the Magic Kingdom
With Small Children
The joke goes, if you hear a kid crying, you know that you're in Disney World. While some meltdowns are inevitable, there are ways to avoid these scenarios.
Either bring or rent a stroller. This is a huge, sprawling theme park and it's unreasonable to expect the little ones to keep pace with the adults. (Please don't leave valuables in the stroller when you're on the attractions.)
Think about what your little guy is seeing. While you're oohing and ahhing over all of the sights, they're probably looking at the posterior of the person in front of them. Make sure their line of vision is clear.
WOW!!! There he is, Mickey Mouse in the plush!!! What you see as the icon of icons may appear as a gigantic, scary rat to your child. If they're afraid, don't force the issue. Hopefully they'll warm up to the characters during your stay. If not, the "face" characters such as the Princesses and Aladdin may be less threatening.
Make yourself aware of height restrictions. No sense having junior get psyched about going on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and finding out he's not tall enough. Have kids of varying heights? Check out the information on Rider Switch.
Tots + Long Lines = Tantrums. It's so easy for youngsters to get overwhelmed. Most have had their sleep routines interrupted, they're tired, hot and just plain cranky. To get the most mileage out of your day, the following tips should be helpful:
- Fastpass - Don't assume that just the roller coasters offer this option. Popular rides for the little ones, such as Peter Pan's Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Jungle Cruise have Fastpass offered. Take advantage of bypassing the lines of these attractions.
- Extra Magic Hour is a perfect opportunity to get a jump on the crowds, particularly the morning openings. Plan your schedule to take advantage of this program at the Magic Kingdom.
- "Dark Rides" - If your child is sensitive think twice about attractions like Stitch's Great Escape, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion.
- Dumbo is probably the one attraction that the little ones gravitate to the most. This is a perfect time to use tip #2. If there are no "extra hours" offered, get to the park early and make Dumbo your first stop. The lines will only get longer as the day progresses. If you have a bit of a wait, get it out of the way early when your little guy isn't tired out.
- "Filler Rides" - There are some attractions where the wait is often minimal. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, The Enchanted Tiki Room, It's a Small World , Tomorrowland Transit Authority and the Magic Carpets of Aladdin are among them.While you're waiting for your Fastpass time, it's the perfect chance to keep things moving. (If you're visiting during a peak season, even these lines can be a challenge.)
- "Show" attractions - These can be a great time to sit, get cooled off and relax. It can also be the time when the little ones are bored out of their minds and "whine" is in full swing. Either they can't see or the show is not going to interest them. Of the "too boring for toddlers" is the Hall of Presidents and Carousel of Progress. (Heck, they can put an adult to sleep.) Of the "too boring for grownups but suited for toddlers" is The Enchanted Tiki Room and the Country Bear Jamboree. While Mickey's PhilharMagic is adorable, it requires wearing 3-D glasses. Depending on how little your child is, they may not want to keep them on.
- Parades - Kids love everything about them, except the wait to see them. It's not easy staking out a prime spot, but well worth it. Try not to pick the side that has the sun in your eyes and be armed with treats/little toys to keep the kids amused while you wait.
- Play Areas - You'll find several of these around the park. The little ones love these sections, but be forewarned, in some instances they might get wet. Be ready with a change of clothes.
- Baby Care Centers - There is a Baby Care Center located in each park, often near the entrance. You will find baby changing stations in every restroom around the park, but these baby care centers can be a nice quiet place to nurse and feed a young child, or just to get out of the heat for a little while.
- Let the kids set the pace - You've spent a fortune on plane tickets, rental cars, resorts, meals, park tickets and what's your little one fascinated with? A duck. I'm not talking Donald, I'm talking Mallard. These are the moments that you'll think back to with a smile. If your little guy spots a duck waddling by, or sees a butterfly, let them enjoy it. To them this is just as magical as Mickey.
The Magic Kingdom can be everything that you want it to be. Will you get to "do it all" with a toddler in tow? Probably not. Will you create memories that you'll always treasure? Most definitely. Watch as your little one experiences those wonderful Mickey Moments and you'll soon be planning the next trip.
- VIDEO - Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade - Festival of Fantasy is the brand new daily parade at the Magic Kingdom bringing the characters and stories of New Fantasyland to life! Brand new floats and costumes were produced for the parade featuring characters from Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Princess and the Frog, Brave, Dumbo, Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Tangled, Fantasia, Snow White and more!
