Tips for Under 3s in the Theme Parks
One of the biggest questions asked about Orlando is: What age is the best to take the kids? The answer is simple, any time you can make it!
Even under 2s will have a great time in the parks, even though they may struggle to remember much in the future, your efforts aren’t wasted!
Having young kids with you around the Orlando Parks requires a lot of planning and a fair bit of consideration if you are going to make a successful time of your vacation.
We’ve set out some basic advice below, but we will update this important article regularly as we add in more tips and advice about visiting Disney with younger kids.
Food, Rest, Comfort, Boredom and dehydration are the things to focus all of your attention upon, but as expert parents, you already knew that!
Florida however, exaggerates it all unfortunately!
Dehydration and Pre-Schoolers in The Parks
Although you won’t believe it, dehydration is your biggest enemy as a parent of a toddler or pre-schooler. Often dismissed as moaning or tired, a dehydrated kid will cry, be lethargic and unexpectedly fractious.
If your kids are displaying signs of the above, have a think “when was last time they drank anything”.
You will be amazed at how well they will cope if you keep giving them a little drink regularly at half hourly intervals.
Avoid carbonated drinks as water and fresh juices work best.
A good routine is to always give the kids a decent drink as you get closer towards the front of the line waits, remembering that ‘what goes in, must come out’.
Leaving a long line to take a toilet break can be soul destroying!
Check out our dehydration advice article for more information.
Sunscreen and Toddlers in Orlando
Whatever happens, don’t judge your vacation experiences elsewhere in the world with Florida. The sun is very intense and the closer proximity to the tropics means that the sun is substantially more dangerous than back home.
Some areas of the parks are extremely exposed to the sun, and you can end up having to stand in attraction lines for 40 minutes or more without any protection. Stroller parasols are essential protection in that kind of situation.
Check out our sun screen advice for Florida vacations.
Rest for Pre-Schoolers on a Disney Vacation
Anything less, will definitely cause problems and fast!
Fireworks and Younger Kids
Also consider that the firework events re always later on in the evening, and no matter how desperate mom and dad are to enjoy a lifelong dream to watch, junior is destined to be pushed over the edge!
Our advice is let the kids have a cool, relaxing day in the pool and enjoy the fireworks as part of a half day visit to keep kids fresh!
Plan B is to find a vantage point at the further reaches of the park to help keep the noise effects to a minimum.
Don’t Force Your Kids to ‘Have Fun’!
All it takes is for one ride to scare the living wits out of them and you risk facing year’s of repeat visits to that attraction in order to undo the effects of those ambitious effects.
Give them time to take in their new noisy and colorful environment before you coax them onto an attraction that they are reluctant to even look at, let alone set foot onto.
Kids are really skillful at knowing what they can cope with!
In Park stroller hire can weigh in at a hefty $15 a day ($13 a day if you hire more than once) and those costs soon take a big chunk out of your vacation budget.
An advantage though is that the theme park rental strollers are very well made, can carry lots of ‘kids’ stuff’ and offer sun protection too.
Having your own Stroller enables you to make it through the parking lots too. The hire units do not leave the park gates.
Many vacation rental homes already have a stroller in the garage so check first with the owners or property managers.
Car Safety Seats
While car seats are cheap in the super stores, they are out of reach for your first trip from the airport to your accommodation, so thrifty tourists sometimes choose to hire a seat for one day, buy one, and then drop the hire unit back at the airport.
If you have valued saving for your vacation, you probably won’t want to waste valuable time shuttling backwards and forwards to the airport to waste fuel and save a few bucks.
The only downside of a rental seat, apart from the cost, is that you might need an extra few minutes to secure the seat properly and become familiar with adjustments etc in the rental area parking lot.
Staying in cool restaurants and stores in between rides can really help keep the kid’s temperatures under control. Also, every park has a wet play area or two and although mum and dad might not be so keen about their kids splashing around in their only dry clothes, these areas not only let your kids have a wild time out of their strollers, but they are an incredibly effective way to cool down.
Go prepared, take some spare shorts, t’s and sandals. Let them go crazy!
Many Florida residents maximize every opportunity to stay in air conditioning throughout a theme park visit. Some stores act as great ‘cool shortcuts’. Even though they route isn’t the fastest, it revitalizes you before the next segment of your sun-baked journey across the park.
Helping Toddlers avoid Boredom in the theme parks
The problems tend to arise when families with mixed ages head out on vacation.
Don’t be concerned though, with a little thought and planning, the whole family can have a great time.
The distractions for adults easily cause you to focus on yourselves and quickly forget that junior has been immobilized in the stroller for hours in the noisy, bright sunshine and humid heat.
Feeding Toddlers on an Orlando Vacation
Walmart, Publix, CVS, Walgreens and Target among other large stores are much better options if you need regular supplies of diapers, food and other baby supplies.
If you are on vacation for a while, it will pay well to visit a store and stock up.
For bottle heating etc, most parks have Baby Care Centres that include quiet nursing areas for mum and baby.
Keeping Kids Safe in the Orlando Theme Parks
Although statistics and facts are very hard to find, our understanding is that the Orlando parks are probably the safest public places in the USA and we have not heard of any credible reports that children have been at risk from strangers.
If you do get separated, don’t panic, contact a member of staff and they will find your child quickly thanks to the exceptional communications systems for such situations.