When you have a little one in tow, the idea of visiting Orlando’s 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.
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 its 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!
More Toddler Tips from the Disney Mum:
The best rides for under 5s in Orlando
How to keep your child entertained on the flight to Florida
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: A mum’s review
Where to meet the Disney World Princesses!
Easy ways to keep cool (and still have fun) at Florida’s theme parks