I have recently returned from a holiday to Florida so here are my tips on how to survive Orlando Theme Parks with toddlers and babies.
1. Buy the refill drinks.
Although they may seem expensive at approx $15 per cup, we found the benefits outweighed the cost. When your toddler has mithered for their third drink in an hour and you know you are going to be there for probably 8 hours, it is worth it. We shared the cup between us all, as once you have paid the $15 you can have as many drinks as you want that day.
The drinks machines are readily available (every few yards) and the choices are extensive. Alternatively, take your own drinks, but they are not very refreshing warm, and considering we needed about 24 drinks for our toddler, this would also make your bag very heavy! Not good in the intense heat.
2. Take as many adults as you can with you.
We were lucky enough to have my parents and our two friends with us who had also brought their daughter. It is so much easier to do adult rides when there are a few of you to switch places and look after the kids. Alternatively, the ‘child swap’ initiative that the parks offer is also useful to avoid queuing twice.
3. Download the park apps.
Disney and Universal both have free apps which provide you with live information. These detail the wait times for rides which means you can do the rides with the least wait times first to avoid the kids getting bored and toddler meltdowns. The Disney app also lets you do a FastPass for 3 rides up to 30 days before. This ensures the kids get to do the main things they want to. This avoids that horrible whining for an hour when your toddler realises that they aren’t going to be able to meet Princess Elsa due to the hour and a half queue.
4. Kids first.
Get as many kids rides as you can done in the morning and save the adult rides until the afternoon. We found that the kids had a long nap in their prams in the afternoon due to the heat (sometimes two hours) which gave the adults the opportunity to have some fun. On that note, definitely take a pram!
5. Find aircon.
When the heat gets too much, go into the shops as they have the best air conditioning systems to cool you down. Be prepared for your child picking everything up and trying to make you buy every item in the store and crying when you say no. You can’t have it all ways.
6. Be prepared.
Take plenty of sun cream and a change of clothes for both you and the kids. There are plenty of kids play areas with water fountains so when they are absolutely drenched you will need to change them.
Also, if they are going through that potty training stage and pee on you whilst you are carrying them, you don’t want to walk around smelling of urine all day. If you are planning on being in the park from early morning until late evening you will get sweaty during the day so may want to change later on.
7. Most of all – enjoy it!
We had some stressful times regardless of how magical and sunny it was. However, after coming home to rainy Manchester, I would do absolutely anything to go back now.
What are your tips for surviving a trip to the theme park with kids? Let us know!
I've lost count of the number of long-haul trips my eldest (now aged 5) has made (about 5 maybe?), but along the way we've picked up a few tips and gems of advice about surviving long-haul trips with small children.
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