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Six Tips for Traveling to Disney World with Toddlers

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If you’re a planning a Walt Disney World vacation with your favorite toddler, this is the post for you. We’ve taken on Disney with kids at all ages, but taking toddlers to Disney World is our favorite. It will be your favorite too, if you follow these tips! Here are our six tips for traveling to Disney World with Toddlers (and a bonus tip before you go!).

plandisney search moms panel announcement

We’ve been to Disney World with our family of all ages.

Our daughter was 6-weeks-old on her first trip; she’s been Disney-ing all her life.

Taking young children to Disney does come with some special challenges.

This post is going to give you some tips for traveling to Disney World with toddlers.

Six Tips for Traveling to Disney World with Toddlers

We spent a week at Walt Disney World with our littlest when she was just under the age of 3. Here’s what we learned about traveling with a toddler to Disney World:

Don’t do it.

Just kidding.

It wasn’t horrible, but despite being Been-There-Done-That parents, she surprised us on this trip.

We travel a lot and our kids were pretty much rock stars.

We’ve taken multiple trips to Disneyland and to Northern California to visit family.

I thought I had this traveling to Disney World with toddlers thing all figured out.

I thought wrong.

Six Tips for Traveling to Walt Disney World with Toddlers

That’s the “fun” thing about kids this age. Just when you think you know what makes them tick BAM they change the rules on you.

Here’s the scoop on taking your toddler to Disney World.

Six simple tips to make the trip much more enjoyable all around!

tips for disney with todllers: know before you travel to Walt Disney World

1. Tips For Flying To Disney With A Toddler

I recommend traveling with car seats on flights.

If you want your travels to Disney World with toddlers to go off without a hitch, start here.

Yes, they are a pain to haul through the airport, and no, you don’t “need” it when you land at the airport if you are using one of the shuttle bus operators as Orlando airport transportation.

But on the plane, it can be a lifesaver.

Literally- your child is safer in one!

But in addition to safety, toddlers like familiarity, and being in her car seat was completely normal for our children.

We got on, strapped in, and soon after takeoff, she fell asleep, much like she does in the car.

Since she was safe in her car seat, we were able to use the restroom as needed or take a quick nap without worry.

southwest airlines plane and clouds

Where did we fail?

It was NOT just like the car.

The air pressure, going up up and up, and the speed: all added up to unfamiliar territory for our toddler.

She was much more aware of what was going on this trip, and it freaked her out!

As soon as she caught sight of the world rushing by her on the take-off, she started yelling.


“Get me down get me down get me doooowwnnnn!!!”

Six Tips for Traveling to Walt Disney World with Toddlers

Closing the window and talking to her about Ariel and Sebastian thankfully was a quick fix for us.

Expect the unexpected when traveling with toddlers and be ready to creatively redirect them.

2. Naps. Don’t Skip Them At Disney World For Your Toddler

For the love of Mickey, please please don’t skip naps when you travel to Disney World with toddlers.

If your child still naps at home, make sure they have the opportunity to nap while on vacation.

We made the decision a few days to power through nap time.

Rookie move.

Friends catching a quick nap on the Disney Bus. If this works for you: DO IT!

My daughter was alright one minute and a hot flaming mess the next.

While the distractions and rides allowed her to be a little more flexible with us, it soon became apparent that we were ALL better people if we made a trip back to the hotel for a swim and nap midday.

Big Thunder Mountain WILL be there for you when you go back, we promise!

This is the Disney World train station. You can’t miss it! The train is currently not running, but when it comes back this is an ideal nap location. Jump on board and take the full circle tour while your little one rests. It’s good for you, too!

3. Toddlers At Disney Tips: Packing Snacks Is A MUST

Do NOT be afraid to bring a bag of snacks and use them when you travel to Disney World with toddlers.

Walt Disney World allows you to bring snacks and drinks into the parks.

Load up!

While waiting in line or even walking across the park to use your next Genie+ selection, your little one will appreciate the snacks.

road trip pit stop game plan this summer

I learned this tip from Moms Panel Jennifer: Walmart will deliver a package of goodies to your resort for you.

The resorts do charge a nominal fee to accept the delivery, but it’s still a better deal than renting a car to go shopping.

You need to place your order 7-10 days before arrival and put your resort’s physical address for shipping.

You can also use Amazon Prime Now (affiliate link) for even faster delivery.

Introducing Prime Pantry – Everyday Essentials Delivered to You

We loved having bottled water, juice boxes, fruit pouches, goldfish crackers, and granola bars ready to take with us to the park every day.

And, of course, everything is better with a $5 Rice Krispy treat shaped like Mickey.

Six Tips for Traveling to Walt Disney World with Toddlers

4. BIG TIP: BIG FLEX! Be Flexible at Disney World With Toddlers

Seriously: be this.

But you probably already know that from living with a toddler.

Going to Disney World with toddlers is no different- just more magical. We hope. Ha.

kids at disney world

They are mysterious and strange creatures that change their minds often!

We learned a lot about my daughter this trip (which will probably ALL change by the next trip!).

One thing is that she does NOT like Dumbo or Dumbo-like rides (the Flying Carpets, Triceratops Spin, Astro Orbiter, etc. ).

boys on Dumbo at Disney world
At least the boys loved Dumbo!

We tried to take her on all of them with varying degrees of success.

