Strollers at Walt Disney World from a Babywearing Perspective

Strollers at Walt Disney World from a Babywearing Perspective

When I first planned a trip to Walt Disney World with young children in 2014 (I was a foster mom at the time), I wondered: Do I even need a stroller? We had a stroller but rarely used it. I thought it probably would just be a hindrance. However, I ended up bringing one and I am so thankful I did.

Now I go to Walt Disney World Parks about 8 times a month or more.  About a third of the time, it’s just me and my daughter that go.  I have learned a lot about strollers at Disney since I first asked myself if I needed a stroller four years ago. And now I’m here to offer you some thoughts and suggestions.  Here are some things to ask yourself and answers to help you make a decision.

Can I go to Disney stroller-free? If you have one child who can walk part time, travel lightly and/or go for short periods of time, you may be able to go stroller-free easily.  Also, there are moms I know who love to go stroller-free and don’t mind carrying all the babies and all the stuff which I totally respect.  I take my stroller into Disney about half the time. I do babywearing alone half the time. There are pros and cons to both having the stroller and not.

Pros for stroller:

  • Can carry stuff like diaper bags, etc.
  • Gives a place for the child to sit for breaks, longer walks
  • Safe and clean space for the child to eat a snack
  • Offers a cool, shady spot for a child on hot summer days using a fan and stroller cover
  • Some children love napping in strollers

Pros for stroller-free

  • There’s no navigating crowds with a stroller – which can be a serious pro, especially on a busy day.
  • You don’t have to run back to a different area to pick up your stroller where you left it.  You may leave your stroller several hundred feet from the ride and have to back track to get it.
  • On busy days, finding your stroller can be a task. Having an identifier like a large ribbon or sign helps. Sometimes cast members move them for different reasons like to consolidate them or to move to the stroller parking area.
  • There’s worrying about the stroller or items in it getting stolen.  Although a generally safe place, strollers and items in strollers do occasionally go missing. We do not leave anything irreplaceable or difficult to replace (whether in sentiment or value) in the stroller, ever, period. This is a good rule of thumb!

Will you have more than one child with you?  If you will, you may want to consider either two single strollers or one double stroller.  With a double stroller, you have just one stroller to worry about and both children can take a break at the same time.  With two single strollers, you will have to have at least two adults to push all the time.  This may be worth it if you have siblings who need space away from each other. Also with two single strollers, you can leave one in the hotel room if you know one of the children will be able to handle the walking for the time you are going.

Do you carry a lot of “stuff” with you?  If you don’t travel lightly, I highly recommend at least a small stroller to help carry the stuff.  It can be long, exhausting days without even the factor of feeling like a pack mule carrying a child and a heavy bag.

Does your child walk? If so, how much? Even older little kids can benefit from having a stroller.  Don’t let other people’s judgements deter you from doing what your family needs.  If your child gets tired easily and fits into a stroller and you want to use it, do! Do what’s best for your family. If your child has any medical conditions which prevent him or her from walking, you may also inquire at Guest Services about “using the stroller as a wheelchair” as well.

Can you carry your child? I can carry Elodie for pretty long times, but as she has been in the 99th percentile for height her whole life, I often find that navigating the stroller through crowds strongly outweighs me carrying her and our stuff 100% of the time, especially when we go for over four hours at a time. The breaks, even if they are short, are worth it! My husband can hold/wear her for very long periods of time and not get uncomfortable, so he often prefers just the carrier and a small backpack.

What kind of stroller might be best for you?  This is a very important question and is not a one-size fits all answer! I personally find my top priorities are: 1. a stroller that’s easy to push and 2. the child can face me.  These two are my top two priorities because 1. I do not want to be pinching my fingers or have added physical difficulties of a difficult stroller. 2. I like the child to be able to face me so that I can see if she is overwhelmed, staying cool,  and staying safe while snacking, etc. Other priorities to consider are: ease of breaking down for the tram and bus, under basket storage, sun coverage and recline ability for naps.

What about renting a stroller versus bringing one with you? There are pros and cons to both of these. Bringing a stroller with you means you have the comfort and ease of your own stroller and can choose which of the features are the most important to you.  Additionally, you have the use of a stroller while traveling like flying . We use it to hold car seats and luggage while wearing baby.  With renting a stroller, you don’t have the risk of loss or damage during flight which is a real risk and airlines carry little to no responsibility for damage even with gate checking it.  Some families also prefer not to manage the extra bulk of a stroller while flying or driving.

What about renting a stroller from Disney versus an outside company?  If you have decided to not bring your own stroller but want to have a stroller, you have the option of renting from Disney or an outside company.  There are Disney strollers available to rent in the parks.  They are mostly large, brown, hard strollers that can be single or double.  They do not recline and are probably not very comfortable overall.  They do have strollers for younger children but I believe they only have a few and I would not rely on this option for younger children.  In my opinion, if you have an older child/children and just want the ease of a stroller for a day, this could be a good option.  Otherwise, renting from an outside company makes much more sense.  When you rent from a local company, they will let you choose from a few options including brands and single/double. They deliver to and pick up from your resort so you have access to it your whole vacation.  You also have some of the extra features like they usually fold down well, have good storage and recline.  Additionally, you can add insurance so that you don’t have to worry about losing it!

