Advice for Traveling with a Two 1/2 Year old


Hi! I’m a long time Disney fan (my dad drove us down so many times all the way from Jersey!). I’m excited to take my little one for the first time in March 2008. She’ll be just over 2 1/2 years old. I’ve currently booked us at the Swan for 6 nights starting Wednesday, March 12. My husband will be at a partial day convention Friday through Sunday.

My two main questions are:

  1. I got the teachers rate at the Swan ($199 + tax), which I think is great. The upside is the proximity to Epcot and the Boardwalk. But the downside is I don’t get Magical Express and the Swan and Dolphin just don’t feel genuinely Disney to me (I’ve stayed at both before). I’m also considering Animal Kingdom Lodge (for the animals-although I wouldn’t be booking a safari view room)and any of the All Star Resorts (for the $ savings). Any thoughts?

  2. Despite numerous times to Disney, I could use some tips for how to do it right with my daughter. We just want to have a great time; I don’t feel a need to do it all. We’ll be back to WDW soon enough.

Thanks for your help!


Welcome to MB! Well…I would highly recommend AKL! It is a wonderful resort if you can swing the price difference. I’ve never stayed at the All Star…so I can’t help you there…sorry:( But…is the convention that your husband attending at the Swan? If so, that might be the most convenient place for you to stay.

I don’t have, and never have had, a little one so I can’t really help there…but I do know that most everyone here that has always recommend one thing…that is to make sure to take a break in the middle of the day. It makes for a much happier trip:)


Welcome to Mouse Buzz!

As far as the hotel is concerned, that’s a pretty terrific rate for The Swan - I don’t think I’d make a switch. I’m not sure about Magical Express - you do share Disney transportation and that is, technically Disney transportation…

As for a first trip with a 2 1/2 year old - well, it’s been a long time - but the general concensus here is don’t try to cram too much in a day, go to the parks early in the morning and take a break in the afternoon for a nap. We’ve also had lots of moms caution about the characters. They can look pretty big and intimindating to a 2 year old, so if she’s leery of them, just let it go. And take LOTS and LOTS of pictures! And have fun!


Go with the flow!

We took our DD to WDW for the first time when she was about 2 1/2 and she did great. You know your child’s personality the best. We did not ever go back to the room for a rest - she didn’t want to leave! We just brought our nice comfy stroller from home and she took naps in it.

Also, bring lots of wipes!


I totally second you Roxie! We have taken our youngest since she was 9 months old on 3 different trips (one when she was 9 mos., one when she was 18 months and one when she was 2 1/2), and we have never gone back for a rest. She always naps in her stroller, and she always has a GREAT time! That’s not to say that other kids won’t need a rest during the middle of the day, but all three of our kids would have to be dragged to the room kicking and screaming for a nap over playing in Disney!!:laugh:

You know your child best, so make a few plans of the things you definitely want her to experience–Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Small World, etc., etc., and just go with the flow on everything else! You’ll love how magical everything is through eyes of a little one!! Have fun!


Great age to go! My stream of consciousness thoughts:

Go slow. Sometimes the simplest things bring the greatest joy. My daughter spent literally a full hour dancing around Italy in Epcot. She loved the music and entertaining the crowds! :wub:

Plan a nap, but be willing to move along it is not happening. Naptime was whenever we needed. Sometimes 11AM, sometimes 5PM. We could not keep a fixed naptime and stopped trying. The “off” naptimes allowed Mom and Dad some time to shop or have a quiet meal. Stay flexible.

At 2 1/2 yo, they don’t know what they don’t know. You might realize you missed Dumbo or the Teacups, they probably won’t. If you miss something and it isn’t an issue, just press on. No point stressing out. Especially if you will be back.

See the snacks thread!

Parades are great for kids - waiting for them not so much. Tough call there.

See above for fireworks. Add in the late night factor. A room with a view of fireworks is a plus.

We like to use our own stroller. Opinions vary.

Lastly: HAVE FUN!


My mistake was planning too much. We ended up spending 2 hours in the boneyard at animal kingdom when I had all of these things planned. I would say “be very flexible” and be sure to do lots of self directed things rather than set attractions. Think Tom Sawyers Island, playgrounds, kiddie pools, looking at trees. Id also choose buffet restaurants so you can eat at your own pace.

Also we used Umbrella strollers with a canvas bag looped around the handles in the back. Very light to carry around.

If you are at Swan, there is a nice beach and sand play area. Very quiet.


I have not stayed at Swan or Dolphin. I have stayed at the All Stars. They are VERY kid friendly. Lots to see for little ones. Nice pools. Bus service is shared with all 3 resorts and can sometimes be a long wait.

