Hi Dreamers! It’s Lex, The Pixie Traveler! Today I’m giving you three Tips and Tricks for adventuring at Walt Disney World with your young explorers!
As a young mother living locally here in Orlando, we have had plenty of time to explore the Walt Disney World Resort. Trust me, there is plenty to explore and plenty of Do’s & Don’ts when you have two four-year olds leading the way. I have tested and tried all of the wrong and right decisions for you so that you can have best trip with your littles ones!
1. Staying Cool
Finding areas to rest in with air conditioning can be a struggle if you don’t know your surroundings. Luckily, I have found them for you!
The Magic Kingdom
We never use a Fast Pass for Dumbo the Flying Elephant for the sole purpose of staying cool. The Interactive queue for this ride is an indoor play area located inside an air conditioned circus tent. There are bleacher seating for parents and different play areas for different age groups. You will receive a pager to let you know when it is your turn to experience the ride. If there is no wait time you can still use the play area to cool down and experience the ride whenever you are cooled and ready to brave the heat again!
The Seas with Nemo and Friends is one of our favorite rides! As you exit the ride, you will walk right into Epcot’s Sea Base. This ocean-themed destination is home to an Aquarium and a toddler play area. While the entire Sea Base is quite large and has plenty of room for your little ones to run around, the play area is on the smaller side. But hey, it is inside and air conditioned. Turtle Talk with Crush is also located at the Sea Base. This is another place for parents to cool off and rest your feet while your kids are enjoying an Interactive Experience with Crush!
Disney Junior Live on Stage features characters from Disney Channel’s ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates,’ ‘Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’, ‘Sofia the First’ and ‘Doc McStuffins.’ The show length runs around 20 minutes. That’s 20 minutes of sitting in an air conditioned building while you’re kids sing and dance along with their favorite shows.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch at the Conservation Station is only accessible by taking a train. The train ride in and of itself is so fun for my kids! Through informative and interactive exhibits, the Conservation Station features more than 10 animal care areas and Disney-themed experiences. Most importantly these areas include that ever-so- valuable air conditioning.
This is a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how easily it is to forget that H20 while you are busy experiencing the magic! And who wants to spend $5.00 on one bottle of water? Free water is available at every Quick Service Restaurant. You can also find free triple-purified water at Starbucks, located in all four parks and Disney Springs.
2. Take Advantage of the System
My Disney Experience Mobile App
Explore everything Walt Disney World has to offer on the interactive mobile app! With a GPS-enabled map, everything you need is right at your finger tips. Get wait times for attractions and showtimes for fireworks and parades. Find Character greeting locations and times without having to walk around the parks in search of your child’s favorite Character. Browse restaurant menus, make dining reservations, and even modify or cancel reservations! Speaking of dining, you can call ahead and inform restaurant staff about any food allergies your child may have so chefs can walk you through the menu and provide safe suggestions.
Bring or rent a stroller
I would definitely recommend bringing your own stroller over renting one at Walt Disney World, especially if your child still naps through out the day. The strollers available to rent do not recline whatsoever. Even if your child no longer naps through out the day, they might need a spot to rest or snooze if you stay for the nighttime fireworks. Plus, it’s a place to store any bags and coolers you might bring.
Baby Care Center
Each park has a Baby Care Center for when you need to get away with the little ones to recharge. You’ll find changing tables, a private nursing area, high chairs and even a full kitchen. There are also numerous kinds of baby items for sale like jars of food, extra formula, diapers, wipes, and sunscreen.
Mommy and Daddy’s Night Out!
Disney World has awesome children’s programs for potty-trained kids ages 4 and up. Lilo’s Playhouse at the Polynesian Village Resort is definitely our favorite!
3. Be Realistic
Prepare the Kids
Keep in mind that a child’s patience is limited at this age, so plan your schedule accordingly. Talk about the day in advance so they know what to expect, even if they’ve been before. There are days when we only stay for the three booked Fast Passes. We always let them know ahead of time if that is the plan so they know not to freak out when we leave after three rides. Let them know that after x amount of rides that you will all be heading back to the Resort to rest up, and then return later that night. Talk to them about waiting in lines and the walking around. You will be surprised at how helpful this actually is!
The Right Spot
Does the most magical place to watch the fireworks happen to be right in front of the castle on Main Street USA? Yes. However, I promise you this, being stuck in that crowd with a stroller is beyond stressful. With so many people around, your child can barely see that magical view anyway. We have found that giving up that “perfect” viewing spot has made our lives so much easier. For example, watching the parades down Main Street USA is the perfect setting. However, there is hardly anyone around Frontierland as the parade goes by. You have to show up an hour early to secure viewing for a Main Street USA view, but only 20 minutes or so for a Frontierland viewing. Same goes for the fireworks. We watch them behind the Castle in Fantasyland. We can arrive minutes before the fireworks start and our kids can roam around under explosions of light instead of being confined to their strollers.
Don’t try to do it all in one day. Even more importantly, don’t plan for the perfect day. Just because you are in the most magical place on earth doesn’t mean that your child is going to behave like a perfect little prince or princess. Don’t be too hard on them or put expectations on the day. Take it hour by hour and take plenty of breaks. Sure, this may mean you don’t get to experience everything Walt Disney World has to offer, but it will ensure a (mostly) happy child and a happy and magical day.
Walt Disney World can be all that you want it to be! Will you get to “do it all” with a little one? Like I said before, probably not. Will you create memories that you’ll always treasure? Most definitely. Take in every moment and watch as your little ones experience those Magical Moments that will last a life time!
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Alexia Gilman grew up in Orlando, FL, and like any good Orlando local, spent her childhood believing in the magic of the Mouse. Now a wife and a mother of two, she is watching her own children make the memories she made as a child. They adventure in Walt Disney World together and explore all that it has to offer. Follow Alexia on Instagram for Walt Disney World tips, tricks and Disney Style.