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Old 03-09-2012, 05:18 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by TiggerTrigger View Post
Our girls were 2 & 4 on their first visit to WDW. This trip wasn't a surprise, and everyone warned me that touring the parks would take much longer with young children (i.e. you probably won't be able to do everything), so we did the following to ensure we hit the most important things...

1. We devoted 3 full days to MK since we anticipated it to be the park they loved the most. We split the rest of the week between the other 3 parks and no DTD or water parks.
2. I let the kids watch attraction videos on YouTube so I could create their own 'must do' list and coordinate touring plans based on all of this.
3. We brought a stroller...even though the older one walked quite a bit on her own, there were plenty of times when she was just beat and plenty of other times where she understood that the stroller meant we could get from pt a to pt b faster and ultimately do more.
4. We took (and still take) mid day breaks back to the hotel.
5. I hate to say we went in with lowered expectations- but we went in expecting to only do a fraction of what we'd normally do and anticpated not even being able to hit all of our must do lists. ex. in AK we missed Lion King and Nemo, in DHS we missed BatB, at MK we missed CoP, and at Epcot we missed a number of things...mainly b/c we planned too much dining for that day though.
6. I always make sure my backpack is packed well for boredom in lines, thirst, boo boos, and other things that may come up that could slow down the day.
7. Booked lots of character meals...I figure you have to eat, so why not kill 2 birds with one stone and get M&Gs and full tummies all at once. It saved us from many M&G lines in the parks which gave us more park touring time.

Hope this helps.
Great list and I agree with a lot of these. Just took my 4 year old in November for the first time. A few things I'm going to piggyback off of you.

- My boy just LOVED MK - it is the perfect park for that age. Was ok with AK and liked a few things at EP. But MK was the place for him.

- We brought a cheap stroller from home and printed out sticky labels for it so it wouldn't be stolen. Worked well and cost us $10.

- Definitely get the kids on youtube to see what might like (assuming they are 40 inches tall).

- Prepare them for everything. Airport security, flights, etc if you're flying. Youtube videos of the rides, size of characters, some characters don't talk, etc.

- Definitely do at least one character meal.

- Start early and do rope drop and get as much done before lunch as possible to help avoid lines. After that consider the rest of the day's accomplishments a bonus. Our plan to get the boy to take a nap/swim didn't work out at all and he wanted to play and watch tv in the hotel rather than nap/swim but he still got refreshed from this and we could do a bit in the early evening before heading back.

- You know your child better than anyone else so if you get the sense they need a rest just go ahead back to the hotel for a rest. Don't push it. Impossible to see everything and Disneyworld isn't going anywhere (great reason for another visit!)

- Rule #1 is to have fun while being respectful of others. So is rule #2. No other rules need to be made, everything falls in line after that.
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:21 PM   #17
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My DD was also 4.5 on our first trip, and it was a perfect age for it! My main suggestion would also be the mid-day break. DD had pretty much given up naps at home by that time, but still slept almost 2 hours every afternoon while we were at WDW. Even if he doesn't sleep, some quiet down time will do wonders.

Unlike the majority here, we did not use a stroller. DD hadn't been in one since she was barely 2, and the thought never would have even occurred to us. We walked all over every park for a week and never once did she complain, so I think it just depends on the kid and what they are used to. For us it would have been far more trouble than it was worth, and DD would have been mortified.

Character meals are a definite must-do for that age, as well as the meet-n-greets in the parks. DD enjoyed those more than the rides at that age. As for parks, I would suggest 2 days at MK and Epcot, and 1 day at AK and DHS. The water parks are a blast too.
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Old 03-09-2012, 07:32 PM   #18
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I would take a look at each of the parks and decide on what you think he would be interested in as well as what he will probably be tall enough to ride. We prioritize the parks as MK, EP, HS, AK in terms of how much time we spend in each park. We would take about 1 full day in AK, maybe 1.5 days in HS, 2 in EP and 2.5 in MK if we were going for 7 days. We always start our trip and end our trip in MK since that's "Disney" to little kids. Watching youtube videos definitely helps to get an idea of what he would like; especially for any of the bigger thrill rides that he might be tall enough to ride, but that are still too mature for him. You know your own child's limits.

We don't stay late in the parks. We prefer to finish the day at dinner time and go back to our room and go to bed afterwards. Our kids aren't going to sleep in, so keeping them out late would just be disastrous. Others like staying late one night and then sleeping in the next day. Do whatever works for you.

Sometimes, we have a break day in the middle of our trip, but for us, it's not totally necessary. We didn't have any break days on our last trip and we were all fine.

Definitely do your research about fastpass and rider switch so you are familiar with them before you go. They will make things so much easier for you.

Have a great first trip with your DS!
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:04 PM   #19
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Took our 4 year old this past September and I thought he was at the perfect age! I have a very very active 4 year old who has never liked being in a stroller and we brought one. My husband didn't think it would be necessary but with the heat we were so glad we did. My four year old doesn't nap so this was a good way for him to take a break and cool off. We let the boys sleep in in the mornings and ended up staying out late in the parks. We found the evenings much cooler (still no jacket needed) and less crowded. My husband and I also enjoyed walking around the evening while the kids slept in the stroller. Kind of like alone time. He LOVED the character meals including CRT! He also enjoyed T-Rex in DTD. My son was 40in so we told him he had to try the rides one time. He loved Sorain, BTMR, Speedway, Dumbo, Carousal, Teacups and the 3D shows. Hope you have a great trip! Remember it will be super hot and humid. I would suggest having him bring a little cooling fan. Wish we had!
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