Disney World With Toddlers

Disney World is known as “The Most Magical Place On Earth” and I believe this to be true. Disney World is a great family trip destination with even the smallest of Disney fans. In fact, I think toddlers can especially enjoy Disney magic. However, Disney World with toddlers does require you to know some special tips and tricks to keep the magic alive.

Updated March 2020

1. Magic Kingdom is the best park for toddlers.

Going to Disney World with toddlers can be a magical experience! Just make sure you follow these simple tips to make it a meltdown free trip.

When people think of Disney World they usually picture Magic Kingdom with the iconic Cinderella’s Castle at the end of Main Street. Magic Kingdom has the most ride options for toddlers with only 6 attractions having a height requirement.

This means there are 24 rides for toddlers at Magic Kingdom. You can also meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Tinker Bell and several princesses, too. It is easy to spend two really full days at Magic Kingdom with a toddler.

Our favorite Magic Kingdom toddler rides

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • It’s A Small World
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Prince Charming Regal Carousel
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid

Although there is no height requirement for Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion some younger kids might find them too scary.

For example, the first time we tried to do the Haunted Mansion Elizabeth only made it halfway through the outdoor queue. The next trip we made it through the stretching chamber (a dark, small room with a spooky voice). The stretching chamber freaked her out so we had to ask a cast member to exit. That day I learned there is a “chicken door” for just this. On the other hand, my two-year old niece loved the Haunted Mansion and never had a problem. 

2. There are fun things to do with toddlers at the other Disney World Parks, too.

Hollywood Studios

Going to Disney World with toddlers can be a magical experience! Just make sure you follow these simple tips to make it a meltdown free trip.

Walking around Hollywood Studios Toy Story Land can be a lot of fun even if kids aren’t tall enough to ride the two new attractions. There are bright colors, fun details, and characters that are perfect for toddlers throughout Toy Story Land. Find out more about Toy Story Land including ride height requirements in my full article.

There are limited attractions at Hollywood Studios for toddlers since most rides have a height requirement. However there are a couple of fun rides, several live shows, and many character meet options for toddlers.

Our favorite Hollywood Studios attractions with toddlers

  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway 
  • Toy Story Mania! 
  • Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage 
  • Disney Junior Dance Party 
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration 
  • Vacation Fun – An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie 
  • Voyage of The Little Mermaid 

Hollywood Studios Characters

There are a variety of classic, cute, and cuddly Disney characters all over Hollywood Studios. Olaf from Frozen, Buzz, Jessie, and Woody from Toy Story, or Mickey and Minnie. If your toddler likes Disney Jr. shows take some time to meet Sofia, Vampirina, and Doc McStuffins.

For Star Wars fans visit Galaxy’s Edge for more authentic experiences with Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, and Rey. If you prefer a classic character interaction go to Star Wars Launch bay to meet BB-8, Chewbacca, or Darth Vader. Use the My Disney Experience app or times guide to see who is available on the day you visit.

Epcot

Going to Disney World with toddlers can be a magical experience! Just make sure you follow these simple tips to make it a meltdown free trip.

Although a lot of people say Epcot is too boring for young kids I disagree. Elizabeth has loved this park since her very first trip. There are several rides without a height requirement and the World Showcase has some great character meet-ups and food options.

Our favorite Epcot attractions with a toddler

  • The Coral Reef Aquarium and Bruce’s Shark World
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
  • Journey Into Imagination with Figment
  • The Seas With Nemo and Friends
  • Spaceship Earth

Epcot Characters

People don’t think of Epcot as a great place to meet characters, but it is one of the best kept secrets at Disney World. There are several classic characters like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Daisy around the park. 

Epcot is also a great place find princesses and other unique characters like Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, or Winnie the Pooh. Check the My Disney Experience app or the times guide to find out what characters are available each day during your vacation.

Animal Kingdom

If you have a toddler that is obsessed with animals then spending time at Animal Kingdom may be perfect for you.

