by Wishes Diva
As a first time mom trying to plan a first trip for my toddler, there are so many things to think about! From hotels and Fast Passes, to meals and attractions- there are so many things to choose from! I hope that this can be a help to other first time trip planners!
Where to stay! The first decision about where to stay is on property, or off property. In my experience, staying on property is the way to go. It is very nice to have the perks and benefits of staying on property and the big one for me personally is transportation. I love not having to worry about driving and navigating to the parks or Disney Springs. The other perk is the themes! For my little one I wanted him to have the full Disney experience from hotel to parks. So the theming of the Disney resorts really sold me. My personal choice of on-property resort is either Pop Century or Art of Animation. (Learn more about Pop here, or Art of Animation here!) I love the price and we don’t spend a ton of time in our rooms anywhere so we don’t need anything fancy for our little family of three! Also be sure to put in a request for a crib or pack-n-play for your little one well in advance!
Meal planning! This was a big change for my husband and I. We have done Disney together five times and typically we plan to pack our lunches and eat dinner on the fly either at the parks or at our resort. (Check out my article on packing lunches at the parks here.) Adding our little guy to the mix changes everything! He isn’t too picky of an eater but he is very texture aware when it comes to food. There are certain textures that he does not like and will not eat. I spent a lot of time looking at the menus on the My Disney Experience app to see what he would and would not eat. We also planned to take a ton of snacks (including animal crackers, Cheerios and granola bars) in to the parks with us in case he didn’t end up eating something we thought he would! We love that Disney allows you to bring in food to the parks so we weren’t stuck scrambling trying to find something for the munchkin to eat!
FastPass+ plans! Aside from dining, the other big part of planning for Disney is Fast Passes. This was definitely harder this trip because of Mini Wishes Devo. The great thing about Disney and their attractions is they offer something called Rider Swap. This program allows parents with small children the ability to still experience the rides that they want to, even if their little one is too small or too scared. So my husband and I used that to our advantage. We split the FastPasses for the rides we wanted to do and then used Rider Swap so the other person could ride as well! We also used FastPass for some of the rides that our son wanted to do as well.
Attractions! So many of the attractions (including rides and shows) are friendly for small children at Disney World. However there are also some attractions that are meant for older guests. Most of the shows at Walt Disney World are friendly for all ages, but the rides are another story. My advice here is to consult a planning guide to ensure what rides have height restrictions, or may be scary for younger kids. Also take in to consideration how your little one feels about the dark. Before we went, we had no idea what to expect with our little guy. He had never been on anything like some of these before. So we were careful to pick and choose ones we thought he would like, along with a few others we weren’t sure about, to make sure that he got to have the full experience! Read more about how to still have fun while paying attention to height restrictions here!
Some of the attractions that in my opinion are fun for small children include:
-Magic Kindgom: Prince Charming Regal Carousel, “it’s a small world”, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan’s Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the Walt Disney World Railroad
-EPCOT: The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Frozen Ever After
-Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Mania
-Animal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro Safaris and the Wildlife Express Train (to Rafiki’s Planet Watch)
Overall, planning for your trip with a small child can be very overwhelming! Be sure to do your research when it comes to all the categories mentioned here and I bet you will have a very magical trip!