What’s your favorite option for strollers at Disney? Tell me in the comments below!

 

Strollers at Walt Disney World

Elodie in a Stroller with Bubbles at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

Disclosure: Links contained in this post may give me a small financial benefit at no cost to you, which helps me keep this site running and support my family.  Thank you.  For full disclosure policy go here.

Some of my favorite strollers and favorite stroller products:

Favorite Strollers :

Uppababy Vista or Cruz (https://amzn.to/2B0r1gv)- both offer smooth rides and can face either direction (note: the newer models do use leather in at least one part which is not vegan but can be switched out for this tray )

Bob Flex Revolution (https://amzn.to/2AYRjQ9) – super smooth ride for baby is easy to use

Favorite Stroller Accessories:

Skip Hop Cool Touch Stroller Liner (https://amzn.to/2qDucEU) – it helps keep the child cooler and is machine washable!!

Guzzie & Gus Cup Holder (https://amzn.to/2qHD7oK) – absolutely worth the extra money to have drinks condensation and spills happen away from the stroller

Holidays at Hollywood Studios

Holidays at Hollywood Studios

This year at Hollywood Studios, the holiday cheer is in full gear! Literally! Even Buzz, Jessie and Woody are dressed for the occasion in the new Toy Story Land!

Throughout all of Hollywood Studios, you’ll find beautiful little holiday decor touches that will make you feel festive like a prancing reindeer on Christmas Eve!

I love Christmas and because we live just a few minutes from Disney, most people around us embrace that winter holiday season starts on November 1st or shortly after. I don’t see any reason not to have it be a late fall / winter holiday season that is filled with gratitude, family, cheer, goodwill and love. It seems like we should live this way all year anyway but adding some festive lights, nostalgic songs and cute decorations makes it all that more fun!

From the moment you walk up, you will see small details that really help you get in the festive mood.  Two of my favorites were Sorcerer Mickey and his mops at the entrance and the vintage Santa over the Darkroom shop.

 

 

Hollywood Studios Mickey

 

There are also decorations like large ornaments throughout the park and the giant tree overlooking the lake is breathtaking!

Be sure to check out the Jingle Bell Jingle Bam show nighttime fireworks show and the Flurry of Fun on Sunset Blvd.  Also, there are many fun holiday treats available as well as a Jingle Bell Jingle Bam Dessert Party that includes a dessert buffet and a special meet with holiday Goofy.

Check out these two videos below for a little glimpse into the festive world of Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World for Christmas!

 

 

 

Should I Use a Travel Agent?

Should I Use a Travel Agent?

Should you use a travel agent? Many people have asked us this question and I’d say the answer is amost always: yes! Read on to hear some top reasons why the answer is yes.

For Disney Vacations

The first Disney Vacation I planned as an adult was OVERWHELMING for me! So much had changed since the last time I had gone when I was around 18 years old with my parents. When I was a child, we went just about every year and I knew a lot about Disney Parks. Back then, you walked up and got paper fast passes when they started offering them and it was pretty easy to eat wherever you wanted to. Fast forward 10 years and there was SO much about Fast Passes, Dining Reservations, strollers and planning that I just didn’t know.  I didn’t remember much about the resorts or even the layouts of the parks.  Additionally, when we were on vacation, we had a problem arise with our reservation and we ended up losing a half day of park time trying to resolve it by being on the phone and having to return to our resort.  I learned a lot on that trip and one of the most valuable lessons was that you should almost always use a travel agent who will help you walk through all of those things.

Here are my Top 5 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent:

1. It’s free for you. You do not pay any extra money at all (True 100% of the time for Disney, other vacations it’s also true most of the time). Not sure I need to go on after that, but I will!

2. You may actually even get some financial benefit.  You may get a free credit or gift card for using the Travel Agent.

3. You get access to many additional tips, resources and personalized planning.  For example, they will make suggestions such as which resorts might be best for your family and they can schedule dining reservations for you.  A good Travel Agent will send you tips based on your family needs (ex. links to Disability Access, Stroller Rentals and more).

4. They will check to make sure you have the best price and deal available. If after you book with Disney, for example, free dining specials become available they will notify you and help you switch to a package that may be better for you or give you added benefits.

5. And probably the most valuable reason: you will be able to talk to someone (your Travel Agent) quickly if you come across an issue. There’s nothing worse than having an issue and then having to stay on hold for an hour while you should be riding the Tea Cups with your 3-year-old (even if it is the 5th time in a row!). Your time, especially family time, is invaluable. And a travel agent will help your trip go smoothly and keep your family time exactly that – fun family time together.

