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Taking Kids to WDW


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  • [Question] Taking Kids to WDW

    I have a few questions on taking kids to WDW. I would like to surprise my parents for Christmas with a family trip to WDW for next Spring sometime. I would like to take the whole family. This would include myself and my boyfriend, my brother and his wife and my 2 nieces, as well as my parents. If we went next spring my nieces would be 3 1/2 and 1 1/2.

    On to my questions:

    1) I know my youngest niece would be too young to enjoy WDW, but would the 3 1/2 year-old be too young as well?

    2) I think I've heard of baby-sitting services at some of the resorts? If so, how does this work? And which resorts? I don't think we'd need this every day as we'd take turns taking the girls, but just incase so I'd have the info to give to my brother.

    3) What is the weather like in February-April? I'd like to go when it's warm enough for the girls to get to play in the pool, but not overly crowded, so they don't get too overwhelmed with the heat, the crowds and getting to meet Mickey!

    Thanks for any help!
    With great pride: Disney Store Cast Member August 2011-Present

    D23 Charter Member - 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

    WDW Trips: June 2012, 2010, 2008, 2007, 1997, 1996, 1994

  • #2
    Re: Taking Kids to WDW

    Well I was prepared to take my 3 year old cousin and her mother this year to WDW for the summer but the mother had to back out at the last minute but the 3 year old girl in question was ready to go.

    I figured she'd be needing a stroller, which I would recommend bringing your own for them and not renting them as the price for them has gone up.

    Hopefully your 3 year old niece isn't shy of characters because the one I would have been taking is. Thanks Chucky Cheese! I also figured she wasn't going to remember the trip and the trip was more so for the memories of the parents and anyone else travelling with them. Just remember to take loads of camera film and video to show them when they are older.

    All I or we can suggest is to take breaks in the middle of your day to go back to the resort to have the kids rest, most likely with the parents so that both couples could venture out on their own, kidless on some days.

    Don't forget about the FastPass thing with the kids. I forgot what it is called but you get to use the children to bypass the long lines, DING DING!

    As for the resorts, which one do you plan on staying at? You may just want to get their main line number off and call them directly. They may suggest another hotel or other services at the parks. I diffently know the Grand Floridian offers a daycare program where they take the kids for a few hours, 6 i think. And I'm not sure if you have to stay there to book it although I could be wrong about that.

    Well March is Spring Break time. Expect busy but not sure about the weather during that time as I've never gone myself during those months. Again, once you have a few resorts on your mind to stay at, why not give them a ring to see how their pools are operated during those months because our advice may be different then what they say and vice versa.

    Let us know which resort you're thinking about staying at.


    • #3
      Re: Taking Kids to WDW


      I think you've got a great plan going! My wife and I are long-time WDW lovers (my wife was even the Little Mermaid for a time at MGM), and we took our kids when they were, coincidentally, 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. We had a GREAT time! The little one was definitely not too young to enjoy it, and the thing we loved the most was that all of the magic was real to them- all of the characters were just that- characters- and not just costumed people. One particular highlight was a character breakfast we did with the Little Einsteins- the 3 1/2 y.o. was into them at the time, and the sheer joy on his face was worth every penny of the entire trip! (Although the two of them also had a great time splashing in the puddles outside the resort one morning after a rain. We paid HOW many thousand dollars to splash in the puddles?)

      Yes, the little one didn't like the characters up close- but she really loved seeing them from a distance. There are lots of fun things to do with the little ones as long as you proceed at THEIR pace- that means stopping to watch bugs, looking in the water at the grotto, spending 45 min. at Donald's Boat (and stripping down to run around in the water), playing in the play areas, etc. We didn't end up going back to the hotel during the day, but instead let them nap in the double stroller we lugged along (which was great, but a bear to get on the buses, particularly at park close). We didn't do park days back to back, however, instead taking a day off in between each park day. If I had to do it again, I probably would have skipped EPCOT and gone back to the MK a second full day (we did go back at night after a day somewhere else)- there is just so much to see and do at MK for them.

