Disney with young kids can be SO much fun! Take advantage of going with your toddler while the magic is so alive for them. Here are some helpful tips for doing Disney World with a toddler (and while pregnant) that will make your trip easier, less stressful and more fun.
I received admission to Disney World in exchange for this post. All opinions and ideas are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, you will be supporting A Savory Feast at no extra cost to you.
This month we took my two-year-old to Disney for the first time! He is currently obsessed with Mickey and Minnie, so we knew he would love it. Even though he’s young and may not remember the trip, we thought it was totally worth it as parents to get to experience his joy and excitement.
I’m also pregnant with baby #2, so we wanted to be sure to take William before the baby is born since it could be awhile before we are ready to take on Disney with two kids!
We live about 2 hours from Orlando, so my husband and I have both visited Disney when we were kids and when we were dating/just married before kids. I even went twice when I was pregnant with William!
Tips for Doing Disney World with a Toddler
It’s All in the Mindset
My #1 tip for taking your toddler to Disney is to have the right mindset for the trip. My husband and I both agreed that this trip was all about our son having the time of his life. We made our plans based on what William would want to do and we were super flexible.
We didn’t worry about trying to do everything or about getting to do certain rides ourselves. It does help that we’ve both been to Disney many times and we live close by so we can go for a day basically whenever we want to.
Research the Best Time of Year to Go
Disney World is much less stressful and exhausting if you go on a day when it’s not as crowded and when it’s not a million degrees out! I love the WDW Prep School’s Crowd Calendar. They have a detailed calendar letting you know when the busy times are, including special events and holidays.
We purposely chose January for our trip because it’s a less busy time at Disney, and I used the Crowd Calendar to choose the best day to go. It paid off for sure! We got to the Magic Kingdom before it opened and the park was basically empty for the first several hours. It definitely got more crowded as the day went on, but nowhere near what I’ve experienced during other times of the year.
Weather can also play a big part in how your day goes with a toddler. If at all possible, avoid going in the Summer because Florida is HOT and it rains a lot during the summer. Typically January-March is nicer weather, although you can still get a hot day here and there. We lucked out this year and it was in the 50’s the day we went.
Make a (Flexible) Plan
Go into the park with a general idea of how it’s laid out, what you want to do, and what path you will take. I found it really helpful to print out a map of Magic Kingdom and sit down before the trip to map out a general plan (this is the map I used, it lists all of the rides and restaurants).
I picked the rides and experiences that I thought my toddler might enjoy and circled them on the list. Then I used a pen to mark a path for us to take through the park. It was flexible and we didn’t stick to it completely, but it gave us a general idea so we weren’t always stopping to decide what to do next.
If you haven’t been to Disney yourself, be sure to do some research on the rides and restaurants so you can know what your kids would enjoy. There are height restrictions on some rides, so be sure to check that too.
To get you started, here are a few things my toddler ended up LOVING at Magic Kingdom: Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mad Tea Party, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, the Swiss Family Tree House and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. My son is also really into the characters right now so he loved meeting Mickey at the Town Square Theater and meeting Minnie and Daisy at Pete’s Silly Sideshow.
Book FastPass Before You Go
Do yourself a favor and go download the My Disney Experience app to your phone while planning your trip! This app is incredibly helpful for planning your trip as well as for using while you are in the park. Once you have your tickets, link them to the app so that you can set up FastPass+. I booked these based on the plan I had come up with.
Don’t worry, you can always cancel or change your FastPass reservations once you are in the park. I had booked one for meeting Mickey at 9:20 AM, but we got there just before the park opened and saw we could get in line right away to meet him. The wait time was shorter than killing time before our FastPass reservation. I canceled the reservation while we were standing in line and found another one we could use after we were done.
If your child is young enough to not need a ticket for Disney, they don’t need their own FastPass reservations. Just make reservations for the adults in your party and you can bring your toddler in with you.
