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Taking A Toddler to Disney World -- Tricks of the Trade

by Ashley Metz on October 22, 2013

The great thing about the Walt Disney World® Resort is that no matter how old you are, you get to be a kid! I like to think of the theme parks as my own version of Neverland. With the ability to transport me back to childhood, surround me with magic and give my heart wings, there is no wonder why I love this magical place!

Cinderella Castle

It should come as no shock that I visit the parks again and again with my friends and family, and my nephew is one of my favorite people to take to Disney World!  I love seeing the World through his 3-and-a-half-year-old eyes!

Ashley Metz

While I haven't been blessed with my own little ones yet, I can truly say that it will be the thrill of my life to experience it through their eyes. I've learned a lot in my pre-mommy trips that I have permanently ingrained in my mind. Today I'm combining my devotion to Disney World and my best auntie tips to bring you a post with some of my best tips and tricks for taking a toddler to the most magical place on Earth!

Band-aid Toilet Trick

Tangled bathroom

I know what you're thinking, Ashley's gone crazy.  Band-aid? ... toilet? ... I'm not making the connection. No matter how well-themed the restrooms are on the outside, your little ones might find the loud flushing sound of automatic toilets as terrifying as Mother Gothel from Disney's "Tangled." Not only do the toilets at Disney World flush loudly, they flush automatically, making going to the potty for a newly potty-trained child a nightmare (if you have the pleasure of being in the midst of potty training, you know how that loud, automatic, obnoxious flushing would complicate matters). My nephew will cover his ears the minute he enters the stall. I recently discovered that a large Band-aid will cover the sensor on automatic flush toilets, ensuring that the toilet won't flush. I've heard of other covering methods like sticky notes and masking tape. For me, I always pack Band-aid or pick up a couple, if I forget them, at a first aid station. These convenient-to-pack items then do double-duty for boo-boos and toilet tricks.

Ear Plugs/Muffs


Loud noises can be terrifying for small children or children with sensory issues. Packing a pair of ear muffs or ear plugs can come in handy in the parks. Pull them out to avoid the pop of fireworks or when riding trains or loud rides. Any way you slice it, ear plugs or ear muffs can be a big help for your little one!

Cell Power

I'm not a fan of using a cell phone as a pacifier. I prefer conversation to clicking away on the phone. After all, the precious moments you have with your family are fleeting. That said, I am a huge fan of using the soft light of a cell phone in dark situations. Thanks to a few well-placed villains, even sweet rides like Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid can be scary to little ones. You don't want to ruin the experience for others and I think that an upset child is far more noticeable than the small light of a cell phone.

Ursula Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid

When my nephew is scared in the Space Mountain ride through on the People Mover, I take out my cell phone and shed some light on the situation. It's amazing how much relief that little thing can bring. Avoid tears and keep it handy on your next trip!

Snack Attack

Low blood sugar equals bad times for my family. Grumpiness rears its ugly head as we run close to empty. Stashing snacks in your park bag is a great idea for any age group. For those times when you're saving your spot to watch IllumiNations, stuck in a long line or hungry during Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular -- wherever, whenever -- packing a snack in your bag can help!

These are a few of my tricks of the trade. Now's it's your turn. What tips do you have for making the theme park experience less stressful for toddlers? Share in comments below!

Until next time, keep it magical!

Related: Planning a Child's Birthday Celebration at Disney World

Related: Preparing Tots to Meet the Characters

Ashley is the author of Disney: Done Right Blog and a writer for Chip and Co. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter!

Sort newest to oldest Sort oldest to newest
FrogBlog Oct 22, 2013 at 1:53 p.m.

Great post, Ashley!

My top tip for traveling with toddlers or babies is to take advantage of the Baby Care Centers in the parks. They can be a godsend for parents who have forgotten any supplies and/or just need a quiet place to recharge.

-- Mommy Frog

Ashley Oct 28, 2013 at 2:26 a.m.

Thanks, Mommy Frog! We love the baby care centers too! They saved us a couple of trips ago. We ran out of wipes and made a purchase there to hold us over for the rest of that day! Disney thinks of everything!

Jody Oct 22, 2013 at 4:03 p.m.

I wish we had thought about ear plugs. We just got back from a 10 day trip and my 6 month old grandson was startled to tears several times. I had to Indiana Jones (not sure even earplugs would have helped ther, but...). We had no idea that he would react in this way. Guess he hasn't had enough loud experiences at home for us to notice. By the end of the week he had grown accustom to them and was less affected but that was not even anything we had considered.

Ashley Oct 28, 2013 at 2:24 a.m.

Jody, I hate that you guys had such a hard time with the loud noises! I always think of each trip as a learning experience. Next time you'll be ready! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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