Disney World is a favourite vacation sport for the whole family. Our first trip was in 2006 with our kids, two and four, and I was seven month pregnant with baby 3. We have been many more times since.Young kids can pose unique travel requirements and visiting family oriented Disney World is no different. Here are a few tips that have helped us:
Rent a Stroller – All four theme parks offer single and double stroller rentals ($15/day for a single passenger, $31/day for a double passenger, multi-day discount is available). Unless you plan on visiting other areas outside the Disney parks, why struggle with getting the kids AND stroller on the Disney internal transportation buses.
Skip the Park Hopper/Water Park Option – We found with young kids planning one theme park a day was enough. If we pushed it and jumped from park to park, things would usually end in a melt down. The water parks are great if your kids are over 48″ (the height requirement for most of the water rides). Under that, they’ll probably have just as much fun at the hotel pool and you’ll save yourself a lot of money in the long run.
Use the Rider Swap Program – If you want to try some of the cooler rides yourself or with your older kids, rider swap allows one parent to ride while the other waits. The waiting parent will be given a fastpass (which is good for up to three riders). When the first parent is finished riding, pass off the young kids and the second parent can go through the fastpass line. It saves a lot on waiting and you both get to ride.
Bring a Water Bottle – You’re allowed to bring outside food and drink on to the Disney grounds so pack a water bottle for easy fill-ups at the fountains. This will save you from buying high priced water in the park.
Healthy Snacks in the Park – If your kids are getting a little cranky, they might be hungry. Save the Mickey head ice-cream for later and instead opt for a piece of fresh fruit. There are many fruit stands located throughout the various parks and you can pick-up an apple or banana or grapes for $1 or as a snack item on your Disney Dining Plan.
Hang-out at the Hotel – It’s easy to get caught up in visiting all the parks and all the rides, but young kids don’t have the same stamina you have. Plan to spend an afternoon or morning at the hotel; swim in the pool, watch a Disney movie on television, or just have a nap.
Try the Barnstormer Goofy Coaster – You’re child may meet the height requirements for some of the larger roller coasters, like Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain, but they may not be ready for that excitement yet. Take them on the Barnstormer Goofy Coaster in ToonTown (Magic Kingdom). The Barnstormer Goofy Coaster is smaller but the speed and turns will give you (and your child) a sense of what to expect on the bigger rides.
Approach Costumed Characters Cautiously – Your child may love Winnie-the-Pooh and Mickey Mouse on their television, but seeing them larger-then-life in person can be a little intimidating. If your child looks scared or starts to cry near a character (like at a character meal or photo session) don’t force them to get close. Sometimes a distant wave is just as rewarding.
Pick-Up your Free Button – Is this your first time visiting Disney World? Are you celebrating a birthday or another special moment? Be sure to grab your FREE button at the Town Hall, just inside of Magic Kingdom. They make great souvenirs too.
Enjoy your trip. And when you come back, be sure to share any other tips that helped you too. Don’t forget to bring a little of your Dlisney trip home with some of these free or inexpensive souvenir ideas.
4 thoughts on “Travel Tip: Visiting Disney World with Young Kids”
Hey Emma, the rider swap option is great and yes, both Disney World and Disneyland offer this feature.
I like the sound of the rider swap program. I assume that Disneyland does the same thing, but do you know for sure? Thanks for the tips, Carrie Anne.
Great point about renting a stroller outside of Disney. I have seen a number of companies offer this service. We liked renting from the Disney parks so we didn’t have to take the stroller on the bus system when going back to the hotel. Taking a small umbrella stroller works too if the kids are still small enough (they’re easy to fold-up and carry if needed).
We actually got online before our trip and rented an amazing double stroller for the duration of our stay. They delivered it to our hotel and it was very comfortable for my 5 year and 1 year old. There are several stroller rental companies to choose from. Just keep in mind that the ones at the Disney parks are hard plastic and do not recline.