Are there any reasons not to use a Travel Agent when booking for Disney? Well, there may be one. If you call into Disney to try to change something with your resort stay, they may direct you to your Travel Agent instead. If this would bother you for any reason, then perhaps that would be a reason. But you can still alter your own Fast Pass and Dining Reservations, using the My Disney Experience App and more. So in my opinion, even an experienced traveler would still benefit from the use of a Travel Agent because you still have control to plan what you want and then get all the other added benefits as well.

For Other Vacations

I would still say yes, most of the time.  But there may be some additional considerations.

For cruises? For example, booking a cruise you may get onboard credit and no extra fees to book with an agent.  If you’ve never cruised or are not an experienced cruiser, a Travel Agent’s tips and information may be invaluable.  If you’ve been on many cruises, it may make sense to book it yourself.

For all inclusive resorts? Many all-inclusive resorts work with Travel Agents the same way.  You may be able to get specials or get some extra advice and tips on the locations from your agent all for free.  I personally would much prefer to speak directly with someone who knows a great deal about a location when trying to make decisions about my vacations.

For International trips? If you’ve never traveled Internationally before and are going with a young child, I would say having a Travel Agent or Guided Tour would make the most sense.  Traveling Internationally can bring so much joy and also can be fret with moments of frustration.  Unlike Disney vacations where Cast Members provide likely the best customer service you’ll ever receive in your life, traveling Internationally can be amazing and yet also confusing and things can change very quickly.  I have traveled in Europe regularly.  Several times I have been in the countryside of Italy and southern Germany and trains just didn’t show up any time near the schedule and the explanation was that they just didn’t that day and you may be told this in a language you do not understand. When traveling with a baby or young child, flexibility is key but so is being comfortable in your environment.  If sudden changes in plans would cause you to be uncomfortable, you may wish to look into a guided trip or something more likely to go very smoothly like a Disney World vacation.

My final thought: If you aren’t sure whether you will use a Travel Agent or not, request a free, no obligation quote! There’s no harm in getting more information from a Travel Agent and you may be pleasantly surprised how much you enjoy your interactions with them immediately.

Hope this helps make your vacation magical!
– Jess

Baby Care Centers at Walt Disney World

Baby Care Centers at Walt Disney World

At all 4 Parks at Walt Disney World, there is a designated space to help you care for your little ones amidst the fun, heat and crowds of the Parks.  If you’ve traveled with a little one, you’ll know that a place that you can change a diaper and let your toddler roam around have a snack in the air conditioning is invaluable.  So you definitely want to know all the details including where to find these spaces, so keep reading…

All of the Baby Care Centers offer the same things:

A safe place to feed your baby or toddler: a (usually private or semi-private) place to breastfeed, warm a bottle or feed solid foods (high chairs and small seats)
An escape: they are all air conditioned and give you a place to escape the heat or weather. They often have a little room to roam around as well as a place to watch a movie and just get some down time if needed
A place for diaper changing: which is usually a much cleaner, safer and easier place to change a diaper than the bathrooms alone offer
An easy way to purchase forgotten items: Did baby have a blow out or you lost the puffs somewhere between your hotel and the Magic Kingdom? All of the Baby Care Centers have onesies, bibs, sippy cups and bottles, diaper and wipe packs and baby and toddler appropriate food and drinks available for sale.
At Magic Kingdom, the Baby Care Center is located directly between Casey’s Corner and Crystal Palace. This is probably one of the more busy Baby Care Centers because Magic Kingdom has a lot to offer little ones and is a must do if you only get one day at WDW with a little one. The nursing room here is, in my opinion, a little awkward. It has just enough room for 6 grandparent-type plush rocking chairs and has a dim lamp. All the chairs can face away from each other. If you can’t nurse in public (ex. distracted eater), are uncomfortable nursing in public or need to pump, this is an excellent option. However, dads aren’t welcome and it would be hard to bring another child in so it definitely has its limits of being helpful.

At Animal Kingdom, the Baby Care Center is located between Pizzafari and the bridge to Africa. There is plenty of space in this Center for young kids and toddlers to run around and the nursing rooms are private so that Dad or other kids can join in this one. There aren’t a lot of places for kids to be kids in the AC or shade in Animal Kingdom, so this is a great option if you get stuck in a Florida summer storm.

At Hollywood Studios, the Baby Care Center is located near the entrance in the same building as Guest Relations. This is a perfect place to watch a movie and get a snack for a toddler.

At Epcot, the Baby Care Center is located in a place that you may not walk by otherwise – when you’re walking from Showcase Plaza toward Mexico there’s a path on the left that will lead you directly there. Like the others, this one offers a clean and comfortable place to take a break and there is a private nursing room.

If you’re having difficulty finding any of them, they are all next to First Aid Centers. You can ask any Cast Member for directions or search “Baby Care” on the My Disney Experience App and find locations that way! Have you been to the Baby Care Centers? What did you think? Let us know!

