How I’ve missed this forum!!
My husband and I went on our own summer 2016 and the advice and community here was invaluable in making our trip fabulous. I hope one day to be a frequent Disney visitor so that I have a constant wealth of knowledge to contribute here.
In the meantime, I believe I’ve just about got my sister on board with my plan to take her little girl as a two year old - which means a short 2 day trip, likely in late January.
A few questions for those who have done Disney with little ones:
I was considering either two days MK or 1 MK and 1 EP. I feel that though she would love the animals at AK, most of the ride experiences are a bit scary. HS seems too focused on shows or rides she won’t be old enough to enjoy yet. Thoughts?
I made a pre RD BOG reservation in anticipation. I know nothing about character breakfasts. Are they awesome? Which are best? Is a breakfast better than a dinner or lunch character experience? Is this a pre RD thing that I need to stalk and book?
Since she is two, she will be a free ticket. How does that factor in with dining reservations and fastpasses?
We took her to Cedar Point (Ohio) a couple months ago and she was a real trooper and loved the rides. So I know she will LOVE WDW. I just need some advice on how to plan for a 2 year old rather than for two 30 year olds!
Thanks in advance!
Two days at MK is probably most ideal. At 2, I have a hard time picturing any of the other parks really being much of a draw. Maybe a couple things in each, but that’s it.
MK, there is plenty for a 2-year-old to enjoy over two days.
(Shout-out to the Cedar Point trip, though. That’s our “home” park, being we are from Southeast Michigan.)
My two cents for what it’s worth:
I would do MK and AK. While most of the rides may be scary, I think the Safari would be a big hit and going down the animal trails is always fun. But it’s the shows that I would say would be the biggest hit! Festival of the Lion King and Nemo are great for that age! Add in a lunch or breakfast at Tusker House, and you’ll have a great day!
Our favorite character meals are Garden Grill at EP and Tusker House at AK. At that age, they will likely either love or hate the characters! DS feared them until he was around 5 years old. We prefer lunch, but I know a lot of folks like the PPO breakfast meals (my two travel companions, DH and DS are not early risers).
You add her in for dining reservations, but no need for a fastpass!
Went last fall with my 1 & 3 year olds. There were things for them to enjoy in every park, but honestly I think EP was their least favorite except for meeting princesses at Akershus. Frozen Ever After terrified them both!
I would either do 2 days at MK or 1 at MK and 1 at AK. My kids LOVED AK, seeing all the animals on the trails, the shows (Lion King & Flights of Wonder were both hits!), the Safari.
We loved character meals at these ages (and the 2yo will be free!). I would choose based on where you will be for the day. We really enjoyed late breakfast for character meals. Tour the parks with low crowds, then eat around 10:30 without the pressure of trying to finish & beat the RD crowds. We enjoyed Crystal Palace at MK, Akershus at EP, Tusker House at AK, and H&V at HS. While the food is not spectacular, we loved meeting the Fab5 at Chef Mickey’s too.
When our daughter was 2 her favorite parks were MK and Epcot. She did enjoy the Disney Jr show at Studios (this is closing on 2 September) and Toy Story Mania. She was also obsessed with the Stormtroopers (still is) but that’s probably not entirely normal for a 2 year old girl… She had pretty much zero interest in animals. so the best part of Animal Kingdom for her was the Boneyard play area - she would have spent a whole day there is we’d let her!
In MK it was all about the rides, and the princesses of course. At Epcot she really enjoyed the World Showcase and the Kidcot stations, and meeting Anna and Elsa of course. We were there during the Flower & Garden Festival, so there were some extra things she could do, like explore the butterfly tent and the play garden.
Since your niece won’t need a Fastpass you can effectively let her double up on those rides if you’re willing to split up. DH and I did this lots, e.g. we both got Fastpasses for Frozen in Epcot and took turns taking her on it so she could ride twice. She loved getting the extra rides, and was more than happy spending time waiting in the gift shops, meeting characters or sitting down for a snack somewhere.
After a day of MK I would probably just pick whatever park besides the adults want to do. There are fun things to do at each park for that age.
I would only do pre-RD BOG if I was using it to do 7D before the RD crowd. It can be tough to book. It is not a character meal. Otherwise I would go there for lunch. I would never book a meal that goes into park opening. You meet Beast for dinner. We have done it twice and enjoyed it. It is more expensive than breakfast and lunch. I would rather do CRT than BOG at that age to check off many of the princesses.
The experience is generally no different in terms of who you meet for breakfast/dinner. Just the cost and food offerings.
