WDW with an almost 2 year old! I need a pep talk

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by jessic2422, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. jessic2422

    jessic2422 Mouseketeer

    Apr 21, 2012
    My family (mom, DH, DD 22mo) are going to Disney in January. We all went together several times before kids. I am terrified of all of it from sleeping at night to napping during the day and late nights at the park as well as dinners. I did make all our dinner reservations for about 6pm. I want to hear your stories of your young toddlers in the parks and how you survived!
  2. imaaagination

    imaaagination Mouseketeer

    Aug 3, 2004
    Too funny, I just posted about going with our 20 month old this weekend! I'm worrying about the same things you are - naps, waiting in lines, getting her to eat anything besides popcorn - I will definitely reply when we get back (we'll be back Tuesday - quick trip!)

    I've been showing DD YouTube videos of the characters like crazy - I'm hoping she'll understand that they'll be "big" before we get there. She loves the videos right now and tries to hug and kiss the screen, so I'm hoping that's a good sign. That's really the only tip I have at the moment!

    Good luck!!
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  4. twinboysmom

    twinboysmom DIS Veteran

    May 26, 2010
    We took our twins 6 times from when they were 18 months to just before they turned 3 so it can't be that bad with a toddler right? Only on one trip did we have help and we made it and had great trips.

    First and foremost, either bring or rent a good stroller. Very important. I recommend something with a full canopy and a good recline. For that age, don't even consider renting one from WDW. Some people recommend returning to the room for naps. I can truly say that did not work for us at all. Always a fiasco. We usually let the boys sleep in the stroller and if we wanted to break from the parks we left after they napped. You will have to see how your child does because they are all different. Mine would just be too wound up when we got back to the room.

    Do not underestimate a playground. Wonderful for the littles. Get to the parks for rope drop every morning and you can do so much the first hour, especially in fantasyland. Follow the recommended parks from a site like easywdw.com. Crowds and lines are not your friends with a toddler. As for staying out late, you have a helper so that may help you all. We just can't do it now with ours.

    As for sleeping, you don't say where you are staying. I would sleep your baby in whatever she is used to sleeping in. Mine were great in pack n plays because we travelled so much. If she sleeps in a crib then rent one from an offsite company (I like ABBF a ton).

    Bring lots of snacks and whatever she is used to drinking out of. Finger food snacks helped us many times waiting in lines.

    If you have more specific questions ask away. I will be glad to offer any help I can. I promise, it will be a great trip.
  5. SonomaCountyDad

    SonomaCountyDad Earning My Ears

    Jun 7, 2012
    Although we just finished a trip yesterday with our 4 year old, we did the same trip two years ago a week after he had turned 2 years old. What worked for us was keeping to his schedule. We got up around 7am and hit the parks between 8am and 9am. By noon or 1pm, we were back in the hotel room for lunch and a nap. I don't think we spent more than 3 hours in the park on any day before taking a break. On some days, we went back into the parks around 3pm or so and then left around 6pm for dinner.

    There is one thing you should prepare yourself for. Most likely, there will be at least one major meltdown - it's not a matter of if, but a matter of when. When it does happen, just let it happen and it will be over in a matter of minutes. It's fighting the meltdown that prolongs it.

    Regarding the stroller, I do think it's important. At two years old, it is a necessity. When we went, our son fought us over who was going to push the stroller. As the day wore on, he quickly gave up that fight and opted to sit in the stroller instead of pushing it.

    Most of all, be thankful that kids under 3 get in for free. Have fun and take lots of pictures and video.

    We did a couple of character meals when he was 2, and they went well. I thought it was a nice change from seeing the characters in the park and waiting for them.
  6. nherbert

    nherbert Mouseketeer

    Aug 30, 2012
    After your trip when you get back you are going to look back at your first post and just laugh. You ARE going to have a great time! Even if it is a total disaster by any normal standard you will still have the best time. Disney is just so much fun with a toddler and to see everything through their eyes makes it all magical again.

    We have taken our DS (now 5, first trip 3) three times, it is so much fun and we are from Aus.

    Take a stroller, your DD will be wide awake one second and then asleep, when she is asleep, REST, or take turns doing the big rides using child swap. Don't worry about napping, she will nap when tired. We never return to room for naps it is such a waste of time, they fall asleep on transit and wake up when at room.

    Get there for rope drop and leave when YOU are tired, as I said she will sleep in stroller. You can do so much in the morning. Use am EMH. That said unless we particularly wanted to see fireworks, we are back at room by normal bedtime 7pm so can be up again for rope drop next day.

    She will be so tired, she will sleep - maybe not well the first night but after that she will be fine.

    Be wary of characters - can freak some kids out. The meals are actually best for this, because they will take time to try and draw your child in but if it's a total disaster they will stay away.

    If you have dinner at six, she will most likely fall asleep - you will see this as a blessing because you can enjoy your meal and relax.

