How To Survive Disney World with a Toddler

Trying to decide about taking your toddler to Disney World?? Do it!!! There are plenty of tips on traveling and enjoying the Magic Kingdom with a toddler! A pin totally worth saving!Of course in preparation of our first family trip to Disney World I started compiling lists. A Packing list, a shopping list and a to do list prior to leaving. Since Lily’s birth we have done a lot of traveling so I was really comfortable in prepping for Disney. After the first day in the park I started making a new list if tips and ideas that would help other moms tackle Disney with a toddler because it is possible!

  • Do your research! Head to Disney’s website (click here) and get familiar with the park. Locate where the rides are that you want to take your kid on. Their website allows you to pull up rides and attractions that match your child’s age group! Also get familiar where the bathrooms are or the baby care centers where you can take your toddler after diaper explosion!
  • Another great source of Disney information can be found at Mouse Savers (click here). You can find out everything from how to save money on tickets, hotel information and where to dine to save money!
  • Early bird gets the worm. Get there before the gates open and when the gates do open head straight to the rides that usually have the longest lines or the rides that you are most excited to take your toddlers on.
  • When you first get there make sure you grab the weekly schedule paper (each park has one) that lists the times for all the shows, parade information and where to find characters for pictures and signatures.
  • Instead of grabbing the paper you can download Magic Guide ($4.99). This guide gives you an interactive map at your fingertips. You can find the current wait times for rides, menu options for the restaurants (even the ones near your location in the park), park hours and show times and the app works for the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.


  • Disney’s Photopass card. You will notice that there are many professional photographers all over the park. They will snap pictures of your family in front of the castle, with the characters or action shots as you dance along with the parades. They will scan a photopass card that has an your own i.d. number that you can enter online to pull up all the photos from your trip when you get home. You can print the pictures you like, have coffee mugs made with them or even personalize the photo by adding Tinkerbell to them. If you head to their website (click here) you can even upload your own photos that you took with your family camera and have those personalized!
  • Dress for comfort! Dress for the heat and make sure you pack an extra outfit in your diaper bag/back pack just in case the kiddo gets wet or has a big mess. Pack a swim diaper too because there is a small little water park to help cool off your kids right next to Dumbo. If you’re going to let your kid get wet bring a Ziploc bag to store the wet clothes.
  • Comfy shoes. Your feet will thank you at the end of the day. Remember that in Orlando the weather is HOT & HUMID so wear appropriate shoes for walking in this sticky climate! You might want to put some Band Aids or Blister Blocks (from Johnson & Johnson) in your diaper bag/purse just in case you, your husband or your kid gets a blister from all the walking in the heat! Moleskin (used for bunions) are great to have for blisters too, but make sure you have scissors because that stuff is impossible to rip off.
  • Diaper bag. Well duh Amy. Of course you are going to bring your diaper bag, but re-think the actual bag. A backpack might be a little easier and more comfortable than your one shoulder bag!
  • Bring the stroller. Your kid will not walk the entire park and don’t let them or you will get some tantrums. Bring the stroller or you will be shelling out $$$$ to rent one from Disney. There are areas where everyone leaves their strollers so if you have a popular brand attach a cute ribbon or bow to make your stroller stand out from the rest!
  • Bring snacks and drinks. Yes Disneyworld now allows their guest to bring snacks and drinks into the parks! I brought two water bottles for Mike and me and Lily’s sippy cup filled with water. Because Lily was preoccupied with all the characters at breakfast she barely ate, so the snacks came in handy multiple times before we sat down for lunch.

Trying to decide about taking your toddler to Disney World?? Do it!!! There are plenty of tips on traveling and enjoying the Magic Kingdom with a toddler! A pin totally worth saving!

