Parents planning a trip with young kids to one of the most magical places on earth may be wondering about the best tips for visiting Disney World. From babies to kindergarten-aged kids, a visit to Disney can be a very special experience. Characters seem real to them, Cinderella’s Castle is a child’s fairytale come true, and the rides are so exciting. For parents, having their kids in Disney is filled with magical moments and memories to last a lifetime. It’s a one-of-a-kind vacation and one you’ll never forget! Parents should consider many factors that may make your Disney vacation a bit easier with young kids, however. Being well prepared will make your Disney experience more enjoyable. These tips will help make your trip a success and full of everlasting memories. Keep reading for our list of the Best Tips For Visiting Disney World With Young Kids!
Is Visiting Disney Right for My Young Kids?
Before we get into the best tips for young kids visiting Disney World, it’s important to know what to expect. Traveling to Disney, or anywhere really, with kids so young can be very daunting. Disney World involves a lot of walking, wait times, and at times, huge crowds. Kids visiting Disney may become overwhelmed with sensory overload. While it’s okay if this happens, it’s also good to be prepared for some magical meltdowns. It’s always important to pack your sense of humor when taking young kids on a Disney vacation. Rest assured, those in-the-moment feelings of frustration will one day be moments of laughter and memories.
Get Your Kids Excited Prior to Leaving
Begin by involving kids in your Disney vacation planning. If they’re a part of the pre-planning, then they’re more likely to know what to expect. A great resource for this is YouTube videos. You’ll find everything from individual ride videos, park videos, hotel room videos, character cavalcades, character meet and greets (and yes, they’re back!), and so much more. Kids will be happy to watch these videos repeatedly like their favorite movie. Another great idea to get the kids excited and involved is to do a Disney movie family night. Make a bowl of popcorn, gather on the couch, and stream your favorite Disney movie. Choose from classics like Cinderella, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, or watch all of the Toy Story movies. When kids see their favorite movie characters in real life, they’ll be so excited!
Staying at one of the many Disney resorts will maximize your time at Disney World. Whether you choose a Deluxe, Moderate, or Value resort, you will get to use Disney’s free transportation to get you to the parks and back. Having this convenience of transportation will help get you back to your hotel after a long day and to bed much earlier. This is super important when you have the next day at another park. Kids will also love the Disney-theming at the resorts. In fact, they’ll be just as excited to be at the resort as they’ll be in the parks! Some even have rooms and suites dedicated to Disney movies. Disney’s Art of Animation value resort is a perfect example, with their Little Mermaid standard rooms and their Cars, Nemo, or Lion King suites. Disney’s Polynesian Deluxe Resortrooms are Moana-themed.
Bringing a stroller is one of the best tips for young kids visiting Disney World. The parks are very large, resulting in a lot of walking. Sometimes guests end up walking 7-10 miles. Florida is hot, so walking combined with heat and humidity will tire out most young kids. You’ll be happy you brought the stroller to give them that much-needed break. Kids will be happy to rest their tired legs, too! Also, don’t be upset if they fall asleep. A nap in the stroller is a great way to recharge. Take advantage of the stroller nap to sit, relax, and enjoy a cup of coffee or snack. Strollers provide some great storage space too. Place your backpack with water, snacks, maybe diapers, in the stroller and give your back a rest. Disney merch can also be stored underneath. No need to carry it around all day!
Options for Renting a Stroller
If you don’t want to bring your stroller on the plane with you, but still would like to use one in Disney, no problem. There are two ways you can go about doing this when visiting Disney World with young kids.Firstly, you can rent a stroller from Disney World. You can pre-book (before you leave for your vacation) a stroller for as many days as you will need one. The cost is $15 a day (or $13 if you rent it for multi-days). Families can pick up the stroller at the entrance of the park. Then, return it before leaving the park.
However, if you have a tired kid at the end of a long day, who is done walking or is sleeping, then dropping off the stroller at the park may be an issue. You still have some walking to do to get to your mode of transportation. You may even have to wait for the transportation to arrive. Tired kid plus no stroller could spell trouble. As such, your second option is to rent from a stroller company. Yes, that’s a thing in Orlando! Some of the stroller companies will even meet you at the airport for drop-off and pick-up. Plan to spend anywhere from $55-$110 for your length of stay. Kingdom Stroller is one such company. In fact, they offer an array of brands, as well as both single and double strollers.
