Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World with Toddlers [Survival Guide for Moms]

Are you considering a Walt Disney World vacation with your toddler?

Many families hesitate to plan a trip to WDW when their kids are super young since an 18 month old (or even a 3 year old) isn’t going to remember the vacation.

As a mom who loves Disney vacations, I made sure to take my girls to Disney World even when they were only a few months old.

I was sure that my baby and toddler weren’t going to recall the trip; however, I knew that my husband and I would.

The memories you form at Disney World with a toddler are totally different than the ones you make with big kids.

Yes, taking a toddler adds a whole other element of stress onto the trip. But, you really get a glimpse of the Disney magic when you see it through your two year old’s eyes.

In this post, I will provide a tips for visiting Disney World with toddlers, including a guide on where to stay, eat, and play!

(Some of the links in my posts are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Walt Disney World Tickets for Toddlers

As mentioned above, taking a two year old on a Disney vacation can be a bit stress inducing. However, when that toddler is FREE to get into the park, it suddenly lifts a bit of weight off of your shoulders.

One of the biggest perks to traveling to Walt Disney World with babies or toddlers is that you don’t have to pay for their park tickets as long as they are under 3 years old.

Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom

This is a HUGE way to save money on your trip! In addition, you do not have to pay for those children who are 2 years old or younger at dining venues and character meals.

Instead, your toddler can eat and enjoy character interactions at no additional cost to you.

*Note that if you want to order a separate meal for your toddler, you will be charged.

However, if you are dining at a location that charges per person, you do not have to purchase a meal for your toddler if he/she is eating from your plate.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom with a Toddler

If you are planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, you may be wondering which rides your toddler can go on.

Each of the parks at WDW offers lots of rides and attractions for even the smallest kids. But one of the best parks at Disney for toddlers is Animal Kingdom.

Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom Disney World

Animal Kingdom truly makes you feel like you have entered the jungle with its lush landscape and exotic atomosphere. If your toddler is an animal lover, she will adore this well themed park at Disney World.

My husband and I love Animal Kingdom because it seems so much more relaxed and more spacious than the other parks. You don’t notice the crowds as much, and you almost forget that you are in a theme park.

If you are looking for tips on choosing the right Disney World hotel, join our Facebook group for personalized help on finding the best resort for your family!

Rides and Entertainment

If you are visiting Animal Kingdom with a toddler, the rides and attractions below are perfect for little ones. (Note that these activities all have a height requirement of 36 inches or less.)

  • Affection Section
  • The Boneyard
  • Fossil Fun Games
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug (may scare some toddlers)
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Mahajarah Jungle Trek
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Triceratop Spin
  • Wildlife Express Train
  • Donald’s Dino-Bash
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Finding Nemo The Musical
  • Meet Mickey and Minnie
  • Meet Pocahontas
  • Meet Russell and Dug
  • Meet Timon and Rafiki
  • Up! A Great Bird Adventure

In addition to the list above, you will find animal viewing areas throughout the park. Animal Kingdom is a great place to stroll because it’s well-shaded and you see so many different types of animals.

6 Best Animal Kingdom Rides for Toddlers

If you are looking for the BEST toddler attractions at Animal Kingdom, these are our top picks:

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Triceratop Spin
  • Meet Mickey and Minnie
  • Donald’s Dino-Bash
  • Finding Nemo- The Musical

If you are unsure whether or not your two year old will sit through two shows (Lion King and Nemo), I recommend choosing Festival of the Lion King. This show has a shorter running time, so it will not require your toddler to sit as long.

Also, it’s AMAZING!

Toddler Itinerary

We like to start with Kilimanjaro Safaris when we visit Animal Kingdom. If you are visiting during hot summer months, the animals tend to be out and about more in the morning.

