Disney with a toddler- Make it Fun!

We are huge huge Disney fans around here!  My first trip to Disney was when I was 2 months old so my parents started me young!  I took my son at 10 months.  We believe Disney is fun for all ages! I am also a former cast member so have been in every part of the parks multiple times.  Here are some ways to maximize the fun and minimize the stress when travelling with toddlers to Walt Disney World. These apply to the other Disney parks as well.

  1.  FASTPASSES- The golden ticket  and the one thing that will help avoid so many lines at Disney are fast passes.  If you are staying on site, you can book 60 days before and if staying off property, 30 days before.  As long as you have your ticket in the My Disney Experience App, you can book fastpasses within those time frame.  Each person gets 3 Fastpasses per day and once you use those 3, you can book one more at a time on the app.  I suggest booking your initial 3 early in the morning so you can see what else is available throughout the day.  PRO TIP-do a DVC tour for extra anytime fastpasses!
  2. Download the My Disney Experience App-  Get to know this app on the plane/car ride down.  You can find out park times, wait times for rides and more.  It will help you book your fastpasses and help you get the lay of the land.
  3. Book a character meal-  Rather than waste time at the park waiting on line for characters, book a character meal.  There a lots of options, so book a meal with who your child likes and save wait time in the park.  The characters come to your table for autographs and photo opportunities and usully have an interactive show/dance in the middle of the meal that they can participate in.  It is a much more chill experience and if you go at breakfast, they all have yummy Mickey shaped waffles too!
  4. Buy one day passes-not park hoppers-  Rather than try and jam it all in in one day, buy single park passes.  This will save you quite a bit of money and give a bit of downtime so you can have time for a nap or take a long lunch to chill out.  Toddlers tend to get over-stimulted so putting too much in one day is a sure fire way to burn out before the fireworks!
  5. Lower your expectations-  Either go early or stay late- it will be hard to do it all when travelling with a young one.  If your kid is a good stroller napper, make sure you get them to nap mid day.  If not, go back to the hotel for nap time so they can last to the end of the day without over crankiness.  Unless you never plan on going back, Disney will always be there!  Whatever you miss on this trip you can see next time.
  6. Build in a rest day-  I personally dont like going to the parks 2 days in a row.  The hotels and Disney Sprigs area offer so much fun and entertainment and are great to check out on rest days.  This is a vacation, so everyone will burnout if you are go go go all the time.  The pools and playgrounds at the hotels are great and they often offer movies under the stars and other free events to enjoy on your day off.
  7. Stay at a Monorail or Skyliner Resort-  If you can swing one of the resorts on the Skyliner or Monorail line, it will make midday naps easier.  You wont have to fold the stroller and you will be back to your room quickly.
  8. Have Fun! Take lots of pictures, go with the flow and enjoy.  There may be huge crowds, there may be tons of rain, your toddler may have a tantrum and you may not find Mickey, but it will still be an amazing trip!  Make the best of whatever curveballs are thrown your way and remember this is so and amazing vacation and so fun for your babes!