Secret Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World With Babies and Toddlers

Create magical moments at Hollywood Studios, including those with Florida's only snowman, Olaf!
Create magical moments at Hollywood Studios, including those with Florida's only snowman, Olaf!
9/22/23 - By Gina Massaro

Many people ask why take a toddler or baby to Walt Disney World if they won't remember it? It's simple! Parents will always remember their child's first time riding Dumbo, or the smile/horror on their face seeing Mickey for the first time. Toddlers and babies at Disney World will have fun, experiencing new and exciting things. Bonus? Kids are free until they turn three! So for all our parents who dream of bringing their toddlers and babies to Disney World, we have your definitive guide for the best experience possible.

For more tips on a visit to Walt Disney World, like Visiting Every Park at Walt Disney World with Kids or the Best Disney Character Breakfasts for Kids, check out our Orlando Theme Parks & Amusement Parks Guide.


Toddlers & Babies at Disney World: When To Go

Our family's absolute favorite time to visit Walt Disney World with toddlers and babies is the fall. Temperatures are cooler, the sun isn't as strong, and it's not as rainy as summer. There are also seasonal events, like Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, EPCOT's Food and Wine Festival, and, starting in November, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. For the best experience possible, avoid long lines and peak times--usually during school breaks and summer vacation. In addition to fall, early December (before Christmas), late January, and March are also great times to visit. 

RELATED: Fall Fun Guide for Orlando Kids

Pick your horse and go for a gentle ride behind Cinderella’s Castle.

Toddlers & Babies at Disney World: Magic Kingdom

If you only have one day to spend in Walt Disney World with babies and toddlers, make it Magic Kingdom! Magic Kingdom has the most rides and experiences for young kids. There are lots of character experiences and meals, and of course, the best photo opp in front of Cinderella's Castle. A bathroom is never far away, so finding a changing station isn't hard. 

Magic Kingdom Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

Below are our family's favorite rides for babies and toddlers, though it's certainly not all of the rides available to little ones. For example, you can all ride The Haunted Mansion because there are no height restrictions, but that doesn't mean young kids will like it -- you know your child best.   

1. Prince Charming's Royal Carousel - Fantasyland

This is your typical carousel ride and is enjoyable for young babies. Pony and horse lovers, like my daughter, will appreciate this ride!

2. Peter Pan's Flight - Fantasyland

Even as an adult, this is still one of my favorites. Cast members at this ride sprinkle "pixie dust" on your pirate ship before it takes off to the skies. My son was so excited when he got off the ride he tried to test if the pixie dust was still working on him....Spoiler: It was not. 

3. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - Fantasyland

This ride is perfect for babies and toddlers. Sit in a honey pot and journey through the Hundred Acre Wood. The line also has interactive features for kids to play with to keep them busy while waiting. 

4. Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid - Fantasyland

Board this clamshell ride and visit famous scenes from the original movie. Not to be confused with the character meet-and-greet next door, Ariel's Grotto. 

5. Dumbo the Flying Elephant  -  Fantasyland

The great thing about this ride is the line queue weaves through an air conditioned play area. 

6. Casey Jr.'s Splash 'N' Soak - Fantasyland

Monkeys and elephants spray water into a splash area, which is a welcome respite on a hot day. 

7. Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin - Tomorrowland

Gear up for battle and face off against Emperor Zurg -- hit the targets and get a high score. My toddler enjoyed this ride even if she didn't hit many of the targets.

Show your baby the world on Aladdin’s magic carpet ride.

8. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin - Adventureland

This is another version of the Dumbo ride, but it's magic carpets. Watch out for the spitting camel!

Dining and Character Meals in Magic Kingdom with Babies and Toddlers

Though you may not want to waste time at a sit-down restaurant, our family finds it a nice break from all the walking throughout the day. Quick-service spots you shouldn't miss include Dole whips at Aloha Isle in Adventureland and Storybook Treats in Fantasyland. We love character dining, and it's a great way for toddlers to see characters in a less stressful environment than waiting in line. When my son was 18 months he was terrified of the characters at the lined meet-and-greets, but love them during character meals. 

