How To Do Disney Parks with Preschoolers In 8 Easy Steps
Doing Disney with a preschooler has the potential to increase the magic level to infinity and beyond. With their bright eyes, vivid imaginations, and vast ability to dream, preschoolers are some of the best people to take to the Disney Parks. Here are eight tips to make your preschooler’s visit the absolute best it can be.
8. Dress-up Done Right – Preschoolers want to go everywhere in costume, right? So let them! All throughout Disney you’ll see little girls in princess dresses and little boys in pirate hats. If you really want to take it to the next level, make a special reservation at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League for a magical makeover transformation your little one is sure to love.
7. Potty Breaks – There are plenty of clean bathrooms around Disney parks. But for those who are just-barely-potty-trained, you’ll want to locate your closest options before you hear “I CAN’T hold it!” Consider highlighting or circling the restroom locations on your map early in the day. Or, using the My Disney Experience app, you can locate your closest potty stop with a simple click.
6. Character Meetings – Most kids this age love meeting all the characters. Some don’t – and that’s OK! Don’t force something if it’s scary, obviously. Think through the meeting scenarios beforehand. Show your preschooler pictures of the characters next to other kids, so they are somewhat prepared for how big they will be in real life. Don’t forget that characters will do autographs if your child desires, so be prepared with something to sign. An autograph book is the most common, but you could also opt for them to sign something out of the ordinary, like your child’s t-shirt, pillowcase, or favorite storybook. Check out our article “25 Hard To Find Characters At Disney Parks” for more information.
5. Note Height Requirements – There are a ton of things that preschoolers can enjoy in the parks…and a few they can’t. Measure your child’s height (with shoes) before you go and consult the Disney website for attraction height requirements. Most of the really wild rides they will not be able to go on, purely for safety reasons. If others in your party plan to ride the big rides, consider scouting out a preschool-friendly option nearby that one adult could take them to as an alternative. Using the Disney website and checking “Preschool” under the category “Age Interest” will give you a wide variety of appropriate choices. You can also consult our article “Disney World Ride Height Requirements 101 – Know before you go if your little one will come up short!” for details on ride height parameters.
4. Rider Switch – In addition, most of the big rides at Disney offer a service called Rider Switch. One adult stays out with the child who cannot (or just prefers not to) ride in a designated area. The rest of the party goes through the line as normal and rides the ride. When they are through,
the adult that stayed back gets to automatically go to the front of the line and ride without additional wait time. That adult can even take one other party member with them to ride again (because it’s no fun to ride alone, right?). Ask a cast member at the ride’s entrance about Rider Switch if you plan to utilize this awesome service.
3. Packing Like a Pro – Preschoolers don’t need as much stuff as toddlers, but they’re still not completely maintenance free when it comes to all-the-things. So you’re gonna want a good sized bag that will hold their lovey, sunscreen, water bottle, jacket, sunglasses, autographing item, snacks, and extra clothes (just in case…you know). Don’t carry it into the lines with you though…you won’t need EVERYTHING, everywhere. Bring a smaller cross-body bag for the essentials. You should also bring or rent a stroller, unless you really just love carrying small people around on your shoulders half the day. The stroller is a great place just to leave your big bag. And with all the excitement, your preschooler MAY crash and take a nap in the stroller. Hmm…perfect time to have that Mickey Ice Cream all to yourself.
2. Souvenir Shopping – Woah, the toys. The light-up do-dads. The stuffed animals. The BIGGER stuffed animals. Oh my word. Disney merchandise is everywhere and it’s all so stinkin’ cute. Good job, Disney. Preschoolers have limited concept of money and limited self-control, so try to steer clear of major retail sites until you are ready for them to pick out the souvenir item(s) that you’ve deemed appropriate beforehand. Telling your child they can pick out one (or whatever number) item at the end of the day may help. Or maybe not….the cuteness, people! Another option may be to help them learn a little bit about money by printing out Disney bucks – one for each dollar you are allowing them to spend on souvenirs. More mature preschoolers could handle this concept, and you’re not risking them losing actual money.
1. Utilize Photo Pass – The photo pass photographers are really good at capturing memories. The quality of the photos is really great too. It’s tempting with all the magical moments to be snap-happy on your phone or camera. But with preschoolers, it might be wise to tone that down a little. Nothing ruins magic for a little one than hearing “Stop! Smile! No, your real smile! Now just one more! A little that way!” over and over all day long. Live the moment with them, and let the photo pass people document the bulk of memories for you.
Enjoy the parks, people-with-preschoolers! The magic is REAL in their eyes, and they’ll help make it real for you too.
For more advice and tips on traveling with toddlers at Disney, consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!
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