This is the itinerary we typically follow if we are going on a toddler centered Disney vacation:

  • 9:00 Arrive at Park/ Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • 10:00 Festival of the Lion King/ Meet Mickey and Minnie
  • 11:00 Triceratop Spin/ Donald’s Dino-Bash
  • 12:00 Lunch/ The Boneyard
  • 1:00 Nap (Use Rider Switch to ride big rides while your toddler naps.)
  • 3:00 Snack/ Finding Nemo
  • 4:00 Na’vi River Journey/ Mahajarah Jungle Trek
  • 5:00 Dinner/ Wildlife Express Train
  • 6:00 Affection Section/ Back to Resort

Best Fastpasses for Toddlers at Animal Kingdom

When visiting Animal Kingdom with toddlers, these are the FastPass options that are most useful. (You can choose up to 3 attractions.)

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Navi River Journey
  • Meet Mickey and Minnie
  • Finding Nemo

If you are planning to utilize the Rider Switch option mentioned above, you may want to save some of your FastPass+ opportunities for these bigger rides.

Epcot with Toddlers

You may have heard that Epcot is the least toddler friendly park at Disney World, but it happens to be one of our favorites.

The Future World section of the park offers toddler friendly rides and attractions, and the World Showcase is a great area to stroll around with a toddler.

Rides and Entertainment

These are the most toddler friendly rides you can find at Epcot:

  • Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Gran Fiesta Tour
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Coral Reefs, Sea Turtles, Fish, Sharks, Rays, and Manatees
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Meet Mickey Mouse
  • Meet Anna and Elsa
  • Meet Alice in Wonderland
  • Meet Belle
  • Meet Donald Duck
  • Meet Minnie Mouse
  • Meet Joy
  • Meet Mulan
  • Meet Pluto
  • Meet Jasmine
  • Meet Ralph and Vanellope
  • Meet Snow White

6 Best Toddler Rides at Epcot

If you are looking for the BEST rides and activities for toddlers at Epcot, these are the ones you don’t want to miss:

  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Coral Reefs and Animals
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Meet Anna and Elsa
  • World Showcase

I included the World Showcase on this list because my two year old loves the simple experience of grabbing dessert at one of the countries and exploring the area.

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The different countries offer outdoor entertainment that is fun to watch with your toddler. Just check the daily schedule so you don’t miss the performances your toddler will like best!

Epcot Toddler Itinerary

If you are spending the day at EPCOT with your toddler, this is a sample itinerary you could follow.

(Note that the World Showcase typically does not open until around 11:00 AM even if the gates to EPCOT open earlier.)

  • 9:00 Arrive at Park/ The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • 10:00 Coral Reefs and Animals/ Turtle Talk with Crush
  • 11:00 Journey into Imagination/ Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • 12:00 Lunch/ Nap
  • 1:00 Use Rider Switch to ride big rides.
  • 3:00 Snack/ World Showcase
  • 4:00 Frozen Ever After/ Meet Anna and Elsa
  • 5:00 Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along/ Gran Fiesta Tour
  • 6:00 Dinner/Back to Resort

My family and I usually skip the nightly entertainment and fireworks when visiting Disney World with our toddler.

If your little one can handle staying up for these shows, you can add them to the itineraries provided.

Epcot Park Hopping Itinerary

We tend to use park hopper tickets for Epcot, mostly because it’s the only way I can talk my husband into going to Magic Kingdom!

When we are park hopping between Magic Kingdom and Epcot, we utilize the itinerary listed below.

In the morning, we head to Magic Kingdom to experience toddler attractions there. After our toddler falls asleep in her stroller, we leave Magic Kingdom and take the monorail to Epcot.

Monorail at Epcot

You can push your stroller straight onto the Monorail without having to fiddle with folding it up. This is nice because it allows your toddler to remain napping while you switch parks.