1. Cinderella's Royal Table 

Character dining is expensive, but if you have a princess lover, this is THE place to go. You dine inside Cinderella's castle, where Cinderella and other rotating princesses come by your table and visit. 

2. Be Our Guest 

This restaurant is our personal favorite in Magic Kingdom because we love Beauty and the Beast. The restaurant has three dining areas: main ballroom, west wing, and library. We have dined in all three, but the west wing with the enchanted rose is iconic. Beast will come and visit, which is a rare character to see otherwise.

3. The Crystal Palace

This is such a great Disney restaurant for babies and toddlers because Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore visit for pictures and greets. This is buffet style, and the least expensive option of the three character dining in Magic Kingdom. Kids two and under are FREE.

Toddlers & Babies at Disney World: Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

Many babies and toddlers love animals, and Animal Kingdom is a hybrid zoo-theme park that makes a great stop among the Disney World parks. 

1. Kilimanjaro Safari - Africa

Take a ride through the savanna and see lions, giraffes, elephants and more. The ride can get a little bumpy, so hold onto little ones. 

2. Wildlife Express Train and Rafiki's Planet Watch

Board the train for a seven-minute ride to Rafiki's Planet Watch, where little ones visit a petting zoo, before boarding again back to Africa.

3. Finding Nemo: The Big Blue... and Beyond! - Dinoland U.S.A.

This beautiful stage shows rivals that on Broadway. The show clocks in at just about 25 minutes, perfect for young kids. Get there early to secure seats. 

4. Na'vi River Journey - Pandora

The colorful world of Pandora is breathtaking for babies and toddlers to view. 

5. Maharaja Jungle Trek - Asia

This beautiful exhibit features tigers, as well as big bats. 

Meet Donald and friends on safari at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom.

Dining and Character Meals in Animal Kingdom for Babies and Toddlers

Animal Kingdom doesn't have the widest array of dining options, so a quick service spot may be the best option. 

1. Tusker House - Africa 

Tusker House serves up African-style food, like tandoori chicken and za'tar braised beef, as well as American fare like corn dogs nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Donald Duck is the mainstay character, and the others rotate.

2. Rainforest Cafe - Main Entrance

Rainforest Cafe features non-Disney animatronic animals in the lush jungles, moving and making noise during your meal.

See rays, sea turtles, manatees and more at the aquarium next to The Seas with Nemo and Friends in EPCOT.

Toddlers & Babies at Disney World: EPCOT

EPCOT is my favorite park as an adult, but it's not as exciting for younger kids. There are Kidcot stations located at each country in World Showcase, but the activities aren't as exciting as they once were. Mitsukoshi is my kids favorite store, located in the Japan pavilion, and carries Hello Kitty, Pokemon, and other anime character merchandise.

EPCOT Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

1. Mission Space - World Celebration

This is a conveyor ride, taking riders across the history of human communication. There is a lot to look at, including an interactive element that takes your family's picture. 

2. The Seas with Nemo and Friends - World Nature

This ride gently takes riders across the sea. The backdrop is the actual aquarium, and beloved Nemo characters are projected into the scene. 

3. The Seas with Nemo and Friends Aquarium - World Nature

This aquarium, featuring manatees, large rays, and species of shark, also hosts an interactive, shark-themed play area. You may even see Mickey going for a dive.

3. Journey into Imagination with Figment - The Land

Purple dragon Figment turns the ride on its head as you discover how imagination ignites the five senses. 

Pretend to ride a Vespa before getting on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in EPCOT.

4. Remy's Ratatouille Adventure - France

Shrink down and see what life is like from the point of view of a rat. This ride is perfect for curious children.

5. Frozen Ever After - Norway

Frozen lovers won't want to miss this ride, which takes you through Arendelle. There is a slight backwards drop, which both my children rode as babies and toddlers. The picture snapped at this moment is one of my favorites. 

6. Gran Fiesta Tour - Mexico

Follow Donald, Jose, and Panchito (known as the Three Caballeros) on leisurely boat ride inside the Mexico pavilion building. Lots of bright colors make this a fun ride for babies and toddlers. 