Our favorite Animal Kingdom rides for toddlers

  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris

Animal Kingdom live shows

  • Festival of the Lion King 
  • Finding Nemo The Musical
  • Rivers of Light

Animal Kingdom Characters

Classic characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald are in Animal Kingdom with everyone but Minnie at Tusker House character meals. Other fun Disney characters like Pocahontas, Baloo and King Louie from Jungle Book, Doc McStuffins from Disney Junior, Flik from A Bug’s Life, Rafiki from The Lion King, and Russell from Up also roam Animal Kingdom. 

3. Set aside time for rest.

Touring Disney World is tiring for adults and kids. Make sure that you build in some quiet time for kids to rest or even return to the hotel for an afternoon nap. Taking a mid-day rest is especially important when visiting Disney World when it is hot.

4. Bring or rent a stroller.

Disney World parks and resorts are large, sprawling places. You will rack up several miles of walking each day. For example, we walk 6 to 9 miles on an average Disney World park day.

It is not unusual for kids as old as 8 years old to need a stroller to keep pace with the adults during a trip. Here is the stroller I took again and again and my sister used on multiple trips.

5. Kids under 3 years old don’t pay for park tickets.

Not having to buy Disney World Park tickets for toddlers is a considerable savings. For reference, as of March 2020 a 4-day park hopper ticket for a 3-9 year old runs over $540 when purchased directly from Disney World. However, you can save some money on Disney World tickets by purchasing through our preferred travel partner, Get Away Today.

6. Utilize the FastPass+ system to reduce waiting in lines.

FastPass+ is included in the price of your park ticket. It allows you to skip the line for up to 3 attractions in one park each day. Find out more about this great time saver when visiting Disney World with toddlers in my detailed guide.

Going to Disney World with toddlers can be a magical experience! Just make sure you follow these simple tips to make it a meltdown free trip.

7. You don’t need to make FastPass+ reservations for kids under 3 years old.

Since kids younger than 3 years old do not need a ticket for Disney World Parks they don’t need FastPass+ reservations either. Toddlers are allowed to ride any FastPass+ attraction with you if they meet the height requirement.

8. Everyone gets a MagicBand.

Going to Disney World with toddlers can be a magical experience! Just make sure you follow these simple tips to make it a meltdown free trip.

If you are staying at an on-site Disney World resort you receive a MagicBand as part of your stay. MagicBands act as your on-site resort room key, park ticket, FastPass+ access, and allow charging to your credit card on file.

Although your toddler doesn’t need a ticket, or any of these other options, they are provided a MagicBand, too. Customize a Magic Band for your toddler when ordering everyone else’s so they don’t feel left out. 

9. Children under 3 years old can share meals from another person’s plate (or you can pay to order them one).

Toddlers are not included in Disney Dining Plans. Your child under age 3 is free to share a meal with others in your group at no charge or you may order and pay for a kids meal.

Buffets make it easy to feed your toddler without additional cost. Find out some of our favorite Disney World Restaurants in this article.

10. Make sure you include the child in your dining reservation count.

Going to Disney World with toddlers can be a magical experience! Just make sure you follow these simple tips to make it a meltdown free trip.

Although you may not have to pay for a toddler meal at Disney World you must include the child in the number of people for a dining reservation.

For example, on a larger family trip there were six adults, one 8-year-old, and one 2-year old in our group. This meant I needed to make my Advanced Dining Reservation for a total of 8 people.

I know this can be confusing since you don’t count toddlers for FastPass+, but it is crucial that everyone in your party is counted for dining reservations.

Make sure you know all about making advanced dining reservations by reading my 5 minute guide.

11. Toddlers do not need a car seat to ride Disney’s Magical Express.

Going to Disney World with toddlers can be a magical experience! Just make sure you follow these simple tips to make it a meltdown free trip.

Disney’s Magical Express is complimentary motorcoach transportation to your on-site Disney World resort hotel from Orlando International Airport. Find out more in my detailed guide.

12. Have Fun!!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Disney World with a toddler should be fun! Be realistic about what your toddler can handle and make happy memories within those constraints.

Final Thoughts On Visiting Disney World With Toddlers

Disney World is an amazing, magical place for those of all ages, but I think Disney World with toddlers brings a special kind of magic to a trip. Are you still unsure of taking a toddler to Disney World? Read real life experiences of travel experts and the best and worst things about visiting Disney at different ages.

