Toddlers at Disney World – A Daily Schedule
The thought of having Toddlers at Disney World can be overwhelming. There are some easy steps that you can take to manage your day. By doing so you and your toddler will have the greatest time.
Planning is always the key. You know your toddler best and you also know their daily routine. Make your plans around those facts and you will find that your day runs very smoothly. Parents will often allow children the chance to go with the flow and experience it on their own. The parents need to provide the structure and routine which allows your toddlers at Disney World to explore within those boundaries. Toddlers do not have the ability to self-monitor what they need in that situation.
I will give you two different options for a day with your toddlers at Disney World. Both of these options worked successfully for us many times over as we traveled with our toddlers.
Option 1 – Stay in the Park All Day
Start Your Day Early!
Toddlers generally wake up early and are ready to be active. Take advantage of that and get ahead of the crowds. Be with your toddlers at Disney World when it opens! Who knows, maybe your family will be selected to be the special family to open one of the lands for the day.
Plan a Route.
Be realistic about your pace. You have done many activities with your toddler and you know what their average pace is. Allow that to be your guide as you plan your adventures in Disney World. Look at a map online to see all your options. Choose the ones that your toddler will want to see the most. Include a few other highly recommended places that they may not be aware of.
Stick with you Toddlers Schedule.
Follow your plan throughout your day with your toddlers at Disney World. The important times are snacktimes, mealtimes, naptimes, and bedtimes. Disney will allow you to bring in some snacks, fruit, vegetables, and a juice box or sippy cup that are in your diaper bag or backpack. (They will not allow you to bring in a cooler full of food.)
Lunch and Naptime.
Select a place that you toddler will enjoy for lunch. After lunch find a quiet spot in the park where there is not much going on. This is a good spot to have your toddler take a nap. They can nap in the stroller or bring a blanket to lay down on in the grass. This is a chance for the family to relax and enjoy some downtime. If your child does go to sleep, you get to enjoy some relaxing quiet time as well. If they do not sleep, it still provides an opportunity to take a break from the busyness of the park.
Leave before your toddler is overtired.
Continue to enjoy the day with your toddlers at Disney World. Follow the route that you planned. YOur departure time from the park will be determined by your toddlers schedule. Most families will eat dinner at the park before making their way back to their hotel. There are sometimes delays in leaving the park and you do not want to be navigating those with a tired and hungery toddler! I prepared for departure time with pajamas in the backpack. Change your toddler into pajamas (maybe some cool disney pajamas) before getting on the bus or tram to return to the hotel. It is likely that they will fall asleep on the way home.
Enjoy Some Time in the Evening for Yourself.
Depending on your energy level and your accommodations your can transition your toddler to bed and have an hour or two to yourselves. When planning your accommodations look outside of the standard hotels. Take a look at Air BnB or VRBO for condos that offer 1 or 2 bedroom accommodations for the same price or cheaper than a standard hotel room.
Option 2 – Enjoy Downtime in the Afternoon Outside of the Park
Start Your Day Early
Your toddlers wake up early and are ready to go. Take advantage of the headstart to get to the parks ahead of the late sleepers. You can do some research to find out what attractions tend to get really busy later in the day and do those first.
Plan a Morning Route.
As mentioned above, plan a route with your toddlers at Disney World that is at a pace they will be able to handle. Research a map of your chosen park and pick the attractions that your toddler will enjoy the most. Concentrate on just one or two sections of the park for your morning route.
Eat Lunch and Leave the Park
Select a place towards the entrance of the park that your toddler will enjoy eating lunch at. After lunch, you will head to the transportation area to return to your hotel. Your toddler may likely fall asleep on the way back to your hotel. Come prepared with a blanket or favorite toy to accommodate their needs.
Spend a Quiet Afternoon at Your Hotel
Allow your child to enjoy their naptime at the hotel for the amount of time they need. You can enjoy this downtime as well with a short nap or a good book. Toddlers need this naptime to regain their energy for additional energy to complete their busy day. When your toddler awakens they will welcome some pool time or a game room for some familiar fun.
Return to the Park and Eat.
Dinnertime can be done at the park as soon as you return to the park. Getting your toddlers stomach full before continuing your touring with your toddler at Disney World is very important. You could also eat at the hotel before leaving if that fits your situation better.
Enjoy the Special Attractions and Lights in the Evening.
Choose the evening shows based on your toddler’s interests. There are parades that are especially inviting with all of the characters, music, and lights. The rides will also have a special draw with beautiful lights in the evening.
Return to Your Hotel
Be prepared for the return to your hotel. Even with naptime in the middle of the day, your toddler will be tired on the way home. You do not need to stay for a full show or parade. Leave when your toddler’s schedule dictates leaving. Be prepared with pajamas to change into and their special blanket to make the ride home peaceful.
- Plan your day with your toddlers at Disney World with your child’s schedule in mind. Some families like to keep busy and moving and others like to go slow and leisurely. Do what your toddler is used to. Keep mealtimes, snacks, nap time, and bedtime consistent with what your toddler normally does. Even if this is your only trip to Disney World you do not have to do and see it all!
- Choose your Accommodations with your family needs in mind. Choose standard hotels, Disney hotels, Air BnB rental or VRBO rental that provide convenient transportation in and out of the Disney Parks.
- Bring your own Snacks and Activities for your toddler. They need them to keep busy and distracted while waiting for some of the rides.
- At Disney World, they have a trade-off option for parents. If there is an adult ride that you would like to enjoy. You can wait in the line with your toddler together. The first parent will ride and as soon as they return they will trade off with the child and the second parent will be able to ride immediately with an additional wait in line. This allows you to have a little fun on a more adventurous ride.
I hope these ideas are helpful as you plan your next adventure with your Toddlers at Disney World!
What has worked for you?
Share your tips for a day schedule for Disney World by leaving a comment.