How to Successfully Travel to Walt Disney World with a Toddler According to a Floridian – Part 1

Photo Courtesy: Disney

Hi there! So you want to successfully travel with your kiddos. Sometimes as a parent traveling with children becomes more of a chore than anything else. You never know how they’ll behave so prepare for any and everything.

We are based out of South Florida and short drive away from the “Happiest Place on Earth”, it isn’t a big deal to take a drive to Walt Disney World®. I couldn’t tell you much about the car/plane ride but I what I can do is tell you what does work when you arrive at the Disney parks.

First time I took my son to Walt Disney World®he was a few days shy of his first birthday. It was on the weekend after New Year’s so the weather was quite nice. Florida weather could be tricky, especially around this time. It could be chilly or it could be hot, so always check in advance and hope for cooler weather.

We stayed at the Gaylord Palms Hotel during their ICE Christmas event.

Photo Courtesy: Gaylord Palms Hotel

“Set on 63 acres, this polished hotel with a glass atrium garden is 3.2 miles from Walt Disney World®.
Warm, straightforward rooms with marble baths have free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges and coffeemakers. Suites add pull-out sofas and wet bars; upgraded suites feature living rooms with dining tables.
There are 3 restaurants, a cafe and 2 bars, including a sports bar with a 37-ft screen. Amenities include 400,000 sq ft of meeting space, an outdoor adults-only heated pool, a water park, and a spa. There’s a children’s game room, and the chance to feed baby alligators. A resort fee covers a theme park shuttle and use of a fitness center.”

Photo Courtesy: Gaylord Palms Hotel

We had a lot of fun while staying there, and my son loved their pool. There’s an area for toddlers to play in their water park and for the big kids. I definitely recommend.  One thing we did request was a King size bed at the time we booked but they were all out apparently since we are a co-sleeping family it would help. Although they did say we could switch rooms the following day, but we declined.

Photo Courtesy: Gaylord Palms Hotel

We arrived at the park, in our case we went to Magic Kingdom, late in the morning after a breakfast at a Panera Bread near to the park and after a very brief nap we arrived at the park.

Parking at Disney (per Disney website)

The rate depends on your vehicle, but each theme park lot charges the same rate per day.
Automobile, taxi, limo or motorcycle: $17 USD
Camper, trailer or RV: $18 USD
Bus or tractor trailer: $21 USD
Once you pay for the day, you may park at any of the theme parks.
If you are a Guest of a Disney Resort hotel, you receive complimentary parking at Disney theme parks for the length of your Resort stay. You must present valid Disney Resort hotel identification to enter the parking lots. Parking is also complimentary with select Annual Passes.
Prices subject to change without notice.

Everything feels magical at Disney. Even for the adults! But the look on the children’s faces trumps anything. Although my little one didn’t understand much, he was still able to have fun. We were able to plan our ride choices ahead of time, you can make your selections 30 days ahead! you can find out more about FastPass here, it is definitely worth it, who wants to wait in line with a toddler? NO ONE!

One thing I do have to mention that is new, is a wait & play line for the Dumbo The Flying Elephant ride.

magic kingdom, successfully travel
Photo Courtesy: Disney

Play Before You Ride

A circus-themed play area keeps the little ones having fun before taking flight. Upon arrival, you’ll receive a pager that “virtually” holds your place in line. Step inside the big-top tent and enjoy an air-conditioned playground complete with slides, climbing net, and even a toddler section. Kids of all ages will love to be part of the circus show as parents relax in ample seating.

If you’re using Disney FastPass+ service, you’ll bypass this area and go straight to the FastPass+ entrance. But I think it’s something nice to enjoy with kiddos. I would go after you’ve had a busy day at the park, so you can sit on their benches in an A.C. area and let the kiddos run free. It’s a good time to relax a little bit before running around the park.

This is Part 1, Stay Tuned for Part 2, I’ll discuss lunch options & what you should take with you.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful time at Disney!