By: Maria Smith
People might say that a trip to Disney World should wait until the children can remember it, but visiting the magical world of Disney with preschoolers, toddlers and even infants can be kind of fun all on its own. And, Mom and Dad will certainly remember it if the kids don’t. We took our kids to Disney World for the first time when my oldest was 2 and my second just 6 months. It was great! Since kids 3 and under are free at Disney, you don’t have to pay for those expensive tickets.
So grab your own pair of mouse ears, and your little ones and head on South. To make it easier, here are ten tips for “Doing Disney” with kids 3 and under:
1. The best park for small children is Magic Kingdom by far. It is really geared to their imagination and creativity.
2. Don’t miss the parade on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street each day. The kids have fun dancing and jumping around and Mom and Dad can get in on the act, too.
3. Try to schedule in a nap time during each day. Perhaps it will be in the car driving to the park or a cat nap in the stroller during the day. Just a one hour nap makes all the difference come dinner time.
4. Disney World has great baby care centers in each park that are just for families with small children. These areas include nicely padded changing tables, private breast feeding rooms, kitchens with free bottled water, highchairs, and an area for older kids to watch Disney cartoons at kid-sized table and chairs. They also have baby necessities available for purchase including formula, diapers, baby food and more. It is a nice respite from the Florida heat and the sometimes overwhelming crowds.
5. In the Magic Kingdom, don’t miss Toon Town. They have several attractions in one area that everyone can do, even babies, including walking through Mickey and Minnie’s country houses, a water play area, and a soft play area. Also, don’t miss “It’s a Small World” and the Winnie the Pooh rides. Everyone can ride and enjoy them. They are also cool which is nice when it gets hot.
6. Check out the 3D movies for a nice break in the afternoon when small children need to decompress. It can be scary to some but taking off the glasses usually solves that problem. Some children even take a much needed nap.
7. Make sure you see the fireworks at least one time during your trip. You can watch them, nightly at 9pm. Try to time your exit of the park so you are watching the fireworks on the ferry on the way back to the parking lot. It is the perfect view and you also beat the crowds.
8. Bring a backpack with juice, water, snacks, etc. for you and the kids. Security will check your bag but you can bring in snacks. This helps because food there can get expensive and your kids might not eat it. Save your money for the good stuff, like ice cream.
9. Strollers are available for rent ($15-30/day) but just bring your own. It will be nicer and more comfortable for the little ones.
10. Bring bug spray and sunscreen. The Florida sun can get hot at any point in the year and the bugs will come out as soon as the sun goes down. Adults may be able to handle it, but kids cannot.
Maria Smith resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three kids. In her pre-baby days, she was a TV producer for shows like Oprah, and now fills her child-free time with freelance writing and public relations projects. You could reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MariaRSmith.