  • Take your kid to a character breakfast. Watching your kid eat their waffle and then flip out that THE Minnie Mouse is right in front of them just makes the trip even more magical.  Make a reservation way in advance!!!! You can call them at (407)000-0000 or make a reservation online (click here). We had planned to grab quick lunches so we never made a reservation. I wish I did because the second day I really wanted to enjoy a nice sit down lunch, but it had a 25-30 minute wait…and you can’t wait that long for food with a tired and hot toddler!
  • Enjoy the parades! What toddler doesn’t enjoy music, dancing and a chance to see the Disney characters in real life? Throughout the day there are numerous live shows that require no waiting in lines! The only waiting is finding a spot on the curb or along a walkway to get a chance to see Mickey or a princess float by! Lily’s favorite was the Shake It parade where you get a chance to dance in the street with performers while Minnie and Mickey stay on the floats. The Magic Guide app along with the paper guides the park hands out list all of the daily times for each live show and/or parades.


  • Make sure your kid gets the nap. Just because your kid looks and is acting like they could keep going for another 45 minutes, just head back to the hotel and get them down for that nap. Plus it’s a great time for you to prop up your feet and have a beer or glass of wine while your kid takes a snooze. After their battery is recharged you can head back for some more fun and fireworks! Some kids might take their nap in their stroller so make sure you back their lovey or binky to help them fall asleep and try and find some shade (we found that frontier land had the most shady areas). Sadly Lily will never sleep in public so that’s why we went back to the hotel.
  • The mouse is no longer ‘dry’. Yes The Magic Kingdom now serves beer and wine to help soothe tired and frazzled parents. A new area in fantasy land opened up and at the Be Our Guest restaurant there is a long menu of beer, wine and even champagne! Unfortunately you cannot leave the restaurant with your drink, but for many just being able to grab a cold brew at lunch is fabulous. I brought a six pack of Pacifico and placed it in our room’s refrigerator so it was perfectly chilled for us when we got back!
  • SPF/hat. Make sure you apply this before you leave the hotel room so you don’t forget and keep applying it. There are only a few areas that provide shade and the sun & heat in Orlando is wicked!
  • Bring mini fans. Like I said the heat is horrible and we were already sweating walking in through the gate. Head to Walmart and pick up their super cheap hand held fans (under $2) and pop that in the bag. The fan is made of foam so it’s safe for a toddler, but it delivers a strong breeze to help keep you and your kids cool! Plus it was a great distraction while waiting for a ride.
  • Back some aloe in your toiletries just in case you forgot to keep applying that SPF. If your hotel room has a refrigerator place your aloe in there to get cold. Cold aloe feels so good on sizzled skin.


  • Take snack breaks. With the Florida heat you have to remember to take some breaks to hydrate and fill those little bellies so your toddler doesn’t break into a tantrum fit. We carried our backpack with us on the rides so we could give her some animal crackers and sippy cup while we waited. In between the rides we took full advantage of the snack kiosks and enjoyed chilled chocolate ice cream! While we waited for the Shake It parade we grabbed a frozen chocolate banana (a summer favorite of mine) and it was exactly what we needed while we stood in the blazing heat. On day two we munched on a box of fresh popcorn in the shade of a huge tree near Tom Sawyer’s island. Don’t worry Disney offers healthy snacks like apples or a banana, but I’m sorry the face of a toddler enjoying ice cream on a hot day is priceless!
  • Most importantly be happy with the rides you do get on. You might not be able to go on every ride you planned because of long lines, tantrums, diaper timings etc. Just remember that it’s all about your kid and the experience and memories you’re creating as a family.


View Comments
  1. William Boykin commented:
    May 3, 2013 Reply

    a proud father and grandfather

  2. Danielle commented:
    April 19, 2015 Reply

    We’re taking our daughter in May… where did you find that adorable minnie dress?

One Trackback

  1. By Lily & Bliss | We Survived Disney World on May 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    […] This time we calmed her with some buttered pop corn. We toured Tom Sawyer’s Island, had lunch and ran to Cinderella’s castle to dance in the street with Mickey at the parade. The heat was brutal and combine that with dancing with a toddler on your hip and I was wiping away cups of sweat from my forehead. We were all exhausted and decided to head home after. Disney was a great time. Lily most likely won’t remember it but Mike and I will. Lily gets into the Magic Kingdom for FREE until the age of three…so I see future visits to take advantage of that great deal! Stay tuned for a future post with all the tips and ideas on how to survive Disney World with a toddler! (check that post out here) […]

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