Traveling to Walt Disney World with Young Children

Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, Mickey Mouse will join Minnie Mouse as hosts of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” honoring Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. They will dress in sparkling new looks custom made for the 18-month event, highlighted by embroidered impressions of Cinderella Castle on multi-toned, EARidescent fabric punctuated with pops of gold. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Going to Walt Disney World with young kids can be rewarding and exhausting at the same time. Seeing the smile and look of pure happiness when your child sees Mickey Mouse or another beloved character washes away all the strife that may have happened during the day. Here’s some tips from seasoned visitors to Walt Disney World with young kids that may be of assistance for your next trip

Stay on property

If you are going to Disney World with small children, it may be beneficial to stay on Walt Disney property for a multitude of reasons. One reason is nap time. Some children require a midday nap and sleeping in a stroller just won’t cut it. Staying on property allows you the luxury of going back to your hotel easily using Disney transportation be it a bus, monorail, boat, or the Skyliner. Rest up and be ready for some night time hours at the parks.

Also, the hotels at Walt Disney World are immersive experiences in and of themselves. Each hotel offers an array of fun activities during the day including an outdoor movie. When we stayed at the Polynesian Resort, our kids took part in a Just Dance party near the pool. At Fort Wilderness, there is a nightly Sing-a-Long with the roasting of s’mores. Chip and Dale also normally mingle with guests during this event. If you are staying at another hotel and not at the Fort, you can also partake in this Sing-A-Long. Check with the hotel for times and activities that are available.

Most of the hotels have more than one pool and some of them have water slides. Going back in the middle of the day can allow families some down time between park going for some pool time.

Prices for Disney hotels can be high, however, there are three levels of hotels: Value, Moderate, and Deluxe. You can occasionally find deals on Disney hotels for Florida Residents or Annual Passholders. You can also look into renting DVC points to stay at the moderate or deluxe hotels.

Bring snacks

Going to Disney World is not cheap. I don’t know about you, but my kids always want snacks. I do my best to always have a few in my back pack when I go like popcorn, veggie straws, fruit snacks, or cookies. Disney allows you bring in food to the park, so you can also bring a small soft sided cooler with snacks. Bags larger than 24” long x 15” wide x 18” high are not allowed in the theme parks or water parks. Loose or dry ice is not permitted according to the Disney website.

Instacart, Shipt, Amazon, and several other grocery companies will deliver to the Walt Disney World Resort hotels for varying prices. 

I’d recommend buying sunscreen before you get to the parks. Sunscreen can be expensive within the parks.

I’d also highly recommend reusable water bottles that can be refilled. All Walt Disney World quick service restaurants will give you cups of ice water to refill your bottles or you can use the many water fountains around the park.

Necessary Equipment

If you can, bring your own stroller. Disney does rent single strollers daily for $15 and a double stroller for $31 daily. There is a discount for multi day rentals. Bringing your own stroller affords you more familiarity with your own equipment. Disney strollers don’t have much in the way of storage. I know my own personal stroller has more storage than the Disney strollers offer. There are also companies near Disney that offer stroller rentals for multiple days that will deliver to your hotel.

(Photo: Undercover Tourist)

Bring a backpack. Kids have a lot of necessary items that come along with them: diapers, wipes, pull-ups, extra clothes, sunscreen, etc. Take the bag with you when you visit the attractions because leaving it on the stroller is not advisable.

If you have a baby or young toddler, bring a baby carrier like an ErgoBaby, Tula, Moby, Baby Björn, etc. This can be helpful in the long lines. I would not recommend the leashes for children, personally, but if you do not object this may be a valuable tool for those toddlers who just won’t stay still.

Princess Dresses

Buy them ahead of time. The Disney dresses at the parks are quite expensive, and you never know if they will have your size when you go.  It’s a gamble. You can buy dresses on, Amazon, and even at Target or WalMart. As of right now, the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique is not open for Princess makeovers. Keep checking the website for opening details for the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique.

Also, it gets really hot in the Florida sun, so these costumes can become cumbersome and itchy. Bring a change of clothes for your kids to have when they start complaining about the dress.

Have a plan for your day

Before you go, look over the various attractions and experiences that each park at Walt Disney World has to offer. Plan out which ones that are must dos because you will be waiting in lines.

Disney does offer Genie+ now for purchase which allows each guest to enter the Lightning Lane at their selected attractions. It is $15 per day per guest, so it can add up quickly atop the price of your ticket. Additionally, some of the more marquee attractions do cost more on top of the $15. For example, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance does cost more for an individual Lightning Lane.

Disney Genie launching at Disneyland Dec 8, 2021

These are just some small things to consider when traveling to Walt Disney World with small children. Go ready to have fun, but be prepared!

Check back for more tips for living your best Disney parks life!

Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.