      Our second trip with them was when they were 4 1/2 and 2 1/2- and we got caught up with family in trying to "do rides"- and it wasn't nearly as fun until we just stopped and told ourselves that there was no reason to run back and forth across the park, and that we needed to take things as they came, and let the kids dictate what we did.

      OK, summing up: 1) They're not too young (I'd say the perfect age); 2) Bring your own stroller (but be prepared to lug it on the buses); 3) Plan your park days looking to keep the kids from burning out; and 4) Don't be afraid to split the party up- everyone doesn't need to go at toddler pace through the parks- but get together for certain rides, play areas, ice cream, etc. After all that blah-blah, I'm really looking forward to our next trip (hopefully this fall)!


      • #4
        Re: Taking Kids to WDW

        The first time that I took my grandson to Disney World he was 4. I had a great time, and so did he. For my grandson, he wasn't afraid of the characters, because I explained to him that those were not real animals in those costumes. Yes, he was terrified of Chuck E Cheese. By the end of our vacation, he was hamming it up with Mickey, Goofy, Pluto, Minnie, and Chip and Dale.

        I spent a lot of time keeping my eye on Sean, so I wouldn't lose him. So, I perhaps didn't see as much of the sights, as I did of him seeing the sights. However, that short 5 day trip holds many memories. He had his haircut at the Barber Shop. He saw the Castle at Magic Kingdom decorated like a birthday cake, because coincidentally they were celebrating their 25th, and I was celebrating my 50th. When he was older, he kept telling me that he didn't want to go back, because the castle wasn't a cake anymore.

        Of course we did go back. In fact Sean is 16 years old, and he still likes going to Disney World, and Disneyland.


        • #5
          Re: Taking Kids to WDW

          I think our 2.5 year old had MORE fun than the 5 year old... Especially Character events -- as she TOTALLY buys that that's really Mickey Mouse.

          By contrast, the 5 year old is going on 9, and wants to hate everything as a tween. Being only 5, though, she can't sustain that attitude and ends up having fun...

          Oh, but the face on her for the photo on the way into Hoop-dee-doo... I think she suspects the costumes aren't REALLY the characters... Of course, the Princesses and Fairies are totally real cause they're not in costume....

          I love my kids.
          Last edited by mikelieman; 05-20-2009, 02:51 PM. Reason: Whitespace is your friend. Run on sentences make Mary Poppins cry.


          • #6
            Re: Taking Kids to WDW

            I think a 3.5 year old will be able to enjoy the park. The first time I went to Disneyland I was 2 and I can still remember parts of the day. I can't say that they are going to remember everything in the future, but I'm sure they will have a wonderful time while there. I can't really help with the other questions, but best of luck to you!
            "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." -Henry David Thoreau


            • #7
              Re: Taking Kids to WDW

              My daughters were 3 and 6 when we took them to WDW. The thing that we did that made long days more bearable for us was to go back to the hotel in the late afternoon/early evening and swim in the pool. We stayed at All Star Sports, so we would park the girls with an adult in the pool, grab dinner from the food court, take dinner back to poolside and then the girls could jump out and eat whenever they wanted. Of course, my girls weren't nappers, a 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 year old probably need naps, but it was nice to get cooled off (it's much cooler where we live than it is in Florida, so even in May, it was very hot to us) and relax, then we would go back to the parks at night for rides, parades, fireworks, etc.


