Disney World is such a magical vacation for families, but it can also be really stressful. The park is busy, there is a lot going on, and it can be sensory overload. Setting realistic expectations can help you enjoy long, fun, busy days in the park! Planning a trip with kids- especially a baby can be hard, but know that you can still do a lot of fun things and have an enjoyable time! Here are my favorite tips for visiting Disney World with Kids
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We have taken our baby with us to a Disney park over 20 times (she is 18 months old) and we feel pretty confident sharing our tips and tricks that will help you enjoy your vacation. We have also visited the parks 10+ times with other kids ranging from 3-12 years old. Disney is our happy place and our most favorite vacations. I have also taken my baby solo to the parks many times and learned so many tips and tricks that I am going to share with you today!
If you want more tips for visiting Disney World with kids, you may also like 50 Tips and Tricks for the Ultimate Disney World Experience
Tips for Visiting Disney World with Young Kids
One of my biggest pieces of advice is to bring or rent a stroller. Strollers are the absolute best. Sure, it is another item to take care of, but having a “home base” is the best. We use our stroller for everything. Our baby rides in it, we pack everything we need in the bottom and it is so enjoyable to not worry about having to carry our baby all day. There is ample parking all over and it is pretty easy to find a spot. Don’t forget to pack your rain cover.
Disney updated their stroller policies, so make sure you are aware of that and check the policy before you go to know that your stroller fits the guidelines.
To Rent on Property or Off
We rented a stroller one time for my niece and while it did the job, I did not like the stroller from the park. I would use a service that provides better strollers than the uncomfortable, storage lacking ones from the park. Another downside to renting on property at Disney World is that you cannot rent directly from the hotel you are staying at, you have to wait until you are inside the park which means carrying all your stuff and kids. You also need to plan extra time to stand in another line. However, if you are in a pinch and really need a stroller, the ones soon property will do the job just fine.
Cost: Disney Strollers cost $15 per day individually or $13 for length of stay for a single, or $31 for a double for a single day or $27 for the stay.
Off Property Rental
There are many companies you can rent from off property and you can shop around to see prices and reviews and which company has the stroller you want. Kingdom Strollers is a great company with a lot of options and awesome reviews and a counter at MCO to pick up from on arrival.
Whatever choice you make about strollers- I would definitely bring one. It will make your life so much easier in the parks.
Stroller Gear/ Extras
There are a few other things that you can bring for your stroller that will be helpful when you visit Disney World.
-Rain Cover for your stroller, most strollers come with one, or have one you can purchase.
-Fan- this mini fan is a lifesaver for us. The weather can be super hot and this helps circulate air. The one we use runs off a charge
–Caddy– this stroller caddy is so nice to have. We put our water in it, external charger when we are using it, and whatever else we need to grab easily.
Check out my Amazon store front for our Disney Trip Must Haves
A baby carrier can be helpful in the park in a lot of ways. If you opt out of a stroller, a baby carrier is a must. Even if you have a stroller, there may be times where you just want to park the stroller and explore freely (like in Fantasyland where things are close together). Using a baby carrier is also a life saver in line when you have to wait for 45+ minutes and need to entertain a toddler.
We love this one and have taken it with us to Asia, hiking, national parks, etc. We have found this one tube the most comfortable and breathable and has incredible lumbar support.
Baby Care Centers
There are baby care centers located in each of the parks. They have private nursing rooms, microwaves, high chairs and changing stations, and a place to clean bottles. There are also diapers available for purchase and small toilets for younger kids.
The baby center is a great place to relax and take a break in the quiet with your little one. If the baby center isn’t near you, all the restrooms are equipped with changing stations.
Rider Switch Service
Disney World explains it best- “If a child does not meet the height requirement or a Guest does not wish to board a particular attraction, no problem! With Rider Switch, one adult can wait with the non-rider (or riders) while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. When the other adult returns, they can supervise the non-riding Guests, and the waiting adult can board the attraction without having to wait in the regular line again!”
Using rider switch is the best. If you go with a bigger family, up to 3 people can re ride. We usually go and explore the land we are in or shop at a slower pace while the others are waiting in line. Some of our favorite experiences are while we are waiting. We see characters, we shop, maybe try a new treat, or just relax.
**Pro Tip- have one person wait in the stand by line, while the other goes to the cast member WITH the tickets. Sometimes there is a small wait to get your rider switch added so this saves a bit of time. 3 people can re ride the ride together.
Rides You Can Ride With a Baby
There are many rides you can ride with your babies and younger kids. A few of the parks only have a few things, but there are plenty of shows and other non riding attractions that will keep you busy. You can baby wear on some rides but the cast member may ask you to take them out of the carrier.
Expectations- Make sure to prepare your children ahead of time on what to expect. The element of surprise is fun, but not all kids enjoy that. Watching ride videos on YouTube can help prepare them ahead of time for what is to come.
Height Checks- Another thing to prepare your kids for is height checks. If they are tall enough to ride certain rides, they will likely be getting 2, if not 3 height checks. Practice at home if you need to so they know what to expect. Let them know a cast member is going to ask so they do feel as anxious as they might. This may not be necessary for everyone, but you know your kids best and what they will need. Remember just because your child is tall enough, does not mean they are old enough to handle a ride.
All The Rides Without a Height Limit
Even though a few of the parks are lacking in actual rides for children, there are still a lot of non riding attractions you can do and things to see and fun experiences. Check the official site for details.
