Many people think you can’t do Disney World with a baby or toddler and they are wrong! We took my son when he was 1 and 2 years old. Did you know that they are FREE at 1 and 2 years old to enter the park and to fly? Naysayers say it’s about your child remembering the trip. It’s not. It’s about the experience and you remembering and documenting the joy your child has on the rides and meeting Mickey. Yes, they will have meltdowns. It’s Florida, so it’s hot and they are young but it is completely worth it. Here are 7 tips to guide you along your trip:
- Bring your own stroller or better yet rent one from an Authorized retailer. Do not rent the strollers inside the parks. They are expensive and they cannot leave the park so it can be a pain when you want to go elsewhere and you don’t have a stroller. We have a Baby Jogger City Mini GT that we received as a shower gift and we LOVE the stroller. We chose not to take it because I didn’t want to chance it being stolen (I have a friend who went to Disney and brought her stroller and it was stolen so I’m paranoid). I don’t want to have to pay to replace it so we rented a Baby Jogger from Orlando Stroller Rentals. They charged us $110 for 9 days and the rental included a rain cover and insurance in case it was stolen. They dropped the stroller off at our hotel so it was waiting for us when we arrived and we left it with the bellhop at our hotel when we were leaving. It was super convenient, nice to have outside the parks and even better it included insurance in case it was stolen. That was one last thing to worry about that. This was definitely the way to go for us. Now that we have a second bundle of joy we will need to look into getting a double stroller from Baby Jogger.
- 95% of the rides at Magic Kingdom do not have a height restriction so you can enjoy them. There are rides at every park that your little ones can go on. Click Here for a list of the rides and their height requirements so you can pre-plan.
- Take advantage of the Baby Centers in each park! Each park has one baby center. Make sure you look at a map or ask an employee where it is if you haven’t been to one. They are complimentary and air conditioned! They have nursing rooms with rocking chairs if you are breastfeeding, a changing room with lots of changing tables and nice bathrooms that are usually not occupied. They also have a feeding area with high chairs and a kitchen with a microwave, oven and sink that you can use. If you are breastfeeding then your significant other can relax on the sofa and watch a little TV in the main area. Bonus- if you forgot or run out of any essentials (formula, diapers, baby food etc) they sell them on site there!
- Bring snacks for everyone. You can bring food into the park so buy snacks at home, portion them out into ziplock bags if they aren’t already portioned and bring some with you each day. Your little ones will get hungry and by giving them snacks you know they will eat, it will be a relief and cheaper than buying something every time they want a bite. Let’s be honest, my child will take two bites of something and be done and there goes your $10 snack.
- Take advantage of the Parent Swap! If you don’t have extra adults with you to watch the kids while you ride with the significant other then use the parent swap! One parent goes on the ride and the other gets a parent swap card and waits with the child. When the first parent gets off the ride they wait with the child and you walk through the fast pass lane and get on the ride without waiting in the regular line! My husband and I used this on all the popular rides and it was totally worth it!
- Stay at a Disney resort. My husband and I have been to Disney 7 times in the last 18 years and he went almost yearly with his family growing up. We have stayed on property and off the property and it’s just much easier to stay on property. It was a hassle to stay off property the few times we did it. If someone has to go back to the room for a break with the kids it’s easier to do so when you are at a Disney resort. The rest of your party can continue to have fun at the parks. You don’t need to worry about renting a car as they have a bus that can take you anywhere along with a monorail or boat (limited locations for the monorail and boat). They also pick you up from the airport and take you back to the airport. If it’s in the budget look into staying at the Epcot area. You can take the boat or walk to both Epcot and Hollywood studios. If you take the boat you do not have to fold up your stroller. If you have hopper passes you can walk into Epcot and hop on the monorail to Magic Kingdom. You also do not have to fold up your stroller when you take the monorail. That will leave you with only having to take the bus to Animal Kingdom (and the water parks if you plan to do that).
- If you want to see the characters book a character meal. You won’t have to wait in line to see characters or waste a fast pass and your child will get some one on one time with them! We did this and highly recommend this to everyone (plus your under 3-year-old child gets to eat free at the buffets!).