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8 Tips For Doing Disney With Little Ones

Heading to Walt Disney World with little ones for the first time can be magical, but it is also a lot of work. We want to help you have a successful and magical time with your little one during your Walt Disney World vacation.

We have eight big tips to help set you up for a successful time at Walt Disney World with your little one. These aren’t too difficult, but when you are in the moment, you might not think about these little tips that can significantly impact you.

Mickey and Minnie
Photo Credit: Disney

8. Practice Meeting Characters

You probably have this magical moment about how your little one will run into Mickey’s arms the first time they meet. Although this might happen, we highly recommend that your practice meeting characters before your trip.

Many kids are overwhelmed by Disney’s large, but loveable characters. Suppose you can visit a local sporting event to meet the characters. Doing this can help ease your kid into the experience. Doing so before your trip can make those magical moments a lot less scary for them.

Also, when you arrive at Disney, meet some face characters first. These are characters such as the princesses. They are a little less overwhelming. Then consider meeting a single character at a Disney Park. Take time to visit Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom. See how those events go before rushing into a character meal such as Chef Mickey’s.

Even if you want to schedule character meals before your trip, consider booking them later in your journey. This will give your little one time to warm up to characters before the crazy and magical meal.

Credit: Disney

7. Pack For Success

You might feel like you need to bring the whole house when traveling with a little one. It might be somewhat accurate, but we do have some specific tips when it comes to packing. Start by making sure that your investment is a comfortable bag. If you plan on carrying the bag throughout the day, you will want to ensure it is comfortable and breathable.

Next, ensure a stroller that will work for your kid. You can rent one from a variety of companies or get one at the Disney Parks for the day, but we highly recommend making sure it is something that will work for your kid.

Finally, think through some of the items you need daily for your little one. Bring those into the Park with you if you always have the same snack daily. Have extra clothes, diapers, wipes, etc., to help make your day easier. Disney has baby care centers with some essential items if you forget, but packing them makes it much more manageable.

Slinky Dog Feature Image
Credit: Disney

6. Check Height Restrictions

Although there are a lot of experiences that little ones can enjoy, it is also good to have an idea of which rides have height requirements. Knowing this information ahead of time can help avoid meltdowns. You don’t want to waste time in line only to find out your little one can’t ride something you promised.

Disney does a great job with signs and information on My Disney Experience so we can all be prepared.

Space Mountain Ride Photo
Space Mountain Ride Photo

5. Understand Rider Swap

If your little one can’t ride specific rides such as Splash Mountain or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, know that you, as an adult, aren’t out of luck. Disney offers a Guest ride swap as an option.

With ride swap, one rider waits in the regular line while the other rider and the little one can enjoy different experiences throughout the Park. Once the first person is done riding, the other rider can enter the Lightning Lane queue, avoiding waiting in line for a second time.

This is an excellent way for older kids and adults to enjoy some more thrilling rides that little ones can’t enjoy. If you want to take advantage of rider swap, visit the Cast Members posted at the front of the rides. They will help you know what precisely to do.


4. Have A Plan For Lines

Even though it would be great not to stand in line at Walt Disney World, that probably isn’t a reality. Head into the Parks with a plan on how you are going to manage lines.

You can consider purchasing Genie+. This would allow you to skip the standby lines for many rides throughout Walt Disney World.

With or without Genie+, devise a plan for being in line. Even a few minutes for little ones can be challenging. Having special snacks or toys just for lines can be a great idea. Having small toys can be a lifesaver when in line.

If your family allows for technology when in line might be an excellent time for shows or educational games if you have favorites.

Knowing what strategy you will use while in line ahead of time can be a huge success.

Slinky Dog Dash
Photo Credit: Disney

3. Use PhotoPass Photographers

We love having Memory Maker during our Disney vacations, but there is something extraordinary about those first-time visit pictures. We highly recommend investing in Disney’s Memory Maker for your trip with a little one. This costs $169 before your trip and gives you free access to all the photos taken on rides and by the fantastic Disney Photographers.

These photographers are so great at capturing unforgettable, magical moments that you won’t want to miss out.

Credit: Disney

2. Naps Are Important

Just a quick and easy one here. Don’t forget to allow for naps. Even if your little one doesn’t always take naps anymore, there is nothing like Disney tired. Take time to allow for rest time in the middle of the day. Doing so will be necessary for everyone.

Mickey and Minnie 50th Anniversary Outfits

1. Be Flexible

This tip goes for all Disney vacations but becomes even more important when traveling with little ones. Make sure you are flexible with your plans. You won’t know what your little one will love or dislike, so be willing to adjust accordingly.

Head into the day with an overall plan, but be willing to adjust that plan as you go.

Traveling with little ones to Walt Disney World can be so magical, but it can also be a lot of work. We hope these tips will help you have a magical time together during your Disney vacation.


Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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