People say that vacationing with kids isn’t a vacation. I’m here to tell you that if that’s what they’re saying, they’re doing it wrong. How do I know? I just survived Disney - in all of it’s magical, over-stimulating glory.
I’m a mom to a three-year-old spitfire daughter; Who gives me more than a run for my money. She still naps once-a-day, otherwise its meltdown city. She’s been out of a stroller for a while now. Miss Independent loves being in control, and that means walking on her own with freedom to flit about as she pleases. While I can appreciate that need for freedom; I can also appreciate the peace of mind of being able to strap her in and navigate the crowds and stress of the airport and parks without fear of her running off at the next thing she sees. Aside from the obvious Stroller, I’ve outlined below my TOP FIVE TIPS for surviving Disney with a toddler; including lines, snacks, and more.
#1: B.Y.O.C. - Bring Your Own Costume
We’re on a Disney princess kick in our house. I took Abigail to see Disney on Ice when it came to town a few months ago, and it opened up her world to a whole new obsession. I knew she’d get a kick out of seeing the Princesses while at the park, but I also knew that we’d be forced to navigate our way through Gift-Shops and Boutiques showcasing every piece of princess paraphernalia under the sun. That is why, two weeks before our trip I hit my local Target (< Click to shop all dresses). I was able to pick up three different princess costumes from their Disney Princesses Aisle for under $60. (One princess dress at Magic Kingdom costs upwards of $75). I brought them in our day trip bag when we went to the park, and she was able to change in the bathroom before seeing the Princesses. The photographers and Cast Members just ate her right up. (Speaking of photographers, I HIGHLY suggest springing for the MemoryMaker package (More on that here). I have 100s of keepsake photos from our visit, and didn’t have to pull out my phone once).
#2 - PACK ALL THE SNACKS
There are two instances in which my child can go from Sweet little angel to “gremlin after midnight”, and that is if she’s hungry or if she’s tired. While there are a ton of food options in the parks themselves, the lines are outrageous. We save so much time ( and money) by packing enough snacks and juice boxes to get us through. And since I had the stroller, I was able to tuck my day bag right underneath the stroller seat and pull from it as the day went on.
#3 - All about the timing.
We are moms… We get up early. My best suggestion? Get to the park when it opens. You’re all up anyway; and beating the crowds is key. Plus; you’re in before the day gets unbearably hot. This means, that if you’re staying nearby, you have the freedom to get out of the park around 1 or 2 PM – go back to the hotel, take a dip in the pool… A nap if necessary… Dinner, and head back for the fireworks. Don’t think you’re a little one would enjoy the fireworks spectacular? Ours didn’t… But, this was the perfect time to hop on all the rides that we didn’t get a chance to do earlier in the day. Hopped on splash Mountain, yes she was tall enough, and only had about a four minute wait. That’s unheard of during the day.
#4 - B.Y.O.T - Bring Your Own Toys
I know it may seem like I brought a suitcase with me into the park… But I swear I didn’t. (That stroller is key for packing extra goodies.). For the same reason we bring our own costumes; we brought our own toys (Minnie Mouse Plushie, Light up wands, you name it) BONUS POINTS FOR LIGHT-UP TOYS. You will be BOMBARDED by light up, bubble blowing Mickey wands. Save yourself the meltdown (and $$) and bring your own. They’ll be distracted by their own toys and easily diverted.
#5 - SPRING FOR THE MAGICBANDS
Basic magicbands are around $15. (You can shop them here.) But that handy little band can save you hours of waiting in line. With FastPass, We were able to plan in advance three activities to participate in with no wait time. (For us we fast-passed a lot of character experiences… Because those are the things she loves the most and often have high wait times). That’s it! (And of course, the stroller. Do it. You’ll thank me later.)
She fell asleep in her stroller and slept for AN HOUR in each park. We spent very little money once we were in the park; and she had the most memorable experience. (To be honest, I actually cannot wait to go back)
Do you have your own Disney tips? Anything I missed? Share in the comments below!
xo Mediocre Mom