Hope this helps you have a magical time with your little one! – Jess

 

baby care center walt disney world

Baby Care Center Animal Kingdom

Baby Care Center Things Available to Purchase

Breastfeeding at Walt Disney World

Breastfeeding at Walt Disney World

I fully support all ways parents feed their babies. This post is on how to navigate breastfeeding while in public and while traveling in general and also specific locations that may be more comfortable at Walt Disney World Parks. More information on bottle feeding and pumping while at Disney can be found on our  Baby Care Centers post. Also check out the Rides with Younger Children series for information on breastfeeding on rides at each of the Walt Disney World Parks, start here at Magic Kingdom.

In all 50 states, women have the right to breastfeed anywhere they are legally allowed to be; therefore as long as you are legally able to be where you are anywhere including Walt Disney World, you may breastfeed there. Just recently, Elodie was having an epic meltdown because she needed to breastfeed and I stood in the monorail line with no cover and breastfed her right there standing up because I had nowhere more comfortable or quiet to go. So if you feel like you can and you want to, you can literally breastfeed anywhere! But here are some tips to make it easier and more comfortable.

Where can I breastfeed and stay cool? Especially in the summer and with babies that can’t regulate their temperature well, it’s imperative to get out of the sun and heat as much as possible. Taking breaks to breastfeed in the Baby Care Centers or other air conditioned places can really help. You can breastfeed when you eat your meals which often have air conditioning and shade. There are a few other spots that are air conditioned and have seats like the lounge area when you exit the Character Spot in Epcot but they can be harder to find especially when you have a hungry (and maybe crying) baby. In the cooler months, any shaded bench will do and there are many little corners that have benches that feel a little more private

Will I miss a lot of time with my family? You can breastfeed on rides and not miss time with your family! Especially when Elodie was little, the Carousel of Progress was on one of my go-to breastfeeding places. It’s air conditioned and about 20 minutes where you can watch a classic show and baby has plenty of time to breastfeed. I’ve breastfed on most rides including People Mover, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean (I always wait until after the drop), Spaceship Earth, and even the Safari, and in many of the shows like The Little Mermaid, Lion King and Nemo. It’s comfortable, I’m able to stay with my family and friends enjoying our time together and there’s usually plenty of time for baby to breastfeed on at least one if not both sides. Some are loud and even though babies can go on any rides without a height restriction, some can still be bumpy or have a drop so it may be best to plan ahead if you are not familiar with the ride already. Check out our Rides and Shows with Younger Children Series for more information on which rides may be more comfortable for  breastfeeding.

What should I do if I want to breastfeed in lines and while walking? One option is to breastfeed in a baby carrier. By loosening the straps of a carrier and with some practice, you can breastfeed on the go or in lines. If you have a young baby, it is especially important to make sure you have practiced this and are comfortable doing it because it is not only challenging but it is also important to make sure there is proper support for safety. When I breastfed Elodie in the carrier until she was about 6-8 months, I fully expected to have zero use of my hands but it did help me because the carrier supported the rest of her body while I supported her neck and helped her latch. After she was around 9 months, I could easily breastfeed with either one or both hands free. I am now able to breastfeed while standing and walking too but it took both her having more strength and me having more practice for us to get there. See my on babywearing and join my Facebook group for online help with babywearing and breastfeeding.

What if someone says something to me? This was something I was  worried about in the beginning but never happened to me. I was ready to state my legal right to breastfeed if I needed but have never needed to yet. I did get a few looks that were slightly uncomfortable a few times and my mom once stared a woman down until she stopped because she appeared to be trying to take a picture of me breastfeeding during the Beauty and the Beast show. There are many people of many cultures from all over the world at Disney Parks and so it may be unfortunately something someone may encounter: the dreaded negative breastfeeding comments. But I encourage you to know your rights, have friends and family on board to support you and to breastfeed your baby the way you choose because: your baby, your choice and also literally exactly what breasts are intended to do: sustain life through breastfeeding! The Breastfeeding Coalition of Florida has the handy print out of the Florida law and I’ve placed it at the bottom of this post.

What if modesty is important to you? I personally am not extremely modest but I’m also not extremely comfortable showing too much either. I find that either breastfeeding clothing (shirts or dresses that have slits in them) or using the two shirt method (then you can still do matching family shirts too!) both work well for me. You can also carry and use a breastfeeding cover if you feel more comfortable with that or choose to always breastfeed in a private location like the breastfeeding rooms located inside each park at the Baby Care Centers.

Still have questions or want to know more about the two shirt method so you can still wear your matching “Minnie” and “Mini Minnie” shirts? Join our Facebook group Traveling with Little Kids and we will help you have a magical time with your little ones!

XO, Jess

 

breastfeed nurse baby florida law

License to Breastfeed in Florida

Babywearing at Walt Disney World

Babywearing at Walt Disney World

What if I told you that you could ride rides, hold your toddler’s hand and eat a Dole Whip (with probably none of it spilling on your baby’s head) all while holding your baby? You’d say sign me up, right?! Well I have to say babywearing has been the most magical tool I’ve had. It’s probably my favorite parenting tool overall but definitely while traveling and at Disney. Here are a few tips on babywearing while at an amusement park like Walt Disney World.

