So you are bringing your toddler to Disney World…. good for you! We have brought ours since they were babies and highly recommend it. We have a great time and you get to experience Disney in a little different way than you would with just adults or with older kids, and this way is extremely magical, too. I am sure that you have heard LOTS of opinions on when you should take your kids to Disney and when it the “best” age. Really, all ages are the “best” age. You make the decision when it is time for your family to go and have the best time. Toddlers can have some of the most amazing magical moments at Disney and look in amazement at the magic around them. You won’t regret bringing your youngster along for the magic, especially with these 9 awesome things for toddlers to do at Disney World:
1. Character Interactions:
This is a favorite! The earlier you start introducing your kids to the characters, the less likely they are to be as scared of them. Try a talking character first (maybe not talking Mickey), and then move up to the furry characters. PhotoPass photographers are usually on standby to take pictures and they are some of the most magical. Their looks of amazement, excitement and wonder are genuine and to have that captured in a photograph is the best keepsake of the whole trip. Don’t focus on the pictures being perfect and just let them capture the genuine interaction. These are great experiences that parents can enjoy with their kids. Who doesn’t love chatting with the characters? If waiting in line for them isn’t your thing, try a character breakfast or dinner and let them come to your table!
2. Splash Pads:
There are splash pads in Epcot and at Disney Springs where kids of all ages can play and cool off. Bring their bathing suit with you or a change of clothes and let them run and play. Join in on the fun and splash around in the fountains with them! Kids love getting to play in water and it’s a nice way to let them cool off and burn off all that energy they have!
3. Harmony Barber Shop:
Does your little one need a haircut or want a little pampering, but is too young for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or the Pirate’s League? Try the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street in Magic Kingdom! The staff is amazing and does a phenomenal job of entertaining even the smallest of kids. The prices are extremely affordable, too! If it happens to be your little one’s first haircut, they have their special “My First Haircut” package that includes commemorative Mickey Ears. Your kids get stickers, bubbles, pixie dust… the works! They can even do colored gels for an extra fee. While you are there, it is also likely that various celebrities will drop by and visit. Mary Poppins stopped by during my son’s first haircut and it was one of the most amazing experiences. It is recommended to make reservations in advance for this experience, and it is highly worth it!
4. LEGO Imagination Center:
The LEGO Store in Disney Springs has a section for toddlers with and endless supply of the larger blocks for toddlers to play with. They can use their imagination and play with a familiar toy in a fun environment. Your little one can also watch the LEGO car races that happen there, which can be quite entertaining!
There are actually a lot of rides that children of all ages and sizes can go on, even the smallest of babies. This is especially the case in Magic Kingdom. Make sure to check the height requirements on all of the attractions. If none are listed, then your toddler is good to go. Some of the rides may be dark (Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion, etc.), so if you think your child will have an issue in darkness, consider that before deciding to ride, but most toddlers do just fine and are mesmerized by the experience.
6. Chip & Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long:
I hesitate to tell you about this, since most guests that aren’t staying at Fort Wilderness don’t know about it. Fort Wilderness does this FREE event nightly (weather permitting). You can roast s’mores (bring your own supplies or purchase them from the onsite store), sing campfire classics with Chip & Dale and watch a movie under the stars afterward. The event is very low-key and a great break from the overstimulation that can happen at the parks, and best of all it’s FREE! You can take a bus from any Disney theme park or Disney Springs, and there also boat transportation available at Magic Kingdom to Wilderness Lodge. It’s a great experience and a lot of fun for all ages, plus a great opportunity to meet those crazy chipmunks!
7. Disney Transportation:
My kids are still enamored with Disney transportation. When my oldest was almost 2, he considered the transportation a ride, and regularly requested to ride the Disney Bus. (At least they’re all over!) There are boats, trains, buses, the monorail, the Skyliner, wagon rides, carriage rides, pony rides, etc. Enjoy the monorail, Skyliner, boats and buses from location to location for no charge and let your child enjoy the new sights. Head over to Fort Wilderness and go on a wagon ride (there is a charge per person) that will take you all over the campground. You can even see the nightly water parade if the timing is right (weather permitting). Fort Wilderness also offers pony rides (fees apply). Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans Resorts offer carriage rides (fees apply). These can all be unique opportunities to experience Disney and get a little break from the hustle and bustle of the parks. Don’t forget to ride the trains at Magic Kingdom and at Animal Kingdom. These are also fun rides for kids of all ages!
8. Resort Pool:
Don’t forget about the fun to be had at your Disney resort pool. All Walt Disney World Resort hotels allow you to check out a swim vest to use for each child, so you don’t have to worry about packing those types of supplies. A lot of the pools even have slides that you can play on together, and most of the deluxe resorts have water playgrounds that are amazing for toddlers. When our oldest was 2, he never wanted to leave the one at Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village. Water play is great to let them use up that extra energy that they have from likely being pushed in the stroller most of the day, and they have a blast doing it!
Shows can be a tricky thing with toddlers, given their lack of patience. The Disney Jr. show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of the best for young kids. They know the characters and they get to interact. It’s also totally OK for them to stand up and wiggle! Pick shows based on your child’s interests and try to time the show so that you aren’t waiting for a long time for the show to start. (Again, that whole patience thing, it just isn’t their strong suit.) Don’t try to see a lot of shows in a row or you will quickly lose their interest. Just pick the ones that you think they would like and spread them out over your vacation. If you want them to stay awake for the fireworks, make sure to let them get a nap in before the evening. If not, you may have a sleeping kiddo in the stroller or holding a sleeping kid during the show. The fireworks are truly magical and watching the awe in their eyes is amazing, so you won’t want them to miss out!
There are so many wonderful things that you can experience with your toddler at Disney World. Don’t let their age deter you or make you think that there won’t be plenty to do to keep them occupied and create a magical trip. That is definitely not the case! Enjoy the quality family time and don’t forget the sunscreen!