People ask all the time, “Is my toddler too young for Disney?” or “Is Disney with kids under three really worth the expense and energy?”
My answer is a clear, “Oh yes, you should go visit Walt Disney World parks while your kids are small.” Sure, they may be too young to remember everything about the trip, but the rest of the family will make so many wonderful memories you all will cherish.
Here’s some information on traveling to Disney with kids under 3 that should help you get planning.
Yes, that is correct, FREE! Children under 3 do not require a theme park ticket at Walt Disney World.
Not only do they get in the parks for free, but they eat for free too. At buffets and family style restaurants, such as Chef Mickey’s or ‘Ohana, they eat for FREE! So you can take your little one to meet a cranky duck or destructive blue alien, and they can enjoy the meal too.
Plus one child under 3 does not count toward resort room occupancy total. This means that family of 5 can book a room with a 4 person maximum occupancy, if the youngest is under 3 years old,. This can be a huge money saver for growing families who want to avoid larger hotel rooms at steeper prices.
So Much to Do
There are lots of fun attractions your littles will be able to participate in and you can enjoy as a family. From eating yummy snacks, to seeing shows. to riding lots of milder rides, your toddler is bound to have a ball. Check out our article on Best Rides for Toddlers at Magic Kingdom for some of our favorites.
Baby Care Centers
When doing Disney with kids under 3, Baby Care Centers offer incredible convenience. Open during regular park hours, each full-service facility is complementary to use and a wonderful spot for mom’s to rest as well. Inside each facility you will find a “feeding” room with cute little chairs, tables, highchairs, and a tv with cartoons playing for entertainment. The changing room is so clean and provides a sink to wash up after each diaper change. The biggest plus was the women’s restroom inside the facility.
If you are nursing, you will find private nursing rooms with rocking chairs. Another great room you will find has a small kitchen with a microwave and sink that are perfect to fix and warm bottles. Some locations even have bottle warmers. Don’t worry if you forgot something. They have a on-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over the counter medications and clothing for purchase.
- Magic Kingdom: Located to the left of Main street. Walk to the end of Main street where you see Casey’s Corner. Turn left. You will see the Crystal Palace to the right of the Baby Care Center. Stroller must be left outside.
- Hollywood Studios: As soon as you walk in, the Baby Care Center is to the left of the main entrance.
- Animal Kingdom: Located in Discovery Island (where you find the Tree of Life). It is to the left of the tree next to Creature Comforts. Right before the bridge that leads to the Tusker House.
- Epcot: Head towards Test Track, then take the bride over to “The Epcot Experience” building. Walk around that building and the Baby Care Center is located to the right before crossing the bridge to Mexico.
Take That Mid Day Break
If you have children then you know that between the hours of 2-4 kids seem to have a breakdown. Instead of having that full on meltdown in the park, go back to the resort and enjoy a little down time. Perhaps our best advise for Disney with kids under 3 is to allow time to take a nap in the AC or do a little swimming to cool off from that Florida sunshine.
Parents need a little break to regroup for the rest of the day, too. Recharge for dinner back at the park and stay to see the Magic Kingdom all lit up at night.
Strollers or A Body Carrier are a Must
You can choose to bring your own stroller or rent one at Disney. If you decide to bring your little one’s favorite comfy stroller, Disney has requirements: Strollers must be 31” (79cm) wide and 52” (132cm) long or smaller. We always recommend getting a small stroller fan if you are traveling to Florida in Spring, Summer, and Fall. The temperatures inside a stroller are much hotter than what it feels like to the adults. Also, an awesome tip is to give in to that Mickey Balloon. Yes, get that cute yellow balloon and use it as a way to identify your stroller. Of course make a nice little paper size name tag for your stroller makes it stand out from the crowd as well. You can make your own, or purchase a personalized tag at one of these Etsy shops.
‘Stroller Parking’ is a Disney term you will learn very quickly if you decide to stroll along with your littles.
If you prefer not to deal with a stroller, a body carrier is great to help give your arms a break when in line waiting for your next attraction. Pick a carrier that is comfortable and easily stored in a backpack so you can wear the baby while in line (unless told differently by a cast member).
Consider ditching the traditional diaper bag when traveling to Disney with kids under 3. Not only are backpacks great to store a baby carrier, but a wonderful spot to keep snacks, juice, extra clothes (oh yes you will need them), toys, wipes, diapers, plastic bags, and much more. Why plastic bags? It is a great way to carry snacks and juice without fear of spilling in your bag. Plus, if you need to change your little one’s clothes for whatever the reason, you have a place to store them away from your other “clean items.”
Disney is always a wonderful place to visit, even for those tiny Disney fans in the making. If you would like to know more specifics about items to take or how to survive a day in the parks with a small child, contact your favorite Travel Agent, Holly Martini.