If you are planning to park hop between Magic Kingdom and EPCOT with your toddler, this is the itinerary we like:

  • 9:00 Arrive at Magic Kingdom/ Peter Pan’s Flight/ The Barnstormer
  • 10:00 Dumbo the Flying Elephant/ Pete’s Silly Side Show-Daisy and Minnie
  • 11:00 Pete’s Silly Side Show- Donald and Goofy/ Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • 12:00 Lunch/ Move It! Shake It! Street Party (check times)
  • 1:00 Nap in Stroller/ Head to EPCOT
  • 2:00 Use Rider Switch to ride big rides at EPCOT
  • 3:00 Snack/ World Showcase
  • 4:00 Frozen Ever After/ Meet Anna and Elsa
  • 5:00 Dinner/ Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
  • 6:00 The Seas with Nemo/ Turtle Talk with Crush/ Coral Reefs and Animals
  • 7:00 Back to Resort

Best FastPasses for Epcot

Epcot uses a tiered system for Fastpasses. With a toddler, your top priority for a FastPass here would be Frozen Ever After.

You can then choose two options from the second tier of FastPass options. I suggest Turtle Talk with Crush and Seas with Nemo and Friends.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios with a Toddler

I find Disney’s Hollywood Studios to be the most difficult park to plan for a toddler. You will find that Hollywood Studios offers lots of great live entertainment and shows; however, my toddlers struggle to watch show after show after show.

The addition of Toy Story Land provides a lot more attractions for little ones at Hollywood Studios. You will also find many characters here that are popular with 2 or 3 year olds.

Rides and Entertainment

These are the attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that are most appropriate for toddlers:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers (32 inches and above height requirement)
  • Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Vacation Fun
  • Beauty and the Beast- Live on Stage
  • Meet Olaf
  • Disney Junior Dance Party
  • Frozen Sing Along
  • Indiana Jones
  • Meet Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy
  • Meet Sulley
  • Meet The Incredibles
  • Meet Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear
  • Meet Mickey and Minnie
  • Voyage of The Little Mermaid Show

7 Best Toddler Attractions

These are the BEST toddler rides and activities at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Meet Olaf
  • Disney Junior Dance Party
  • Frozen Sing Along
  • Meet Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy

Toddler Itinerary

If you are planning to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios with your toddler, this is a sample itinerary you could use:

  • 9:00 Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway/ Alien Swirling Saucers
  • 10:00 Toy Story Mania/ Meet Toy Story Characters
  • 11:00 Disney Junior Dance Party/ Meet Disney Jr. Characters
  • 12:00 Lunch/ Nap
  • 1:00 Use Rider Switch to ride big rides while your toddler naps.
  • 3:00 Snack/ Frozen Sing Along
  • 4:00 Meet Olaf/ Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • 5:00 Muppet 3D/ Lightning McQueen
  • 6:00 Dinner/ Back to Resort

Toddler FastPass Options

Like Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers a tiered FastPass plan.

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You can choose one attraction from Tier 1 and two attractions from Tier 2. For Tier 1, I recommend Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. From Tier 2, I recommend Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers.

Magic Kingdom with Toddlers

I have so many thoughts on Magic Kingdom that I’m not even sure where to begin. This park is the main one most people think of when imagining Disney World.

Magic Kingdom is home to Cinderella’s Castle, Main Street USA, and many of the super famous attractions you think of when you plan a WDW vacation.

Magic Kingdom with a toddler

That being said, Magic Kingdom is a crazy place to visit! It is almost always packed with people, so a good touring plan is a MUST here.

Despite the fact that Magic Kingdom is quite crowded, I personally feel like it’s a park you HAVE to visit on a Disney World vacation.

Don’t forget to join our Facebook group for personalized help on finding the best resort for your family!

Rides and Entertainment

If you are traveling with a toddler, this park is full of rides and attractions perfect for little ones! My biggest piece of advice when visiting Magic Kingdom with todders is to TRY to relax.

You will notice that there are so many options of things to do at Magic Kingdom that it can easily feel overwhelming. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to visit this park twice during one vacation.

Dumbo ride at magic Kingdom

If you are planning to visit Magic Kingdom, these are the rides and attractions that are suitable for toddlers. I have categorized them based on their location inside the park.

Also, note that I am only including rides with a height requirement of 36 inches or less; although, most of these have no height requirement.

