Doing Disney with a toddler is so different than doing Disney without one. But good different. When we went to Walt Disney World last summer, I was in my first trimester and super sick all the time, so the planning was lacking on my part. It was still one of my best memories with the monkey, even with all the puking. Here are some things that we did that worked out with 18 month old Elijah:
Let the monkey make the decisions. Waiting in line for 45 minutes, even if it is a ride you know your monkey will love, is not the best idea. Toddlers are short and can duck and get out of lines super quick, while a human over 3 feet tall probably can’t. So if your monkey sees something that he wants to look at, watch, touch, or just hang out next to, let him.
Respect nap time. Elijah has never been the kid that will fall asleep anywhere. If your kid is one of those kids, I hate you just a little bit. Once he hit 6 months, he stopped napping in the stroller all together. So nap time in Disney required us to go back to the hotel for a couple hours each day. It was nice for me to take a break in the AC too, because I was 3 months pregnant.
Get treats. Lots of treats. It’s part of the disney magic. Get your monkey a Mickey ice cream or two. And check out the Main Street Confectionery, too. The candy apples and other miscellaneous character shaped treats are totally worth it.
Utilize fast passes. Again, waiting in lines sucks even more when your 18 month old is having a tantrum. So get fast passes for the rides with longer waits that you don’t want to miss.
Don’t take an 18 month old on Pirates of the Caribbean. It is one of my favorites and I didn’t want to skip it. But I really should’ve known better. The ride is pitch black in the beginning and has a little drop right away. Elijah cried the rest of the ride and had his face buried in my chest.
Let the monkey run. I think Eli was only in the stroller 25% of the time. Toddlers need to explore and run and check everything out. But I definitely would not leave the stroller behind. We had the jogger and the ergo and both were amazing, but sometimes he just wanted to run and experience the magic outside of his stroller.
If your kid loves characters, meet them. If he doesn’t, skip it. We met Mickey twice, and waited in very short lines, maybe 15 minutes each time. And although he was getting antsy near the end, he was so so happy when he met Mickey. (A character meal would’ve worked well.) He also met all of his favorite pixar characters, but I honestly don’t think it would’ve been horrible if we skipped the character meeting.
And most importantly:
Take the grandparents along. I know this last tip isn’t always possible for everyone, but seriously take your parents with you. They will have an awesome and magical time watching their grand baby experience Disney World, and having two extra sets of hands to wrangle the monkey is so helpful.
Elijah is going to be a whole year and a couple months older when we do Disney this time, but I know we will be repeating most of these.
What tips would you add? Have any questions about what worked well for us?