EDITORIAL: How to Take On Disney With Littles

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Let’s face it… just taking your toddlers to the supermarket can be a quite a challenging task. In fact, most times, I decide to forgo trekking out with the kiddos and opt for having my groceries delivered to my home. Surprisingly though, having two littles age 2 and under has never stopped my family from traveling from our home in Indiana to our happy place and home away from home: the Most Magical Place on Earth, Walt Disney World!

People always have questions about how we still manage to enjoy our time at Disney with two little ones. Why do we even bother going? Don’t we know that our kids won’t remember the trip?

Today, I’ll answer that and some other of the most common questions that we encounter in regards to our adventures at Disney.

Q: Do you fly or drive?

A: Living over 1,000 miles from WDW, we definitely choose to fly. I know that it’s more expensive, and makes for a stressful day for mom and dad, but I couldn’t imagine driving and having to spend the better part of 2 days in the van enduring hours of my babies crying, since neither of them are particularly fond of their car seats for extended periods of time. So instead of wasting 2 grueling days in the car, we only have to survive a 2-hour flight from our home airport to MCO. It’s honestly a question that only you can answer, as you know your family and what your little mouseketeers can handle.

If you choose to fly, here are some tips you might find helpful:

  1. Fly earlier in the day. 
  2. Consider investing in TSA Pre✓.
  3. Utilize Disney’s Magical Express.

As previously stated, we typically like to fly first thing in the morning as we’ve discovered that check-in at the airline and TSA lines are more manageable as opposed to traveling later in the day. Plus, I just want to get to Disney ASAP and start making memories with my family!

We chose to invest in TSA Pre, not only because we are frequent travelers, but because it makes the process so much easier with little ones. With TSA Pre✓ you do NOT have to worry about removing the bag of your 3 oz fluids, you can keep your shoes on and typically experience a shorter wait in the security line.

Since we travel early in the morning, we all usually nap on the plane… some of us better than others.

Waiting to take off.

As soon as we land at MCO, our vacation has officially begun! We hop aboard Disney’s Magical Express and after a short wait, we are headed to our resort. As with anything, our kids don’t love the waiting process, but we try to make it as fun as possible, for the adults as well as the babes.

Granted, when we fly, we don’t have the convenience of having a vehicle on Disney property, but we mainly use Disney transportation once we are on property, and occasionally will use the Minnie Van service if going from Resort to Resort since that can sometimes get a little complicated and eats up time if utilizing the Disney buses.

Q: How do you manage to pack everything you need for a baby in your suitcase?

A: The short answer, I don’t! In the diaper bag, I pack enough diapers for travel day for both boys, along with a pair of jammies for each of them and a spare outfit in case of an unexpected blow out. The rest of their clothes get packed in our larger suitcase. When it comes to the rest of the diapers we need for the trip as well as baby food, snacks, milk or anything else we might need…. we have discovered that using a grocery delivery service, similar to what I use when I’m at home avoiding taking my kids out in public, is the easiest solution. There are a few to choose from, but we have had good experiences using Shipt.

As for our stroller, we gate check it and retrieve it immediately after disembarking the aircraft. If you choose to fly with a car seat for whatever reason, you can gate check that too. However, if using Disney Transportation, a car seat is not necessary. Even when using the Minnie Van service, they provide 2 car seats to ensure your precious cargo remains safe while in transit throughout Disney property.

At the end of the day, you and your kiddos will be yearning for your beds… Disney has thought of that too! Disney Resorts provide guests with a complimentary travel crib, pack n play and/or bed rails for use throughout their stay. Therefore, I can rest easy at the end of a busy day knowing that I don’t have to worry about them falling out of bed.

Q: Why not wait to go until your kids are older and able to enjoy the parks more?

A: Thankfully, we are Disney Vacation Club members, so we will continue to choose Disney as our vacation destination for years to come. So needless to say, our children will grow up going to Disney and will hopefully make lots of magical memories at the Disney Parks.

Obviously, we know that the kids won’t be able to recall every detail of this trip (or even the next several trips), but WE will… and that’s what makes it all worth it for us. And thanks to Disney’s PhotoPass photographers along with the convenience of mobile devices being equipped with decent cameras, they’ll be able to look back at the pictures years from now and see a younger version of themselves having a blast at Disney. 

Image of boy posing by Cinderella Castle on railing
Our son posing for a picture by the castle.
Both our kids in a double stroller we rented.
Our oldest son meeting Buzz Lightyear for the first time.

Stay tuned for part 2 of “How to Take On Disney with Littles”

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Cordi Turpchinoff

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Abbie Dolan
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Abbie Dolan

We are from the U.K. and recently returned from two weeks at WDW. We have a 3 year old and a 10 month old (when travelling). Our flight takes 9 hours and I have to say even we surprised with how well it went! We love WDW and have gone as children ourselves and before we had our children. We took our daughter when she was 18 months and then we decided if we waited until they were both older now then we wouldn’t be going for quite some time! So we booked it! We did do a lot of… Read more »

Randy
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Randy

Done it twice recently, when my kids were 1 and 4 and 2 and 5. Re: the Magic Express – don’t use the special tags for them to pick up your luggage, it can take up to 5 hours for you to see your bags again. Pack the day’s worth of stuff in a carryon if you do choose to have them take your bags for you. Orlando Strollers and Kingdom Strollers have both been phenomenal. The City Duo stroller is SO much better than the BOB double stroller, much easier to fold and carry. The BOB double stroller on… Read more »

Final Boss
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Final Boss

This is just me, but I think taking kids along who are too young to remember the experience just so you can enjoy yourself is a little selfish.

Bob
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Bob

But the kids won’t remember the selfishness, so it’s a win-win.

Leo McCue
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Leo McCue

Whoever said the first visit is for YOU not them is correct. Just accept the fact that the younger they are the less you will be able to do this first time. My entire family went to WDW in April with 9 month old twins and their older cousins. We all had a swell time but were reasonable in our expectations.