Aria was 22 months when we took her and I was so surprised at how much there was for her to enjoy at the parks. As well as her favourite rides and attractions, which I'll cover in a separate post, I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks we learned during our trip, to hopefully make your lives a little easier if taking a toddler to Disney.
Give yourself a couple of days to settle.
Aria did so well on the flight (something I will vlog about very soon!) that we thought it would be a good idea to head to the parks on day one. However, she was still quite cranky from the jet lag which meant our first visit wasn't as stress free as we would have liked! So I would definitely recommend taking it easy on the first few days, and don't try to do too much right away if getting over a time zone change.
Avoid the afternoons where possible.
Come 12/1pm the parks are jam packed, and the Florida humidity doesn't make for the most pleasant experience for a toddler! So I would definitely suggest avoiding the afternoons where possible, heading to the park first thing - the ride wait times are a lot shorter and the smaller rides you can walk onto with almost no wait at all. It's also a lot cooler so you won't have to worry about your little one overheating, and because it is a lot quieter, they're able to walk about a lot more. We still kept Aria on her reins, but we didn't have to worry about her getting overwhelmed with big crowds.
The evenings are also a great time to head to the parks. It's still busy, but a lot cooler and hopefully they will have a little sleep in the pram if it's close to their bedtime! They'll also absolutely love the evening electrical parade and of course, the fireworks!
Make use of the Baby Centres and Gardens.
The gardens at Disney are the perfect place to relax and let your kids run around while in a gated area. Aria loved running about here and was such a great way to let her burn off some energy, as well as give our legs a rest!
We also found the baby centres really useful. They've a big changing area as well as a kitchen for heating milk or food, and a seating area with high chairs, tables, books and a TV if you do need a bit of quiet time.
Fast passes are a parents secret weapon when at the parks. They allow you to skip the queues on rides, meaning your little ones won't get sick of waiting when all they want to do is play! You can pre-book these using the My Disney Experience app if linked to your park tickets or Magic Bands, or you can book them at one of the fast pass kiosks. You can book 3 at a time, and when you've used those you're able to book another 3, and so on!
If like us you've got two or more kids at different ages, there'll of course be rides that the older child wants to go on, that the little on can't. Using the ride switch option, one parent can go on the ride while the other waits with the youngest, then as soon as the ride is finished you can switch places and hop back on the ride - meaning you all get to enjoy the ride without waiting again!
Pushchairs with a full sun cover.
Walking round the parks in the baking sun can be draining, especially if there isn't much shade, so I would definitely ensure your pushchair has a hood large enough to cover your child, as they can really easily overheat. You're also able to hire pushchairs in the parks if you like, and they are really great quality with plenty of cover and shade.
As an additional note, it's also worth taking a rain cover for your pushchair too - we only had one day of bad weather on our trip but my goodness when it rains, it pours! We unfortunately didn't have a rain cover which meant Aria was as soaked as we were! So it's worth taking one just on that off chance you do encounter some bad weather.
Take a packed lunch and plenty snacks.
There wasn't a huge amount of food that Aria would eat in the park, and the meals are quite pricey, so I'd definitely suggest taking a little packed lunch with you as well as plenty of snacks. Snacks also make a great bribe if you do have to queue a lot.
Relax the rules and routine.
Trying to stick to a routine while at Disney is near impossible! By relaxing the routine you're able to do a lot more and enjoy your time at the parks, and just let them eat and sleep when they feel like it!
Also, getting them to eat healthily is a losing battle when there's so many yummy goodies about! If they eat ice cream for dinner, that's fine, just go with it! Everyone deserves a little cheat on holiday but if you do want them to stock up on fruit, there's a little market in each of the parks offering chilled fruit packs which are perfect for snacking on in the heat! Aria loved these and we always made sure to pick up one if we didn't have a packed lunch made up.
I hope you found these tips and tricks useful if you're planning a trip to Walt Disney World with a toddler. Make sure to check back for my next blog post, which will be all about Aria's favourite rides and attractions!
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