1st Time Tips for Toddlers at Theme Parks
by Lily and Tad
Tad and Lily have been hopping around the Theme Parks since they were, well, tadpoles. They're attentive little ones and paid close attention to what made their parents' lives much easier during their first trips to Disney.
Here are a few toddler tips they've picked up along the way:
Tad: Pick the best ticket for your family. Now that Lily and I are older, our parents buy Park Hopper passes. When we were younger, though, visiting one park per day was plenty for us, so my parents bought Magic Your Way (MYW) tickets. We would arrive at the park bright and early to enjoy smaller crowds. Then we'd go back to our hotel room for a midday nap and return to the park when we were well-rested to watch the parade or the fireworks show. When you're really little, don't try to do everything at once. Lily and I always had more fun when we took our time and didn't try to do too much.
Lily: Ship the big stuff.. Instead of buying diapers, diaper cream, wipes and other supplies when we got there, Mommy used to ship all those necessities to our hotel. It's tough to fly with extra stuff like that, and the extra baggage fees can really add up. Even when we drove the lily pad to Orlando, my parents still shipped things that took up a lot of space beforehand...Hey, one less thing they had to unload!
Tad: Rent a car.. The Frog Family usually drives to Orlando, but when we've flown my parents rented a car. I'm so glad they did because it would have been a real struggle loading our strollers and the rest of our gear onto the buses. Disney has a great transportation system, but when we were younger my parents liked the convenience of a rental car.
Lily: Prepare us for meeting Disney characters. I'm a little embarassed about this next one. Almost all the pictures of me sitting on Santa Claus' lap or meeting the Easter Bunny are awful...I'm crying like a tadpole and doing my best to escape. If any of this sounds familiar, you may want to prepare for the characters in the parks. Don't get me wrong, Minnie Mouse is my hero, but I sure am glad my parents prepared me for the first time I met her.
Tad: Plan for our small size and impatience. The worst thing in the world, for us kids anyway, is to get pumped up for a ride only to find out we're still too small. It's best to know which rides and attractions are suitable for us beforehand. Our parents use the Disney iPhone app 'filter' feature to sort the attractions according to age and wait times. They can also find out the height and size requirements for each ride.
The second worst thing in the world for us is waiting in line. My parents use 'Which Park Today' and 'Disney Touring Plans' pages and the Disney iPhone app to create customized touring plans. This way we always have a plan based on expected crowd levels and wait times.
- Check out some of the things Lily and I do while we're waiting in line.
Lily: Know where the Baby Care Centers are located. Take it from me, you don't want to have to search for these when you really need them. I made a list of the Baby Care Center locations for you...I told you I was helpful.
Magic Kingdom: Next to Crystal Palace Restaurant on Main Street, U.S.A
Epcot: Inside the Future World Odyssey Center
Hollywood Studios: In the Guest Services Building inside the Main Entrance
Animal Kingdom: Behind the Creature Comforts store in the Discovery Island area
- One more thing...Mommy heated my bottles and snacks in the microwaves that can be found in all the Baby Care Centers.
Tad: Use the Rider Swap line!. When I was big enough for the rides and Lily was still in her stroller, my parents discovered the Rider Swap lines. When we neared the front of the line, my dad told the Cast Member that we wanted to use the Rider Swap option. My dad and I would go on the ride while Mommy waited with Lily. When the ride was over, Mommy and my dad switched places. Then she and I would go on the ride again without having to wait. If you know my parents, you know that neither of them is going to volunteer to sit out. With Rider Swap they both can go on every attraction. And the best part...I get to go twice!
Lily: Bring or rent a stroller for us...even when we're big enough to walk. A typical day in the Theme Parks involves A LOT of walking. Obviously, when I was a toddler I cruised around in my stroller, but even when I thought I was old enough to strut around the parks myself Mommy still had a stroller just in case. It's tough to admit it, but she was right. After an hour or two, I gladly hopped into my stroller and enjoyed being chauffeured the rest of the day.
Tad: Bring snacks and drinks. Our parents always bring food and drinks with us into the parks. They always talk about how much money, time and hassle this saves. I guess they're right because I can't ever remember Lily or I pitching a fit because we were hungry and had to wait in line for a snack. And trust me, with Lily's temper, I would remember!
Plan your visit...
- Leap's Crowd Calendar
Expected crowds, park hours & more
- When to Visit
Special events, packing & seasonal travel
- Which Ticket
Choosing the best ticket, Orlando attractions
- Where to Stay
On or off-site considerations, reservations
- How to Get Here
Air travel, car rental, driving info
- What to Eat
Restaurants, menus, character dining, ADRs
- On Vacation
Skip the Lines, family travel, park tips
- What to Do
Frog TOURS, rides, shows & parades
- Moving Around
Parking, resort transportation, directions
- After Your Trip
Fun stuff, keep in touch, videos