A few years ago my husband and I sat eating an ice cream in the Magic Kingdom’s Tommorowland while a little girl, I’m guessing around three, pitched an epic fit clad in full princess attire. Being pre-parents, we laughed at the irony of this little princess having a meltdown at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” As the crowds filled in, we zigged and zagged our way through the park like a giant maze made of slow moving strollers and families dragging small children who were distracted at every turn. We told ourselves that day that we would never be those parents and would save Disney until our future kids were around 7 or 8. Why would you bring a toddler to Disney anyway? They wouldn’t be able to ride anything. It would be a waste of money. There’s no way they would remember it!
Fast forward a few years and this Disney-loving mom was itching to go back and actually excited to share the experience with my two (almost 3) year old son. After a lot of convincing to get my not-so-Disney-loving husband on board, we had the trip set and planned… and even had one set of grandparents joining us for reinforcement.
When telling others about our upcoming trip, they echoed the same sentiments that we proclaimed on that trip several years back.
Toddlers are too small or too scared to ride anything.
This is Disney. Have you ever seen any of their rides featured on those Travel Channel shows that spotlight the most extreme coasters? No. Disney does a great job of being inclusive, with plenty of rides even for your smallest traveler. They’ve also added “interactive” waiting areas to some rides which allow your child to freely run and play instead of standing in line. This. Is. Awesome! For this particular trip, we focused on the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom because we felt it offered the most for toddlers. There’s SO MUCH for small children to enjoy at these parks, so listed below are the rides/attractions that our little one was NOT ABLE to ride and a few that we chose to skip because of the scare factor.
Animal Kingdom: Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, It’s Tough to Be a Bug *No height requirement for this one, but we decided to skip it because of the scare factor (glad we did because it turns out the kid hates 3D stuff!), Kali River Rapids, and Primeval Whirl.
Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Stitch’s Great Escape.
So, out of over 80 rides and attractions between the two parks, he wasn’t able to ride 10. Not bad. Every other ride he absolutely loved, and mom and dad were able to sneak in some of the “big kid” rides while the grandparents watched the little one! 😉
It would be a waste of money to bring a toddler to Disney.
Yes, Disney is very expensive! Between the several hundred dollars you’ll spend on park tickets, food, hotel, gas, and all the odds and ends, you’re looking at a trip that adds up fast. However, your toddler won’t be adding to any of that! Children under 3 get in Disney for free and can also share from adult plates at restaurants. Take advantage of that because it’s one of the few free things that Disney offers. Our timing for this trip wasn’t by accident. We planned around that perfect little window for him to be as old as possible while still free.
There’s no way he’ll remember it!
Ten years from now, that might be true. My first Disney trip was at age 4, and I honestly don’t remember anything. But right now, there’s not a week that goes by that Harrison doesn’t say something about our trip! He talks about seeing his “friends”, remembers watching the fireworks, asks to ride the horses. I know that won’t last, but I enjoy every conversation that we’re having in the present. Regardless, my husband and I, along with my parents, have memories that we’ll never forget. I’ve never had a better experience, never felt the magic of Disney more than seeing it through the eyes of my child.