5 Tips for Visiting Disney's Magic Kingdom with a Toddler

Last December we took our two-year-old to Disney for the first time, and it was every bit as magical and sweet as you would think! Let's be honest here, we left completely wiped, but happy as a clam. You can always argue that the parks are waaaay too crowded, kids will want to buy everything, and Florida is entirely too hot; but just one look at your kids' lit up face as they watch the character parade, and none of it will matter. Nevertheless, here are some ways to minimize stress and maximize enjoyment when it comes to spending a day (or more) at Walt Disney World:

We decided to take our first family trip to see Mickey in December because of 1) our work schedule 2) all the Christmas lights and decorations 3) milder weather. But keep in mind, it is also one of the most crowded times of the year to visit. So our compromise was to go midweek. The park was still full, but not claustrophobically so.

We kept it simple with just a day trip, since we only live an hour and a half away from the complex. We do want to make a weekend out of it next! (Baby steps.) Check Disney's website for different prices and packages according to trip length, how many parks you want to see, high or low season, Florida resident discounts, etc.

We only took a stroller (I would suggest a regular one, not a little umbrella stroller, if you can), and packed whatever we could fit in one backpack. I had to fight my mom urge to overpack, but I'm happy I did! We had to fold the stroller to board the parking tram and leave it behind for most rides, so it was much easier to just grab one backpack and go. We did pack many snacks and even lunch, since food is expensive and not the healthiest. Aside from the usual diaper bag contents, we brought our camera, reusable water bottles, sunscreen, extra clothes, hats and sunglasses for all, and we each wore our most comfortable shoes.

Figure out ahead of time which rides you would like to go on and which parades and shows you would like to watch, even if you're not that into planning. Having your logistics mostly taken care of will save you so much time and so many headaches. It had been over a decade since my last visit, so I barely remembered where anything was, which rides were toddler-appropriate (he loved Dumbo and Winnie the Pooh), and the best places to watch the parade with an unobstructed view (Liberty Square). Disneyworld.com, along with its mobile app and MagicBand, are incredibly helpful and easy to navigate. Oh, and don't forget to set up your FASTPASS, which allows you to bypass crazy-long lines by requesting it online ahead of time at NO ADDITIONAL COST!) 

Watching the Festival of Fantasy Parade from Liberty Square

We purposefully didn't get to the park super early because we wanted to stay late enough to see Christmas lights. But we also knew that we weren't going to try to squeeze every little thing in by staying too late and end up with an overly tired, terribly grumpy toddler for the car ride back. We knew the gorgeous 10:30pm holiday light show was not even a remote possibility, and we (I) made our peace with it for the greater good of our sanity.

It really is hard not to have a good time at Disney, the happiest place on Earth! But it doesn't hurt to help ourselves out by planning ahead, being organized, and keeping a lighthearted attitude.

Your turn! Have you been to Disney? Share your experiences or wishes below!

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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.