Taking little kids to Disney World can be lots of fun but there’s a lot to take into consideration when making plans with them.
Today, I have tips on how to plan trips that include little kids, including when to go, where to stay and how to tour.
I also have a quick tip about flying with little kids and making sure that you’re seated together.
These are notes from this episode. There’s much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.
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Guide to the Flower and Garden Festival
Planning a Disney World trip with little ones
To prepare kids ahead of time, I suggest not telling kids too far ahead of time but talking about Disney World so they can learn. Watching videos and reading the Birnbaum’s for Kids book are great ways to prepare young kids.
Step 1: Choose when to go
I recommend going after Halloween but before mid-March when the times have changed because some nighttime entertainment (such as Fantasmic) is offered earlier, making it easier for little ones to stay up later to see it. During busy times like Christmas and Thanksgiving, the parks are open later to accommodate crowds so nighttime entertainment would be scheduled later on those days.
In addition, sometimes discounts are offered during this time, such as the “Families with Little Ones” promotion that covered January and February dates in 2014.
Step 2: Where to stay
I recommend Pop Century, Art of Animation, The Polynesian, The Contemporary and Animal Kingdom Lodge for families with little ones.
Step 3: Make a daily plan
Families with little ones should primarily focus on Magic Kingdom and maybe even consider skipping Epcot.
Step 4: Pick your dining
Character dining (such as Chef Mickey’s or Tusker House) can be a great way to introduce kids to characters. I would avoid making too many Table Service dining reservations because it usually takes 60-90 minutes per meal which is a lot of sitting for many young kids.
Step 5: Park touring
All of my FastPass+ guides include touring plans for little ones so I would start there. You might want to consider letting kids re-ride things if they really like them.
There’s a 40″ height requirement on many of the bigger rides. Parents or older kids who want to ride can use Rider Switch to take turns.
Even if kids are tall enough to visit an attraction, they might get scared so please consult my list of attractions that could scare little ones to see if you want to visit certain things.
My general advice on strollers is that if you still use one at home, you should probably bring it on your trip. Little ones who don’t normally use strollers at home will likely still benefit from having one during a Disney World trip so I recommend renting a stroller for those kids.
Step 6: Add extra magic
Consider playing Tinker Bell and/or having a date night and using childcare during your trip.
Quick tip of the day
If you’re flying for your trip, make sure you have reserved seats (or boarding group if you’re flying Southwest Airlines). Without it, there’s a good chance your family will be separated during your flight.
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Will be you traveling with a little one? Do you have more info or questions to add?
Please feel free to share them in the comments.
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Sunday 24th of April 2016
I just came back from a WDW trip and I am an avid WDW and hate taking breaks during the day and love opening and closing the parks. My husband loves being there with me but because we don't stay on site we don't have the time to go out of the park for a nap. We have 2 kids, 4 and 6, who need naps though. So much like the rider switch we started a nap switch where my husband will take the kids, or kid, and find a quieter place with our stroller and let the kids nap while I go ride. Then after about 30 min to an hour if they are still asleep we will switch to let my husband do stuff and we will meet back up when the kids wake up.
Wednesday 16th of April 2014
I think this is the podcast that you mentioned getting the Royal Table reservations for first thing in the morning so that you can get a photo of the castle without people. I am wondering if that holds true if you have seats at the Crystal Palace at 8am? Been enjoying these podcasts as I am working on my plan! thank you!
Wednesday 16th of April 2014
Yep! Same thing applies.
Monday 17th of March 2014
I wouldn't overlook Caribbean Beach with little ones. If you book a preferred room you're close to the food court and their pool has an amazing fenced in pirate themed water playground complete with a big dump bucket and little slides. It has it's own lifeguard and lounge chairs for parents. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. I'm usually a deluxe kind of girl but this pool area is so awesome I may stay there again in November with my little ones. Also compared to Wilderness lodge the rooms are/seem larger and a pack n play would fit better. Too bad about bus only access though.
Thursday 13th of March 2014
I just wanted to say thanks for posting all of this info! I found your site last fall when we planned a trip to Disney a week in advance (seriously! but we are military so that's kind of how it panned out) and took so much of your advice. I don't think I saved much on Tinker Bell gifts because I went overboard, but it was a really fun way to encourage good behavior. Our boys were 4 and 2 and we went in September so luckily we never had to wait more than 20 min for a ride. It was great! We are planning to go again next January and we will be taking our girls then too (so we will have a 5 year old, 3 year old, and twin 1 year olds) so hopefully the parks will be just as dead when we are there. I will say that the stroller tip was key for us. We ended up buying a cheap double folding stroller and it was the best money we spent on our trip, hands down. Our oldest hasn't used a stroller in a couple of years but he used it the whole time and saved us a lot of meltdowns. I plan to buy a second one to take on our next trip.
Tuesday 18th of March 2014
Just a suggestion for the older kids - we rented a stroller from Kingdom Rentals. They offer a larger stroller for the bigger kids and, like your experience, the stroller was a vacation saver for us. We had 5 year old twins and it was HOT! We had clip on fans and they "chilled" in the stroller while we walked.
Wednesday 12th of March 2014
I agree about EPCOT! My son was 5 years old when he first went to EPCOT and he LOVED it. Test Track was his favorite ride! He also (surprisingly) loved Spaceship Earth - he actually believed we were time traveling (he's 7 now and I think he still believes the ride actually takes you back in time lol). My daughter, who is 4, still talks about the Seas with Nemo and Friends and Turtle Talk with crush. It's adorable! Also, if you go early in the day, even in the summer, the Character Spot is never busy! It's a great place to meet all the favorites.
If you have the time, I would give it a try. However, if you are only limited to 3 or 4 days, I might skip it.