Is this your first trip to Disney World with kids? Make sure you see what I wish I had known before our first trip. And make sure you look around at my other Disney World planning information to learn how to pack the perfect park bag, why we use Garden Grocer, resort reviews and more.

Are you ready to book your Disney World vacation?  Find out  why  Get  Away  Today is  our  preferred  travel  partner.

Do you need more help planning your Disney World trip? Check out other Disney World tips and tricks in my Disney World Guides.

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Going to Disney World with toddlers can be a magical experience! Just make sure you follow these simple tips to make it a meltdown free trip.

Going to Disney World with toddlers can be a magical experience! Just make sure you follow these simple tips to make it a meltdown free trip.

17 comments

  1. we went when baby girl was 3.5 she loved Epcot. She had a great time. Stroller was key. we had her nap in the stroller instead of trekking back to the hotel, but that worked for us. we did not have the stanima to make it to the fireworks though

  2. Rider Swap is a good system if you have kids that cannot ride something due to height restrictions. When you enter the line, ask for a rider swap pass. One adult stays with the child, and the other adult rides the ride. They they swap and use the rider swap pass which means you don’t have to wait in line again.

  3. Going with my 4 yo and 1 yo for the first time (for them) soon. My 4 yo is tall, so I know she wont have any problem riding (minus for what she might find too intimidating). I was curious about my 1 yr old on rides though. I figured a lot of the slow rides like PotC, Small World, would be fine with her on our lap, etc. We plan to hit MK and AK while there and rent a double stroller. =)

    1. Hi Randy,

      Magic Kingdom will have the most ride options for your 1 year old. Most of the classic attractions like Dumbo, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mad Tea Party, etc don’t have any height restrictions. At Animal Kingdom the rides without height requirements are TriceraTop Spin, Na’vi River Journey, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. There are walking paths to see animals and live shows that can entertain your younger one at Animal Kingdom, too.

      A double stroller will make life much easier. We usually walk 6-9 miles on a typical park day. Have so much fun planning the first trip for your kids!

      -Cristin

  4. We are bringing our 5 year old granddaughter to Disney this June 2019. It’s her 1st time. Other than Disney world and magic kingdom, what other park would be great to take her to?

    1. Hi Brenda,

      That’s wonderful that you are planning a trip with your granddaughter. Magic Kingdom is certainly a must on any Disney World trip. There are a few factors to consider when choosing other parks to visit. How many days will you be at Disney World? Is your granddaughter a big Disney Junior, Star Wars, or Toy Story fan? If she is then a day at Hollywood Studios would be a good choice. If she likes animals a day at Animal Kingdom is a good option. Epcot has several rides for smaller kids, lots of character interaction opportunities, and great food, too.

      If you have 4 days at Disney World you could visit all 4 parks or do 2 days at Magic Kingdom and then one day at 2 other parks based on her interests. If you only have 2 park days (like we will next weekend with my 3 year old niece) one day at Magic Kingdom and then a split day at Hollywood Studios and Epcot would be a great option.

      No matter which parks you choose to visit I hope you have a fabulous trip!
      -Cristin

  5. We bring 2 year old and 6 year old to the parks .. we have walt Disney world hooper tickets for one day only.. is their Shutter for parks?

    1. Hi Sunny,

      There is park to park transportation available. The parks are linked by boat, monorail, or buses depending on the exact parks. If you let me know which parks you plan to see I can give you more information.

      -Cristin

  6. we are planning to go with my 2 yr old and 4.5 yr old boys. we will be staying off site. we plan to hit magic kingdom… but are at lost for the other parks. we will be there for 3 days. wed- fri in mid october. we heard from friends to do magic kingdoms 2 days but what will be our best option for the tickets and which parks for this age… hollywood studios i remember going years ago but feel like my kids wont sit through the shows so rides are in our favor. also which fast pass can you recommend as well in each park. we would like to get the most out of this trip for first timers.

    1. Hi Celia,

      I’m excited for you to have your first family Disney World trip! There is so much to do at each of the 4 parks it can be hard to choose what to do. I agree with your friends that 2 days at Magic Kingdom would be a great choice based on your kids’ ages. There are lots of rides and most do not have a height restriction at MK.

