your little ones face!!
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