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HOW TO SPEND THE DAY AT DISNEY WORLD WITH A TODDLER

Updated on March 17, 2011

HE LOVES POOH BEAR

CHASING THE TODDLER ROUND DISNEY

If there is one thing I have learned about taking kids to Disney, it is ALWAYS BRING A STROLLER. A good stroller. With lots of baggage room. Bring snacks, diapers, drinks, changes of clothing, etc. They let it all go in with you. Be prepared to wait and have your baggage searched before entering the gate, but once you get in the gates, you will be supremely happy that you came prepared. Particularly on a busy day when lines are longer. Go online and check the park hours. Pick a day when the park is open longer so that you don't miss anything.

Toddlers particularly enjoy Philharmagic, which is a 3D movie. However, it is best saved for the hotter part of the day so that you and the child can both cool off. They do spray water on you at one point of the movie. When you see a mop and bucket on screen, be prepared. It's not a lot of water, though.

You can also cool off at Ariel's Grotto, which is near the Dumbo ride. Water jumps from one place to another, and the children have a blast chasing it. My toddler loved the Winnie the Pooh ride, which has a play area across from it. Water also shoots up out of the ground in the play area near Pooh Bear's house. At night, this is the best place to see the fireworks without too much crowding. In front of Cinderella's castle is the best view, though. If you are there to see it, make sure you wait for Tinkerbell to come down from the castle.

Bring your own ponchos and umbrellas. They cost a lot at the parks.

It's a Small World is timeless. We went on that a couple of times, to say the least.

He also loved Peter Pan's flight. I cannot count the number of times I rode this ride and the Winnie the Pooh ride. The Buzz Lightyear ride (near Space Mountain) was good. He was a little afraid of the Barnstormer, but they had a big boat next to it that he enjoyed playing in, and there is another play area nearby. There is also a train ride that goes around the park, which he enjoyed. This is a good place to get a break. You can board between Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain, or you can board at the front of the park. I think there is another entrance to it by Space Mountain, too. You can also take a break while riding the Blue Line, which goes through Space Mountain and shows a short section of the Buzz Lightyear ride.

Stay away from the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain with a toddler. Thunder and Splash Mountains are scary for them, too. Thunder Mountain always seems to close early, though, so if there is another adult on hand, be sure to get there and ride it yourself (you need a break, too!).

Tom Sawyer's Island is neat. Walt Disney designed this ride himself. You can read the story about that, which is interesting! I really liked Country Bear Jamboree, but the kids were anxious to get out of there.

Be sure to keep an eye on the child. Keep them strapped in when your attention is not directly on them. On two different occasions (we had annual passes), I left my toddler in my partner's care for a trip to the restroom, only to return to an empty stroller. He had jumped out and was exploring by himself. We were blessed both times with a speedy retrieval of the child, but after that, I simply took him with me. That was pretty scary.

Bring cash to buy those balloons and toys they sell at little stands throughout the park. And be sure to treat them to ice cream by the Aladdin ride. Don't miss the Dumbo ride, but stay away from the Tea Cup ride, unless you like to spin. You can take your child with you on those little race cars. They are slower go karts than you would think.

We like the Columbia Harbor House Restaurant. It is inexpensive, and the kids liked it. I always chose to have only one or two meals at the park, and lunch was the best choice for that, so that we didn't have to leave. We just ate breakfast on the way, carried snacks with us, and if the park closed early, hit the drive through on the way home.

Stay for the parade at the end of the day, too. He was mesmerized by it.

Have fun!

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