      For your third day I have two different ideas. You could split the day between Hollywood Studios with a focus on Toy Story Land and then park hop over to Epcot for characters and some rides. The only challenge with park hopping is you can only pick FastPasses for one park for the day. Another option for day 3 is to spend time at Animal Kingdom if your kids like animals. Navi River Journey and Kilimanjaro Safaris are great options for little ones. The live Lion King show is usually entrancing for little kids too as there is a lot of music, dancing, and acrobatics in the show.

      For FastPasses I have a complete guide here including my preferred passes at each park: https://smartmousetravel.com/2017/05/20/guide-disney-world-fastpass/ Off-site guests can book FastPasses 30 days in advance of their first park day. Just make sure you have purchased and linked your tickets to your Disney account before the 30 day window opens. I partner with Get Away Today, a provider of discount Disney World tickets. For more information about them check here: https://smartmousetravel.com/getawaytoday/

      Ultimately I want you to plan what makes you happy and sounds fun to your family! The most important advice I can give is to have fun and be flexible while at Disney World. If you do this you’ll be guaranteed to have wonderful memories. For more tips on your first trip check out this article: https://smartmousetravel.com/2016/10/17/things-i-wish-i-had-known-before-my-first-disney-world-trip/

      I hope this helps!
      Cristin

    1. Hi Matt,

      I don’t personally have a double stroller recommendation. However, I do have a couple things you should consider when choosing a double stroller. First, make sure whatever you choose folds up well (strollers must be folded on all Disney World buses and trams). Second, confirm that the stroller meets the new strict size guidelines of less than 31 inches wide and 52 inches in length. Here’s a link to Disney World’s official stroller policy: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/parks/strollers/

      Hope this helps!
      Cristin

  7. Hi! Coming to FL in April 2020 driving over from Anna Maria Island- we booked two nights at All Star Disney Resort with our 2.5 year old and 11 month old ( come April) .We had originally planned for one day at magic kingdom and calling it a day. But not sure if it’s worth it for me to hit another park the next day before heading back to Anna Maria.What’s your input- my son is big into Mickey Mouse,Minnie, goofy and Donald Duck. He doesn’t yet care for you story, or Star Wars. Is there enough to do at animal kingdom? Also where do I find Mickey for him to meet when we’re there? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Ashley,

      It looks like Anna Maria Island is about 2 hours from Disney World which means at the end of your second park day you’ve got a bit of a drive. Park days can be tiring so at most I think you would probably be able to do a half-day or so the second day. You know your family best and how they can handle long days – trust your gut.

      Magic Kingdom is certainly the best park for toddlers, but I think there is something fun at each park for little ones. Another partial day at Magic Kingdom or a stop at Animal Kingdom would probably make for good half-day options your second day. Kilimanjaro Safaris takes you on a ride through different habitats to see a variety of animals and Na’vi River Journey is a colorful slow moving boat ride that is good for toddlers, too.

      As far as finding Mickey Mouse, he is at Magic Kingdom’s Town Square Theater in his magician’s outfit or Mickey and Minnie meet together in khaki safari outfits at Animal Kingdom’s Adventurers Outpost. At Magic Kingdom we like to meet Donald, Goofy, Minnie, and Daisy at Pete’s Silly Sideshow where they are dressed as circus performers.

      I hope this helps!
      Cristin

      1. Thank you for the information . I want to take my 2.5 yo to go to Disney in Apr. But my husband said it is not worth trip for this young kid because she won’t remember anything and still afraid of stranger ( for greet and meet characters) . What do you think?

        1. Hi KD,

          My daughter and niece don’t exactly remember their first trips, but they love talking about the pictures we have from the vacations. And they both had a fabulous time during our trips. If this is your only trip to Disney with your child then you may want to wait until they are a little older. This way they remember it better. However, if you think you will go again sometime, I think taking your toddler can be a lot of fun. Just remember that planning ahead, understanding your own child’s schedule, and having a positive attitude is the best way to have a great family vacation.

          Hope this helps,
          Cristin

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