Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tips for Toddlers (and young children)

Walt Disney World: “Must-Do’s” and Tips for Young Children

Slash Pads and Play Areas: 
Casey Jr. Splash N Soak Station
  • Casey Jr. Splash N Soak Station, Fantasyland/Storybook Circus, Magic Kingdom 
  • Epcot splash pads in Future World: near Test Track, and near Innoventions (on walkway towards World Showcase) 
  • Disney Springs splash pads: near the Christmas store towards the Marketplace bus stop, and outside Once Upon a Toy.  
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground: Disney’s Hollywood Studios 
  • The Boneyard play area and dino dig site: DinoLand, Animal Kingdom 
  • Indoor playground: indoor queue at Dumbo. Enter the line, and when you get inside, you’ll receive a pager instead of standing in line. The kids can play on a wonderfully themed play area, while the adults can sit and rest! 
  • The “Laughing Place”: a small play area for younger ones near the exit of Splash Mountain, under the Train Station. 
  • Jumping water fountains near the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot: not for playing on/in, but fun!
  • Splash and play areas throughout resorts (most Deluxes and some moderates have added great splash areas for the kids in recent years!)
  • Disney Springs: the Lego Store has free building activity tables, where kids can design and create a racecar, and race them down a small track. 
  • T-REX Cafe has a dino-digging area, located just outside the gift shop. Just head into the gift shop, to the right of the restaurant, and make a sharp right into the dig site.  

Free Activities/ Interactive Games 
  • Epcot: Kidcot. Pick up a free craft at any of the countries. Take it “around the world” to decorate it with free supplies. Learn to say “hello” in all the languages 
  • Epcot: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure (free interactive game where you go around the World Showcase and finish challenges) 
  • Animal Kingdom: Wilderness Explorers. Pick up a free field guide, and complete challenges around the park. Earn a badge (sticker) with each completed task. Geared toward older (above toddler age) 
  • Magic Kingdom: Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and A Pirates Adventure. Both are free interactive games that lead you on challenges throughout the park.
  • Hidden Mickey searching. This is an 'unofficial game' you can play by yourselves. There are hidden Mickey's everywhere- and some other hidden characters as well. Have fun searching for these fun details!

Interactive Queues:  
Interactive playground queue in Dumbo!
  • Winnie the Pooh  
  • Haunted Mansion 
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (height requirement: 38”) 
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant (see above: indoor playground) 
  • Not quite interactive, but well themed to keep little ones interested: Toy Story Midway Mania, Under the Sea, the Seas with Nemo and Friends.

Baby Care Centers*:
Located in each park.  A quiet place to step out of the heat for a few moments; change diapers; feed; etc.  Many baby/kids supplies available for purchase, as well as some OTC products if needed.  
  • Magic Kingdom: Between Casey’s and Crystal Palace 
  • Epcot: Odyssey Center, between Test Track and the World Showcase 
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: By main entrance, to the left as you walk in 
  • Animal Kingdom: Near the Tree of Life and Pizzafari
*Diaper changing stations available in all bathrooms as well

Magic Kingdom Baby Care Center
Great Rides or Areas to Cool Down with Little Wait

Magic Kingdom: 
  • Carousel of Progress 
  • Peoplemover 
  • Hall of Presidents
Epcot: 
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends 
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment 
  • American Adventure.  Check the Times Guide for schedule. 
  • Quiet areas throughout the World Showcase.  Take some time to explore the different pavilions. You'll find nice quiet areas tucked away in many of the countries.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 
The Great Movie Ride: a nice long ride to cool you down
(and entertaining too!)
Image courtesy Studio2719.com

  • Great Movie Ride (can be a wait depending on season and time of day) 
  • Quiet area towards the exit of Tower of Terror, as well as the courtyard near Rock N Roller Coaster.  While some of your party rides, these are two nice places to relax.
Animal Kingdom: 
  • Finding Nemo the Musical and Festival of the Lion King.  These are scheduled at certain times throughout the day, so check the times guide or schedule a FastPass.  Each lasts about 25 minutes, and is a great way to get out of the heat (not to mention must-see shows!)

Extra Tips: 
  • You are allowed to bring in food and snacks.  No glass containers or large coolers are allowed. With all the extra walking and excitement, being able to have a quick snack can help prevent hunger-related meltdowns and make your day go smoother! 
  • Stay hydrated. Free cups of water are available at quick service locations. 
  • Take a quick break on transportation! At the Magic Kingdom, you can ride the train around the perimeter of the park.  You can even step right outside the park to ride the monorail once around the Lagoon, or take a boat to a nearby resort to grab a quick snack.  Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios have boat transportation to nearby resorts as well, and Epcot has the Friendship boats that will transport you across the World Showcase Lagoon. 
  • If you have a refillable resort mug, these can be used at any resorts- so make the most of it by hopping over to the closest resort to refill your mug and cool down for a few moments!
  • Characters!!  Be sure to make time to meet the characters.  They can be a HUGE hit with younger children.  Some are available with FastPass, while others tend to have less of a wait. Check out the Character Spot in Epcot, or Pete's Silly Sideshow at Storybook Circus.
  • If you've been before, go back and re-stage pictures from previous visits. These make for great memories!
  • Go at their pace. You'll still fill your days with plenty of fun and attractions, but you'll be amazed at how many wonderful details there are to explore when you see the world through their eyes! 
  • Don't over-plan, and don't be afraid to modify your plans. You're probably not going to see everything in one trip, so make sure that you enjoy what  you do see, instead of rushing to fit everything in. Just have a great time and enjoy being with your family!
Make time for characters!! A big hit many with young kids


What is your favorite tip for families with young children?

Carissa

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