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How to enjoy the Orlando Parks with a Toddler

Posted by Janine Pipe on 20/02/2014 with 10 Comments

When you have a little one in tow, the idea of visiting Orlando’s huge theme parks can be more stressful than exciting – but not if you do it like the experts! Mum and theme park addict Janine Pipe shows us what to do….

Plan Plan Plan!

Know which parks you want to visit, do your research (busy days, temporary closures, where to find favourite characters etc.) but don't be too rigid when you get there. It pays to have a plan of action, but if you are heading for a ride for 1200hrs and at 1155hrs junior fills their nappy, then leave it. Things will be changed with a small person in tow. Have a realistic goal each day, say 3 attractions you really want to try.

Florida Treat

Stay Close

Whether this be at a park resort or in the surrounding area, really think about proximity to the attractions when choosing your accommodation. Being able to get to the action quickly will really pay off with a little one (especially if they're up early) and it increases your options, like being able to leave for a break and return with ease.

Factor in Breaks

And do take a break! Whether it’s back to your hotel for a nap or a swim, off site to get some lunch or even just to the baby care/nursing areas, don’t under estimate the power of stepping away from the action for some time out. This is particularly useful if your toddler won't nap or eat in the parks.


Snacks and Drinks

Take snacks and drinks into the parks with you. It will be cheaper, but more importantly you will have something with you that you know your child will drink or eat, and you have it on-hand when they ask for it (like half-way through a one-hour queue). Our daughter lived off Goldfish, so I had little plastic tubs of them wherever we went! Make sure they drink enough water too to keep hydrated - you can ask for iced water for free at the counter service places.


Take a Stroller

Bring or hire a stroller even if your toddler is fairly independent in the UK. They will be shattered from the heat, the time difference, and sensory stimulation. Also, make your stroller distinguishable! Tie a cheap scarf onto the handle and you'll find your black Maclaren in a sea of others more easily. They're also a great place to stow all the paraphernalia you carry with a kid on board!

Use the “Rider Switch”

Use the Child Swap/Rider Switch options at the parks which allow each parent to ride either alone or with an older child while the other waits with the toddler. Then the parents swap over so they each get a turn. These can be found on most of the big attractions at the parks with height restrictions.

Have a Treat Budget!

Let your child know what treat they are allowed each day, whether it be a new toy or an ice-cream. Also bring things with you from home or buy in Walmart to save money. You can't avoid merchandise in the parks, but try to avoid toddler tantrums by letting them know the rules first.

Overall, just do your best to relax and you and you pre-schooler will have a great time!


Janine Pipe has been to Florida 6 times in the last 12 years with her husband, and has visited all of the major Orlando parks. She has a 4 year old daughter who has already travelled to Florida twice. Janine has contributed to a variety of Disney inspired blogs and is a self-confessed Disney World addict! You can follow her on Twitter @disneynine

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Posted by laura humphries on 20/02/2014 16:05:50

Very informative Thanks. Always useful to know how to cope when you're traveling with kids.

Posted by Ben Donovan on 20/02/2014 16:47:11

An insightful article. Wish me luck when I take my terrible toddlers!

Posted by Jennifer on 20/02/2014 20:17:24

We have been considering a Disney trip for some time but have been a little apprehensive as our youngest is not quite three. I am so glad to have found this article. It's well written and really informative offering the practical sort of information that a parent of a young child needs to know. Many thanks.

Posted by Vikki Hind on 20/02/2014 20:19:02

Some fab advice :-) most (if not all) I have practiced when holidaying with my 4 and 2 year old.

Posted by Kathryn Reed on 20/02/2014 20:38:25

Great article...cannot wait til I can take my two to the Disney parks!!!

Posted by Steven Francis on 20/02/2014 21:31:26

What sound advice, an excellent article. The pictures are also great. I look forward to more from Mrs Pipe.

Posted by Pamela Sweeby on 20/02/2014 22:38:20

Great tips thanks, I now know the best ways to keep our girls happy when we book our trip

Posted by Karen Saunders on 20/02/2014 23:35:26

Brilliant and informative. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Posted by Fay on 22/02/2014 09:44:02

Fantastic feedback , thanks for sharing your tips!

Posted by marilyn clark on 27/02/2014 16:25:54

Wow fabulous article, very informative and handy for anyone preparing to visit park with young children.look forward to more blogs from janine ??

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