Why did I bring my toddlers to Disney? My kids do not remember their first trip. They have no memory of breakfast with Winnie the Pooh, or looking up at the Cinderella Castle for the very first time. Do they recall their first Mickey Ice cream bar? Nope! So why bother spending the money to bring my 18-month daughter and 3-year-old son to Disney? They don’t remember a thing……but I do! You see, my kid’s first trip to Disney really was not for them at all, it was for me!
I remember their little laughs while riding Dumbo and the ice cream smeared all over their happy little faces. Looking back, I can see James running to Pluto and giving him a hug. I remember Emily taking Sofia the 1st’s hand and looking at her as if all her little dreams had just come true. I was able to witness Disney Magic through my children’s eyes. Those are some of my happiest memories, and I get to hold onto them forever.
Now the thought of travelling anywhere with young children can be scary and overwhelming. I too, had my doubts and wasn’t sure what to expect. My packing list alone was enough to make me reconsider many times. Ultimately, my love for Disney and the desire to want to share that joy with my family is what won me over. As a result, I packed my Mickey ears, and we set off to a trip that I would never forget!
Let’s have a look at some of the fears that you may also be facing, and tackle them head on!
I don’t know where to start.
Begin with the basics. Start by choosing your travel dates, trip duration and plan out a budget that feels right for you. For our first family trip we decided to stay 5 nights at an onsite Disney property. This included 4 days to enjoy the theme parks and 1 day to get some much-needed rest at the hotel. I would not recommend any less time, as you want to be sure to factor in nap times for your little ones. With so much to experience, 5 to 7 nights is ideal for this type of vacation.
In addition, (as always) I encourage you to seek out the help of a professional travel consultant. They will guide you every step of the way and create a schedule that is tailor-made for your needs.
Where should we stay?
There are several onsite Disney hotel’s that suite every taste and budget. Each offers complimentary transportation, making is less of a hassle to get to and from each theme park. Each hotel is equipped with dining, pool(s) and a gift shop offering essential items.
Here are a few reasons why we chose to stay onsite:
Free and easy transportation from the theme parks back to our hotel for afternoon naps times
Fun themed rooms and pool areas for our kiddos to enjoy
Not having to rent a car and car seats and drive ourselves around (it is a vacation after all)
Staying within the Disney “Bubble”
We chose Disney’s Art of Animation Resort because it suited all of our family’s needs. If you want to learn more about why we love this hotel, you can read more about it in this post.
Will my toddler enjoy the rides?
YES! There are so many rides at Disney World that do not have height requirements, and are designed with families in mind. Rides such as the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the Little Mermaid Ride, the Nemo ride and Kilimanjaro Safaris were huge hits with my munchkins. They especially loved the Affection Section in Animal Kingdom and the Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom.
While it may be true that kids will enjoy most rides at Disney, I would recommend caution when it comes to certain ones. For example, my son cried on his first time riding The Haunted Mansion, and my daughter is not a fan of It’s tough to be a Bug, even to this day. Every child is different, so let your judgment be your guide when deciding which rides are most suitable. After all, you know your child best!
You can find a list of all the rides at Walt Disney Word right here.
What about characters?
In truth, this is a question that is very difficult to answer. For example, James genuinely loved meeting his favourite characters and had no issues taking photos with them. On the other hand, Emily screamed and punched Tigger on the nose when they first met (she only let Sofia the 1st near her without having a fit). Therefore, once again, it boils down to knowing your child well enough and using those Spidey senses. Consider that nowadays, most character meets are at a distance due to restrictions in place. This can play in your favour if you want to capture a photo without a total meltdown on your hands.
To book or not to book?
In conclusion, the best part about taking your toddler(s) to Disney World is the time that you will spend together. They will have an entire week of your uninterrupted attention. Imagine not having to think of an activity, or find ideas to keep your children entertained. The fun is waiting for you from the moment you arrive; Disney magic at its best. There is no right age to bring your children to Disney, because Disney is a place for all ages. So, if you need that little encouragement, I say take the trip and go create those lasting memories.
Are you planning a trip with your little ones? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
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