Suggestions for our first trip as parents with a 2 year old

Cetta

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So we just started planning our first trip to WDW as parents for next September when our son will be just over 2 years old. My husband have been to WDW twice together before becoming parents. The only vacation we look so far with him was to visit my family in NJ when he was 9 months old so this will be our first time staying in a hotel and going to a theme park. We have taken day trips locally in the Indianapolis area and he has always behaved extremely well. I am just looking for some great advice on driving, rides, ADRs, shows, play areas, what to bring with us, and pretty much anything that you can think of that could help me plan a magical vacation! thank you!!
 

SAV

Well-Known Member
Get the "Unofficial guide to Walt Disney World with Kids" and read it.

I would bring your own stroller vs. renting one of the in-park ones. Yours will be much more comfortable.

The best advice is to bring a lot of PATIENCE with you. Touring with kids is entirely different than without. You will get many different opinions on how you "have" to do things. Only you know your child and you will have to decide the "best" way to do things for your family. For example, many people say you "have" to take mid-day breaks, yet our family never did and things were great. Our kids slept in their comfy stroller. The "right" way is what works for you.

As for the drive, the normal stuff. A DVD player, ipod to play games, coloring books and a lap desk, any favorite music of theirs.
 
We went with our daughter in feb when she was about to turn 2 and had an amazing time. (We're going back in nov!) she was incredibly well behaved and didn't have a meltdown until the last day when I think being overtired finally caught up to her. We planned our days to go back for naps each afternoon. We got park hoppers. We wanted a pool day but it was too cold when we went and so we ended up addingr an extra day at the magic kingdom. My only piece of advice is to practice waiting in line for things or teaching your child to wait for his turn. We had taken a gymnastics class that was less free for all and more waiting turns for about the 6 months prior and I credit that with having her not have any problems waiting in line. It was iffy on the first line because when it snaked in the opposite direction she thought we were leaving but after that she caught on. Otherwise, we didn't really bring anything special. I did go to target ahead of time to buy some small disney toys and like an cheap light up spinner but I ended up returning them when we got home because I forgot to bring them to the park anyway! She never once asked to buy anything. I anticipate this next trip to be a bit harder in that department. We also bought milk, cereal, yogurt, cheese sticks and a few non refrigerated pouches and snacks to be able to eat breakfast in the room and take with us. Bottled water. As far as rides, she loved pretty much everything including the barnstormer!!!! She liked characters much more than I expected her to. We didn't do any major character meals.
 

olinecoach61

Well-Known Member
We just did took our 2 year old a few months ago. Based on my experience:
Tall characters were scary for her, smaller ones she loved
Take lots of video! She loves to look at videos of characters and parades now that we are home
She loved the carousel, tea cups, dumbo, peter pan, winnie the pooh for rides
playing in the water squirt areas were a must
We bought a clip on fan in the baby section of Walmart for the stroller - it was great
That's all I can think of for now.
 
Oh yeah. While she liked all the rides, she was definitely a little scared in any ride that was dark. Including Peter pan and small world. But we even ride haunted mansion and pirates and she was fine. I just told her to squeeze us and close her eyes if she got scared. Now that we are going back she keeps telling me that we don't need to hold hands on small world but we will on Peter pan. :)
 

Lois Lane

New Member
We took our YS when he was 20 months last year and are going again Feb '16 before he turns 3. We flew/are flying, but just like with driving, lots of entertainment and snacks are a must! We checked a bag filled with non-perishable foods that saved us with breakfast and snacks.The extra food from home also helped supplement what we gave LO off our plates. This upcoming trip we might buy some meals for him out of pocket depending on how hungry he gets. He's a grazer so I plan on taking lots of snack foods for him again. Definitely taking a stroller with a bright tag to find in the sea of strollers in the parking is very helpful. Especially for the huge section in Epcot where CM move them around to make room for others. On our last trip it took my OS a few minutes to locate it, but came back and thanked me for the tag and red bandanna that I tied to it. Because we have two teenagers, we didn't leave the parks and go back for afternoon breaks. It also didn't make sense for us to do that because LO has never been on much of a schedule. Almost every afternoon he fell asleep in the stroller and we did lots of rider swaps so that DH and I both got the chance to ride if wanted and the big kids got to ride twice. FYI, the passes for the rider swap don't need to be used right away. They have an expiration date, so if you are planning on going back to that park another day during your trip and want to wait, you are all set. We aren't taking the older children this next trip, so it'll be interesting to see how it goes when it comes to the rides that LO can't go on. But we aren't foreseeing that there will be too many of those. We have noticed that Disney Parks are family friendly and we were able to take LO on most of the rides with us. There were maybe 5 or 6 total that he couldn't ride. Definitely bring a few cheap and BRIGHT ponchos with you. We had one day at HS that it just poured. We decided to stick it out and made the best of the day. But the bright red ponchos I brought with us saved us not only money, but a soaking wet stroller. Things I found that were helpful during our stay and will be packing again: small bottle of dish soap and bottle brush, small bottle of laundry detergent and a few dryer sheets (just in case), and a portable phone charger! That last item saved us because I was calling home checking on my ill father a few times a day and DH husband was using the Experience app to get Fast Passes for rides, shows, etc. I found that I was overly prepared (except clothing) and was very happy I was. It definitely made the my anxiety lower . Oh, we used a play pen provided by the resort and it worked out great. They even provided 2 crib sheets and brought clean ones when we had the room cleaned. Good luck and have a great time!
 

