Disney with an 18-month-old.

Doing Disney with a toddler is so different than doing Disney without one. But good different. When we went to Walt Disney World last summer, I was in my first trimester and super sick all the time, so the planning was lacking on my part. It was still one of my best memories with the monkey, even with all the puking. planningdisneyHere are some things that we did that worked out with 18 month old Elijah:
Let the monkey make the decisions. Waiting in line for 45 minutes, even if it is a ride you know your monkey will love, is not the best idea. Toddlers are short and can duck and get out of lines super quick, while a human over 3 feet tall probably can’t.  So if your monkey sees something that he wants to look at, watch, touch, or just hang out next to, let him.

When we were leaving the park for nap, we ran into the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, and it was one of the best parts of our trip.  Minnie blew him a kiss and he danced with Mickey.

When we were leaving the park for nap, we ran into the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, and it was one of the best parts of our trip. Minnie blew him a kiss and he danced with Mickey.


Respect nap time. Elijah has never been the kid that will fall asleep anywhere. If your kid is one of those kids, I hate you just a little bit. Once he hit 6 months, he stopped napping in the stroller all together. So nap time in Disney required us to go back to the hotel for a couple hours each day. It was nice for me to take a break in the AC too, because I was 3 months pregnant.

The pack and play fits perfectly into the bathroom at the Contemporary.

The pack and play fits perfectly into the bathroom at the Contemporary.

Do not skip nap time.

Do not skip nap time.

Get treats. Lots of treats. It’s part of the disney magic. Get your monkey a Mickey ice cream or two. And check out the Main Street Confectionery, too. The candy apples and other miscellaneous character shaped treats are totally worth it.

Get your monkey his own treats...this started out as my mickey bar...

Get your monkey his own treats…this started out as my mickey bar…

Lightning cookie from the Confectionery.  Check out that cute little arm with the Magic Band on it.

Lightning cookie from the Confectionery. Check out that cute little arm with the Magic Band on it.

Utilize fast passes. Again, waiting in lines sucks even more when your 18 month old is having a tantrum. So get fast passes for the rides with longer waits that you don’t want to miss.
Don’t take an 18 month old on Pirates of the Caribbean. It is one of my favorites and I didn’t want to skip it. But I really should’ve known better. The ride is pitch black in the beginning and has a little drop right away. Elijah cried the rest of the ride and had his face buried in my chest.
Let the monkey run. I think Eli was only in the stroller 25% of the time. Toddlers need to explore and run and check everything out. But I definitely would not leave the stroller behind. We had the jogger and the ergo and both were amazing, but sometimes he just wanted to run and experience the magic outside of his stroller.

Elijah leading the way.

Elijah leading the way.

If your kid loves characters, meet them. If he doesn’t, skip it. We met Mickey twice, and waited in very short lines, maybe 15 minutes each time. And although he was getting antsy near the end, he was so so happy when he met Mickey. (A character meal would’ve worked well.) He also met all of his favorite pixar characters, but I honestly don’t think it would’ve been horrible if we skipped the character meeting.

We met Buzz.  Eli wanted to hit his buttons.

We met Buzz. Eli wanted to hit his buttons.

RJ had to hold Eli once we got close to Buzz and Woody so he wouldn't run into other kids' pictures.

RJ had to hold Eli once we got close to Buzz and Woody so he wouldn’t run into other kids’ pictures.

And most importantly:
Take the grandparents along. I know this last tip isn’t always possible for everyone, but seriously take your parents with you. They will have an awesome and magical time watching their grand baby experience Disney World, and having two extra sets of hands to wrangle the monkey is so helpful.

Elijah loves his Noni and Papi.

Elijah loves his Noni and Papi.

Elijah is going to be a whole year and a couple months older when we do Disney this time, but I know we will be repeating most of these.
What tips would you add? Have any questions about what worked well for us? 

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About jessgrune

I'm Jessica. I am a wife and a mama. My husband, Rj, is a youth pastor who just began seminary this fall. Our baby boy, Elijah, is almost two and he is the coolest thing I have ever made. In February we will be adding a baby girl monkey to our family. I love doing crafts, shopping for good deals, vacations in Disney World, naps, and playing with my monkey. I have more fun picking out clothes for Eli than I should admit. I wish I spent more time reading good books. And I really miss sleeping for more than 4 hours at a time, but I am told this will happen again...one day.

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