WDW Theme Parks Discuss 3 year old tips in the Vacation Planning forums; Hi all! My wife and I are taking our daughter to WDW in June for her 3rd birthday. I was wondering if anyone has any tips for enjoying the parks ...
3 year old tips
Hi all! My wife and I are taking our daughter to WDW in June for her 3rd birthday. I was wondering if anyone has any tips for enjoying the parks with a 3 year old! Thanks in advance for any advice!
Re: 3 year old tips
Biggest thing - take it EASY! Work on their schedule, not yours. Stop to check out the little things.
Look into renting a stroller from an offsite rental service rather than the ones onsite, if you aren't bringing your own. It would be much cheaper. However, the onsite strollers do offer a lot of area for the kid to take a nap in. But please, watch out for other people's ankles!
If you are staying on property, consider taking a break mid-day and go back to the resort to nap and get refreshed. Without park hoppers, you can go back to the same park you were in earlier. With park hopper, you can go to a different park.
For yourselves, read up about Rider Switch (see the link in my signature). On attractions your child can't ride but you want to, you can at least take turns, especially while the little one naps.
Will your child be 3 at the start of the trip, or during/after? Children who are under three at the start of your trip do not require a ticket - even if they turn 3 during the trip.
Re: 3 year old tips
Great napping places to get them to drift off are the Haunted Mansion, Energy, Great Movie Ride, CoP, Dark and movement with nice A/C. Plan little games for lines. I Spy, favorite boy character boy/girl, find something blue, etc. anything to pass the time yet fun for the 3 year old. If past the diapers, know where the restrooms are and if the queue is long...go even if you don't have to. With my two kids that was a big rule. I am germaphobic so I carried toilet seat covers for the babe's. On vacation I always let them pick what they would eat, drink or snack on, they knew it was for vacation only and made them happy, a bonus for them and other guests around our happy kid. Pack all OTC meds you might need but hopefully not. Freeze some juice boxes in room and take with to parks. Take some time and let her walk around, the hub at the MK, some areas in Adventureland, plenty of walking areas in AK, area near entrance of Backlot Tours or Lake by Prime Time, Epcot by Germany lake or train, the gardens in UK, Gardens in Japan, gardens in Mexico. Both sides of Future Wold have wandering room coves. They need to blow off energy between stroller and attractions to enjoy the parks.
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They aren't really good for anything,
but they still bring a smile to my face when I push them down a flight of stairs.
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Re: 3 year old tips
Since you are visiting during the month of June, my biggest tip is to stay well hydrated.
Either bring plenty of bottled water into the parks or get free ice water at all quick service locations.
It can get hot and humid in June.
Take a break mid-day.
After lunch, head back to your resort to enjoy the pool or relax in your air conditioned/peaceful room.
You are paying a premium for your resort. Why not enjoy it too?!?!?
My children always seemed to fall asleep during the afternoon parades anyways. There was no way I was waking them up!
So, when they were younger, we stopped staying after lunch. To be honest, I needed a nap too!
After refreshed, head back out to a park for an evening parade or fireworks and a few attractions before bedtime.
There are play areas in every park for little ones to let off steam, get out of the stroller and honestly "be a kid".
My kids' favorite in-park play areas:
Laughin' Place (Between BTMRR & Splash Mountain)
Casey Jr Splash 'N' Soak Station (New Fantasyland)
Tom Sawyer Island
Disney's Animal Kingdom
The Boneyard (DinoLand U.S.A.)
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure (Streets of America)
Mission:SPACE (Play area inside the ride exit.)
Plan to return
I know you haven't even visited with your child yet. But, you aren't going to be able to do everything in one trip. Also, as your child gets older/taller, they're able to "enjoy" more attractions. Knowing you are returning one day will eliminate the "must do/commando" touring-style. It will give you a sense of peace where you can stop to smell the roses. Sometimes, those are the most memorable moments.
Expect the unexpected/Go with the flow
Children are very unpredictable. Sometimes they can get over-stimulated at a place like WDW. Meltdowns happen even to the most well-behaved child. Make "tentative" plans. But, be flexible to modify along the way. I always feel so bad when I see a crying child being "forced" onto PoTC by their family. You never know what might trigger fear into your child. Also, be aware of the other guests too.
Plan a character meal around your child's favorite character. It kills two birds with one stone. You have to eat, why not have the characters come to YOU?!?!
Rider Switch (sometimes called Baby Swap) is a program where families with children unable to enjoy an attraction either due to height restriction or fear can let both parents enjoy an attraction without waiting in the stand-by line twice. After one rider has already ridden using a Fastpass or waiting in the stand-by queue, the second party (plus two guests) can bypass the stand-by queue and use the Fastpass entrance or an alternative entrance. You are given a Rider Switch pass.
However, if you are two adults with one non-riding child, the CMs usually recommend just obtaining two Fastpasses. Rider Switch is more to allow the second riding parent the opportunity to ride with the other family members too. That's why they allow you to bring two additional guests.
Personally, I would not use Rider Switch on this trip. JMHO Make it a "family event" and enjoy all the attractions your three year old can enjoy. That alone will consume your trip. So much to do! We didn't use Rider Switch until our third WDW trip when our two older children wanted to do the thrill rides. For four years now using Rider Switch, it has taken us longer to tour the parks. I was sooooo glad when our youngest was tall enough for most of the attractions. Our upcoming May trip will be the first time our youngest is finally tall enough to ride RNR. Yea! Good bye Rider Switch pass!!!
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2014: 06/DCL ~ Alaska (Wonder), 10/DCL ~ Southern Caribbean (Magic) "Sparkly"
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