Photo Credit: Courtesy of Disney
Babies and Toddlers (Birth to 2)
• Keep in Mind: A child's patience and attention span are limited at this age, so tailor your schedule accordingly. Stick to tame, slow-moving rides, and factor in lots of downtime for feeding, changing, snoozing and cuddling. Schedule just enough to sample the magic without overstimulating baby. You can always come back again in a few years when he or she will appreciate the experience even more.
• Parks to See: The Magic Kingdom -- especially Fantasyland and New Fantasyland, where a lot of attractions are specifically designed for little ones.
• Touring Strategies: Head to Fantasyland first; then New Fantasyland. It's where you'll see all the scaled-down classic Disney attractions. If your child slips into her morning nap, relax on a shady bench or check out the charming (and air-conditioned!) Castle Couture at Cinderella Castle or Big Top Souvenirs in Storybook Circus section of New Fantasyland. Break for lunch, then head back to your hotel, or stay a few more hours and leave after the afternoon parade. If you don't mind disrupting your little one's bedtime routine, hit the park again after dinner (if it's open), head for Adventureland and Frontierland and catch the nighttime Main Street Electrical Parade.
• Don't Miss: In Fantasyland: Prince Charming Regal Carrousel; "it's a small world"; The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh; Walt Disney World Railroad (kids enjoy watching it pull in and out of the station even more than they like riding it). In New Fantasyland: Dumbo, The Flying Elephant. In Adventureland: The Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride.
• Skip: Scheduled character appearances (the crowds and the larger-than-life Disney characters may be overwhelming); Tom Sawyer Island (tough to navigate with a stroller) and the Swiss Family Treehouse (too much climbing!)
• Kids May Be Scared By: Dark surroundings and loud noises at some of the attractions (for example, fireworks shows, the Sea Witch and creepy-eyed eels in Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid, or the gunfire at Pirates of the Caribbean ride).
•Meal Plans: Formula, baby food and juice are available at hotel gift shops and the Baby Care Centers located in all the Disney parks. (You can nurse there in a relaxed setting.) For a quick Fantasyland lunch, duck into the Pinocchio Village Haus, where you can cut fruit, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pasta salad into bite-size pieces. Stash small boxes of cereal in your diaper bag to tide kids over between meals. With small children, room service or take-out dinners from hotel food courts may be more relaxing than dining out.
• Best Spots to Greet Characters: From a distance at parades and during meals at The Crystal Palace, where kids can safely wave or call out to characters without getting close enough to be frightened.
• Places to Chill Out: The Baby Care Center (with rocking chairs, toys and baby supplies); the rockers outside the Frontier Trading Post in Frontierland.
• Bring your own lightweight, folding stroller so you can skip the lines (and fees) at the rental counter.
• If your baby's too young for a ride, you and your spouse can "baby switch" at the entrance. Tell the attendant that you'll hop on the ride first while your spouse and the baby wait for you on the sidelines. Then, when you come off, your spouse can ride while you hold the baby.