Going to Disney with preschoolers can be both an exciting and overwhelming experience. There are a million details to navigate, from packing correctly, to getting tickets, lodging, food and entertainment all sorted out. But the payoff for you in planning this trip carefully is that your family will have magical memories that last a lifetime.
In order to help make sure your next Disney World vacation with small children goes off without a hitch we’ve put together helpful tips.
10 Tips for Going to Disney with Preschoolers
1. Leave your expectations at the door.
You will have a magical day, but only if you don’t expect everything to go as planned. Do your best to follow your itinerary, but chances are that you won’t be able to ride everything you’d hoped to ride.
Just spend the time enjoying the moment and not worrying about the little things.
2. Use Lightning Lane & Disney Rider Switch’
Decide which rides you want to make a priority in advance and book your Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation.
You will want to check the height requirements in advance as Disney World is pretty strict about this.
If your kid is too small to ride a particular ride, you can use the Rider Switch program.
With the Rider Switch, one adult can wait with the non-rider(s) while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. When the other adult returns, they can supervise the non-rider(s), and the waiting adult can board the attraction without having to wait in the regular line again!
Disney World Rider Switch Rides
Magic Kingdom Park
- The Barnstormer
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Tomorrowland Indy Speedway
- Frozen Ever After
- Mission: SPACE
- Test Track
- Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continues
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Animal Kingdom Park
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- Kali River Rapids
- Primeval Whirl
3. Pack 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 in your day bag.
We love carrying a backpack.
I would also suggest bringing small activity books (get them from Dollar Spot at Target or Dollar Tree).
4. Bring along your own souvenirs.
Kids can easily get hooked on all the merchandise at the shops throughout the parks.
I would honestly avoid them altogether and instead bring your own Disney souvenirs (small plush, t-shirts, toys, light-up gadgets for night shows) to give to your child during your trip.
5. Get an autograph book.
Kids love meeting characters and Disney autograph books are a great souvenir for them to cherish.
One of our best tips for going to Disney with toddlers & preschoolers is to book a character meal.
This way you can see your favorite Disney characters while you are having a meal!
6. Bring or rent a stroller.
The Disney parks are enormous; especially for a preschooler.
If you make them walk the entire time, they are going to get overtired and grouchy.
Strollers are also the perfect way to get a front-row seat for the parade(s) and will help you store all your gear in one place.
Read more about Renting Strollers at Disney
7. 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!
8. Pick Rides & Experiences Carefully.
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 intimidated by darkness or scare easily at the sounds of gunfire & cannons.
Best Magic Kingdom rides for Preschoolers
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Princess Fairytale Hall
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Mad Tea Party
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- It’s a small world
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Prince Charming Regal Carousel
Best EPCOT rides for Preschoolers
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Kidcot Fun Stops
- Frozen Ever After
- Gran Fiesta tour starring the Three Caballeros
- The Circle of Life
Best Animal Kingdom rides for Preschoolers
- Finding Nemo-The Musical
- Festival of the Lion King
- Kilimanjaro Safari
- TriceraTop Spin
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Affection Section
- Wilderness Explorers’ interactive experience
- UP a Great Bird Adventure
Best Hollywood Studios rides for Preschoolers
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage
- Disney Junior-Live on Stage!
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
- Muppet Vision 3D
9. Know where the bathrooms are at Disney World.
This is crucial for those going to Disney World with toddlers & preschoolers who may be in the potty training years!
You may be able to avoid accidents if you locate the restrooms on the map ahead of time and plan b.
10. Tag your child with an id bracelet.
I know, no one wants to think of losing their child, but it does happen.
One of the best ways to make sure you are prepared is with an id bracelet.
If your child gets lost this band will tell others how to contact you.
Those traveling to Disney with preschoolers wearing a Disney MagicBand, write your cell number on the inside.
Cast members can scan their band to find out more information & the cell number is the first thing will see.
Also, be sure to talk to your child about an action plan if they were to get separated (going to a Cast Member is the best idea).
What other tips do you have for surviving Disney with Preschoolers?