Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Walt Disney World Tips for Babies thru Preschoolers

I recently read a post on Facebook that was asking about the appropriate age for kids at Disney...ie. "...how young is too young?". I have gotten this question a lot when we were planning the trips with my kids. I have also had people tell me, "Your kids won't remember it!". I typically would respond by telling people, "Hey, I went before the kids, why would I NOT go because I have them?". That being said, my four year old knows a ton about Disney and the resorts because he sees pictures in his scrapbooks. He "remembers" being there because he relives it often. So, if you want to take your kids as a baby, toddler or a preschooler, don't let anyone convince you otherwise...it is a GREAT idea!!

Today I will go over some tips that I have found to be helpful while at the Walt Disney World Resort with my little ones! Enjoy!!

1. Baby centers...know them....USE THEM!



 Baby Center at Epcot's Odyssey Building
 Each of the four major parks have a baby care center. They are all very clean and provide changing tables, restrooms, microwaves, private nursing rooms, highchairs and merchandise to purchase including diapers, bottles, formula, baby foods and the like. In Epcot, it is found on the Mexico side of the Odyssey building. In Magic Kingdom, it is tucked in between Casey's and The Crystal Palace (this is where you can also find the first aid station). In Animal Kingdom, it is also near the first aid station, which is on Discovery Island close to the bridge to Africa. In Hollywood Studios, you can find it in the Guest Relations Center, which is at the park entrance. This is the only baby care center that doesn't not have items for purchase in the actual center. You will have to visit the gift shop which is located just to the left of Gest Relations. We used the centers very frequently with our son, and less frequently with our daughter. Different children will have different needs. If nothing else, use them for a clean changing table!!

2. Baby Swap or Rider Switch
       Do you, your mom, your sister and your husband want to ride Expedition Everest...but who will stay with the baby? Disney has a program called Rider Switch...or as most call it, Baby Swap.  When your group gets to the front of a ride that has height restrictions, ask the cast member about baby swap. They will explain how it works and give you a return pass (which looks like a legacy fastpass). One person will stay with the baby. You can look around the gift shop, which is usually where the riders will exit, or maybe use that time to ride a baby friendly attraction that is nearby. Once the first set of riders exit, you may use the pass for up to three people to get into the fastpass line. Remember though, the whole process can take up some time. If you have a pressing Fastpass+ time or a dining reservation, you may want to just chose one person to sit it out.

3. Just because you don't want to stay at a value doesn't mean you should visit them.

 My little guy with his grandma and grandpa at All Star Movies Resort

        The second time we took my son to WDW he was about 18 months old. We decided to stay at a moderate resort because my husband is tall and likes the queen bed option. We knew that our son would miss out on the larger than life characters and he was really into Toy Story at that age. On our arrival day we took him over to All Star Movies so he could run around the Toy Story area and "meet" the giant Buzz and Woody. It was one of the most memorable days of that whole trip. Best part..it was free! There are a plethora of characters features at the value resorts. If you tot is really into one of them, spend an hour or so visiting there. You'll have a great time!

4. Celebrate the each milestone height restriction.

 My son's first time on Tomorrowland Speedyway
   Toddler and preschoolers can feel left out when all you do all day is baby swap and they have to sit and wait. Take time to make them feel super special by making a big deal out of it when they can finally get on a "big kid" ride. Take a picture and maybe even get them a pin to remember it!

5. Naps are your friend.

      Taking a mid-day break can seem like a hassle. Between getting to the front of the park and getting to your room...and then having to do the reverse, it hardly seems worth it. Trust me...it is. This last trip we took was a short one and we only had one day in the park. We just figured we'd ride it out and if the kids were sleepy, they would nap in the stroller. Not only did they not nap (too much to look at and see), but the heat and the lines were ridiculous during the time we would have been gone. I think we did one attraction and then found somewhere to have a snack because it was too unbearable. We will always take that break from here out. The recharge is worth it and missing those crowds and heat would have been welcomed.

6. Use a stroller even if you think your child may be too old.
 Double City Mini from Kingdom Strollers

        Preschoolers are full of energy. Most of them don't want to use a stroller anymore, however when you visit a Disney park you will walk. A lot. The average person will walk between 7 and 14 miles in a day in Disney world. Last time I wore a pedometer in Disney, I was walking about 15 miles a day, which included my morning walk to get coffee and a walk to the bus afterwards. We have a Graco double stroller at home for visits to the zoo, however it is bulky and heavy. When we go to Disney World, we take an umbrella stroller for our little one. For the parks, we rent a double City Mini from Kingdom Strollers and we have it delivered to the resort. I have never had a problem with their service. They are friendly and prompt and provide coolers and stroller rain cover free of charge. I highly recommend them!

7. Character meals and kid friendly restaurants
 My Daughter at 13 mos at 'Ohana Breakfast

Most of the restaurants in Walt Disney World are kid friendly, however we try to visit the ones that are either highly themed (T-Rex, Biergarten, Sci-fi) or are a character meal for most of our table service meals. The kids will have a great time and you can relax a bit. Character meals are also a good bet because you won't have to wait in line later to get an autograph or a picture.

 My Daughter at 9 mos at Cocoa Beach

There you have it! I hope this ideas help in planning your next trip to Disney with little ones. If you want more information or would like additional help planning, feel free to email me at eva.baker382@yahoo.com. I am a fee free travel agent and would love to help you book and plan your trip!

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