We are headed to Florida soon for a much needed family vacation! With my work, I get the privilege of traveling here and there, and Dusty joins me a few times a year as well; however, it has been over a year since we have taken a full family vacation including baby Ollie. If you have been around for awhile, you know that the Bahorich clan loves everything Disney and we cannot be more excited to take Ollie on his first Disney adventure. We are also extremely blessed to have planned this at the perfect time before we were too far along in our pregnancy. This will be a great trip for us before turning into a family of four in the spring. It is going to be so much fun!
Since we frequent Disney World and the Orlando area a lot, I have a good idea about what spending a day at the parks looks like but this will be my first trip with a toddler on board. My husband, Dusty, and I was able to have this trip in the back of our minds when we spent a week there back in May for my birthday and we were able to take lots of mental notes as we observed families.
However, being that we have not necessarily traveled with a toddler on our own, I reached out to some of my favorite bloggers and friends to gather their tips, tricks, insights, and everything else in between.
Some of the top things that I heard:
- Start out early. If your child is an earlier riser anyways, leverage that with being at the parks at rope drop. Then head back to the hotel around lunchtime for a break at the pool or nap time. Round out your day back in the parks. This will assure there are no mid-afternoon meltdowns and a more enjoyable time overall.
- Download the Disney Parks App. It will be your lifeline through your planning and during your trip. It has all your reservations, ride wait times, hotel information, and more. You can now order at some restaurants through this app as well as preview menus and make dining reservations. It is a must.
- Pack your own snacks. You can take in your own snacks into the parks! Of course, you do not necessarily want some chocolate in your bag that may melt; however, granola bars, food pouches, Cheerios, and other grain-based foods are great for snacks along the way and help keep your daily food cost down for not only your little ones but also the whole entire family!
- Thorough packing lists. Research a few packing lists out there. They are easily found on Pinterest throughout (and one that I made below). They are helpful for me to collect items that I would have never thought of and even forgotten from trip to trip!
Because I found so many good resources on this topic, I have broken down some of my favorite posts that I discovered while researching for our trip to help make planning for Disney with a toddler easier! Enjoy!
Tips for doing Disney with a Baby or Toddler
“I would recommend going to Disney World during the Winter rather than the Summer but if you do go during the Summer avoid 4th of July weekend. It is so packed that lines for even baby rides are ridiculously long and it won’t be enjoyable to wait 2+ hours for a 5 minute ride.” – Sandra’s Studio in Disney World with a Toddler | Must-Haves & Tips
“This is a lovely relaxed whimsical indoor boat ride [It’s a Small World] that takes you past a collection of singing children from around the globe – there’s so much for the little ones to see on this one!” – Bump to Baby in What toddlers love at Walt Disney World
“Most people don’t know, but the Mickey at Town Square talks. It was really awesome and he even sang the Hot Dog song to Ricki. (If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry, you soon will.) I would 100% recommend doing this, it is more personal than breakfast and also free! One of the less crowded spots to meet Daisy, Donald, Minnie, and Goofy is at Pete’s Sideshow Circus. I have never seen a wait longer than 20-30 minutes (you can get fast passes for this also, if needed).” – The Crispy Mama in How To Take Your Toddler To Disney World (And Not Go Insane!)
“Any ride that a toddler can go on a baby can go on as well. You just can’t bring a stroller onto any ride or have one while standing in line. That’s where you’ll want to wear the baby. This will make your life at Disney World so much easier and free up some hands for toddler wrangling.” – Casual Claire in Disney with a Baby and a Toddler
“Basically everything in Magic Kingdom is toddler friendly, so your tiny human will have a blast no matter what.” – A Monkey and His Momma in Disney with Toddlers, What Not to Miss.
“If you are going to be using a stroller, find a way to make it your own because if you have a common stroller (especially Baby Jogger or BOB), it might be difficult to find yours in the sea of strollers after rides and shows.” – Simply Darring in Prepping for Disney
Park Secrets & Helpful Information on the Go
If you don’t have loads of time to weed through blog post after blog post, I highly suggest checking out a few of these resources to help you along your way!
Disney Every Week with the PassPorter Moms! is one of my favorite podcasts! They provide tips and tricks for all types of Disney trips. I love hearing their opinions on hotels, food options, transportation and more! They have episodes specifically on special events, must see’s and do’s at each park, traveling with kids with special needs, and so much more! Each episode is around 30 minutes and so easy to listen to while cooking dinner or on your commute!
The Bucket List Family is one of my newest obsessions. They are the most adorable family that sold everything (plus an app for a huge profit) and now is adventuring the world. They most recently spent 30 nights at 30 different resorts are Walt Disney World. Each resort has such unique and magical features and they really did a great job at capturing them all! I linked to their first video but make sure you watch them all to get the full recap of their adventures!
Disney Parks Moms Panel is the ultimate digital resource for you provided by Disney to receive helpful tips and heartfelt advice about Disney vacation destinations from real moms, dads and in the know family members. They have a search each year for new contributors and it is really hard to be accepted and approved to the group. This is a great place to go if you have a question about a theme park, restaurant, service, shop, hotel or activity!