Disney World and a Toddler

Updated on November 30, 2007
K.F. asks from Keller, TX
10 answers

We are considering taking our two year old to Disney World in late spring of 08'. He will be just over 2 1/2 by then. I have been there several times as a child and loved it! I have read a lot of the previous postings about Disney and found some great tips but still had a few questions...Hopefully my fellow Mamas can help me out here...

Can a 2 1/2 year old go on most of the rides?

Has anyone done the "meal plan" and is it worth the money?

Which is better staying at a hotel right in Disney (this is what we are leaning towards so we don't have to rent a car)

How many days to see the whole park?

Any other advice...We are going to go early in the am..then nap...and come back at night.


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answers from Dallas on

e-mail me off list... and we'll talk -- I just took a 3 1/2 year old... tell ya... won't do that again for a LONG time...

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answers from Dallas on

We went last May with our 4year old and we had a blast! The meal plan is totally worth it but, you have to stay on the resort to get the plan. We stayed off of the resort so, we did not qualify for the meal plan. Almost all the rides have a height requirment of 41 inches and there is one ride in toon town at Magic Kingdom that is 38 inches. We did two days at Magic Kingdom,(which it will take you the two days)MGM, and Epcot. We did not make it to Animal Kingdom because we ran out of days. Also there is some great character dinings that you can do. We did the Little Einstein for lunch and our 4year old had so much fun and we also ate with Cinderalla(you have to call way in advance to get in at the castle). I hope you all have fun!

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answers from Dallas on

We've taken my oldest son at 17 months, 24 months, and at just over 3, and we took my youngest son at 9 months (we went in early October this year). We own at Disney Vacation Club, so we go quite often, and I promise you will be very pleased at the number of things a 2 year old can ride! Like a previous poster said, the main things he won't be able to do are the coasters. And outside of the rides, there's so much other stuff to interest him - the characters and the play areas, etc. I highly recommend staying onsite, and I'd love to give a recommendation on where, but the costs vary so much between the value and deluxe resorts - what price range are you looking at? If you have the $$, the most convenient (and nicest) option would probably be one of the resorts near Magic Kingdom (the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, or Contemporary), so you can take the monorail (or you can stay at Wilderness Lodge, our personal favorite, and ride the boat to Magic Kingdom). We've done the meal plan a couple of times, but as another poster said, they're changing it up a little in 2008. If you REALLY want to know if it's worth it, you need to look at the menus on allearsnet.com and compare what you would most likely buy (if spending cash) vs. the amount of the meal plan for 2 adults. If you're light eaters, or you don't like to take time out of touring the parks for long meals, it won't be worth it financially. We love it, but we go often enough that we don't mind taking 2-3 hours out of each day for a sit-down meal. But with the changes to the plan next year (no appetizers, and tips aren't included), I doubt that we'll do it again. It would take weeks to see "everything" at Disney World, but if you go during a non-peak time (avoid spring break and Easter), you can do most of the toddler-friendly stuff at each park - plus have some down time - in a week. Hope that helps! Contact me directly if I can be of any more help!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hi K.,
A huge suggestion before you go (if you have any flexibility on dates) is to find out if there are any events occuring at DisneyWorld- sporting events, cheerleading events, etc... That can really add to the park attendance.

Then, in answer to your questions...

You will be limited on the rides for a 2 1/2 year old. Most of the rides you will find for your child will be in Magic Kingdom. But, they do have a system where adults can take turns riding the "bigger, faster" rides.

I love the meal plan. I think it is a great bargain. They are changing it a bit for 2008 (you will have to pay tips seperately in 2008). You do have to be careful because some of the fancy restaurants do count for 2 "sit down" credits.

I highly recommend staying on site. There are some great choices for on site hotels and all different price ranges. Also, if you are staying on site, you can purchase the "Disney Magical Express" which will get you to and from the airport to your hotel.

Since there are 4 major parks and 2 water parks, we like to stay at least 7-10 days. We don't visit the waterparks much, though, because we always go the second week in Dec. With a little one, your idea of hitting a park in the AM, then taking the afternoon off and heading back out later is a great plan that has worked for my family. We do one park per day (saving money on tickets) and I plan out what rides/attractions we will visit and in what order. Look for things like "extra magic hours" (if you stay on site), "fast pass" rides; eating places (you need to make reservations ahead of time).

There are some GREAT books out there to help you with all of these choices. The best one we found is Fodor's "Walt Disney World with Kids".