- Photo Gallery of the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade - The "Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade" celebrates New Fantasyland with new innovative floats, costumes and an all-new soundtrack that features songs from popular Disney films.
- VIDEO - Topiaries at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival - The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is better than before in 2014 and features some of the most beautiful and elaborate topiaries seen anywhere. New this year includes 'Spring is in the Air!' featuring Goofy, Donald and Daisy as you enter the park; Soccer Goofy and Donald; and Kermit the Frog & Miss Piggy inspired by "Muppets Most Wanted". Returning favorites include Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Buzz Lightyear, Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, Phineas and Ferb, Tinker Bell, Bambi and Friends, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Classic Disney Couples, Woody, Lady and the Tramp, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Lion King, Pandas, Troll and Fantasia!
- VIDEO - Outdoor Kitchens at Epcot Flower & Garden Festival - After the popular introduction in 2013, the outdoor kitchens are back at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival serving up some of the finest and freshest food at Epcot in a similar fashion to the Food & Wine Festival. Outdoor kitchens include Pineapple Promenade, The Buttercup Cottage, Fleur de Lys, Taste of Marrakesh, Hanami, The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews, Primavera Kitchen, Florida Fresh, Lotus House, Jardin de Fiestas, and the new Urban Farm EATS!
- VIDEO - Festival Center at the Flower & Garden Festival - Video of the Festival Center at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2014. The festival center is where you can find many of the seminars and presentations featured during the Festival.
- 2014 Flower & Garden Festival Photos - 2014 photo gallery of Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival
- Inaugural Disney Fit Challenge to be held in September - Competitions will include tests of power, speed, balance, strength and endurance.
- Blog - A Shopping Oasis: Merchandise at Disney's Flower & Garden Festival
- Pollo Campero at Downtown Disney will be closing 3/19/14 - Pollo Campero, Bodie's All-American Grill and Babycakes NYC will be closing 3/19/14. Babycakes NYC will still be providing gluten-free items to select Walt Disney World food courts and restaurants.
- Blog - 2014 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival opens in Epcot
- Registration for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon opens today - This race is held in conjunction with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
- Blog - Haunted Mansion Merchandise Materializes in Disney Parks
- New dates for D23's Destination D - The event will be held November 22-23, 2014.
- 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon dates - Registration for the 2015 marathon begins 4/22/14.
- Blog - A Brit's Perspective - Changing of the Seasons at the Orlando theme parks
- Rebel Rendezvous merchandise event planned for Star Wars Weekends - Attendees will receive exclusive access to Darth's Mall a day before it opens to the public.
- Blog - A February Stroll through the Magic Kingdom
- Walt Disney World restaurants add Braille menus - Beginning March 1, select restaurants will be adding Braille menus, though a list of participating restaurants is not yet available. The Braille menus will have examples of the menu items but may not list all the short term or temporary items.
- Family Ticket offer - get one free day! - Get one FREE additional day on each ticket when you buy 6 or more 4-day or longer Magic Your Way tickets!
- Blog - Disney's Polynesian Resort is Changing in a Big Way
- Just announced! Festival of Fantasy parade will debut March 9! - This parade will run daily in the afternoons at the Magic Kingdom.
- Celebrate Earth Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom - The park is also celebrating the release of Disneynature's newest film Bears, which hits theaters April 18.
- Car Masters Weekend to be held at Downtown Disney - This event takes place June 14-15.
- Walt Disney World ticket prices increase - Ticket prices have gone up effective today, Sunday, February 23.
- Mighty St. Patrick's Day Festival planned for Downtown Disney - Downtown Disney celebrates St. Patrick's Day with live music, a step-by-step Irish jig workshop, classic Irish food and drink, Irish storytellers, Irish history and merchandise at Raglan Road's Shop.
- Star Wars Weekends - extra weekend added, plus Hyperspace Hoopla cancelled - A nightly fireworks show has been added instead of the Hyperspace Hoopla party.
- Major staff cuts at Disney Interactive
- Blackfish director denies receiving confidential information
- Hank Wiliams Jr. and Alabama to perform at SeaWorld
- Universal Orlando parking garage closed for suspicious vehicle
- SeaWorld calls for investigation of OSHA inspector
- Preview of food items for Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion
- Disney announces theme parks will stay open for 24-hour party
- Magic Kingdom Hub Expansion Announced
- Disney Cruise Line takes top honors from Cruise Critic members
- Scotty McCreery and Steve Miller Band to perform at SeaWorld Orlando