How to Avoid Toddler Meltdowns at Disney
Disney can be overwhelming for kids; Here is how to prevent a Toddler Tantrum at Disney
Take that iconic photo in front of the castle at
Before anything else gets in the way, or something triggers a pre-lunch tantrum, grab that iconic photo and any other photo op along the way. You may think you want a picture during Golden Hour or after the parks are empty but there is no reason you can’t have both.
Meet Characters in the Morning
Just like those iconic pictures, Character meet and greets can take a lot out of a child. Making sure they are their max happiness level will go a long way to ensuring a smooth queue and interaction.
Use at least one Fast Pass to get pictures with your favorite characters.
When available, use at least one of your Fast Pass selections for their absolute favorite character greeting. If the queues are too long elsewhere, at least you know you got the bucket list of Character interactions.
Manage long line activities
A line may not look long, but a crying toddler is bound to make it 10 x longer for everyone within earshot. There are a handful of inline activities that can keep toddlers entertained and not dwell on the length of time they are standing in the same spot.
Bringing a soft carrier can help if the child wants to be held, or needs to be immobilized (run around to much and causing trouble), but this may have the happy accident of making them too comfortable and falling asleep early.
Try to do the entire right half of The Magic Kingdom in the morning, (Tomorrowland and FantasyLand).
This also happens to be the area that is open during Early Magic Hours. Get the most out of your day, since they will probably wake at the crack of dawn anyway, and explore Fantasyland while it’s the least crowded. Once the gates open to the general public, they will head for Fantasyland just as you are leaving.
In the afternoon, head to Liberty
Spend 2 Days at The Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is the hub of all things Toddler. Between meal breaks, potty breaks, character meetings and nap time, it can take a while to accomplish everything on the list. If there are any attractions missing from your first day, characters or just do a few rides again, this is when day 2 comes into play.
Keep your Toddler on their Normal Nap Schedule and take a break to make it to the
Especially since they are using up so much more energy than on a normal day at home, children require routines. Tired children may end up behaving in challenging ways. If children usually nap around
If you are going to be looser with your routine let them know this. They can stay up a little later in the evening to experience a nighttime show, but you expect them to cooperate in the morning when it is time to nap. Without a nap, they may not make it to the evening show. Depending on their age, they may or may not understand this concept but it’s worth a try.
Make dining reservations for each day.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, but knowing you won’t have to search for a table large enough to fit your family, or decide what they will be eating in the middle of the pre-meltdown test zone (one miss step could spell disaster, without warning). With meals lasting longer than 30 minutes, this is a great time to relax and possibly rest. Strollers aren’t allowed in the dining area but that rarely stops children from falling asleep at their chair or on mums lap.
Do character dining
After you’ve made Fast pass selections for the Absolute Must Have Character interactions, instead of waiting in line for more – make character meal reservations
Be sure to keep them fed and hydrated (and not too sugared up.)
Plan for snacks ahead of time and have regular water breaks. Bring your own refillable water bottle and request free ice water from any quick service restaurant in the Parks. Check out our suggestions for the Best Water Bottles for Disney
Pack a TON of snacks, and make sure not at least some of them are on the healthier side. These are our Favourite Snacks to Pack for Disney Parks. Keeping children fed and hydrated is a great way to keep them occupied, happy and healthy. Especially during the warmer seasons why dehydration is a real risk.
If the kids know that their favorite toy is waiting for them in the hotel room, they will be less likely to demand things when entering a souvenir shop. Because we all know that most rides end in a souvenir shop. Clever little buggers, those Disney Imagineers.
Get ahead of the “I want to buy it!” tantrum
Sometimes knowing they have something waiting for them isn’t enough. They want that toy, plus the one on the shelf. This is when conversations need to happen. Here are a few options;
1- They can pick one item per day and need to look around at all the shops before making a final choice
2- Give them money (cash or gift card) and this is all they are allowed to spend. Even little ones eventually get the idea of the value of money and start thinking harder about what they will spend it on.
3- Shopping is reserved for the evenings. Daytime is for attractions and character interactions. Since they can’t tell time, maybe something like ‘after dinner’ or after a specific attraction.
Have a stroller
It doesn’t matter how much they protest, what they think of strollers or how much they walk while at home, toddlers need a stroller. Big kids need a stroller. Heck, I need a stroller after exploring Disney. It’s huge!
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