How Should I Schedule My Park Days?

A Disney vacation with toddlers is never the same as one with older kids. For starters, visiting all four theme parks becomes less important. The first time I did this, I stressed unnecessarily over one simple question: how should I schedule my park days at Disney World?

Quickly, I learned something very important regarding this question, and it is that, when traveling with small children, no park is as important as the Magic Kingdom. My advice to you is that you schedule two days there, even if you only plan on three days of theme parks. After that, it will depend on your kids’ preference. If  they like animals, you should choose Animal Kingdom over Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Epcot comes last in the priority list for small kids, because they seem not to like this park as much as the others. It still is a worthwhile experience, but probably better for a longer vacation.

If you are planning to stay around a week or more, it is also important to schedule a rest day for the kids to recover fully. This day could also be good to visit Downtown Disney or the smaller water parks.

 

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When To Go To Disney World

Waiting times and crowds are aspects of Disney vacations that get rougher to deal with the younger your kids are. It is always hard to explain to small children who can be grumpy, hungry or tired that they have  to wait for another hour or so to finally get on the ride they wanted to get to. A little planning goes a long way when it comes to this, though, and figuring out the crowd behavior to pick a good date can be a game changer. Because of this, I wanted to show you this chart that WDW Prep School made with the best times to visit Disney World throughout the year. If you ask the  people who plan the Orlando vacation packages, they can help you get great deals on the most convenient days, too.

If you are planning ahead for next year to get the best deals in tickets and reservations, which I highly recommend, they also released their date chart for when to go to Disney World in 2015. You can check it out here. You have to take into account when choosing your date that green days are not empty days. There will always be a crowd at Disney World, but it is lighter during these dates.

An Incredibly Useful Height Chart

One important factor to consider when going to Disney World with small children is their height. Although not all rides have certain height requirements, some of the ones that are the most fun do! Because of this, I want to share this incredibly useful height chart with you. I found it online and it has definitely come in handy.

 

Disney T-shirt for Kids

SewMacy is selling this lovely T-shirt on etsy that is ideal for a first visit to Disney World! My sister gave it to her son before they came to visit and he was so excited that he wanted to wear it every day before the trip. His reaction, though, got me thinking about all the ways you can surprise your children to let them know they are going to Disney World for the first time. Though my kids were too young to understand the surprise the first time I took them, I still like to do special things to let my oldest one know that we are going whenever we plan a vacation. How would you let your kids know?

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The Importance of Naps

Whenever someone is visiting Disney World with toddlers, there is one thing they tend to take for granted: the importance of naps. Yes, many people do take a stroller with them or rent one at the parks and the kids can take a nap while on the move or waiting in line, but what about the parents? As fun as it is, Disney with toddlers is also exhausting for me as a mom! Because of that, I try to take at least one mid-afternoon nap between rides. This will also make it easier to keep good energy levels until the theme park you are visiting closes, and who would want to miss the rides at a time with lower waiting lines?

The 5 Best Rides at the Magic Kingdom for Small Kids

Magic Kingdom is probably the best theme park to visit with small children. All the character meet and greets and rides seem to be more children-oriented. Still, there are a few rides that stand out when it comes to what kids like. According to my kids, these are the five best rides at the Magic Kingdom:

  • It’s a Small World

  • Peter Pan’s Flight

  • Winnie the Pooh

  • The Little Mermaid

  • Dumbo

According to me, on the other hand, your best choice when planning your Disney vacation is to ask the guys at Orlando Vacation Store to help you. They have great packages!

Need Help Planning Your Trip?

I know planning a Disney vacation with toddlers is tough. As moms, we all tend to look for all the help we can get to best plan it to the smallest detail, so nothing can go wrong with our little ones. That is why I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that Disney had released an entire app to help visitors plan their trip! MyDisneyExperience, as they call it, helps you with fastpass purchases, dining, show times, maps and lots more! The best part? They also have a mobile app so you can easily take your plans with you to the theme parks. So if you need help planning your trip, look no more, because Disney has your back.

Kids and Fear

I don’t know about your kids, but I know my little girl used to be very easily scared when she was younger, and up to a certain extent, she still is! From the first time we went to the Magic Kingdom, where she started crying helplessly when we met Mickey Mouse, this has been a very important factor in my trip planning. At first, I realized that it was easier and less stressful for her to see all her favorite characters from afar in the parades. She would wave at them and feel really happy about the encounter. As we returned to the different Disney World theme parks, I have eased her little by little into the whole meet and greet deal. First, we would see and wave at her favorite Disney princesses from afar, then we would approach them, but she would stay in my arms still. Eventually, she was finally brave enough to go with them for a picture.

If your kids also get scared easily, you must take into account that going through this process is necessary. You should also watch out for rides with loud noises or for the firework show. Letting them know beforehand what they will encounter is also a great way of helping them out.

More Basic Tips for your Day at Disney

  • Prepare the kids for the trip
    Talk to them about it in advance, make schedules with them, watch videos of the rides, explain the whole situation of waiting in line and walking around the parks all day.
  • Get a PhotoPass
    Professional photographers will take your picture all over the park and all you have to do is choose the ones you want later. This ensures good photos and no one missing in them!
  • Get a Fastpass for your favorite rides
    This is the best way to save time and make the most of your day at Disney.
  • Bring a stroller or rent one at the parks
    Even if your kids no longer use it, walking around the park all day can be tough on them. They can nap there or rest while in line and you can store snacks and stuff in them as well.
  • Find an app that helps you avoid lines
    There are a ton of them online and they will save you a lot of time.
  • Set a meeting spot
    In case anyone gets lost, agree on a place where you can all meet up.

Some Dining Tips

Taking a break from the rides to have dinner with the kids is probably one of the hardest parts for me on our Disney World vacations. The excitement of the rides never wears out with them, it is a lot of trouble to explain that we are in line not for a ride but to eat, even choosing the food can be trouble! Because of that, I figured out a few life-hacks when it comes to those times, and I want to share with you some of my dining tips:

  • Skip the Dining Plan
    I cannot stress this enough. When visiting with small kids, Disney’s Dining Plan’s portions are too big for them, so they just go to waste. You can easily share a single adult portion with a child and it will be enough for both of you, and much less expensive.
  • Table Service Restaurants are fully booked much in advance
    Consider this if you want to take your kids to a special place or a meet and greet. You should actually book around six months in advance to make sure you get a place.
  • Take advantage of A La Carte Restaurants
    They are fairly quick and a lot less crowded than their more popular alternative.
  • Bring your own food
    Especially if your children are picky eaters or if you are on a tight budget, it is the best alternative. You can go for things that are healthier or that your kids really like.