ScarletBegonias

Well-Known Member
We just got back.. our DD was 15 months..

1) Bring child size silverwear! I brought Harper's own fork and spoon from home and she was MUCH happier at the table, regular sized forks/spoons are too long and she has a hard time feeding herself!

2) Fan/water bottle combo saved us in the stroller. It gave her a breeze and she loved playing with it!

3) We rented our strollers from Orlando Stollers. It was the nicest stroller I've ever used and was way better than what we have at home. The sunshade on that thing ROCKED. We picked up and dropped off right in our resort. That was awesome!

4) agree on practicing lines. Not sure it would have helped with my daughter, but she did not dig waiting in line at all.
 

Swafligirl

New Member
We took our son to WDW for the first time at 18mo old. A few things we did that really helped:

We brought our own stroller. He napped in it. And we used it like a luggage cart. Load it with the big diaper bag with all the extras - diapers, change of clothes, jackets, extra snacks, etc. we took it to the area we'd be hanging out in and parked it. (Strollers cannot go in lines, on rides or into shows.) TIE A COLORFUL SCARF or something else noticeable to the handles! Stroller parking lots are huge and cast members often rearrange them to conserve space, so your stroller may be in a slightly different spot when you return. (It rains often in Florida. I read a tip to bring a cheap shower curtain liner to cover your stroller. We've never needed it, but it would be a lifesaver if there was a downpour.)

I brought a small cross-body purse and loaded it with snacks and small toys to take in line. Waiting is much easier when Mom whips out a surprise snack to occupy your time! And frequent snacking made him less likely to melt down. :) Bubble are AWESOME in line!! Bring the small bottles you get as wedding or party favors. Dollar Tree often has several small Disney toys or glow sticks - much cheaper than souvenirs in the parks!

Prep your child for characters! We watched a lot of Disney shows, read Disney books and played with Disney toys to get familiar with characters. Characters in real life are so much bigger than on TV - we watched YouTube videos of other kids meeting and hugging characters and talked about how much fun they were having. I think this helped a ton - our son had no fear!

Use fast passes!! Why wait in line when you don't have to? Also, if your son isn't into fireworks, during the show is a great time to hit some rides or meet characters - lines are usually shorter then.
 

WDWDreamer4

Member
Things to Bring-Bring a back pack for a diaper bag/park bag.
Use Gallon bags to keep things organized in said Park Bag. Diapers/wipes in one, snacks in another, and change of clothes in a third. It was so much easier to find what you needed in the bag quickly. And the whole bag didn't have to go to the bathroom to change a diaper.
Request a crib from Disney...they are usually pack n plays but those I have had are clean and they offer sheets too.
Make sure to bring a comfort item from home for sleeping, stuff animal/blanket. This helped my youngest this year.
Bring a stroller that has a good sun shade. We bought a new stroller and the sun shade is attached to the back so you cannot adjust it. Terrible design, i hated it for Disney. Our cheap umbrella stroller has a better sunshade!
A pop up hamper - this was the first time for this and it was a life saver! Saved spaced (not all the dirty clothes in a pile or in the luggage), but we got caught in a downpour at MK on evening. All 5 of us were soaked and our clothing (especially our socks) were soaked and stank. We did laundry that night and having the hamper was so nice.
Breakfast items for in the room in the morning. If you have a car plan on running to Walmart or Target for milk and food items. A few snack items to take into the park, baby food pouches, gold fish, veggie straws, etc.
ADR- Plan on eating at buffets. Buffet and family style meals (garden grill or Ohana for example) kids under 3 eat for free. Table service with a menu you share off your plate. I would still do character meals, Chef Mickey is a must for us. Though later in the trip to get the baby used to characters.
Driving - at 2 that is a little harder, but DVDs and a few toys. We drive at night so the kids sleep through most of the ride. Leave after dinner to avoid most of the traffic.
Rides - there are more rides that a 2 year can ride than cannot. Anything with a height restriction is a no, but otherwise you are good. At 2 all my kids like everything. Now that they are a little older (6,4,1) they are starting to be scared of Haunted Mansion and Pirates.
Play Areas - The is one by Splash Mountain under the train station especially for little ones. There is also a hidden one inside Mission Space exit at EPCOT. This one is for a little bit bigger kids but with adult supervision a 2 year old would be fine. There is also the dig site in Dino Land at Animal Kingdom that is awesome! And Hollywood Studios has the Honey I Shrunk the Kids movie set play area.
Packing - if driving pack items not in a suite case in boxes (like paper boxes) I used to pack the luggage with all clothes and then all extras would go in multiple bags. I was given the box suggestion and it was so much easier! We had three boxes, 1 for food, 1 for laundry stuff/toiletries/odds and ends and 1 for baby food/formula/baby stuff (our youngest was 1 this trip)
 

Cetta

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Play Areas - The is one by Splash Mountain under the train station especially for little ones. There is also a hidden one inside Mission Space exit at EPCOT. This one is for a little bit bigger kids but with adult supervision a 2 year old would be fine.
thanks! I didn't know about these two play areas!
 

Cetta

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
thank you everyone for the great suggestions! this is one of the many reasons I love this forum! everyone is so kind and helpful!
 

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