We took DD for the first time when she was 2 1/2 also. We had to move at a slow pace. There were a lot of rides she could do… and quite a few she could NOT do. She did not handle it well when big brother got to go on rides with daddy and she did not. We had quite a few melt downs. Remember to bring lots of water/juice/ snacks for her. Definitely use a stroller, either rent or bring your own. The little ones just cannot walk those parks on their own little legs. I would also take a mid day break for a nap & down time. Our little one was always ready for night time fun after a nice rest.


Elmo hit almost all of the points that I would’ve. We took our twin daughters when they were 20 months old a coupld of years ago, and are going back in October when they’re brother will be 21 months.

The only thing I’d add is to get you little one warmed up with the characters a few days before any character meals you have planned. Let them get the feel for the characters and they’ll do great.


I have not stayed at the Swan, but if I were you I would stay put there. While you may not get Magical Express (just from the airport) don’t you still get bus transportation to the parks? I here it is really very nice.


A coworker stay there and loved it. Location is everything. Walking distance to two parks and all the fun at the Boardwalk area. If you deal with getting to and from MCO, it is worth it.


Stroller!!! I cannot stress that enough, your daughter will know when she is tired and want to jump in it to take a nap. My son turned two when we lived down there, so I got it down packed with him. Make sure you have lots of fluids, if you are worried about juice staying cold any restaurant should give you a cup of ice or ice water. Naturally as stated dont rush, but do make plans for things you definitely think she will enjoy. NEMO! Epcot was a must for my son, with you being at the dolphin, you are very close so she may enjoy that as well. Also being young, my son did not want to sit still, so many shows were out of the question. Magic kingdom is a must if you have to limit your park experiences. I dont think I have any more tips off the top of my head, but if I think of anymore I’ll post.


My only tip: Let your child dictate the day!

The reason I say this . . . having been numerous times and seeing parents mad, kids crying, melt downs, AND vomiting, etc . . . it ain’t pretty! GO WITH THE FLOW is the best advice!! :happy:

Even now my DDs are 7 & 3 . . . and if they say they are tired, hot . . . WHATEVER, we head back to the room for R&R (A/C, snacks, tubs, NAPS!) The parks are open late, and it’s always fun to “go back” at night when you are well rested.

There is NO schedule at Disney . . . just one to have FUN!! :heart: :laugh:


Bring stroller, fluids, snacks and suntan lotion. The rest is pure fun.


We took our daughter for the first time when she was 21 months old…that included her 1st transatlantic flight too! I have to stress and cannot say this enough…take breaks often! Use the baby care centres in the parks, usually they all have a tv room and play room…( all except MGM or Hollywood Studios as it wants to be known as from january!:blink: that one just has change facs for babies and feeding room) and really are a godsend for some quiet time.
Bring your own Umbrella stroller as they make light work of everything. Sometimes the queing at the buses and the walk to and from the entances of the parks are a fair way in themselves so the use of a stroller between these areas is great. Also, this will save you lots of $$ as persoanlly I find the charges for the rental strollers quite high not to mention the faff involved in hiring and returning them and so on.
Drink lots and have lots of ice creams…always an excuse with me! :laugh:
Also, don’t push your little one into meeting a character if they don’t really want too. Sometimes little ones adore a character but when they can actually see them and meet them, sometimes it can all get too much and their emotions take over. Do nt force them into anything.

Our DD is 4 now and next year will be her 3rd trip. She loves WDW as do we. You will truly find it magical.

If I can help with anything Pm me, I will do what I can to answer any queries help with tips etc.

have a great trip and btw…Welcome to MouseBuzz!


wow - everyone had such great tips - i’m not sure i can add anything. except…welcome to mousebuzz!!! and have a great time!!


Welcome to our world. I suggest you get a copy of “The unofficial Guide to WDW” and spend some time with it. It will walk you through every attraction at every park. There are somethings you just won’t do with a wee one so why waste your time?

Have a plan - be flexible, but know what you want to do and where it is located.

Naps are a must.


we took our daughter when she was 18 months old. . .she was great - except you really need a stroller that reclines so they can take a nap when they want to or at least rest.

My only other suggestion is to follow your daughter’s lead – do what she wants to do, plan on spending lots of time at Mickey’s toon town.

I don’t think choosing hotel based on your daughter will matter at this age. It will have everything she looks for – bed, food, pool, etc. She probably won’t remember much about the ambience. So, go where is convenient for you and your husband.


Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome to MB and all of the great advice. My husband and I haven’t been to WDW since 2002-can’t believe it’s been that long. We did the 4 night Cruise as a family Jan. 2007. Alana was a bit young for it (dinners were just a nightmare!). But, she’s amazingly mature now (for a 2 year old) and I know she’s going to have a great time at the Park. I’m inclined to stick with the Swan at this point for the location and the great rate, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I change my mind. I’m an early planner, so you’ll be hearing from me again soon looking for input on my itinerary!
Thanks again!


hey…that’s what we are all here for. Anytime you need us just ask away.

Nice to have a new member:happy: