Many parents enjoy seeing Walt Disney World through their toddlers eyes. It is very fun to see their reactions to all the sights, sounds, colors and Characters. But one thing I didn’t expect was for our toddlers to tire out more quickly than they did at home. That’s when we realized that less time spent at the parks, can actually be a good thing with little ones. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to the “less is more” theory:
Park Tickets. A vacation to Walt Disney World can be expensive! How many times have you thought (or over heard) “I paid good money for these tickets, we’re going to use them and get our moneys worth!”? It certainly is tempting to get as much out of the parks as you can, but with little ones it can turn into more trouble than those tickets are worth. Consider buying base day tickets. Visit the park of your choice in the morning, take an afternoon break (nap, swim, play at your resort, etc.) and then return to the park in the evening. Base day tickets are the least expensive option of park tickets to buy. One park per day is plenty for your little ones to see, as well.
Take Breaks. It’s hard on a child to be cooped up in a stroller all day at the parks. Take plenty of breaks at the park – find a play area for your child to run around. Yes, it may mean seeing fewer attractions, but it sure beats dealing with a cranky child. A mid-day break back to your resort for a nap or quiet time is invaluable, if you’re able to take one. Allowing your child some freedom at your resort playground or swimming pool, lets them release some of their energy.
Meals. Have plenty of snacks on hand for your little ones. We found that our kids got pretty hungry an hour before their normally scheduled meal time. We didn’t experience a time change, but we figured the overall change in schedule and being ‘on the go’ wore them out more quickly than expected. Having food on hand quickly eased their crankiness, and gave them something to do while we waited for the next attraction. It was also easier for us to do more snacks and quick-service meals than sit-down meals. Table service meals just meant more sitting for our kids, and less patience for us all.
Have an ‘Off Day.’ With little ones, it certainly makes sense to take an ‘off day’ or non-park day. Relax at your hotel, go for a swim, use the resort playgrounds, or visit Downtown Disney. There’s plenty to do without actually entering the parks. Yes, you’re paying for a night at the hotel without experiencing the parks, but many kids think the resort Pool is just as exciting (or even more-so) than the parks themselves. A non-park day is also the perfect opportunity to do a Character meal at one of Disney’s resorts. Wear your kids out at a playground beforehand, and hopefully they’ll sit through the meal without becoming to antsy.
While you may not be able to accomplish everything you had in mind, doing a little less at Walt Disney World with your toddlers, may actually prove more beneficial for your vacation memories! Once you realize your little ones may be nearing their breaking point, take a break and let everyone recuperate – it will make for a more enjoyable time for everyone.
In addition to writing for Chip & Co., Terri writes for her own blog Walt Disney World Hints. Terri is also the co-creator of Mousekejournals – your ‘one stop shop’ for many great Disney-related articles written by all of your favorite Disney bloggers.
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