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.