Magical Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World Resort® with Toddlers

By Beth Gelfman July 20, 2023

Looking at the sheer grandeur of the Walt Disney World Resort® and all of the rides, hotels, restaurants and shops that it offers make me think back to the 1954 Walt Disney quote, “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it all started with a mouse.” It is amazing that such humble and simple beginnings manifested into the ultimate family vacation spot on the planet.

Just like figuring out how to get the kids to nap when you are craving that glass of Pinot or tricking them into eating those healthy vegetables you snuck into the mac and cheese, you need a plan to optimize your experience at Walt Disney World Resort®. There’s no better place to start that crucial planning than the planDisney website.

The author was hosted by Walt Disney World Resort® to facilitate writing this article. All thoughts and opinions expressed are her own.

planDisney is the official source for Disney vacation planning advice where you can get helpful answers to all your questions from a panel of experienced guests – from Disney Genie+ Service to favorite food locations to stroller rentals and anything else on your mind. For those who prefer to listen to advice, unlike my husband, you can also find informative planDisney podcasts like First Timers at Walt Disney World or Visiting Walt Disney World With Little Ones, which are an easy listen while power walking the kids in the stroller around the neighborhood.

You can also find lots of information for planning your stay on the planning page for younger children on the Walt Disney World Resort® Website.

Having recently returned from a stay with my family, I also have a few magical tips for those with little ones:

Planning your visit

Stay at a Disney Resort Hotel to make your stay more enjoyable and stress-free. Close proximity to the parks, complimentary transportation to Walt Disney World Resort® Theme Parks, and early entry and extended theme park hours are just a few of the benefits. Disney Resort Hotels offers accommodations in all budget ranges and the close proximity makes it easy to take the kids back to the room for a nap and then return to the park once they awaken.

Save some money and think about whether you really need the Park Hopper option. Walt Disney World Resort® Theme Parks have a lot to do and a lot of ground to cover for little ones with little feet and little legs. It is highly likely that one theme park per day will be more than enough for your kiddos. You can always add the Park Hopper option once you are on site at Walt Disney World Resort® if you determine you want it.

Check the special events calendar before planning your vacation. From EPCOT® International Flower and Garden Festival that runs in the Spring and Summer to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that runs late Summer and Fall and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Winter, there is something for everyone all year long. (note: these are separately ticketed seasonal events)

Don’t lug a stroller to Orlando. I highly recommend reserving a single or double stroller from Scooterbug, a private mobility rental company in the Central Florida area, which is the Disney Featured Provider to offer stroller, ECV and wheelchair rentals at Walt Disney World Resort®. Using ScooterBug allows for convenient pickup and drop off at Disney Resort Hotel bell stands and you do not need to be present when the stroller is delivered to the hotel. Stroller rentals through Walt Disney World Resort® parks have the limitation that the stroller can’t leave the park, so you would need to return the stroller at each park and pick up a different stroller at the next one. You also can’t use Walt Disney World Resort® park strollers to walk back to your hotel or to visit Disney Springs. Scooterbug is the way to go.

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Planning your rides

Here are my must-see rides and attractions at each Walt Disney World resort park for pre-K children. Find these and more on the Walt Disney World Resort® website.

Magic Kingdom® Park  


Disney’s Hollywood Studios® 

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park

Planning the magic

If your kids found Aladdin’s lamp and the Genie granted them three wishes, here are the special activities and experiences that they would wish for. Wish #1 and #3 must be booked in advance and are in demand.

Wish #1: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique - Behold a royal transformation as children become elegant princesses and shining knights — right before your eyes! Guests can experience special hairdos sprinkled with pixie dust, princess dresses, and make-up galore.

Wish #2: Disney Memory Maker - Capture all of your Walt Disney World Resort® vacation memories for one price for one day or the entirety of your trip. Memory Maker takes advantage of the Disney PhotoPass Service including professional photos throughout the parks, candid photos and videos on the rides to capture those joyful action shots, to special Magic Shots. Photos can be downloaded to your phone, tablet or computer and used freely. I always make a photo album from each of our Walt Disney World Resort® trips. The hardest part is choosing which photos to add and eliminate from the album.

Wish #3: Disney Character Dining - Take your kids to a meal they will never forget. Enjoy a delicious meal while your favorite Disney characters walk around from table to table for a hug, photo, and an autograph. I highly recommend making a reservation for a Disney Character Breakfast. And since you met all of your favorite characters at breakfast, you can just focus on riding the rides at the park. Each restaurant has different characters, so make sure you do some research to find the best one for your family.

And finally, a few additional tips with some help from the Seven Dwarfs:

  1. If you’re BASHFUL, make sure to use the Mobile Ordering option on the My Disney Experience app to place a food order while also saving time and skipping the line.
  2. Save some pennies so you won’t be GRUMPY. Purchase a souvenir popcorn bucket and then each unlimited refill is less than $3. This is a cost-effective way to give the kids a snack and you can take the souvenir popcorn bucket home with you.
  3. Don’t let your phone get SLEEPY by running out of battery. You will use your phone throughout the day to order food, check on ride wait times, check your virtual queues, and snap photos throughout the day. Bring along a portable charger to ensure your phone will make it through the day
  4. Use a DOC (well, really a dock) to get from Disney's Hollywood Studios® to EPCOT® and back to your hotel. Consider staying at one of the EPCOT® Resorts (Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort) and enjoy taking a casual boat ride to Disney's Hollywood Studios® and EPCOT®. It’s like going on a ride outside of the park! You’ll still need to catch a Disney Bus to the Magic Kingdom® Park or Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.
  5. If you get some free time to go on thrill rides without your kids, don’t be DOPEY and miss out on the newest Walt Disney World Resort® Theme Park rides. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT® and TRON Lightcycle/Run at Magic Kingdom® Park were favorites of ours!
  6. Take a SNEEZY "sick day" midway through your vacation. Well, not a sick day, but a rest day. I find it’s a great idea to schedule a pool and relaxation day midway through your Disney Parks trip. It gives everyone (Mom and Dad included) a day to veg out, recuperate, rest those sore feet, and beat the heat. Many of the Disney Resort Hotels have water slides and other fun aquatic activities to keep the kids active. After this day of rest, you’ll be primed to hit the parks again the next day.
  7. Be HAPPY. It’s going to be a long day at the parks, your feet will hurt, and you may feel like you need another vacation when the trip is over. But you will be enjoying the #1 Family Destination in the world and kids grow up fast, so enjoy the time together. You’ll look back on your Memory Maker photos and cherish the laughter and smiles on your kids’ faces forever.

Enter for your chance to win a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort® from Macaroni KID!
Giveaway ends midnight EDT, July 31, 2023. Must be at least 18 at time of entry. Complete rules here.