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 the Disney magic. However, Disney World with toddlers does require you to know some special tips and tricks to keep the Magic alive.
1. Magic Kingdom is the best park for toddlers.
When people think of Disney World they usually picture Magic Kingdom. Cinderella’s Castle at the end of Main Street is iconic. Magic Kingdom has the most ride options for smaller kids with only 6 attractions having a height requirement. That leaves 24 rides for toddlers at Magic Kingdom! You can also meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Tinker Bell and several princesses, too! You can easily spend two really full days at Magic Kingdom with a toddler.
Our favorite Magic Kingdom toddler rides are:
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- 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.
Although there are limited attractions for toddlers at Hollywood Studios (MuppetVision 3-D movie and the Toy Story Mania ride) there are several character meet and live show options to entertain your toddler.
Live show options at Hollywood Studios:
- Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage – a Broadway-style production retelling this classic tale.
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage! – a Disney Junior puppet show where kids are encouraged to sit on the floor and join in the fun.
- Fantasmic! – this nighttime production uses pyrotechnics, fireworks and laser lights to tell the story of Mickey’s dream being overtaken by villains and turned into a nightmare. Don’t worry – Mickey conquers the nightmare and the show ends happily.
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration This retelling of the Frozen story is done with comedy for everyone. I dare you to resist singing along!
- Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular! Your kids don’t need to know a thing about the movies to appreciate the fight scenes, explosions and other stunts that take place in this live show.
- Voyage of The Little Mermaid – key songs and parts of the story are revisited in this live show.
You can also meet several characters at Hollywood Studios.
- Some of our favorites are BB-8, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren from Star Wars, Olaf from Frozen, Buzz and Woody from Toy Story, Sofia, Jake, and Doc McStuffins from Disney Junior or Mickey and Minnie. Please check the My Disney Experience app or times guide to see who is available on the day you visit.
Hollywood Studios is currently undergoing two extensive expansions – one for Toy Story Land (opening summer 2018) and one for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (opening in 2019).
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.
Some of our favorite attractions with a toddler are:
- 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
There are many character meet options, too:
- You can meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Baymax from Big Hero 6, and Joy and Sadness from Inside Out in Future World.
- There are also opportunities to find princesses (expect a considerable wait for Elsa and Anna) and other characters like Mary Poppins in the World Showcase. Make sure to check the My Disney Experience app or the times guide to find out what characters are available.
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
Live show options:
- Festival of the Lion King – live broadway style show with acrobatic monkeys, stilt walkers, and floats revisiting songs of The Lion King.
- Finding Nemo The Musical – a live retelling of Finding Nemo as a Broadway-style production.
- Rivers of Light – nighttime light and laser production.
- Affection Section
- Walking paths with animal viewing
- Characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, 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.
3. Set aside time for rest.
Touring Disney World can be 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.
4. Bring or rent a stroller.
Disney World parks (and even the resorts) are large, sprawling places. You will rack up several miles of walking each day. We average 6 – 8 miles of walking each 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 will use in December).
5. Kids under 3 years old don’t pay for park tickets.
This is a considerable savings. For reference, as of October 2017 a 4-day park hopper ticket for a 3-9 year old runs $405.
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 in my detailed guide.
7. You don’t need to make FastPass+ reservations for kids under 3 years old.
Since kids under age 3 do not need a ticket for Disney World Parks you do not need to make FastPass+ reservations for them. They are free to ride any attraction you have a FastPass+ for if they meet the height requirement.
8. Everyone gets a MagicBand.
If you are staying at an on-site Disney World resort you have the option to receive a MagicBand. MagicBands act as your on-site resort room key, park ticket, FastPass+ access and allow charging to your credit card on file. Even though your toddler doesn’t need a ticket or any of these other options they are provided one as not to feel left out. Go ahead, customize it, and let them feel like the big kids if they want.
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 the 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 our favorite Disney World Restaurants in this article.
10. Make sure you include the child in your dining reservation count.
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 there are six adults, one 8-year-old, and one 2-year old in our upcoming trip. I need to make my Advanced Dining Reservation for a total of 8 people. I know this is confusing since you don’t count them for FastPass+, but it is crucial they are counted for dining reservations.
11. Toddlers do not need a car seat to ride Disney’s Magical Express.
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!!
Disney World with a toddler should be fun! Be realistic about what your toddler can handle and make happy memories within those constraints.
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.
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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