Official Disney World App
Download the official Disney World App before your trip. Create your account and become familiar with the app ahead of time. This is the best resource, it has wait times, mobile ordering, reservations, and any info you may need. Make sure you do this before your trip, you will want to know how to use it ahead of time. This is one of our absolute must dos for visiting Disney World with kids.
Dressing Up in the Park
So many kids dress up in the park and it is so fun to see the unique outfits. From princess dresses to pirate costumes, and t-shirts with Mickey Mouse, there are ample ways to dress up. You can find all kinds of Disney outfits in every price range. Walmart and Target both sell t shirts starting at $3! Princess dresses are sold at many retailers, and of course in the park and ShopDisney. Some of our favorite Disney Style dresses are from Taylor Joelle Design. They are so darling and wear really well in the park. Make sure if your little ones are wearing dresses to pack extra clothes for them just in case they wish to change.
Disney Outfit Ideas
Target Disney Outfits
Amazon Disney Outfits
Food and Water in the Park
Did you know you can bring all the food and water in the park as you want? You can get free water cups at most food places and refill a water bottle. You can also pack a portable cooler (check the website for restrictions) to keep other food and snacks cold. Our favorite hack is to pack a decent amount of snacks and food for the kids so we can save on costs. If we know they will eat something in the park and not waste it, we will get them a meal, but usually it is easier to pack a sandwich and snacks we know they will like.
Dining- if you have your heart set on certain restaurants and character meals, make sure to book your reservations right at 180 days out. There are limited walk up spots available each if any. When making a reservation, always count your child, no matter the age in the count.
Make reservations for earlier in the evening in case your little ones are tired and won’t last all night. Disney does charge for missed reservations if not cancelled 24 hours in advanced. Nothing is worse than being excited for a nicer meal and your little ones have had too long of a day.
You may also like The Best Snacks in Walt Disney World
Expectations and Preparations
The best way to enjoy Disney World is to lower your expectations of what the trip will be. Enjoy the trip as it comes. It is impossible to plan every second of the day and know the unexpected will happen. The best thing you can do is to prepare your child. Explain to them what Disney World is and what you do there. Show them videos. Prepare them to wait in line. Disney World can be sensory overload and children do not always know how to process that. However, this may not be what your family needs, you know your child and family best and what will help them. The best thing you can do is be prepared, do your research, know things are not always going to work out, and save these tips for visiting Disney World with young kids.
Lines are inevitable in the park. You are going to be waiting in lines all day, from the line to get into the park, to the lines to ride rides, Disney World is full of them. However, there are some things you can do to help the waiting process. We like to play heads up, chat, eat a snack, play I spy, sticker books, and more. Below is all of our favorite things. Pack a small bag or backpack with things for the line.
A Few of Our Favorite Things to Pass Time in Line
Other Tips You Must Know for Visiting Disney World With Kids
Slow Down– nothing is worse than go go going on your first day, wearing yourself out and making your feet sore, to only have more days to go. Plan breaks, take a long lunch, and find time to relax. It can be really hard to do so, but it is so necessary.
Weather– Florida weather can be so unpredictable. Make sure to pack ponchos, umbrella, extra shoes and rain gear just in case. Pack light layers as well
Watch- ride videos ahead of time. This can help ease anxiety and just get your kids excited for what is to come
Watch Movies– show kids the classic Disney films that so many treasured rides are based off of.
Ziploc Bags– I know this is not the most environmentally friendly option, but they are so convenient and nice is so many situations. We bring a few sandwich and gallon size. If you have non perishable leftovers from lunch, pack it up for later, if your child has an accident, throw the clothes in a bag. There are so many used for having an extra ziploc bag.
Visit before your child turns 3 to save a lot of money on tickets! This may not work for everyone, but it is still so much fun to take kids 2 and under.
Extra Socks– when the great Florida rain comes through and your feet get wet, having a nice pair of clean warm socks is so nice.
External Charger– this is an absolute must. Using the Disney App, taking tons of photos and videos, your battery is going to drain faster than usual. Do yourself a favor and pack a charger and extra cord.
Souvenirs– there are a lot of places to buy inexpensive souvenirs outside the park. Amazon has a lot, and both Wal Mart and Target close to the parks have tons of cute stuff.
Budget– Disney World is not a cheap vacation, but it sure is magical. Make sure before you go to the park with your children that you have looked at menus, looked at ShopDisney to see souvenir prices, and be aware of the cost of things. It is easy to overspend, but if you are aware ahead of time that will be a lot easier.
Budget– if your budget allows, let your kids earn money and buy them a Disney Gift Card ahead of time with a set amount. Let them be responsible for how it is spent and keeping track. This will help with wanting everything in the park.
If you are packing in a lot of stuff and do not want to carry it around all day, you can rent a locker. They range in size and cost between $10-15 per day. Lockers are available at all the parks on a first come first serve basis. Jumbo Lockers are only available at Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
Checklist of Stuff to Bring in the Park
-Noise Cancelling Headphones
-Reusable Water Bottle
Disney is seriously our favorite place on earth. It is so magical and fun. Yes it can be stressful and overwhelming, but it can also be the best family vacation ever. Do not let having young children keep you from this magical place. We have used all of these tips and love sharing our info and advice with others. If you loved this guide for visiting Disney World with kids you may like our other Disney Posts!
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Tips for visiting Disney World with Kids