Disney World is the best place, in my Disney-loving opinion, to vacation with toddlers and babies. I get a lot of surprised looks when I say that, or the ‘they won’t remember it.’ But Disney World is my family’s go-to spot for our annual family vacation.
Four reasons why we choose to do our annual vacation at Disney World:
#1 It is catered to young-children
Worried that you need to keep the kids quiet at the dinner table or that there won’t be food for your picky eaters? Not at Disney! They cater to young children so every eating spot has kid-friendly fare and high chairs readily available. Oh, and everyone’s kids are excited and boisterous (or napping in the stroller) so you won’t feel out of place or that you need to quiet your children.
Not only will your dining experience be less stressful than when you travel elsewhere, there are spots for all ages all over the park. The hotels all have walking trails, splash pads, life jackets, and playgrounds – so you will have options to keep them busy even when you are not in the parks. And when you are in the parks there are lots of small play areas to keep the small ones happy while the bigger kids are on rides.
Finally – there are Huggies sponsored childcare and nursing centers, stocked with anything you may have forgotten, at all the parks. So if you need a break from the heat or blew out your last diaper you are taken care of!
#2 It is safe
There are bag checks to get on major transportation and into the parks and cast member at every turn (and even some undercover police who roam the parks) so you know you are in a safe environment. So safe, that we left our BOB double stroller outside of lines with our diaper bag without a second thought.
I’m not suggesting you tempt fate and leave a wallet full of cash in full view, but having traveled the world I can tell you that I feel very safe travelling around Disney World.
The pools are also all gated off and well attended during operating hours by lifeguards.
#3 Kids activities are built in
This may sound obvious, but this is one of the reasons I love Disney for our young family. We did a beach week last year in addition to our Disney vacation, and every afternoon (I didn’t want the kids at the beach during hottest part of the day) we were trying to find an activity to get them out of the house we were sharing with our family. We had a good time, but it felt forced and added a lot of expense to our trip. At Disney, all of the kid activities are built in – and there are endless options of things to do that are covered as part of your trip. Even if you aren’t in the parks – you can find something fun for the kids to do at no cost.
#4 You are seeing the World through a child’s eyes
Ok, a little sappy, but seriously there is nothing I love more than the joy on my children’s faces when we experience Disney. Whether it is seeing a show, meeting a character, or dancing in the parade on Main Street, experiencing Disney World through the eyes of your children is priceless.
My hubby is not a die-hard Disney World fan like I am, but even he loves to see the kids experience it.
This picture says it all!
You may still be skeptical – so here are some tips of how we made our trip enjoyable with two kids under two (and I was pregnant).
TIP #1 Don’t do it all
Even without kids you can’t do it all at Disney. I know for a lot of families they only plan to do Disney once. I would recommend more, but even if you are making this your one-time trip, don’t try to cram it all in. Pick out three experiences for each day you are there that you really want to do, then go with the flow for the rest.
I know – not what you may have read before, but here is why – when you have little kids you really only have about 4 – 5 hours of park time each day. Most attractions, assuming you get a Fast Pass and avoid a long wait, will take at least 30 minutes and you have to walk in between. So that is 3 hours of activity right there when you are going at toddler pace. Oh – and they are going to want to ride the carousel or play on the playground at Winnie the Pooh – so let them stop and soak it in versus trying to rush them from ride to ride.
Even if you are travelling with just adults or older kids – I wouldn’t try to do it all. You will have better memories if you savor the moment (this goes for any travel you do Disney or not) than trying to cram down every experience. It is a vacation after all, and you don’t want to return home more worn out than you left!
TIP#2 Stick to your home routine
Hopefully if you are in my camp with multiple toddlers you have a routine each day that you stick to (if not, that is a longer conversation but mom pro tip: routine is king!). You need to stick to that routine on vacation, and if you follow tip number one that won’t be a problem.
On our trip, we woke up and had breakfast at the same time we do at home (6:30 a.m.). Then we headed to whatever park was opened early that day. At noon we ate lunch at the park and either went back to the hotel for nap and the rest of the day, OR we found a quiet spot, dad got an adult drink, and we hung out for an hour or so while the kids napped in the stroller. Then we would do a few more things in the park – always getting back to the resort in time to eat dinner, play in the arcade, pool or playground, and start our 7 p.m. bath, books and bed routine.
Did we watch fireworks – nope! But my kids were fed and rested every day which meant we didn’t have meltdowns and they enjoyed their experience (and we enjoyed ours).
TIP #3 Bring home with you
Toddlers love routine and home comforts. We brought our stroller that they were used to and I knew they would nap in, packed their favorites snacks and breakfast cereal, and made sure we had a few of their favorite toys. I also brought my 1-year-old his crib sheet and the blanket my 2-year-old slept with every night – this made them feel at home away from home (just don’t lose them!).
TIP #4 Divide and conquer
My one-year-old and I spent a lot of time playing on the in-park playgrounds while dad and big brother rode rides. Some things we did together, but as the kids are growing you will have to divide and conquer a little bit. Just have a plan of when and where to meet, and enjoy the moments you are in.
Ultimately, we find that Disney allows us to bring our family as we are. We don’t have to worry about our kids being kids or finding entertainment. The cast has excellent customer service and goes out of their way to make your experience the best it can be. And there really is nothing like experiencing Disney World through the eyes of a child – it is one my favorite memories, and one I hope to experience over and over as my children grow and we experience new and different parts of the happiest place on earth.