We finally decided it wasn’t worth trying to reason with her that she usually loves Dumbo (favorite ride at Disneyland but apparently a horrible ride at WDW— whaaaaa???) and just let it gooooo, let it goooooo….!

5. Don’t Be Afraid To Split Up

Our older kids wanted to ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin but it had a bit of a wait.

The toddler was way past the ability to wait in line for a ride at this point, so we split up.

Hugging Ariel at Magic Kingdom in Disney World. Tips for taking toddlers to Disney World

Everyone was happy, and we didn’t subject other park-goers to 35 minutes of a toddler not wanting to stand in line.

So we hit up some characters.

If your toddler isn’t shy or scared of the characters, this is an excellent way to keep them entertained and to make some great memories.

Six Tips for Traveling to Walt Disney World with Toddlers

6. Toddlers With Disney Tip: Use Rider Switch

This is my absolute favorite thing about taking a toddler to Walt Disney World.

This kinda goes along with the tip in #5, but it’s a special way of splitting up.

Hollywood Tower of Terror at Disney World

If your child is too small to ride an attraction OR too scared but the rest of the family wants to have a go, don’t skip it!

Walk up to the Cast Member at the front of the line and ask to use Rider Switch.

This little gem makes bringing the toddler to the parks completely worth it.

How does it work?

The whole family walks up to the ride and the Cast Member will scan Magic Bands for the Rider Switch program.

tips to traveling to Disney World with Toddlers

One adult goes on the ride while the other adult stays close by with the too-short/too-scared to ride child.

After the first adult exits, the second adult can then ride at the assigned ride time, along with 2 other people.

BAM- it’s kinda like scoring extra Genie+ Lightning Lane – but you don’t have to pay for it.

tips for traveling to Disney World with toddlers. Animal Kingdom tree of life 50th anniversary banner

Bonus Tips for Traveling to Disney World with Toddlers

Prepare in advance of your trip!

You and they will have a much better time if they actually know some of the characters they are seeing or the story behind the rides you are on.

movie theater popcorn

Here is a list of all the Disney movies to watch before your Disney World vacation.

Check it out and have a great time putting in your “homework” for this trip!

And if your family are big Marvel buffs, be sure to watch the Marvel Avengers movies in order before you go.

There’s more Marvel coming to the parks every year and you want to be prepared.

Best Parks For Disney World With Toddlers

All the parks have options for the young kiddos, but some are going to offer a bigger variety of options.

I’d say you can’t go wrong by taking toddlers to Magic Kingdom.

That should be your first and most frequent stop.

Most of the rides are perfect for the preschool kid!

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Entrance Sign with Woody

Hollywood Studios has some fun shows if your toddler can sit through them.

And Toy Story Land is just adorable and FANTASTIC for kids this age!

Five Super Cute Toy Story Land Details

Animal Kingdom is basically the biggest and most awesome zoo ever!

Even if your toddler is not interested in the attractions, there is plenty to see and explore at Animal Kingdom Park.

what park is best for toddlers at disney world?

As toddlers, my children were not impressed with Epcot as a whole, but things have changed a bit- and I think this park has more to offer the toddler crowd.

You can also visit the Kidcot stations in each country, but honestly, I didn’t want to spend time coloring at Disney World.

But with family-friendly rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, it may be your family’s favorite park!

What are your tips and tricks for traveling to Disney World with toddlers?

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Rosanna Tenuta

Wednesday 6th of October 2021

Thank you so much for posting this! A lot has changed since you went with your toddler LOL. We are facing a similar challenge and seriously debating canceling our trip. One year in the making, we planned on taking our nine-year-old twins and three-year-old toddler to Disney World for New Year’s during the 50th anniversary celebration. We also want to take them to Universal Studios so our nine-year-olds can see Harry Potter. The last time we went to Disney was when our twins were five and I was pregnant. It’s now October, and the more we hype it up and talk about it, the more our three-year-old would say start “I cannot to go!” We show her videos on YouTube, we watch Disney+ at the park and at first she will say wow or a wave to Minnie and Mickey. But then she will say I can’t go. Yesterday my husband was joking and picked her up saying OK let’s go to Disney World now! And she screamed for a good five minutes and was sensitive for the rest of the day. Are we pushing it and will come to regret her decision later? I am currently waiting for our pediatrician to call back to ask her opinion. We know that she is afraid of heights and at an AppleFest that we went to last weekend she did not get on one ride. Not even the carousel. The same thing goes for the plane ride. She watches Peppa Pig and sees them going on family vacations on planes and when we ask her if she can go on the plane she says no. It may be too early for her? Your thoughts would mean so much to us right now! Hoping to hear back. Thank you!

Darlene Carbajal

Saturday 12th of May 2018

I would love to share these tips with my sister. She wants to take my niece to Disneyland and I know these tips will help her.

Codrut Turcanu

Wednesday 2nd of May 2018

I like Disney... it's too sad we don't have one in Romania... we can go to France or US though...

How I took a 2 year old to Disney & actually had fun! | A Little More Each Day

Saturday 28th of June 2014

[…] No Guilt Life Six Tips for Traveling to Walt Disney World with Toddlers […]

Lauren @ Lauren's Glass Slipper

Tuesday 10th of June 2014

Rider switch = best.idea.ever. Seriously! Great tips here Patty - I may need to reference them again someday!!

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