1. Find a carrier that works for you and your baby. The best way to do that is to find a local group although they are more difficult to find now that the non-profit Babywearing International closed down earlier in 2018. You may be able to find someone locally who will let you try on a variety of carriers or help you learn how to safely babywear and may even be able to do this through pictures online through Facebook.  You can also check at your local baby store or read reviews online to determine what one might be best for your body type and baby’s personality. I personally have been a long time fan of the Tula Coast which is great for all ages and has mesh to keep you cool. Join our Facebook Group – Traveling with Little Kids – and I as well as other babywearing experts can help you there.

 

baby wear carrier travel disney park

Our Family at Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios

 

2. Stay cool. Especially with Florida summers it’s important that you and baby stay a good temperature. This may mean bundling up sometimes – during that one week of winter – but more often than not at Disney it’s important to find ways to stay cool.  Specifically for babywearing older babies and toddlers I like to use a well insulated cool pack like the one from U-Konserve between our tummies. It makes a huge difference! I also carry the free cups of ice around for me and Elodie.

Our Family Babywearing using a Tula at Walt Disney World’s Pandora

3. Ride the rides. Babies can ride with you on any ride at Walt Disney World except those with height restrictions (ex. roller coasters like Splash Mountain and faster rides like Tomorrowland Speedway). You can also use a baby carrier on any of these rides and do not need to take baby out or pull the carrier down unless you want. This is as long as baby is on the front (babies cannot be worn on the back on rides, assuming for safety but also would be uncomfortable). This means it can be easier to get on and off the rides, have extra hands to grab your bag or another child’s hand and overall it’s more secure and safe for baby. I know there was an age around 9 months where I was super thankful for babywearing on rides because Elodie would occasionally dart around like she wanted to check out London by flying like Tink on Peter Pan’s Flight but babywearing allowed me to feel confident that she would stay safe in the flying pirate ship with me.

4. Protect your back and conserve your energy. Especially on vacation it’s best to take it easy when you can because it’s often a marathon of fun at Disney. That may mean you want to do a few things when you can to protect your back and keep your energy. I personally bring a stroller for long days. Elodie can sit in there for longer walks like walking from Spaceship Earth to the Frozen Ever After Ride (it’s over a mile!) or, as often ends up being the case for us, it can hold stuff while I wear baby.  Also take turns holding or wearing with a partner if you can – my husband loves to wear Elodie. If you’re going for a shorter time (like after dinner for a few hours) you may consider just bringing the carrier and a small bag containing only the essentials as it can be easier to get a few rides done quickly without keeping track of your stroller and navigating it through the crowds.

5. Breastfeed, bottle feed, nap in the carrier. You can do a lot of things while babywearing and so can baby! Reach out to a friend, moms group or me if you need tips on doing any of these things. I’ve breastfed and bottle fed many times in my Tula – it’s perfect for long lines as you’ve got more support. Elodie LOVES napping in the carrier, especially on her daddy’s back. You can really make the most of your trip when you use a baby carrier.

6. Enjoy your adventures!! Most of all, having extra hands and support allows you to enjoy your vacation. Whether your playing games with your toddler or are able to connect with your partner while having a quiet moment as baby naps – just enjoy all the places you can go and the things you can do while holding your baby close!

Hope this helps you have a magical time with your little ones! XO, Jess

 

baby wear carrier tula dad family travel

My Husband Babyearing Elodie in Front of the Castle at Magic Kingdom

 

baby wear carrier travel family

Smiling While in a Carrier at Toy Story Land

Meet Jess and Elodie

Meet Jess and Elodie

Hello,

My name is Jess. I absolutely love to travel and always have. After having my daughter, I realized that travel is quite different and requires a little extra planning and deliberation in comparison to before kids. I’m here to share more about what I’ve learned along the way about traveling with little kids. Here’s a little more about me personally.

Some of my biggest passions are:

My family and friends

Travel

Photography

Disney

Being ecologically responsible whenever possible & eating plant-based

(Not necessarily in that order but these really are my favorite things)

Some of my favorite things to do at Disney are watch the Happily Ever After Fireworks show, meet Mickey and Minnie with Elodie (you should see her light up!) and go on the Safari ride. I also love Mickey pretzels and the plant-based brat at Magic Kingdom! So good!

My favorite travel destination has always been Italy: the food, the café, the romance, the art, the history – I’m just in love with it all!

Elodie LOVES exploring and running around. Anything in the water like swimming and water tables are always a hit. She loves walking around in nature and at Disney. She says, “Disah” and glows when she is on her favorite rides like Winnie the Pooh and Little Mermaid. Her favorite thing to do at Disney is meet the characters. She also, like a very stereotypical toddler, has started to love (vegan) mac and cheez and dislike green foods.