Use Mobile Ordering on the App for Meals or Snacks
Standing in any line with a toddler can be rough, but it’s even worse when they are hungry! Another great feature on the My Disney Experience app is mobile ordering. We used mobile ordering for our lunch and it was so quick and easy!
Also, you can use the app to look up menus for all the restaurants. This is super helpful when planning your trip. You can also make reservations at the table service restaurants in advance through the app (many of these restaurants book up quickly, so you may want to make a reservation weeks or days in advance).
Bring Snacks, Sippy Cups and a Toy or Comfort Item from Home
You can bring food and water bottles into the park, so bring a few snacks, toys or activities that you can use as distractions while you are waiting in line. My son has a tendency to take the lids off of cups of water from restaurants or spill water bottles, so I was glad I brought his sippy cup from home along. I actually brought an extra one in our bag just in case we lost the first one!
Favorite snacks or toys can also be helpful in case of a meltdown! We had one experience with this during our trip. I thought my toddler would love Mickey’s PhilarMagic show since he loves those characters so much. He ended up getting super freaked out because it’s so loud and the 3D glasses make it seem like things are flying right at you. We snuck out after a few minutes because he was scared, and then he got upset when we had to return the 3D glasses. His favorite fruit snacks and his Minnie toy helped him calm down and then he was totally fine the rest of the day.
Tips for Doing Disney While Pregnant
Like I mentioned earlier, I was pregnant with our second baby during this trip to Disney. When I was pregnant with William, I went to the Magic Kingdom twice, although both trips were during my first trimester. This time I was 27 weeks pregnant when we went.
Here are a few of my tips for making going to Disney while pregnant more comfortable!
Bring Plenty of Water
I brought my own large water bottle from home which helped to save me from always having to buy water bottles or get cups of water at restaurants. Since we had the stroller with for my toddler, I didn’t have to worry about carrying it in a backpack around the park. Fortunately this trip was during colder weather so I wasn’t getting too hot, but make sure to stay hydrated while walk around the park!
Bring an Extra Pair of Shoes
I wore my most comfortable sneakers for this trip, but I also like to bring along a pair of sandals just in case. Sometimes during pregnancy your feet and legs can get swollen, especially when you are doing a lot of walking. It can be nice to change into the sandals toward the end of the day once your sneakers are feeling tight.
Pack Some Essentials to Make You More Comfortable
I brought a few things in my bag that were so helpful throughout the day. For example, my favorite chapstick and hand sanitizer. I also brought a couple essential oil rollers using my Young Living oils. One was for circulation and had lemon and cypress oils in it. I used this on my ankles and feet before we left the hotel in the morning and as needed to help with circulation so I didn’t have any swelling. I also brought one with the Relieve It blend to help with any back pain.
Know What Rides You Can Do
There are several rides at the Magic Kingdom as well as the other parks that you can’t ride when pregnant (also for your toddler there are height restrictions on some rides!). When making a plan for your day, it’s helpful to know what you can and can’t do. You don’t want to wait in line for something and then find out it’s not recommended for expectant mothers! Here’s a list of all the rides you can’t do at the Disney World parks when pregnant.
Pace Yourself and Don’t Try to Do It All
This tip can really go for doing Disney with a toddler OR while pregnant. Since we live close to Disney, we decided to just do a one day trip. We prioritized a few things that we wanted to do, but didn’t try to do everything. If you have to travel and want to be able to do more than a one day visit, try to plan your trip so that you have a day to rest at the hotel, or do half-days at the parks or come back to your hotel in the middle of the day to rest before going back out.
Find Chances to Sit and Rest
Disney can be exhausting for anyone, but especially when pregnant. Take breaks to sit down for snacks or meals or even rides like the Railroad or the People Mover. On a hot day, plan your day so you have chances to cool off on indoor rides or shows and consider making a lunch reservation at one of the table service restaurants.
Want More Tips for Orlando Travel?
Check out my review of StaySky Suites with tips for non-Disney things to do during your trip. I also have a review of the Lake Buena Vista Resort and Spa. If you plan to visit Universal Studios, check out my Foodie’s Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.