    You are going to have a great trip, it is so much FUN!
  7. CraftyMommy

    CraftyMommy Mouseketeer

    Aug 28, 2012
    When my son was 15 months he took his first Disney trip. My most relaxing time was being able to ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority-Peoplemover while he slept in my arms. I rode around the loop for an hour without having to get off. I relaxed my tired fast and enjoyed the cool breeze on a hot day. It was my favorite nap he took on that trip. The rest of the family went off and had fun and we met back up with them when nap time was over. When we were in the other parks he mapped just fine in his strolled. We did not have any meltdowns. There is a lot going on around you and always something for your child to look at while sitting in the stroller.
  8. tianna26

    tianna26 Mouseketeer

    Aug 11, 2012
    When we go my niece will be 2 also i think we are going to switch off if she needs a nap or something there will be 3 adults me her mom & my mom & i love naps lol.
  9. dsneprincess

    dsneprincess DIS Veteran

    Feb 3, 2009
    We have taken the kids at this age also. I find being out & about, especially at Disney with so much to do, MUCH easier than being at home.

    We also don't return to the room for naps, as the boys didn't settle down. If they were unable to nap in the parka, sometimes we go for a ride in the car & look around, but only if a nap is desparately needed & being fought. For the most part, my kids are troopers at WDW & sleep hard at night. We are not an up at 7am family at home, nor are we at Disney, but last trip our 23 month old made some pretty late EMHs & he goes to bed early at home. He was so excited with all the things to see & do, so you never know.

    Just go at their pace, eat as close to normal times as possible. Carry drinks & snacks, especially important in line, as that's when they are start looking for them. A good stroller with shade & a basket, small toys to hold. Find some out of the way slower things for a rest periodically. We have never traveled with any help, always just DH & I.

    Take a ton of pictures & have fun.
  10. mm1971

    mm1971 DIS Veteran

    Aug 30, 2011
    I know it may not help to say it, but just stop worrying and go with the flow. You know your DD. Bring a stroller or rent one. If she gets tired, let her nap in the stroller or just rest a while. Unless you already have sleeping issues, sleeping at night shouldn't be an issue. With all the stimulation during the day, your DD will be tired and ready to sleep at night. As long as she doesn't nap right before bed time of course.

    My DD was around 3 our first time and we had no issues. We didn't go commando. Just went at our own pace and made sure to remember that with all the stimulation to remain patient and understanding. No issues with sleep. She did nap in the stroller and either I or mom just sat with her while the others went on and met up when she was re-energized. We also took some breaks at the hotel in the afternoons.
  11. jessic2422

    jessic2422 Mouseketeer

    Apr 21, 2012
    Great idea with the YouTube videos! Looking forward to your update.
  12. jessic2422

    jessic2422 Mouseketeer

    Apr 21, 2012
    Thanks everyone for the advice. We are staying at POR and taking our own stroller. She usually sleeps in a pack-n-play when we visit my parents and that's what we will use at Disney. I keep trying to remind myself to just enjoy the experience. I am very excited about taking my baby girl to WDW!
  13. theebeemommy

    theebeemommy Earning My Ears

    Nov 16, 2012
    Thanks for posting my exact concerns! We are going in June and my dd (9) and dd (6) who have been 3 times but it will be first trip for my ds (who will be 2 years 2 months) when we go. A good sleeper at our House at my moms house (when I'm at work) and at the babysitter's (sleeps on her couch when he's ready- crazy caus snot sure he'd do the same for me :) ) once per week so not sure why Im so worried but it's our job as moms to plan and worry, right ;). He is by far the biggest Mickey mouse fan and can't wait to see him meet Mickey. I considered waiting til he was a but older but life's too short and my girls are still young enough to adore every piece of Disney magic and want to travel while all that magic lasts! It will also have been 3 years since we've last been so maybe I needed it too! I'm trying to tell myself tha we'll fall I'm routine there and if all else fails nap at park in stroller. I'm lucky cause he gets more slap happy then cranky during tiredness so I guess I got that going for me! I'm new at the boards and so glad I found this thread at a crucial moment. On a separate note, so excited to wake up at 7 am to get my crucial 180 day adr's tomorrow. Fingers crossed for be our guest!
  14. Crystal824

    Crystal824 DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2008
    This is great advice. We took DD when she was 9 months, 21 months, and just got back from her third trip when she was 28 months. The 21 month old trip was so fun. I agree get a great stroller. I highly recommend the City Mini. We always rent one as we don't own one at home. Even though DD doesn't nap in our stroller at home anymore, she will nap in this one. It has a great canopy and reclines. We hit the parks at rope drop usually. We dont leave for naps because DD won't nap in the hotel room, but she will nap in the stroller. After lunch, we put her in the stroller and walk around until she falls alsleep. Then we take turns riding the attractions she can't ride. We will often grab FP for those in the late morning if they have return times for around naptime. She will usually nap for a couple hours then we keep touring. If we want to go back to the hotel early for swimming, etc. we also wait until DD has napped.

    DD never really slept very well in a PP at home, but at WDW she was so tired, it was not a problem. This last trip, we let her sleep in other bed as she now sleeps in a bed at home.