Elodie and I look forward to getting to know you too! Say “hi”to us on social media or if you see us at Disney! We are very friendly and may even have a surprise for you! 💕✨

Elodie’s Favorite Things To Do in All Four Walt Disney World Parks

Elodie’s Favorite Things To Do in All Four Walt Disney World Parks

Elodie is currently one-year-old and here are her most favorite things to do at the four Walt Disney World Parks :

Elodie with Ariel at Magic Kingdom

 

 

Elodie’s Top 5 Favorite Things to Do in Magic Kingdom

  1. Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  2. Meeting Princesses and Characters
  3. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  4. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  5. Tom Sawyer Island  Elodie’s

 

 

 

 

A Magical Disney Moment with Mickey, Minnie and Goofy

Elodie’s Top 5 Favorite Things to Do in Epcot

  1. Meeting Mickey, Minnie and Goofy at the Character Spot
  2. Frozen Ever After
  3. Meeting Anna and Elsa
  4. The jumping water fountains
  5. The Seas with Nemo and Friends

 

 

 

 

meet character disney minnie mouse

Elodie Meets Safari Minnie

Elodie’s Top 5 Favorite Things to Do in Animal Kingdom

  1. Kiliminjaro Safari
  2. Walking around Pandora
  3. Na’Vi River Ride
  4. Meet Mickey and Minnie at Adventurers Outpost
  5. Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

 

 

 

 

baby meet character disney world

Meeting Woody and Jessie at Toy Story Land

Elodie’s Top 5 Favorite Things to Do in Hollywood Studios

  1. Alien Swirling Saucers
  2. Meeting Olaf
  3. Meeting Jessie and Woody
  4. Watching Slinky Dog Dash from the bridge (while we do rider switch)
  5. Run around in the streets of Grand Avenue
Rides and Shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Younger Children

Rides and Shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Younger Children

Babies can go on *almost* all the rides at Walt Disney World.  According to Disney’s policy, babies can go on any ride without a height restriction (think roller coasters and the Star Tours for the height restricted rides). This means that the majority of rides at Walt Disney World can be ridden together as a family if you choose.  But that doesn’t mean that you’ll love all of them for your young children.  Here are some factors to think about: Are there any drops that might startle your little one?  What about noise or 4D effects like water splashing?  Will it be bumpy or too long? There are a lot of factors so here are some of my thoughts on the rides that will help you determine what will work for your family.

Some general tips for riding with younger children:

  • Do a little research about which rides you may want to do at each park and try to get FastPasses for them or even better the rides you’ll do without the kids such as the roller coasters. You can YouTube search any ride and see what they’re like if you still have any questions about if it will work for you after reading this post.
  • If you don’t have a FastPass and you want to ride a ride without baby, you can do Rider Switch. From Disney: Rider Switch Info from WDW
  • You can baby wear on any ride without a height restriction and you can read more about that on this post: Babywearing at Disney
  • Take breaks.  Baby Care Centers are a great place to take a break!
  • As always, stay flexible and know you may get less “done” but the memories will be priceless!

Sunset Boulevard

Fantasmic – a seated nighttime show where you sit in bleacher / stadium seating and watch a boat and fireworks show over the water. It can be a little loud and is a 20 minute show.  Preschool and older children tend to love this show as you can see many favorite characters all in one show with singing and more.

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage – a Broadway style show with songs and dancing up on a stage with stadium seating. A great place for breastfeeding or bottle feeding younger children.  It is shaded and usually stays pretty cool during the day. Elodie loved it when she was younger but it is hard to get her to stay seated for the whole 20 minute show as as a walking/running toddler.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Must be 40 inches –  an elevator drop ride that goes up and down at a fast speed.  It actually goes up and down so fast, you feel weightless for a bit.  It overall feels very “safe” as it’s enclosed and you only get a peek of how high you are; however, many younger children who are over the height requirement may be nervous due to the sudden drops, feeling of weightlessness and the noises of other guests being enclosed so sounding loud.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – Must be 48 inches – a high speed roller coaster that goes topsy turvy and upside down through a city in a “stretch limo” while Aerosmith is playing.  If you love roller coasters, you’ll probably love this ride! Fun fact: I happened to be there when they did a soft opening for this ride and was one of the first to ride around 14-years-old.  I loved it and my mom (who doesn’t like roller coasters) was a little shocked at how fast it went!

Animation Courtyard

Star Wars Launch Bay – This area is all inside – you can watch a short film on Star Wars and what to expect from the new land, Galaxy’s Edge, as well as meet and get pictures with several of the Star Wars characters like Chewbacca, BB-8 and Kylo Ren.  Storm Troopers are walking around as well.

Meet BB8 at Launch Bay Star Wars

Meet BB8 at Launch Bay

Voyage of the Little Mermaid –  a short show of The Little Mermaid with characters live singing on stage with lasers as the main effects.  There are a few times where there are other special effects like bubbles falling.

Walt Disney Presents – This area has showcases of past, present and future Disney ideas as well asa rotating featured short film.  You can also meet regularly rotating characters which right now are from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Toy Story Land (Andy’s Backyard)

Slinky Dog Dash – Must be 38 inches – With a little lower height requirement and being a smooth, easy roller coaster, this makes the perfect roller coaster for younger children like preschool age and older. Elodie absolutely loves watching this ride and laughs the whole time and many of our friends with kids 4 and older absolutely love this fun ride. It’s a perfect first roller coaster ride!

