Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Walt Disney World with Babies and Toddlers, tips to make your trip Magical!

Hello! My name is Tessa and I'm one of the agents with Travel Time with Mickey.

This past September I took a trip back to Walt Disney World, but this time with my young family! My husband and I took our daughters aged 3 and 1. I planned and planned and worried about touring the parks with little children. Guess what. They were SO well behaved! The entire time! The Disney magic enthralled them both.

No meltdowns. Not one. Well, from them, I had one minor meltdown. ;)
I worried about them being over stimulated - but there were plenty of opportunities to rest when we needed it.



I worried about them being bored in line - they were so well behaved and loved making friends with kids standing in line around us.

I worried about them being over tired and cranky, so I planned mid day breaks back at the hotel room - but they didn't need it! They napped in the stroller and we were able to tour the parks from open to close every single day! As long as everyone was happy we decided we didn't want to lose that time in the parks and just played all day long.


I hope some of our experiences from our trip can help ease your worries and help you plan the perfect vacation for your family. Every child is different, so please take all of my tips with a grain of salt, whatever works for you and keeps everyone HAPPY is what you should do! The most important thing to remember is that what matters is having fun, not what you planned, but whatever is making everyone happy in the moment. Kids love to do the unexpected, so stay lugubrious. :)


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Magic Kingdom park highlights:








  • Be Our Guest Restaurant; at breakfast or lunch - Get the magical atmosphere of this table service restaurant with the more casual and fast dining of a quick service. Note: you DO need a reservation for this location even during quick service times.





  • Casey Jr. Splash n Soak - Bring a swimsuit in your day pack, we spent a long time here. I actually rolled our whole stroller into the center and just stood under the spray. :)


  • Enchanted Tales with Belle - Kid's get to help Belle act out her story, anyone who wants a part gets one, including a picture with Belle and autograph at the end.


  • It's a Small World - What can I say, kids love songs on repeat and cute little dolls. ;)


  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - Don't worry if this one has a long line. The queue is so entertaining we had to hang back and play even when the line was moving.


  • Meet Mickey Mouse in Town Square Theater - He talks! Oh my goodness, I was as excited as my 3 year old!

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant - This area is the best for beating the midday heat. With an indoor play area (and charging station for electronics!) kid's can have a blast here for a good chunk of time and you can enjoy the air conditioning.
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority - A wonderfully long ride that takes you cruising through Tomorrowland. Perfect for kids who need a quiet place to zone out for a little break and usually has a short and fast moving line.
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin - We spent a lot of time on this attraction, again with usually short or non existent lines. Little ones enjoy the breeze, getting to control a magic carpet, and the spitting camels.
  • Move it! Shake it! Dance & Play it! street party - We had the best time EVER dancing to this fun party! Right on Main Street USA



Other tips: If you possibly can, force yourselves up and out early enough to catch the Magic Kingdom welcome show half an hour before the Magic Kingdom opens. It really starts off your trip with a pop of magic!

If your child hasn't had their first haircut yet, appointments can be made at Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street, it's a great value, comes with pixie dust in your hair, a keepsake lock of hair, certificate and pair of Mickey ears with "1st Haircut" embroidered on the back.




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  • TriceraTop Spin - Oh, did my preschooler fall in love with this ride. Short lines and a great view.
  • Finding Nemo the Musical - A great place for little ones to unwind and nap, while the preschool aged kids can enjoy this broadway quality musical. 




  • Festival of the Lion King - No one can nap during this show! It will blow you all away and have you singing and dancing in your seat!
  • The Boneyard - Slides and climbing structures with a dig site are a great way for little ones to blow off some steam. You can play here and take turns going on some of the thrill rides



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  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-a-long Celebration - I'll admit, I got Frozen Fever during this show and was singing along at the top of my lungs and feeling all the Disney magic.
  • Disney Junior & Characters - This is the place to be if you're a preschooler! Sing and dance along with Disney Junior favorites and meet Jake, Sofia or Doc McStuffins in the animation courtyard.
  • Toy Story Mania - One of the most beloved attractions in all of Walt Disney World. Interactive and immersive video game fun for all ages!
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid - A beautifully fast and entertaining trip through the story of the Little Mermaid.



Other tips: If your kids love Disney Junior, Hollywood & Vine at breakfast or lunch will feature Sofia, Jake and Doc. For dinner it is Minnie and Friends!


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Epcot park highlights:


  • Characters around the world showcase - Alice, Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh characters are in the UK, Aladdin & Jasmine in Morocco, Belle & Aurora in France, Mulan in China, Donald in Mexico and Mickey & Friends in Future World.
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment and ImageWorks interactive play area - a wonderful air conditioned ride and play area.
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends; and Turtle Talk with Crush - Fun underwater exploration guides you through the movie, an interactive talk with Crush the sea turtle and walk around some of the largest aquariums you've ever seen!



Other tips: While many think there isn't a whole lot for young kids to do in Epcot, you can spend the morning in Future World, afternoon around the World Showcase and then hop back over to the Magic Kingdom for some evening fun. You could even make your little ones "passports" to carry in the countries in World Showcase. Cast Members will write their names and something in their native language, and stamp them. You can alter them to make them age appropriate!


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General Tips:


- Get the memory maker! We got SO many priceless family photo, we didn't have to lug around a camera and best of all I could be present and watch my daughter's face light up while she met her favorite characters. Tell your photographer you love Disney magic and some might just appear in your photos.



- Make use of early mornings, kids are at their happiest and crowds are at their lightest. We always got tons of characters done early in the day, then used our fastpasses in the afternoon when the park is at it's busiest.


- Don't go without both a stroller AND a baby carrier (best brand to buy is Tula, you can resell it after your trip for almost the same price you bought it for.) The stroller was wonderful for naptime and at night when everyone is feeling more tired, but there are many places where you can not bring your stroller. Many times our 1 year old needed to be held or wanted to nap and we had to leave the stroller to continue touring. Getting her comfy in a carrier meant that we didn't have to stop our day and she remained happy and rested.



- Stick to quick service meals, or character meals when you have little ones. Mealtime with young kids can be stressful, utilize the character meals with buffets so you don't have to wait for your food and kids can be entertained by characters walking around as well as the many delicious quick service locations, to keep things fast. Quick service at Disney doesn't just mean burgers, they have everything from ribs, steak, asian rice bowls, burritos and much much more.


- Disney transportation is convenient in that you don't need car seats or have to think about driving and directions while on vacation. How much convenience you have available depends largely on your choice of Disney resort. After waiting in lines for buses and carting around all of our stuff, I suggest taking a rental car if you've got multiple young children. The ease of getting into your car and driving directly to where you need to go would be SO SO worth it. Not to mention having a quiet spot of your own where kids can regroup and you can keep a stash of extra diapers and changes of clothes.


- Definitely plan to spend the majority of your time in Magic Kingdom, we spent 2 full days and a Halloween party evening there and left wanting so much more, guess it's time to start planning our next visit!


My last piece of advice is to not wait! Take your kids at any age and they will have a magical time! I was truly shocked at how much my (almost) 1 year old enjoyed the attractions, characters and atmosphere. And my 3 year old was as excited as anything to do it all. :)


By Tessa
Tessa@traveltimetravel.com
www.traveltimetravel.com

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