You could say we have had our fair share of Disney trips. Our daughter has already been three times before she was 3 years old! We started going to Disneyland twice, and then went to DisneyWorld this past May with our one year old Son and two year old daughter. Comparing the two, I would say Disneyland is a day trip in my opinion and Disneyworld is a 3+ day event. I am going to focus this post on Disneyworld since there is a lot more planning ahead of time you can do with that.
Here is everything I’ve learned about planning a trip to Disney with toddlers:
- Book your hotel! If you book in advance, Disney does not require you to make a payment until 30 days advance if I recall. You can go ahead have access to booking dining reservations and fastpass access this way.
- Stay on the resort if possible, for Monorails use – We stayed at the Polynesian Resort (You are centrally located to both Magic Kingdom and Epcot Tram).
- Go back to the resort for Naptimes (hence being on the monorail, super fast).
- Plan a free day to just hang out at the pools one afternoon, give the kids and you a break.
- Book your Dining reservations 180 days in advance! If you are not planning that ahead of time, you can pay an annual fee at Touringplans.com for their reservation finder app! **this was a game changer for us, it alerts you via email and texted as soon as those hard to get reservations become available.
- Book your fast passes 60 days in advance (another reason to stay on property. If you arent, you cant book until 30 days advance). Log on at 7am EST time and get the ones fitted for your family. ** Elsa Frozen ride goes fast, I would snag that first.
- Use Rider Switch with kids! You will get to go to the front of the line for a second time with your family if you have little ones and need to take turns watching one that cant ride!
- Have a Plan everyday (Again we loved touring plans site because we could easily print the schedule and stick to it)
What to Pack/Leave at home:
-Stroller: We love the City Select since it can convert from one to two-seater fairly easily. *Tip: As soon as you arrive in the park, buy a Balloon and attach it to your stroller so you can easily locate it after the rides.
-Disney Attire (prices are ridiculous there, so we snagged these mickey ears on amazon and tshirts prior to the trip)
-You do not need Carseats (again if staying on property) you can take the Disney magical Express from the airport, and they dont require carseats on the bus! Sign up for this in advance!
–Plane/Car ride amusement: I bought this flyer pack on amazon and it kept them busy!
–Sunscreen & Layers depending on time of year!
-Bathing Suits for pools
-Mickey Mouse/Minnie stuffed animal (or you might be buying them again since every kid has them in their hand!)
-Disney Princess Costume for your princess!
The Restaurants we enjoyed (all character meals):
-Be our Guest (Keep in mind they will not let you see “the beast” till the end of your meal, this seemed challenging with a toddler that wanted to go straight to the beast)
-Cinderellas Castle- Breakfast
-Chef Mickeys- Favorite one
-Ohana- Was easily accessible in our hotel (Polynesian)
-*Tip: Book breakfast times before the park opens, that way you can snag that Castle pic with no crowds around before you head in!
*Overall, just breathe and try to enjoy the experience. With little ones they get tired easily and hate long lines, so if at all possible have fast passes to every ride you go to, take that nap break, and have a drink! Enjoy the memories 🙂