Alien Swirling Saucers – Must be 32 inches – This ride is often compared to the Tea Cups as it’s a ride that spins around the same pace, is covered but not enclosed and has lights and music.  Another favorite among preschoolers and older, this ride is both adorable and fun.  See the video below of Elodie riding this one! She loves it and says, “ahhhhh” the whole time!  See the video of Elodie on this ride below!

Toy Story Mania – a carnival style ride where you ride through different carnival games to get the high score.  This ride is 3D and requires wearing 3D glasses in order to be able to see properly. We often wear Elodie in a baby carrier on this ride, but when she is not in a carrier the cast members are very adamant that she must be facing forward which can be difficult with a younger child if they get scared or overwhelmed by the noises or the way the cart moves fast around some corners.

Character Meets – Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear are usually available to meet by standing in a line.  Additionally, the Green Army Men can often be found walking around Andy’s Backyard.

Meet Woody and Jessie in Toy Story Land

Meet Woody and Jessie in Toy Story Land

Commissary Lane

Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet – meet Mickey and Minnie (separately) dressed up in fancy clothes and get pictures!

Grand Avenue

Muppet Vision in 3D – a theater show in 3D which requires wearing 3D glasses to see properly.  Does include some loud and surprising moments which may be overwhelming for some.

Echo Lake

For the First Time Ever: A Frozen Sing Along Celebration – a comical rendition of the story of Frozen with Anna, Elsa and two narrators including songs the audience is encouraged to sing along with.  There are some special effects like snow falling and this show is surprisingly loud.  I usually ask a cast member to help me find a quieter area as it is too loud for Elodie in most areas.  The quiet area is in the back toward the exit.

Celebrity Spotlight: Meet Olaf – meet and get pictures with Olaf.

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues – Must be 40 inches – a seated and “stationary” ride where you feel like you go through space.  While in some moments a little jerky, this ride overall is pretty mild with not many noises and no real drops making it a good one for adventurous little ones.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple – a 20 minute show where children 4-12 can train to be Jedi.  They will leave their family (still close by) so something to consider if your child would be scared in that situation. It can be loud, even as an observer nearby.

Elodie is currently one year old and here are her most and least favorites:

Elodie’s Top 5 Favorite Things to Do in Hollywood Studios

  1. Alien Swirling Saucers
  2. Meeting Olaf
  3. Meeting Jessie and Woody
  4. Watching Slinky Dog Dash from the bridge (while we do rider switch)
  5. Run around in the streets of Grand Avenue

Elodie’s 5 Least Things to Do in Hollywood Studios

  1. Meeting Star Wars Characters (a recent development)
  2. The noise from the projection show before fireworks show
  3. Sitting still for the shows
  4. Waiting in the lines to meet the characters
  5. Saying goodbye to the characters

Did you enjoy this post? Please share!

And check out the rest of this series:

Rides and Shows at Disney’s Magic Kingdom with Younger Children

Rides and Shows in Disney’s Epcot with Younger Children

Rides and Shows at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Younger Children

Rides and Shows in Disney’s Epcot with Younger Children

Rides and Shows in Disney’s Epcot with Younger Children

Babies can go on *almost* all the rides at Walt Disney World.  According to Disney’s policy, babies can go on any ride without a height restriction (think roller coasters and the Soarin’ for the height restricted rides).  This means that the majority of rides at Walt Disney World can be ridden together as a family if you choose.  But that doesn’t mean that you’ll love all of them for your young children.  Here are some factors to think about: Are there any drops that might startle your little one?  What about noise or 4D effects like water splashing?  Will it be bumpy or too long? There are a lot of factors so here are some of my thoughts on the rides that will help you determine what will work for your family.

Some general tips for riding with younger children:

  • Do a little research about which rides you may want to do at each park and try to get FastPasses for them or even better the rides you’ll do without the kids such as the roller coasters. You can YouTube search any ride and see what they’re like if you still have any questions about if it will work for you after reading this post.
  • If you don’t have a FastPass and you want to ride a ride without baby, you can do Rider Switch. From Disney: Rider Switch Info from WDW
  • You can baby wear on any ride without a height restriction and you can read more about that on this post: Babywearing at Disney
  • Take breaks.  Baby Care Centers are a great place to take a break!
  • As always, stay flexible and know you may get less “done” but the memories will be priceless!

Here is a list of the rides and shows at Walt Disney World’s Epcot and some things to consider when taking your family.

Future World

Spaceship Earth – Sadly, this ride is set to close for an extended period of time soon. It was a great ride for young children and I can’t wait to see what they do with it when it’s reopen.

Epcot Character Spot – On one side you can meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy in a row and the other side you can meet Joy and Sadness and Baymax separately.