I used to go to Cedar Point as a child years ago on our boat from across Lake Erie. Looking forward to repeating the experience with my kids next year when my youngest hits 48 inches.
I vote for 2 days at MK. There is a lot to do there ride wise for littles and since you already know that she loves rides I would do 2 MK days. BOG breakfast isn’t a character meal. She needs to be put on the dining reservations (for fire code/capacity type stuff), but she will be free so a buffet would be a good choice otherwise she would just eat off your plate or your sister’s plate. She wouldn’t need a ticket to get in so she won’t need FPP either and would just go on the ride with you in the FPP line.
If the adults really want to see another park - then there will be stuff to do. If not - two days at MK would be great. There is so much there without height restrictions. If you go two days - you also won’t be so rushed.
I would suggest Crystal Palace for breakfast - Pooh characters are fun and the breakfast is good. Although no characters if she has seen Beauty and the Beast - BoG lunch is good. O’Hana breakfast is also fun for characters.
I’d vote 2 days at MK, but even if I was going by myself as an adult that’s probably what I would choose. It’s just my favorite! Especially for young ones though, there is so much more to do there than anywhere else.
That being said, she will have fun no matter what you choose!
We did a similar trip with our at the time 7 month old son a few years ago. I wouldn’t count out AK, He absolutely LOVED the animals especially the safari and the bird house at the end of Maharajah Jungle Trek.
-bring/ rent a comfy stroller
-If you want to do one park a day: I would choose Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom: I think they are the most kid friendly
-If you want to hop: spend time at Animal Kingdom or Magic Kingdom each morning and switch to Epcot 1-2 evenings.
-Epcot’s adult rides wont work for the little one, but don’t forget about the aquarium at the seas, Spaceship Earth, and Living with the Land, and the Mexico Boat Ride.
-If there are any grown up rides that yall want to do, don’t forget to use rider swap to save time in line!
When comparing MK to AK, do you find AK more low key? As an adult I definitely do, but curious on the perspective with kids.
When we took her to Cedar Point a couple months ago, she was a compete trooper across both days but was almost too tired to enjoy much by the end of the second day. So I’m starting to think that MK could be a great day 1 and then AK would be a good slightly lower key day 2… but from a kid perspective maybe I’m wrong?
If you take advantage of the animals it is definitely more low key. You don’t have to wait in line and rush around at AK once you do the 4 major attractions: Flight of Passage, Dinosaur, Everest, and the Safari). One of our best visits to AK was when we decided to go for an afternoon/ evening and just do animals and FP attractions. That park really impresses when you aren’t running from place to place. Our one year old was enthralled and when he focused in on something we could stop and let him take it in at his own pace. Our son loves animals and music, so we FP’d the safari, everest(for us) and the lion king show (this was pre pandora)…
My advice now would be to try and lock down a FOP FP for the adults or not even worry about it if you are focusing on the 2 year old… at rope drop enjoy the Navi River Ride or anything else in the park. It will all be a walk on the first 2 hours while people trample one another to wait 2-3 hrs for FOP. After that take your time seeing the shows and doing the animal trails. Take a break at 1-2pm and return at night for some relaxing streetmosphere or night safari or Hop to Epcot for dinner fireworks and the aquarium.
We’re taking our two year old in January and I think there are several things he will enjoy in every park, so I would just pick based on what you and your sister would enjoy for the 2nd day. We have a ADR for Crystal Palace for our last (half) day, because he loves the Pooh characters, but I might cancel it. I want to see how he does with the characters (he’s fine with the Chickfila cow) and see if we would rather use the time in another park. People say you need 90-120 minutes for a character meal, which seems WAY too long for our kiddo to sit at a table, but I wanted to have the ADR just in case. That’s also a lot of time to take away from rides.
One of my favorite things about planning this trip is that our must-do rides are easy FP to get or rides with short wait times anyway!
I am in the 2 days at the magic kingdom camp.
You will be able to spread out what to do. Have time for the I want to do that. And the I want to do that again.
Remember you can ask to skip the stretch room at haunted mansion.
You will want a stroller and always secure the rain cover before going into any rides. and I mean secure the rain cover so no one can take it off your stroller. It has been reported before Find ways to make the stroller stand out. Balloons everyone does.
Character meals can be great. If paying out of pocket i believe breakfast is the cheapest followed by lunch. Dinner is the most expensive. What sort of characters are you looking for. Princesses either Cinderella royal table or 1900 park fair pooh crystal palace the fab 5 chef mickeys at the contemporary i know there are other meals but these are closest to mk
Oh an o’hana too.