Have fun!
R. B.

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answers from Dallas on

Most everyone else has already posted my same comments. I wanted to say that we took my son at 25 months and he had a blast! We rode almost everything (including Haunted Mansion and Pirate of the Carribean). I would recommend at least 2 full days (with naps) to enjoy all of Disney World. I would also encourage you to go to Downtown Disney which is free...they have lots of toddler activities and is great fun! I would also recommend buying your souvniers in Downtown Disney since they are cheaper than in the park itself. We stayed off property since we were there for other things besides Disney (Sea World, beach, etc). But if you are only going for Disney I would recommend staying on the property to save you time and hassle with a car. Have fun!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We went in Oct and mine was 26 months. It was great!! We loved seeing his reaction to the characters!! He would go up and hug their legs. We laughed so much!! It was soo cute!! At Disneyworld he could ride alot of stuff!! It was really the major roller costers that he couldn't ride. They do a parent swap at the front of the rides, which is awsome. Cause we had a older one that could ride everything. So you get the parent swap ticket from the park attendent at the enterence of the ride. They go ride, you stay with the 2yo and when they get off, you go straight up to the front of the line!! The best thing ever!! We didn't do meal plan, but I researched the cheaper places to eat. I would say we saved money!! Plus we did not waste time at all the sit daown meals, we just grabbed something and went back to the rides. We satyed on property. And with the little one I don't know that I would have done it any other way, super convient! Sometimes we would come back and take a nap, and other days he would sleep in stroller. We went for 3 days, no we didn't see everything, but we knew that, we just prioritized what we really didn't want to miss seeing. Epcot more for my older one, the 2yo really couldn't ride much at all. Animal Kingdom he loved!! Let me know if you have anyother questions!! I researched a tun!!! Since we just went 6 weeks ago everythings still fresh in my brain!!

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answers from Dallas on

Yes there are alot of rides your little one can go on! More than I thought actually!
We went when my girls were 6,5,2 & 1

They had a blast! I just let the baby nap in the stroller (I brought my own stroller because they are very expensive to rent)

We did not do the meal plan but we should have. When we go back next year we will! It's definatley worth it!

We stayed at a place called the suites of olde town. It has one and a half bathrooms with a full kitchen and three double beds.
they have a free shuttle to and from disneyworld and a grocery store right across the stree from it. We never had to rent a car.

We did not stay on disney property because they would not let 6 people in the same room.

E mail me if you have any other questions and go buy the fodors book disney world with kids! It helped alot!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We just returned 3 weeks ago from DW with my 2yo girl and we had a blast. She still talks about Mickey, the Magic Kingdom, and other aspects of the trip. You will find that with a few exceptions your son will be able to ride pretty much everything.

As for the meal plan, they are changing it in 2008 so it's turning out to be not as good of a deal as in years past. However, we used the meal plan and were happy we did.

The on property vs. off property debate is always a big one but we always stay on property. You won't need a rent car and can take advantage of extra magic hours where the park opens early or stays open later for resort guests only. Another perk of staying on property is Disney Magical Express which will take you to/from the airport/hotel and even take care of your luggage. When we arrived in Orlando we went straight to the bus (nice greyhound type busses) and it whisked us off to the hotel so we could start our trip. They take care of getting your luggage and transporting it to the hotel so you never have to worry about it, ours arrived within an hour after we did.

I would suggest if you plan on visiting all 4 parks at DW you should go for a full week. You'll need the time to allow for rest each day but still be able to see everything.

Sorry this is so long but my last bit of advice is to buy the Walt Disney World Passporter book. It's a fantastic book that covers everything you need to know. There's even pages to write down all your travel and trip info and pockets to keep tickets or other info. You can also visit the website at www.passporter.com. In addition to the Disney website you should also visit www.allearsnet.com or the forum www.mousebuzzers.com. If you have any other questions send me a message.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You can find a bunch of info and answers to your questions on this message board for Disney lovers!! http://www.disboards.com

I always frequent that site prior to a Disney trip. Have FUN!!



answers from Dallas on

Hi K.,

I am a travel agent in Carrollton and would love to help you plan your trip! I wont give you any more advice because the comments already posted here are right on the money...Stay on property, the dining plan is great! :-)
Please feel free to call or email me at any time and I'll be happy to help you arrange your trip!
Agency name is Fairway Travel. ###-###-####
my email is ____@____.com

S. Johnson

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