Carry a Comfortable Backpack
Parents should consider bringing a backpack for their days in the parks. Make sure it’s comfortable as you will be carrying it throughout the entire day. Remember to also pack the essentials. Sunscreen, hats, water, snacks, hand sanitizer, extra phone chargers, and for the young ones, maybe a change of underwear and shorts just in case. There are plenty of great backpacks designed to be carried around all day without breaking your back. Do your research and purchase a good one. We recommend any Osprey, Jan Sport, or other options on this list ofbest backpacks for family travel. If your backpack is uncomfortable, it’s not going to make your day so magical. Don’t forget, you can put your backpack in the stroller storage area or on the stroller seat when the kids aren’t in it.
Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks for the kids. If you bring reusable bottles, then it’ll cut down on the cost of buying water and on time spent in line. Reusable bottles also cut down on waste. Have your water handy because you’ll get thirsty at some point in the day. It’s important to stay hydrated in the Florida heat. Most restaurants will be happy to give you a cup of water to refill your reusable bottle. Young kids love to snack and kids in Disney will get hungry multiple times a day. Make sure to pack some snacks that will alleviate hunger and provide protein and energy. Trail mix is a great option, energy bars, crackers, or even some dried fruit. Try not to bring anything that may melt, or you’ll have a mess on your hands.
Pro Tip: You can reserve an early breakfast time at one of the park restaurants to gain early access to the parks, including Magic Kingdom.
Take a Break
This may be one of the best tips for young kids visiting Disney World. Take a break. Don’t feel bad about it! You don’t have to get on every ride or fit all of the entertainment in. There’ll be a point in the day where kids will hit a wall and may just need to stop. Sometimes a stroller nap is not enough. Midday is a great time to go back for a rest in a cool hotel room. If you have older kids they may prefer an afternoon dip in the resort pool, instead of a nap. Taking the kids out of the crowded, over-stimulating parks will do the trick to give them some downtime.
Plan to spend at least 2 ½ hours back at the hotel. Once your family recharges, head back to the park for the late afternoon and evening. Families will find that this midday break gives the kids the rest they need for more park time, more rides, more entertainment, and depending on which park you are in, even some evening fun like fireworks.
Put Your Kids in Charge of the Day
As mentioned before, get your kids involved in the planning and choosing. Although Disney’s new Genie app creates the perfect park itinerary to maximize your time, sometimes it’s just fun to have the kids create the day. Kids will love being in charge and fully engaged in the decision-making. They’ve been anticipating their visit as much as parents, so letting them be the decision-makers will make the day that much more special to them. Plus, you’ll love seeing the excitement in their kids as they run to the ride they’ve been most anticipating. Of course, you can help guide them, so you’re not zig-zagging throughout the different lands in the parks and creating more walking than necessary. Making the kids feel like they make the rules for the day will create some great memories!
Let the Kids Dress Up While at Disney
It’s not every day that your kids can dress in their favorite Disney character costume and run around in public. So let them do it in Disney World! Having your kids dress up will make them feel like they are part of the magic. More importantly, it’ll add an element of excitement to your kids’ day at Disney. Imagine your daughter dressing up as Minnie Mouse just for the Disney Minnie Mouse character to recognize her. Characters tend to give a special wave or hand gesture to small and big kids dressed up as them. It’s ok if your kids wear the same costume every day. Just know that they’re enjoying their Disney vacation the way they want. The memories and pictures you will capture while they are dressed up will be priceless. You’ll be able to enjoy those little moments for a lifetime.
Visit During Less Crowded Times of the Year
One benefit of taking younger kids to Disney is that you can pull them out of school without worrying about missed schoolwork. Kids’ schedules are flexible, which is a great chance to take advantage of less crowded months. As kids get older, it becomes much harder to pull them out of school due to a more vigorous schedule and some schools not letting them miss class for family vacations. Visiting after Christmas and before Spring Break tends to have fewer crowds in Disney World, except for Presidents Day weekend. Another benefit? Prices for Disney properties and park tickets are lower. The combination of fewer crowds and lower costs makes for a more enjoyable vacation. This is another one of the best tips for young kids visiting Disney World!
We hope you found good tips in this list of the Best Tips For Visiting Disney World With Young Kids. From strollers to timing, there is a lot for families to consider when visiting Disney World with kids. We hope you have a great time at Disney with your kids!
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.
Hi, I'm Alison Netzer, mom to three amazing kids, wife, and dog mom to two highly-spirited chocolate labs. I currently reside in Baltimore, MD USA where I work as a travel planner specializing in Disney vacations and other locations. I'm a travel blogger and avid traveler. When not planning someone else adventure, you can find me planning our next worldly, family adventure.