Dining & Character Meals at EPCOT for Babies and Toddlers

EPCOT arguably has the best food of all the Disney parks! You can't go wrong eating at the quick service or sit-down restaurants in World Showcase. On a hot day, don't pass up the kakigori (shaved ice) cart in Japan. 

1. The Coral Reef - World Nature

This fun restaurant allows families to dine alongside the aquarium. 

2. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall - Norway

Disney princesses appear on a rotating schedule, including Ariel, Snow White, Jasmine, Tiana, Aurora, and Belle. Currently, this is a family-style restaurant with Norwegian dishes. 

3. Teppan Edo - Japan

My kids love hibachi, and Teppan Edo puts on a great show, with some Disney inspiration.

Even Wookies know not to disturb sleeping toddlers at Walt Disney World.

Toddlers & Babies at Disney World: Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios doesn't have many rides for babies and toddlers, but they do have interactive experiences that may be worth a visit. Toy Story Land shrinks you down to the size of a toy; you may even spot green army men walking around! 

Babies love the colors and characters of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Rides and Attractions at Hollywood Studios for Babies and Toddlers

1. Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway - Animation Courtyard

This is my favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World! My kids and I love the newer Mickey cartoons, and this ride transports you directly into one. It's incredibly fun, with great movement, perfect for babies and toddlers.

Toy Story fans will not want to miss Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios.

2. Toy Story Mania! - Toy Story Land

Similar to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, this attraction is also a ride-game. The line for this ride can get very long, so plan accordingly.

3. Alien Swirling Saucers - Toy Story Land

Similar to spinning carnival rides (though not nearly as fast), riders can swish gently from platform to platform. 

4. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-A-Long - Echo Lake

Sing along to your favorite Frozen tunes. Anna, Elsa and Kristoff make an appearance throughout the show! 

5. Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage - Sunset Boulevard

This 30-minute stage adaptation includes your child's favorite Disney characters and beloved music. 

6. Disney Junior Play and Dance - Animation Courtyard

Toddlers get on their feet and dance along to music with their favorite Disney Junior stars like Doc McStuffins and Vampirina. FYI: Bluey and Bingo are owned by BBC so do not make an appearance.

 Meet Minnie and friends in seasonal clothing at Hollywood and Vine’s lunch or dinner service.

Dining & Character Meals at Hollywood Studios for Babies and Toddlers

1. Hollywood and Vine - Echo Lake

Hollywood and Vine has differing seasonal parties, meaning different outfits for Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy during lunch or dinner. At breakfast time, the restaurant hosts a buffet with Disney Junior characters like Doc McStuffins and Vampirina.

2. Roundup Rodeo BBQ - Toy Story Land

Yee-haw! The newest restaurant in Hollywood Studios transports you to Woody's wild west. See Andy's toys while dining on tasty barbeque dishes. Note: This is NOT a character dining location. 

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Baby care centers are located at all four Disney parks, which provide private nursing rooms, highchairs, a kitchen with microwave and sink, changing rooms with tables, and a store with formula and other baby needs.
  • Children under age 3 get in FREE.
  • At the front of each park is a stroller/wheelchair rental station. Wagons are banned at Walt Disney World. Strollers must be smaller than 31 inches wide and 52 inches long.
  • If you go during the summer, get to the park early and take a break at the resort during the intense afternoon heat.
  • Genie+ is Disney's new Fast Pass service, and worth checking out if you go during a peak time. It allows you to "wait" while walking in the park as opposed to in a line.
  • For those with disabilities or issues waiting in long lines, look into DIsney's Disability Access Service, which works similar to a Fast Pass or Genie+, to see if you qualify.
  • Mears offers shuttle service from Orlando International Airport to the Disney resorts. This is an affordable option for traveling from the airport to your resort. Many Ubers and Lyfts do not have infant car seats. 
  • Dining reservations should be made up to 60 days in advance, especially if you want a popular eatery like Cinderella's Royal Table.
  • Check Walt Disney World's website for current deals and offers on vacation packages. 

Photos by the author

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