Going to Disney with a Toddler
So if you've read any of the blogs I've written about going to Disney with babies. Since my baby is now a two year old I wanted to share my experience going to Disney with a TODDLER (dun,dun,duuun) And let me tell you it's a whole different ball game! All of you mamas out there already know toddlerhood can be a little hectic. Who knew such a small person could have such a strong opinion..am I right?! Tantrums aside, bringing your little one to Disney World is amazing..but you have to be prepared. So let me tell you some things I've learned myself bringing my two year old to the most magical place on earth.
Some characters are scary!
If you have been to Disney World with your little one before and they loved meeting all the characters be prepared for them to hate it this time. We first brought my son when he was 9 months old and then again at 17 months. He loved the princesses and Mickey and gave them great big hugs and kisses! The most recent trip he clung to me for dear life. Most characters are warm and sweet and know how to handle a skeptical child, but some ( I'm talking to you Kylo) are just too scary! They never break character so don't expect Darth Vader to try to tone it down because your mini me is screaming their guts out. And don't think that doesn't happen! So try to steer clear of meet and greets that might be intimidating for smaller guests. If all goes well and your small sweetheart gets to see their favorite princess or meet Mickey and their little faces light up and they run to them with pure excitement, it's the best feeling in the world! And some of the best memories are made!
They still need a schedule
Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean you should let certain things go. If your toddler still takes a nap at a certain time try to keep it that way. Or the next thing you know after waiting an hour to ride Winnie the Pooh, there will be a full blown, throw themselves on the floor meltdown and no amount of "pixie dust" can calm that storm. I always like to start the day early and go back to the resort mid day for a break and some quiet time. This helps especially if you plan on staying up late for the parade and fireworks. One of the best places to take a break AT the park are the new Hub grass areas. Grab a snack and sit and relax or let your small fry run out any extra energy they may have. Always remember that tired or overwhelmed babes are crabby babes.
I mean when packing for the day at the park. No one likes to lug a bunch of stuff around the parks but hey you have a toddler, and there's no such thing as packing light. Bring things that will make your life easier. Like a stroller fan! Disney can get hot and a small stroller fan will be the best thing you ever bought. The water fans at the parks are expensive and they don't clip on to your stroller. Oh and they leak, always. Bring extra clothes for your little one AND for you. There are water play areas at most parks and once they are spotted there's no getting out of playing in them. So make sure you have something dry to put on. While we are on extra clothing it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring an extra pair of shoes for your child. They get kicked off and left behind more times than you'd expect. I've ran around magic kingdom trying to find one little shoe on two separate occasions. And there are not many stores that sell shoes, if you can find one expect to be paying a lot. Don't be like me, bring the shoes.
Don't get caught up in seeing and doing everything
Before I had my son, my husband and I treated Disney like a marathon. We were non stop from park open to park close. And if it's your first trip or a short trip you may want to do the same, see and do it all. Try not to, you don't want to wear out your toddler or yourself. Remember they are small and even if you want them to see everything it may be too much. Take the time to enjoy the moment. Don't rush from one place to the next. It will make the experience so much nicer and calmer. Doing Disney at a slower pace is possible and almost necessary if you have a small person with you. Watch the parades, use fast passes for the rides you go on, don't rush and you'll have a happy kid!!
Know where your going to eat
My Disney experience has a list of all the restaurants on property and their menus. So you can plan ahead and no what choices you have. If your little one doesn't like to try new things then don't plan on going to lunch or dinner at a restaurant that doesn't have special kids meals that are plain. Avoid a meal protest by choosing a restaurant that has food that you know your toddler will eat. I have a picky eater on my hands, hates breakfast unless it's Cheerios (and there are no Cheerios in Disney). So I had them shipped from home. We eat in the hotel and we do early lunch. It's not that you have to miss out on a place that you really want to try but make sure you know in advance what they have for everyone. Vacationing with small children is always a little harder, but can be so much fun. If you plan right. Disney is after all for kids of all ages.