    If we want to do the night shows, we can sometimes push DD to stay awake for them. She usually does ok until about 9:30. Anything after that and she is asleep in the stroller. We have done opening to close with DD before. If we do that, we usually get DD sleep in the next day instead of making rope drop. More often, we leave around 6-7 and go back to the hotel.

    As for food, I usually try to order something DD will eat so I don't have to buy her a meal that she won't eat. Sometimes, we will get one adult and one kids CS meal and all share (DD, Dh, and me).

    Also use the babycare centers if you are nearby. Most of the bathrooms only have 1 changing table, which is ridiculous. Most of the babycare centers have alot of changing stations, which makes it a little easier. Plus, it is a place to get 5 min. of quite if you need it.

    It is alot of fun doing Disney with them at that age. They learn so many new words and pharases while there. They are so exicted. You will have a great time.
  15. DisneyRegulars

    DisneyRegulars DIS Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    There should be a link in my signature to a trip report for when we went last January when my son had just turned 2. We had a great time even though a whole bunch of terrible things happened.

    Here is the link: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2864556
  16. msmama

    msmama DIS Veteran

    Jan 21, 2009
    My best advice is to go at the slowest person's pace (in this case your 2 year old). If you fight and try to push, it's just going to end up for everybody.

    Don't push it. You've been there before, so now go and see everything from her eyes.

    The biggest change for me was that there were no late nights. I was out of the parks by just after dinner time at the latest, usually. He just can't go any longer than that. (Once we did stay later and he fell asleep so I could watch the electrical parade but that was it, other times we just head back to the hotel).

    Good luck and have fun!
  17. meredith1

    meredith1 DIS Veteran

    Jan 14, 2011
    Keep her schedule as close to normal as you can. In our case, we would be at rope drop and spend the morning, eat lunch around noon and try to be back at the hotel for a 1:30/2:00 to rest. Then, back out by 4:30/5:00 until about 8:00.

    Don't spread her to thin and you guys will have a ball...sounds like you have some great help on this trip. Have fun!!!
  18. dlove28

    dlove28 Missin' WDW

    Aug 11, 2010
    We took DD when she was 25 months 3yrs ago this January. Great advice so far - youtube for characters (don't forget rides), versatile stroller (food tray is good too, hard to find on an umbrella stroller), go at her pace and breaks if needed.

    Our DD still napped at that age, until the trip that is. She napped only once the whole trip in her stroller and not much at home after that trip. She didn't want to miss a thing. Like you it was a January trip so if she wasn't napping and the pool was not an option, we found no need to go back to the hotel. So we stayed at the park until bedtime. In the hotel she was usually so pooped that we never worried about her waking up as DW and I spent time in the room prepping for the next day.

    A couple of other items not mentioned -

    - At that age they don't know what to say or do with characters other than hug. She had gotten little figurines for her BDay and Christmas before the trip of all the princesses and MM Clubhouse gang. When we went to a character meal or a park where I knew we would see them, we brought them. It was a nice ice breaker for her to show the character her toy (or book) of him/her and they made a big deal out of it (pluto balancing his toy on his snout, minnie *blushing*, chip n dale throwing a fit because they weren't represented on the table of toys, etc.)

    - She loved to dress up. At that age she wore a princess or minnie mouse costume most days. She refused to take it off after character breakfasts so we let her wear them. Added to the fun and magic of it all.

    - Used Disney's PnPlay - brough our own sheets and her little pillow for familiarity.

    We are going again next September when she will be almost 6. But this time we are bringing her twin sisters who will almost be 2 at that time! Very excited, but scared of the twin factor!!! I was encouraged to hear twinboysmom's positive experiences!
  19. sparty7798

    sparty7798 Mouseketeer

    Oct 16, 2008
    We also took our son when he just turned 2. He had a great time and we did as everyone suggested, to take it at his pace. It was so much fun, the excitement and wonder are very real for them.

    I have been thinking about this and was just looking at pictures of this. Our son loved the characters and would almost run at them because he was so excited. We now have another 18 month old son and we are planning a trip for September when he will be around the same age.

    Good Luck and have a great time!
  20. mummabear

    mummabear DIS Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    We took our 19 month old daughter and will be going back with her (now 3) and her little sister who will be 20 months when we go. It was great (and we flew a combined 21 hours to get there). We didnt do any dining that trip (thank god she didnt sit still for any of the quick meals we grabbed) but have 4 booked for this upcoming one.
    She had a blast, just go with the flow sometimes she will be sleeping when you would want her to be awake for the parade or something but if you are relaxed you will be fine.
    Actually 19 months was easier than when we took her to DL just before she turned 3, less scared of the rides etc....
  21. ML_LovesDisney

    ML_LovesDisney DIS Veteran

    Apr 25, 2010
    The first time we went our little one was 20 months, and the 2nd time she was 2. The only problem we had was that she did NOT like the characters or them coming near her. We took breaks, ate early, and she was very well-behaved. Now she's 4 and she loves all the characters, so it just depends on age/your kid's personality.

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