By: Erika Stubbs
Often we are asked, what is the best age to take my child to Walt Disney World? The answer can be different for each family. I am a firm believer that each age is filled with a unique flair of magic. However, if you are headed to Disney with a preschooler, get ready for a truly magical adventure as preschool-aged children soak in the magic from head to toe.
The key to success is having a plan each day. While some people prefer a go with the flow approach, at Walt Disney World a plan is the best way to ensure that each member of the family has a great time. The first step to a plan is deciding when the best time to go is. Do you have school aged children that cannot miss school? In general, crowds are heaviest during major holidays as well as Christmas and summer vacation. If this is the best time for you to go, it is still doable, with a plan.
When you have decided when to go, contact your Middle of the Magic travel planner, and get your vacation on the books! The best way to ensure that your vacation matches the dates your desire and meets your budget, is to plan as early as possible. You can book well into 2023, currently. A $200 deposit secures your family’s vacation, and the remaining balance is due until 30 days before your trip begins.
Once the trip has been planned, it’s time to start planning the seeds for a magical vacation. I suggest watching as many Disney + movies as possible, but especially the ones that are associated with rides in the park (Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Dumbo…just to name a few movies that have rides in Magic Kingdom). We love to put on a Disney playlist every time we are in the car!
Once your trip has been planned, it’s time to begin to plan the details for each park day. Here’s a list of must haves in our family:
– Stroller (always pack a stroller) If you do not wish to fly with a stroller, you can rent one in the parks or from other local companies.
– A cooler filled with all of your toddler’s favorite snacks, drinks, etc. That’s right, at Walt Disney World you can bring in outside food!
– Extra clothes
– Sunscreen and hats
– Small toys for them to play with in line (think mini figurines, etc.)
– Comfort items to help them sleep
There are a couple of approaches to how to spend the day in the park. Many families will go park open to park close, and their toddlers will nap in the stroller. If your child requires a true nap, and your family needs a break, I highly recommend taking a break in the middle of the day to rest in your resort. In our family, our oldest children enjoy pool time, while our youngest takes a nap. When we do this, it ensures that our children are well rested and able to make it to the fireworks!
If your budget allows, I would highly encourage character dining. During character meals, each character comes to your table and interacts personally with your group. You are able to grab some quick pictures, and your children will never forget dining with their favorite characters!
*Breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace
At each park, there are fun places for toddlers to stretch their legs and get their energy out.
I highly recommend the following:
-Casey Jr. Splash and Soak area near Dumbo in Fantasyland
-The “Hub” or green space in front of the castle is an amazing place to run and relax!
-There are playgrounds at Epcot that are well thought out and beautiful.
-There is a small bonus playground inside of the Mission Space ride.
-While there is not a playground at Hollywood Studios, the best place for toddlers to play is at Disney Junior Live on Stage! They will dance, clap, and sing a long!
-The Boneyard is an incredible playground for all ages.
Ready to head to Walt Disney World with your preschooler? Contact us today for your FREE quote!