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!).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!!”
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.
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!
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.
While waiting in line or even walking across the park to use your next Genie+ selection, your little one will appreciate the snacks.
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.
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.
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.
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. ).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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?
More Disney Tips You’ll Love
- Where Can You Eat Outside At Disney World?
- How Do You Get To Disney World From The Orlando Airport?
- Guide For Using Genie+ At Magic Kingdom
- Guide To Using Genie+ At Animal Kingdom
- Guide For Using Genie+ In Epcot
- Guide To Using Genie+ At Hollywood Studios
- 5 Hacks To Max Out Genie+ At Disney World
- Disney Genie 101 | Your Guide To Disney Parks New FastPass+
- Disney Packing List
- What NOT To Take To Disney