 

Meeting Joy and Sadness in Epcot

Meeting Joy and Sadness in Epcot

The Seas with Nemo and Friends – This is a slow ride through the story of Finding Nemo including being able to see the aquarium you can explore after exiting the ride.  We love this ride overall but the acoustics of it makes one part toward the end very loud sometimes so definitely something to consider if you have a noise sensitive child.

Turtle Talk with Crush – This is a sit down show where children can sit at the front and speak directly with Crush through the “aquarium” screen.  This is a fun, interactive show.  For some reason, this one is hard for Elodie, the waiting in the beginning paired with having to sit through a show makes it too hard at her current toddler age but she enjoyed it a lot when she was younger and I think she will love it when she’s a little older and can sit on her own in the front.

Living with the Land – This is a slow boat ride through a story about growing food and goes inside and through the greenhouses.  Quiet and easy often with low wait times, this is a nice relaxing ride for the whole family and can be a perfect spot for breastfeeding, bottle feeding or a nap!

Soarin’ – Must be 40 inches – This ride takes you high off the ground in a simulated glider that really makes you feel immersed into the experience.  While the height off the ground may be a concern for some, otherwise this is a gentle and enjoyable ride making it perfect for more adventurous younger ones.

Journey into Imagination with Figment – This is a story ride through the imagination with the classic figure Figment. It can be a little loud and at one point when “testing all the senses” can be a little overwhelming for Elodie, it’s a generally easy and nice ride for the whole family.

Pixar Film Festival – A 3D interactive show, requires 3D glasses to see properly and also has special effects like your seat actually getting rumbled and more.  I do think of this as one of the most underrated WDW attractions.  I love it and it’s generally a great, cool show for the whole family. At Elodie’s toddler age, it can be hard for her to sit through the whole show but she hasn’t been scared of the special effects.  The short films that are featured change but are often the favorites you’ve seen before your favorite Pixar movies like La Luna (such a cute movie!!).

Chase Card Character Meet – If you have a Disney Visa card or a Chase Disney Debit card, you can meet a few of the characters in this quiet, short wait location.  Last time we were there, they had Minnie and Pluto!

Test Track – Must be 40 inches – A roller coaster that tests the speed, brakes and more on a car you “design.”   This ride can have sudden stops and goes up to mph so this one is definitely for roller coaster and thrill ride lovers.

Mission: SPACE: Must be 40 inches – This ride has you go through space and achieve weightlessness.  This ride can be intense so I would recommend only doing this if you enjoy thrill rides and have a strong stomach! I’ve seen many people getting sick on this one.  There are two choices and the Green is a little less intense because there is no G Force side effects if you want to give it a try but aren’t sure if you can handle the intensity.  There is a play set at the end of this ride so the little ones can play while others ride.

World Showcase

O Canada! – A standing 360 movie narrated by Martin Short of Canadian sights and culture.  I find these standing movies difficult with little ones because they cannot really run around which means you are holding them and standing for 14 minutes.  The movie is cute and funny if you have the time and energy to hold the little one!

Impressions de France – An 18 minute seated show on France and French culture.

The American Adventure – a 30 minute seated show on American history.  My mom loves the singing in this one! If your little one can sit through the show, this is a perfect spot to cool down and enjoy some down time.

Reflections of China – A standing 360 movie, similar to O’Canada above but about China.

Frozen Ever After – This ride includes a short backwards drop followed by a forward drop, both which I would compare to Pirate’s of the Caribbean.  You may get wet (once I got soaked!). It can be a little loud in a few spots but features almost the entire cast including Olaf, Anna and Elsa making this a favorite for many younger children.

Meet Anna and Elsa: You can meet Anna and Elsa and get pictures with the sisters in Norway.

Meeting Anna and Elsa in Epcot

Meeting Anna and Elsa in Epcot

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros – A slow boat ride through Mexico – this is one of my favorites.  Usually a short wait, this comfortable and cool ride is perfect for little ones.  Great for babies with no drops and not very loud, you could easily have baby rest or eat on this ride.

Several princesses meet throughout the World Showcase including Snow White in Germany, Aurora and Belle in France, Jasmine in Morocco and Mulan in China.  Check with a cast member for locations and times.  There are also several water play areas, a play set in the exit area of Mission: SPACE and also rotating play sets during the festivals adding some additional play areas great for little ones!

Elodie is currently one year old and here are her most and least favorites:

Elodie’s Top 5 Favorite Things to Do in Epcot

  1. Meeting Mickey, Minnie and Goofy at the Character Spot
  2. Frozen Ever After
  3. Meeting Anna and Elsa
  4. The jumping water fountains
  5. The Seas with Nemo and Friends

Elodie’s 5 Least Things to Do in Epcot

  1. Turtle Talk with Crush
  2. The standing shows like O Canada!
  3. Sitting still for the Pixar Film Festival
  4. Waiting while Mom rides Soarin’
  5. Saying goodbye to the characters

Did you enjoy this post? Please share!

And check out the rest of this series:

Rides and Shows at Disney’s Magic Kingdom with Younger Children

Rides and Shows at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Younger Children

Rides and Shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Younger Children