Tomorrowland

  • Astro Orbiter
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Monster’s Inc, Laugh Floor
  • Tomorrowland Speedway (32 inches or taller)
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover
  • Meet Buzz Lightyear

Fantasyland

  • The Barnstormer (35 inches or taller)
  • Casey Jr. Splash Pad
  • Cinderella Castle
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • It’s a Small World
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Carousel
  • Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney World Railroad
  • Meet Alice in Wonderland
  • Meet Ariel
  • Meet Cinderella and Elena
  • Meet Donald and Goofy at Pete’s Silly Side Show
  • Meet Daisy and Minnie at Pete’s Silly Side Show
  • Meet Gaston
  • Meet Merida
  • Meet Peter Pan
  • Meet Rapunzel and Tiana
  • Meet Winnie the Pooh and Tigger

Frontierland

  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Tom Sawyer Island
  • Walt Disney World Railroad

Adventureland

  • Jungle Cruise
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Meet Characters from Aladdin

Liberty Square & Main Street Area

  • Haunted Mansion
  • Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Let the Magic Begin
  • Meet Mickey Mouse
  • Meet Tinker Bell
  • Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire
  • Move It! Shake It! Street Party

As you read through the lists above, you can probably immediately mark off certain attractions based on your toddler’s preferences.

My two year old does not know who half of the characters are, so we would not stand in line to meet someone she doesn’t know.

If your toddler does not like to sit through shows, you may want to mark those off the list. Likewise, if your little one is leary of rides, you can remove the attractions like The Barnstormer from your itinerary.

8 Best Toddler Attractions

If you are wondering what are the BEST toddler rides and attractions at Magic Kingdom, these are our top picks:

  • The Barnstormer
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Meet Characters at Pete’s Silly Side Show
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • Meet Mickey Mouse
  • Move It! Shake It! Street Party

Scary Rides

These are the rides and attractions that toddlers could potentially find scary:

  • Astro Orbiter (like Dumbo the Flying Elephant only higher and faster)
  • Under the Sea (the eels can scare little ones)
  • Jungle Cruise (I LOVE this one, but my toddler is terrified of the fake animals rising out of the water.)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Haunted Mansion (The line you move through before boarding the ride can be a bit spooky.)

Magic Kingdom Itinerary for Toddlers

I suggest creating a touring plan and attempting to stick to it. But, tell yourself that it is OKAY if your plan doesn’t work out.

My toddler gets distracted so easily at Magic Kingdom that we often don’t get to fit in all the attractions we want. And that’s fine.

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If your toddler notices ducks walking down the street and wants to follow them, embrace the moment without trying to rush to the It’s a Small World attraction. (I’m including that from personal experience!)

Below is a sample of an itinerary I would use at Magic Kingdom for my toddler. Note that I typically plan for two attractions per hour.

No matter how hard we try to move quickly, two activities per hour seem to be the max for us.

  • 9:00 Arrive at Park/ Peter Pan’s Flight/ The Barnstormer
  • 10:00 Dumbo the Flying Elephant/ Pete’s Silly Side Show-Daisy and Minnie
  • 11:00 Pete’s Silly Side Show- Donald and Goofy/ Lunch
  • 12:00 Move It! Shake It! Street Party (check times)
  • 1:00 Nap in Stroller (Use rider switch to ride big rides while your toddler naps.)
  • 3:00 Snack/ Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • 4:00 Under the Sea/ It’s a Small World
  • 5:00 Jungle Cruise/ Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • 6:00 Dinner/ Back to Resort

I started the day at 9:00 even though Magic Kingdom often opens at 8:00 AM. We are never able to arrive at the gates for opening when I have a toddler in tow.

Getting dressed, eating breakfast, and traveling to the park always take longer than I anticipate.

If you are staying at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, the Grand Floridian, The Contemporary, or Wilderness Lodge, you may have an easier time arriving early at rope drop since you will have multiple options for transportation.

Best FastPass Options at Magic Kingdom

You can choose FastPasses for three attractions at Magic Kingdom. These are the most popular rides and activities that are toddler friendly:

  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Meet Mickey Mouse
  • Meet Cinderella and Elena
  • Meet Rapunzel and Tiana
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Adventures of Winnie that Pooh
  • Under the Sea
  • Barnstormer
  • It’s A Small World
  • Meet Ariel
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Tomorrowland Speedway

If you can arrive at Magic Kingdom early, try to fit in some of these popular rides first. Then you won’t need a FastPass for them.

