Taking a preschoolers to Walt Disney World can be an overwhelming experience. You are excited, your preschooler is over-the-top excited and sometimes it can lead to total stimulus overload. Planning your trip to Magic Kingdom in advance is critical to having a melt-down free trip! Here are my tips to surviving Disney World with preschoolers:
1. Decide which rides you want to make a priority in advance. Understand that you can use the FastPass+ System, but it is not going to get you to the front of the line for EVERYTHING you want to do. Make a list of your top rides, attractions and character meet & greets and understand that you probably won’t get to do it all.
2. Pack your day bag for Disney carefully. Include things like Lollipops (which are great to have when a child’s sugar is running low), snacks that keep well like goldfish and pretzels, and plenty of bottled water. I would also suggest bringing small activity books (get them from Dollar Spot at Target or Dollar Tree).
3. Bring along your own souvenirs. Kids can easily get hooked on all the merchandise at the shops through out Magic Kingdom. I would honestly avoid them all together and instead bring your own Disney souvenirs (small plush, t-shirts, toy, light up gadgets for night shows) to give to your child during your trip. If you do want to get them a souvenir at Disney World, consider something cheap and interactive, like pressed pennies!
4. Bring or rent a stroller. The Disney parks are enormous; especially to a preschooler. If you make them walk the entire time, they are going to get overtired and grouchy. It is also the perfect spot to get a front row seat for the parade(s). Strollers can also be a great tool to lessen your load as you can store your day bag! Believe me, it is worth the investment!
5. If your child wants to dress up, bring a change of clothes. Dressing as a princess might sound good early in the day, but by the afternoon, your little darling will be hot, itchy and sweaty. Sometimes a change of clothes can make all the difference!
6. If your child falls asleep in the stroller, let them sleep. If that means missing a character, not being able to ride a ride, so be it. You and your child will be all the better for a little R&R.
7. Do your research before you go and pick your top rides and attractions best suited for your preschooler. Pirates of the Caribbean sounds fun, but might not be the best choice for a child who is timid or scares easily. As much as your child loves Lilo and Stitch, the ride goes black and there is a bit of a scare factor that preschoolers might find overwhelming. If your child is a thrill seeker, understand that there are height requirements for some rides. There are NO EXCEPTIONS.
8. Get an autograph book. Kids love meeting characters and autograph books are a great souvenir for them to cherish. If waiting in lines to see characters isn’t your thing, consider a character meal where you can knock out several characters at once while eating!
9. Know where the bathrooms are at Disney World. This is crucial for those that are in the potty training years! You will avoid accidents if you locate the restrooms on the map ahead of time and plan bathroom stops every few rides.
10. Tag your child. I know, no one wants to think of losing their child, but it does happen. I love the idea of making a bead bracelet with your cellphone number for your child to wear. Also talk to your child about an action plan if they were to get separated (going to a Cast Member is best idea).
What other tips do you have for surviving Disney World with Preschoolers?