Taking a toddler on a Disney World vacation is super fun. It’s so great to see their excitement when seeing characters for the first time, and nothing beats taking a little one on Peter Pan’s Flight or it’s a small world.
Unfortunately, there are some things that are less than magical about taking toddlers to Disney World. Feeding a toddler in Disney World can be a little bit stressful (particularly if they’re picky), and maintaining naptime is tricky to say the least. One of the most challenging things about visiting Walt Disney World with a toddler in tow? Waiting in lines for Disney rides.
We all know toddlers don’t like to wait for things, and waiting their turn for attractions is no exception. Of course, unless you’re willing to skip rides completely, you will have to wait your turn sometimes whether your toddler wants to or not. This is where the tricks below come into play.
Use these tips to make queuing up with your toddler a little more tolerable, and help make your Disney experience as magical as possible.
If your little one is potty trained it is important that you take plenty of bathroom breaks. Our favorite time to do this? Right before we get into a long line. After all, nobody wants to hold a wiggling toddler who has to potty while waiting to ride Small World or Peter Pan in Magic Kingdom Park.
Yes, you should definitely potty before getting in line to attempt to avoid bathroom emergencies. That said, if your toddler does really need to get out of line to take a bathroom break, let a nearby cast member know. Generally, they are very accommodating and will help you get back in line where you left off.
Wear a Carrier
Most toddler like to wander. It’s in their nature to explore the world, and most of the time this is a good thing. However, it isn’t such a good thing when you’re trying to wait in a queue for an attraction at a theme park.
If your child is a wanderer (or a runner) consider wearing a carrier into long lines. If the little one starts to wander or even if they just don’t want to stand anymore, you can put them in the carrier to keep them close. You may not use the carrier every time, but it sure is nice to have when you need it.
Take Advantage of Nap Time
Chances are your toddler still naps, and if you’re lucky they nap on a regular schedule. You might be able to take advantage of this by planning a long wait time to coincide with nap time. If the toddler is going to be asleep for 90 minutes anyway, you might as well use that time to wait for a ride and then surprise them with a fun activity right when they wake up
Play Singing Games
Singing, clapping, and rhyming games always get the attention of kids. Learn some in advance and be ready to pull them out of your back pocket when your toddler gets antsy. Special points in the game had hand motions that go with it, as your little one is sure to have fun trying to learn those motions.
Try to Find Interactive Queues
Some Walt Disney World Resort queuing areas have interactive features such as buttons to push and games to play. These are the best rides when it comes to keeping little Disney-goers occupied. Keep an eye out for these interactive activities when waiting for things.
Some of the best Disney World rides with interactive queues include:
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Haunted Mansion
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
Stickers are another great distraction when in Disney World queues with a toddler. Obviously, you will have to keep an eye on your toddler to make sure stickers don’t end up on every surface they pass, but it can be fun to stick them on your arms, face, and shirt, and if you hand your child a park map they’re sure to enjoy sticking them to that as well.
Nobody likes a cranky toddler, but a hangry toddler might just be even worse. For this reason, it’s a good idea to always pack snacks when heading to a Disney park. If you happen to be in an outdoor queue, use the time standing in line as snack time and get some food in your toddler before they turn into a hungry terror.
Buy a Bubble Wand
If you’ve been to Disney World before you’ve likely seen the bubble wands sold throughout the parks. These are small bubble machines that produce a steady stream of bubbles (much to the delight of every child nearby). While you probably shouldn’t use a bubble wand inside, it can be a great diversion when you find yourself in an outside queue.
Charge Your Phone
To be honest, we aren’t big fans of handing toddlers electronic devices. That said, desperate times call for desperate measures, and if you’re desperate enough to get on a certain attraction despite having a grumpy toddler, it might be time to break out the phone. Because you never know when this situation might arise, it’s a good idea to always keep your phone charged and have at least one toddler-friendly app downloaded and ready to go.
Break Up Long Waits
Last but not least, you will want to do your best to break up long waits. If you find yourself waiting an hour for Peter Pan’s Flight, try heading to the much shorter line for the carousel next. Attempting to do too many long waits in a row is sure to have your toddler fighting back.
Use Rider Swap
Of course, there will be some rides your kid won’t meet the height requirement for. In these cases, make sure to use child swap, so you and your adult travel buddy can take turns trying out the attraction without waiting in the line twice. To use this child swap (sometimes referred to as rider swap or baby swap) option simply approach a Cast Member near the entrance of an attraction with a height requirement and ask for a rider swap pass. This pass will allow the waiting adult and one other member of your party to experience the attraction after the first group has gone. This is perfect for rides such as Space Mountain and Splash Mountain that are not toddler-friendly but are must-dos for bigger kids and adults.