Best Park Touring Plans

You may have noticed from my sample itineraries that we really strive to stick to our toddler’s regular schedule even while visiting Disney World.

You may not mind changing up your child’s regular schedule or you may be traveling from a completely different time zone, which could affect your itinerary.

In any case, it’s difficult to create a park itinerary for toddlers that is one size fits all. Because of this, I recommend finding touring plans that meet the EXACT needs of your family.

Tower of Terror

The Touring Plans website is an awesome resource for families visiting Disney World. It really helps to take out all of the stress from planning your daily itineraries.

For example, you can specify the park that you plan to visit on a particular day of your trip. Touring Plans will automatically upload the park hours and show times for that date.

Then, you can go through and choose each of the activities you would like to experience with your family. After you add all of the rides, attractions, and entertainment options that you want, Touring Plans will generate a personalized itinerary for your day.

The itinerary will include typical ride wait times and walking times from one ride to another. I find Touring Plans to be super accurate, and I never go to Disney World without using this amazing resource.

You can visit the Touring Plans website to sign up. It costs less than twenty dollars, and your subscription is good for an entire year.

Note that I am in no way affiliated with the Touring Plans website, nor do I get compensated for you purchasing a subscription.

I just highly recommend this resource to anyone I know visiting Disney World, and I personally couldn’t vacation without it!

9 Tips for a Toddler Vacation at Disney World

These are my top tips for taking a toddler to Walt Disney World:

Use the Disney World App

The My Disney Experience App comes in really handy at Disney World with toddlers. You can use the map to easily locate dining options, rides, restrooms, and baby care centers. You can also see show schedules and ride wait times.

Stay at a Disney Resort Hotel

You can easily find a Disney resort hotel that is in your price range. If you choose to stay off site, you will more than likely be charged a resort fee AND a parking fee at your off site hotel.

The Disney resorts are much more magical and much more convenient for your visit.

Use the Shuttle Service

I recommend using the resort shuttles if you stay at an on-site hotel. This way, you don’t have to fiddle with car seats, driving directions, parking fees, parking spots, etc.

Don’t Go without a Plan

Make sure you have a rough itinerary to follow at each park. This way you don’t waste time trying to decide which attraction to experience next.

Schedule FastPass+ at Each Park

Make sure you schedule your FastPasses before your trip. During your trip, don’t forget to show up at the attraction during your FastPass time slot!

Maintain Your Toddler’s Schedule (within reason)

Sleep and nutrition are tied to behavior, so make sure your toddler gets enough rest and good food during your trip to help manage melt downs.

Use a Stroller

Even if your toddler does not use a stroller at home, she will want one at Disney World. My five year old still rides in a stroller at Disney!

You can check out our top picks for Best Stroller for Disney World in this post – where the City Mini Baby Jogger wins the top spot on our list. (Amazon Affiliate Link)

I recommend using a stroller that is comfortable for your toddler’s naps. You also will want one that folds up and unfolds super easily for the shuttles.

Be Flexible

It’s so easy to get frustrated when plans don’t work out. Visit each park assuming that something is going to need to be tweaked on your itinerary. Don’t let a temper tantrum or a ride shut down ruin your whole day at the park!

Packing List and Hacks

If you are wondering what to pack for your toddler at Disney World, this packing list with hacks is a great place to start!

Toddler Outfits

You will want to make sure your toddler is dressed comfortably for a day at Disney World. I also put a change of clothes in my diaper bag in case my little one soils her shirt or outfit.

If you are planning to allow your toddler to play in the water play areas in some of the parks, you may want to include an extra set of water shoes as well.

Diaper Bag Checklist

These are the items you would find in my toddler bag for Disney World:

If you are planning a Disney vacation with your toddler, these are some additional posts you may like!

What do YOU think….which Disney World park is best for toddlers?

Comment below and let me know!

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