What is the best age to take a toddler to Disney World? Is it even worth going if they won’t remember it? How many days does a toddler need at Disney? Are there any Walt Disney World attractions for a 2 year old? These are all common questions I was asked. Thankfully I had been multiple times before, and even though this was my first trip with children, I had an idea of what to expect. I’m going to start by saying that every toddler is different, therefore there is no answer that is perfect for every family. I am going to answer all the questions, tell you about our experience, and our overall opinions of the entire trip in this post anyways. I hope that it will help answer some of the question you have regarding traveling to WDW with a toddler.
First, what is the best age to take a toddler to Disney World?
I have always said between the age of 2, preferably 2 ½ to 3 years old. Why, because children under 3 are FREE! This may be a huge surprise to many of you, but yes, they are FREE! They can get into the parks without a ticket and eat off your plate for free. This is a huge reason why I believe this is a great age to take them. They are also bigger and seem to grasp so much more than we give them credit for once they hit this age. We took on the challenge of Walt Disney World with a 2-year-old. Haelyn was 2 ½ on our first trip. She had an amazing time, loved seeing all her favorite characters, and loved so many of the rides. (More of that later.)
She was able to get into all the parks without tickets, therefore, we were only paying for my husband and myself. Likewise, she ate off our plates most of the time. Trying to book a buffet or all you can eat most days helps when dining with free toddler. Plan these for dinner to avoid being miserable from eating so much early in the day. For instance, we chose to do a character diner at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. It was all you could eat family style. Haelyn filled up on her favorite foods, of course, Neil and I were eating everything! If we were somewhere that we ordered off the menu, we would typically order an extra side of something she liked. They have kid meals available at most locations, but our daughter really doesn’t eat a lot, especially after snacking all day.
Secondly, is it even worth taking a 2-year-old to Disney World?
For me the answer will always be YES! I know that they will not remember it when they are older, but I will. Haelyn will remember the trip for a while, and we created very special memories while we were there that I will cherish forever. WDW is truly a magical place for families to vacation together. It is hands down my favorite place on Earth to visit. Seeing our daughters’ eyes light up every time she saw Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Belle, is something I am truly grateful for.
We also learned so much from our time there. She is a thrill seeker with loves a good ride, an observer who finds things even we simply passed by, and a dreamer. Toddlers will be in awe of the lights, fireworks, and even characters on the sides of buses. They love the big things and enjoyed the small things too. These memories, pictures, and time together is something that no one can take from us, and I am so thankful we had the opportunity to do this.
Third question, how many days does a two-year-old need at Walt Disney World?
Let me start by saying that WDW is big! I mean big, whatever you are thinking is probably not big enough! WDW consist of 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping center, golf courses, and so many resorts! We stuck to just the theme parks with our littles. For that reason, I suggest to plan at least one full day at each park if you can manage. You move so much slower with a toddler, and in my opinion trying to park hop would not be worth it. My advice is to skip a few parks if you can not spend 4 days in the parks. Magic Kingdom is the biggest park with the most for toddlers. We decided to spend 2 full days there, and we still managed to leave some attractions for next time.
On the contrary, I would also advise planning a hotel day somewhere in the middle of your trip. I know what you are thinking, I am paying this money to be here, we are going to play all day. Toddlers get overwhelmed. Not only will they be tired, but you will be tired from keeping up with everything, lugging around the stroller, and carrying them. Not to mention all the extra steps you will be getting in. Taking a day way from the parks could save you money because you are not buying park tickets for that day. Taking the day to sleep in, explore your resort, appreciate all the details, swim, and maybe visit Disney Springs or another resort for dinner.
With that being said, I believe 5-6 days would be my ideal stay, but I will never be ready to leave Disney World. You could even do a lot in just 4 days! It is up to how much time you are willing to be at Disney and away from home. Try to include at least one day after returning home to rest. You will need it after anytime spent at WDW.
Lastly, how many rides can a 2-year-old ride?
There are so many! I have attached a list below categorized by theme park. Keep in mind this is strictly rides for each park. I will break down all the attritions by park in their own individual post. There are a couple of rides that some toddlers can ride, depending on their height. Haelyn’s favorite rides at each park are highlighted in red. Later on I will go into a more detail about these, the number of times we rode them, and all the other many attritions for a two-year-old at Disney World.
- MAGIC KINGDOM
- Astro Orbiter
- “it’s A Small World”
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Jungle Cruise
- Liberty Square Riverboat
- Mad Tea Party*
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Haunted Mansion
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
- Under the Sea
- Walt Disney World Railroad
- The Barnstormer (must be 35″ tall)
- Tomorrowland Speedway (32″)
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (38″)
- DISNEY SPRINGS
- Marketplace Carousel
- Marketplace Train Express
- Frozen Ever After
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Spaceship Earth
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
- Aliens Swirling Saucers (must be 32″)
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad
- Toy Story Mania!
- Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run (38″)
- Slinkey Dog Dash (38″)
- ANIMAL KINGDOM
- Na’vi River Journey
- TriceraTop Express Spin
- Wildlife Express Train Africa
- Kali River Rapids (38″)
Want more tips on how to do Disney World with a 2 year old visit here.