Insider's Guide to Walt Disney World
Toddlers & Preschoolers
By Dottie Enrico
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Nothing can be more fun – or challenging – than visiting a Disney theme park with a child between 18 months and four years of age. Sticking to normal nap and eating routines is essential. But even if you and your older kids are tempted to stay out from early morning until midnight, younger children will pay the price.
- Leave Your Own Stroller In the Hotel and Use a Disney Issued One. You should definitely spend the extra money and rent a Disney-owned stroller once your child is no longer an infant. You’ll want to bring wet wipes to clean the stroller off and a colorful bandana, ribbon, or scarf that can be tied on the stroller handle. This will help you easily identify your stroller in the sea of look-alikes that will be parked outside the most popular attractions.
- Keep ‘Em Hydrated For Less. Bring a water bottle filled with ice and water in a smaller cooler or thermal bag from your home (or hotel) for your younger kids. Bottled water costs more than $3 in the parks and many smaller children prefer their own sippy and drink cups.
- Pack Towels. Pack a beach towel for each child. These come in handy if you and your kids play in one of the water attractions. They also can double as pillows or blankets in the Disney-issued plastic strollers.
- Visual Reminder. As a safety precaution, take a photo of your child/children with a cell phone or digital camera each day as you enter the park. This way you’ll have a picture of her wearing identifiable clothing if you get separated during your stay. You could also pin or adhere a nametag containing an “If lost, please contact (your name) at (your cell phone number)” onto your child’s clothing. Warning: Not all cell phone services work inside the Disney theme parks.
- Potty Break. My daughter and son both hate auto flush toilets. When Eleanor was younger, she would often refuse to go to the bathroom in them. In a moment of desperation at Hollywood Studios, I approached one of the guest services cast members about Eleanor’s dilemma and she directed me to the restroom adjoining the Brown Derby Restaurant. Sure enough: toilets without the automatic flush feature! The guest services guy told me many youngsters are afraid of the auto-flush toilets so he and other staffers make it a point to remember such details.