              • #8
                Re: Taking Kids to WDW

                Both girls will have a blast! My daughter was 3 months old when we started taking her and at 2 1/2 just ended out last trip (what a blast!). Its amazing how even when she was a baby how much she loved it. The 3 1/2 year old will probably be so much fun to be around. The 1 1/2 might be prone to get scared on rides if she is afraid of loud noises, but I don't think its worth the money to have them checked into the baby sitting programs. There is soooooooo much for little ones to see and do, that's fun for adults to enjoy that you wouldn't want to pass the chance to see their little faces as they experience each new exciting thing. They are going to have so much fun. That's the great thing about Disney parks is any age can enjoy them. With my daughter we just tried to keep to her normal scedule as far as naps and waking went, and we usually pick one or two night time shows we will see. Usually our she conks out around her normal bed time. The only issue we ever have with our daughter is getting to sleep in those tiny rooms. We make a room divider from sheets and that usually helps her, somehow.
                I'll echo the other posters in that you should definitely bring your own stroller.
                February is still cooler but by march you can definitely take a dip in the pool. If you avoid holidays and spring break you should miss most of the crowds.


                • #9
                  Re: Taking Kids to WDW

                  Definetly not too young. I took my son when he was 1 yrs old, at 1 1/2, and we just got back last week and he is now 2 1/2. He loves it. Just remember to keep at their pace. My niece and nephew also went, ages 5 & 7. Everyone had a great time.
                  My son particularly enjoyed the character events. He is not afraid of them and got a kick out of meeting them. The excitement on his face when Pluto walked by and waved to him is magical. Just bring a stroller and allow nap time. We did not go to the hotel for naps, but he is content to nap in the stroller. Its a lightweight, but he can lie all the way down in it. When he napped, I looked around in the stores and just strolled around, allowing him time to sleep. We also keep our dinners earlier to accomidate the childs schedule. Just be prepared to move at the children's pace and allow time for them to unwind. There are playground areas in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot which helped. Also, we took a 7 day vacation at the resorts, we only went to the parks 4 of those days. The remainder we spent enjoying the pool and other WDW ammenities. I find this helps him not get to flustered.

                  Also, we always rent a car. I find it easier with the kids than using the buses. This is a personal preferences. Also, I do suggest having at least 1 character meal. It is fun for the kids, and adults to .
                  Fratsor Sister - Delta Mu Chi Alpha



                  • #10
                    Re: Taking Kids to WDW

                    1) 3.5yr old will love it. They remember bits and bites. My youngest is now 5.5 and we are going back in just a few weeks. She's been asking, and remembers some things but not all. Ironically she remembers things people hate on here most... HISTA and Playhouse Disney.

                    2) babysitting, I've never used it sorry.

                    3) Weather - it can be pool weather (especially dpending on what you are used to) but the weather is great for the parks. It usually in the 70s which without a lot of sun would be cold in the pools.. but hotel pools would certainly be in the mix. I'd question about going to the water parks (usually they alternate their annual refurbs in that time window)

                    Tips I'd give
                    - you got a big group there. Don't be shy about splitting up.
                    - you are in a good time window, but be careful about spring breaks and easter!! that's a really busy time


                    • #11
                      Re: Taking Kids to WDW

                      3 1/2 will enjoy it... the other one... I'm sorry but under 2 year of age they really don't have a clue, you cold take them to a toy store and wave hand puppets in their face and they would smile and laugh as much as they will at Disney.... I know a lot of parent swear that their little 1 year old or even 6 month old simply loved Disney - I'm sorry to say that the moms and dads might have but at that young of age, it really is a bit of wasted effort.

                      As for your other questions.

                      Disney does not offer baby sitting for your age kids. Some of the resorts do offer a sort of baby sitting service for slightly older kids but the toddlers aren't old enough for it. You can hire baby sitters that will come to your room, no matter which resort you are at and watch the kids, but they aren't Disney sitters (liability if something happens resulted in Disney avoiding this activity).

                      If you do decide to stay on site the best value for your group might be a Disney Cabin (which is now considered a moderate level resort instead of a Deluxe so it is now cheaper), they have more room than the other places and come with a kitchen and full sized ice box.... the only down side is they aren't really themed like the other resorts.

                      If money is no object, then you would want to consider a monorail resort as travel with little ones that need naps is easier that way... if you aren't doing monorail, rent a car while you are there taking very little ones on the buses for travel to and from parks isn't fun especially when they are tired and want to get back for a nap and have to stay in line for a bus for an hour.

