Disney Vacation Planning: Taking Little Ones


Over the past years, my friends have asked me if anything special should be planned or done when taking small ones to Walt Disney World. The answers can change on this subject depending on the child’s age, when your trip is planned and above all – the personality of the young ones going.

Is the child at his or her best more in the morning or evening? Are they a slow mover in the morning, but ready to go later? Are they up at the crack of dawn and ready for breakfast immediately? Do they require more than 1 nap a day or would 2 work better with the extra stimulus?

Also keep in mind; they will probably not remember much other than seeing the pictures you take. But the look on their face when they see their favorite character will last a life time for you!

Some friends recently took their almost 3 year old to Walt Disney World for the first time. They were anxious to take her before her 3rd birthday and the timing worked out with 1 set of grandparents going also. Knowing she would be way too small for most rides, they planned a character meal on each of the three days they would be there. This worked very well with her personality, since she loves characters and knows all the princesses’ names by heart.

Another thing that worked very well was not rushing out in the morning, taking their time to get up and eat a little breakfast and then spending time at the pool. By doing this, they then went to the character meals around lunch time or early dinner and had the evening in the park when it was cooler, less crowded and better rested.

When I took my slightly under 3 grand-daughter years ago, it worked better for her to get up, get moving and let her have some yogurt and juice while we dressed and then to the park by opening. By lunch time she was ready for a rest, so we headed back to the hotel for a dip in the pool, some lunch and a nap. By evening, she was ready to go and was rested enough to see the fireworks and then more than ready for bed by the time we got to the hotel.

Time frames for naps can change depending on the time of year. In early spring the parks are not open as late as in the summer or during peak season. Keep that in mind when working in naps and rest time. Try to split your day into 1 or 2 mini-trips for maximum enjoyment for everyone.

The one most important piece of information I can give is – DON’T push the kids to stay in the park from open to close! Not only will they be miserable, the meltdowns will not help your mood or those around you! I’ve heard so many times “I spent good money to bring you down here – we are going to be here as long as it is open”. Do you really want to remember being in the most magical place in the world and only remembering the melt-downs, temper-tantrums and crying fits? Missing a couple of hours to make sure everyone is well rested will make the trip so much more memorable! Remember Walt intended for Walt Disney World to be a place for the entire family to come together and build memories – GOOD ones!

What’s the young child you took to Walt Disney World? What worked best for you and your child?

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Debbie and her husband live in Collegedale, TN where her youngest son is going to college. She is a huge Disney fan who dreams of someday retiring and working as a tour guide at Walt Disney World. She has enjoyed many trips to WDW with children, grandchildren and sometimes adults only. It is her ultimate goal to make sure everyone who visits WDW has the same magical time that she enjoys every time she visits.

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