There is something truly amazing about taking young children to Disney. Seeing the magic through the eyes of a child who sees everything innocently and as a real magical experience, of course as long as everyone remains happy and relaxed during your trip. Nothing can ruin a magical vacation faster than a cranky child.
Here are ten tips for a happy Disney Vacation with toddlers.
- Daily magical surprise – Leave a magical surprise out for your child to find when waking up to help set the mood for the day. It doesn’t have to be anything large or expensive. If you know you are going to see a certain character that day for breakfast, or if you going to be seeing a certain show lay out something that relates to what you child will see that day. I find Dollar Tree stores or Walmart has small gifts, stickers, etc you can pick up pretty inexpensively to help you child get excited about that days ventures. If you have the money get them some new Disney shirts to show off that day..Who doesn’t like new clothes?
- Change of Clothes – Speaking of clothes..I am sure at some point through out the day you toddler is going to get wet or dirty. Hopefully you are at the age where they have outgrown a diaper. But now the fun begins..the uh oh stage. I am sure at some point you had an accident and messed your clothes. Throw a quick change of clothes in a zip lock bag and no matter if they have an accident or get dirty waiting in line you are covered.
- Moving at a toddlers pace – My wife and I are pretty hardcore when it comes to visiting the parks before we had kids. But now that we have a little one who loves to get into everything we have to slow things down a lot! When visiting the parks have 5 things you think your child would want to see and then give them an opportunity to explore. Try not to have a set schedule, take your time, relax, and have fun. If you can at least get the 5 things you wanted to see out of the way then it was a good day.
- Your John Hancock please – While getting tons of souvenirs would be great if you had a money tree. Realistically you just dropped some serious cash on getting to Disney and most families have or are on a budget. A fun way your child can remember their trip is Autographs. Other than buying or making a book the autograph is free. Most characters have stamps now that look great and include a logo your child can relate to. Also when you child holds out their autograph book to get their signature it is so cute! Be sure to take tons of pictures to maybe add to their book later.
- Playgrounds the lifesaver – Almost all the Disney Parks have a playground..I know what your thinking why would I goto a playground when essentially the whole park is one big playground. Well waiting in line, sitting down to eat, and just being a toddler those little rascals seem to build up energy. What better way for you to relax for a few minutes and let them expel some of that built up energy before you go and tackle that next line or meal.
- They are never to old – Most parents assume since you toddler has been walking for a while now they will not need a stroller. But their little bodies can’t cover ground like you or I can, so even though it might seem like they have an endless supply of energy sometimes they need a break. Umbrella strollers are usually under $20 and make great storage for when you child is walking around. Not to mention leaning on it when you have tired feet is a great. If you can’t bring yours along you can rent one from Disney for the length of your stay for a hefty ransom.
- Say Cheese – When it comes to taking pictures don’t get freaked out when your child gets scared seeing Mickey Mouse standing over 5′ tall. Unless your toddler is cool as a cucumber all the time and spits nails it gonna happen. If you have to have that picture of you little one with Tinkerbell take them back while they are passed out in the stroller, it will be something funny you can pick on them about when they get older
- Gimmie a break – Snack breaks, lunch breaks, nap times. Be sure to rest often. I am sure this isn’t your last trip to Disney. Like most people you will be back again, or if you are visiting for any length of time you will be coming back to that park. So take the time to relax! Take frequent breaks use those snack coupons. Explore. Go on a boat or monorail ride…Have fun did I mention this is a vacation.
- Don’t over do it – Nothing weighs you down more than loading up on carbs at a meal and heading out try to burn all those calories back off. I am no health nut nor am I a trained dietitian but I do know eating a plate full of yummy pancakes or loading up on at a All You Can Eat Buffett makes my pants fit tight and limits my maneuverability Combine that with chasing after a toddler and you are asking for it..Be sure to keep water and juice on hand to limit dehydration, a cranky toddler makes for a bad day.
- Double your pleasure -I love the parent/child swap feature at Disney (call it whatever you like). Child swap is available on most attractions at Disney. With a child swap the first person tells the cast member you have a child swap, and most times they issue you a pass, after getting the child swap pass, they will actually stand in the queue (either the FastPass or the standby line). After the first person has completed the ride, the pass is then given to the non-rider who will enter through the exit to enjoy the attraction without having to wait in line. The benefit of child swap, in addition to being available on most attractions, is that with this pass a second person can ride each time. Also the parents who are with the toddler can actually walk around and go do something else. Text messaging on your phone makes a great way to let the other parent know its their turn.
Well I hope these tips help to make your next Disney trip more enjoyable. If you have any other trips be sure to share them with us in the comment section below.