                      And by all means get a stroller of your own. Not only are the ones at Disney very expensive to rent, but if you have your own you can use it to push them around outside the park... at the Magic Kingdom you would only get a stroller rented inside the actual park, while with your own you can take them from the transportation center onto the monorail and into the park all while having them in your stroller and not having to carry them. A double stroller was I think 35/day the last time I was there... you can buy a double stroller at a Target near Disney for maybe 120.... so even if you don't want to bring your own it is cheaper and better to buy one when you get there if you are staying 4 days or more, you can even throw it away at the end of your trip or donate it to a goodwill that was our solution the last time we were there with little ones.

                      The weather in that time is fine, the only downside is that the park hours aren't as long as in the peak times.

                      One thing to try and do is a character meal, this is mostly for the benefit of the 3 1/2 year old... so if she likes Pooh character you would want to try for the Crystal Palace at lunch time.... if she likes Mickey then Breakfast at Chef Mickeys... For Princesses you have two good options... Dinner at the 1900 Park Fare for Cinderella, Prince Charming, the step mother and step sisters (good food also)... or Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for lunch (usually multiple princesses that include Ariel, Belle and some others (food isn't that good but the most princesses for your money).... DO NOT get sucked into the Cinderella Royal table breakfast in the Castle, the food is horrible and your interaction with Cinderella is exceedingly brief (you will be able to get pictures with her at a meet and greet and save yourself considerable money).

                      Also remember you can take snacks and little juice boxes into the parks in your diaper bag... those items will go a long ways in making your little ones happier during long lines.


                      • #12
                        Re: Taking Kids to WDW

                        I think your 3 1/2 year old will enjoy the experience. We took my boys when they were about 4 and 2, and the 4 year old really loved it. Our 2-year-old...not so much. But all he cost us was the plane fare, which we used miles for, so it wasn't really like we were concerned about spending all that money on his admission (free under 3) and room (we had to get it anyway). (He loves Disney as much as his older brother now.)

                        My older boy really liked the character breakfast; we did the one at Polynesian (Ohana) which is a good one - they bring the stuff to your table instead of you having to go to a buffet.

                        The Polynesian has a "Neverland Club" or something like that which will babysit children but I don't think they take kids under a certain age. Which is understandable. I'm sure other resorts have something similar. We've never used them. We're there to spend time together - us AND the kids...

                        As far as weather - we were there in January. The week before, they had temps in the 70's. Not great pool weather, but not bad. Our week they had temps in the 50's for most of the week (beginning and end were better) and it hit freezing in the AM a couple of days. As far as crowds, we were there over the MLK holiday, and there were tons of tours from Brazil there. The crowds were as big as they are during the summer/warmer months as far as we could tell. So...hit or miss on pool weather, and hit or miss on crowds. I've never been to WDW when it wasn't crowded, so I have a hard time believing that there are such times.


                        • #13
                          Re: Taking Kids to WDW

                          Hey Duck,

                          We first took our son to WDW when he was about 2 1/2yrs old and we were fine with him...was just the 3 of us. We took a cheap stroller from home but we rarely used it other than to carry all the shopping hehe and when he passed out on Mark's shoulders. I can't remember if they did the Parent Swap then but we just took turns on rides. Never used the babysitting service.

                          He loved meeting all the characters (actually he got more shy with them as he got older...the bravery of the young hehe) he even got a Minnie Tattoo in Animal Kingdom as he really had a thing for her.

                          I think you'll be fine and everyone will have a lovely time. maybe trade days of taking the kids with so you all can take turns doing rides
                          :yea: DLRP in August then WDW & Disney Cruise in December :yea:


                          • #14
                            Re: Taking Kids to WDW

                            I was 3.5 when I first visited WDW and I still remember that trip, over 30 years later. I think that pretty much says it all.


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