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Old 03-29-2016, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Gorgeous South Florida
499 posts, read 413,535 times
Reputation: 748

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We are taking our first trip to Disney with our 3-year-old daughter in May. Friends of ours (with a 2 year-old) have rented a house in Orlando for a week. We've been to Disney before but not for a long time and never with small children. We will drive to Orlando and back from our home in Wellington (2.5 - 3 hours). How many days do you think we should stay? Is two days at the park enough time/ worth it or should we stay longer? Should we do a park hopper or is it too difficult with small kids? Can we bring in our own food/bottles in with us? Should we bring or rent strollers? How much money should we allot for food each day? I know mapleleaf.com sells tickets and we do have AAA. Any thoughts/suggestions/ideas/input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:41 PM
 
34,258 posts, read 41,302,530 times
Reputation: 29751
Bring sun screen,aspirins and plenty of water, if you are just doing Magic Kingdom 2 days will suffice. By all means rent a stroller for the child as its going to be a lot of walking involved.
You can bring your own food as long as it doesnt need to be cooked.
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/fa...ood-and-drink/
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Huntsville, AL
1,598 posts, read 4,127,741 times
Reputation: 1412
Park hopper, IMO, completely unnecessary, especially with a 3-year-old. I would go single-day and spring for an additional day or two instead.

You can bring your own food and drinks, yes.

My recommendation is to get the park bright and early - 1/2 before park opening at least. The crowds seem bad at the entrance, but matriculated through the park it means much shorter wait times. Then do lunch at like 11 am, sensible with a little one and avoids the lunch rush, and then spend an hour or so after lunch just seeing the sights and window shopping in the early afternoon..

And then (I know this is tough) GO BACK TO THE HOUSE AND NAP! This is PIVOTAL! I've seen SO many families at Disney World with little tots and people are screaming and yelling at their kids in the miserable, exhausting heat of the afternoon. That is NOT worth trying to cram a few more hours in the park.

If you have the energy and are so inclined, you can go back in the evening, but when when I had kids that young I found more often than not that we were done for the day. We would choose 1 evening for park time and a fireworks show and rest the other nights. Save the "do it all" trip for when they are older and more resilient.

I do think EPCOT and Animal Kingdom are worth a visit with little ones. Hollywood Studios with a 3-year old I'd frankly skip it, unless your tot is a Star Wars FANATIC. EPCOT has always been my kids' favorite park, even as littles, though most littles prefer Magic Kingdom.

Once you get your tickets, go on the Disney site according to the ticket instructions and reserve your FastPass times. This is also pivotal. You can get FastPass times in person but really most of the times for the attractions that actually can benefit from FastPasses are already taken by the time you can get to a park kiosk. With a 3-year-old you won't need FastPasses for big headliner attractions but you can still use them for small rides that often have ridiculous waits (like Peter Pan) or for key character meet-and-greets.

It is worth doing some online research to read up on attractions and choose the ones you think your child will like and plan for them. You can research attraction wait times too so you can use your FastPass slots wisely. Researching will also help you avoid attractions that might startle or upset your 3-year-old. (It's Tough to Be a Bug show in Animal Kingdom, and Stitch's Great Escape, for example, are both based on tot-friendly movies but reviews will show that these attractions are often terrifying to preschoolers and best avoided if your tot is sensitive to such things.)

I know some people hate the idea of planning so much and imagine the parks generally enjoyed with some spontaneity, but frankly IMO those parks have gotten so crowded that if you don't plan at least a little you are going to end up spending hours more in line than a visitor who plans.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Gorgeous South Florida
499 posts, read 413,535 times
Reputation: 748
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenjenn View Post
Park hopper, IMO, completely unnecessary, especially with a 3-year-old. I would go single-day and spring for an additional day or two instead.

You can bring your own food and drinks, yes.

My recommendation is to get the park bright and early - 1/2 before park opening at least. The crowds seem bad at the entrance, but matriculated through the park it means much shorter wait times. Then do lunch at like 11 am, sensible with a little one and avoids the lunch rush, and then spend an hour or so after lunch just seeing the sights and window shopping in the early afternoon..

And then (I know this is tough) GO BACK TO THE HOUSE AND NAP! This is PIVOTAL! I've seen SO many families at Disney World with little tots and people are screaming and yelling at their kids in the miserable, exhausting heat of the afternoon. That is NOT worth trying to cram a few more hours in the park.

If you have the energy and are so inclined, you can go back in the evening, but when when I had kids that young I found more often than not that we were done for the day. We would choose 1 evening for park time and a fireworks show and rest the other nights. Save the "do it all" trip for when they are older and more resilient.

I do think EPCOT and Animal Kingdom are worth a visit with little ones. Hollywood Studios with a 3-year old I'd frankly skip it, unless your tot is a Star Wars FANATIC. EPCOT has always been my kids' favorite park, even as littles, though most littles prefer Magic Kingdom.

Once you get your tickets, go on the Disney site according to the ticket instructions and reserve your FastPass times. This is also pivotal. You can get FastPass times in person but really most of the times for the attractions that actually can benefit from FastPasses are already taken by the time you can get to a park kiosk. With a 3-year-old you won't need FastPasses for big headliner attractions but you can still use them for small rides that often have ridiculous waits (like Peter Pan) or for key character meet-and-greets.

It is worth doing some online research to read up on attractions and choose the ones you think your child will like and plan for them. You can research attraction wait times too so you can use your FastPass slots wisely. Researching will also help you avoid attractions that might startle or upset your 3-year-old. (It's Tough to Be a Bug show in Animal Kingdom, and Stitch's Great Escape, for example, are both based on tot-friendly movies but reviews will show that these attractions are often terrifying to preschoolers and best avoided if your tot is sensitive to such things.)

I know some people hate the idea of planning so much and imagine the parks generally enjoyed with some spontaneity, but frankly IMO those parks have gotten so crowded that if you don't plan at least a little you are going to end up spending hours more in line than a visitor who plans.
OMG -thank you, thank you, thank you!! So many helpful tips - this is exactly the type of info that I need!
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