There are tons and tons of articles floating around the internet about tips and tricks for toddlers. I can tell you without a doubt that while this might be one of these articles I have scoured the internet while this trip was coming up and I did not see these tips. These are things you can only learn from living the experience of having a toddler (a 23 month old to be specific) in the middle of Disney World.
Bring an awesome stroller. It is one of the quintessential needs when you are at Disney like food and water. Your child has just stepped into the most amazing place on earth. The place where all of their dreams come true. There is color, music, laughter, characters, people and sugar. If that is not a recipe for stimulation overload I don’t know what is. Your stroller is where they can go when they need a break. It is their port in the storm so to speak.
The reason I say it is so important is that your stroller is multifaceted. Not only will it help your kids but it can help you too. I know they are bulky and restricting but when your kids want to walk you can use it too. Okay maybe not to ride in, but as a set of hands. Put that heavy backpack full of food (I will get to that in part two) into the stroller when its empty! I saw TONS of parents with heavy, restrictive bags chasing little humans trying to catch them and NOTHING in the stroller. C’mon people, work smarter not harder.
One more side note about the stroller, can you tell I am slightly obsessed with this, when you go on a ride, you can NEVER take it with you. I thought, “Oh maybe for some shows or something”, NO, in restaurants then, nope, hardly ever. So where do you put it? Well, they have stroller parking lots strewn throughout the park. Each one has an attendant, that is this persons job, to move and watch the strollers. They are in front of most rides and they are designated areas. This means if you put your stroller elsewhere while you go on a ride it will move and will not be there when you come back. If you fear you have lost your stroller do not panic (I totally did, had a meltdown right outside of Pirates of the Caribbean), chances are it’s there you just need to search. This also means you only have to take one bag on most rides. We had two, one for snacks and such and one for diapers, change of clothes, more food, etc. We left the bag with the non-valuables in the stroller during rides, never got touched. I want you to read again only NON-valuables, people are crazy but it saved us time and headaches!
If you have a toddler, which if you are reading this you probably do, then you know that the stroller will only keep them contained for a short period of time. They want to walk. “Mommy I do it!” the most used phrase in our home, applies to Disney World. While this is a happy wonderful place it is also a crowded place. It does not matter how great of walkers they are, if they walk be prepared for them to get knocked down. They are little and people do not tend to look down while they walk. They are distracted and busy looking after their own tiny humans. Accidents will happen, toddlers are use to people getting out of their way, this does not happen at Disney.
With that thought in mind a First Aid kit is also a must have. Band-aids, snap cool packs, ointments, cleaning clothes, anything and everything you might need for scraped knees, elbows and big bumps. I was told it was excessive but guess what, used almost the entire thing. I was SO glad we brought it. If you pack one right they are tiny and don’t take up much space.
If you forget that first aid kit or don’t have room for it then pay attention. I am going to share one of my favorite Disney “secrets”. I say it’s a secret in quotes because it’s not really a secret but no one seems to know about these magical places called The Baby Care Center. They are your port in the storm. Yes, they are designed for your kids but let me tell you they are a parents dream! You walk in and it is quiet, I mean really quiet, it is cool and the lights are dimmed a bit. It is wonderful, you instantly feel calmer. They have plush changer tables, snacks to buy, a room for older kids to watch a show and chill, smaller bathrooms and a private room for nursing! I love these places. They are designated by the baby symbol on your map, just check it out. There is one per park but they are almost never busy.
I did not anticipate this being such a long post so I am going to break down all of this magic into part 2. I know three paragraphs on strollers alone! I hope you are finding this helpful, I wish I had found one of these before my first visit with my daughter.
Stay tuned for part 2 where I will discuss snacks, schedules, apps, rides and maybe another secret or two.
The Perfectionist Mom