Four Parks, Three Days and One Two Year Old

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Bella's picture
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Four Parks, Three Days and One Two Year Old

I know this a "grownup" forum but I know lots of us have kids or have traveled to WDW with kids. Even if you haven't and want to pipe in your two cents that is cool too!

We are going in May (YES..it's all paid for, days off are requested..this IS happening this year)...and I am in a bit on a conundrum. We've opted for a short three full day park. We'll drive down on Monday..it takes about 7 hours..and spend our first day swimming at the resort and hanging out there..Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be spent in the parks and we are headed to DTD Friday morning and then heading to Cocoa Beach for a few days. I had been debating it but we decided we WILL do parkhoppers since we will probably head back to the resort for naps and might want to hit another park afterwards. My predicament is..should we try and hit all four parks or maybe just focus on a few. We know we want to do MGM (I'm sorry..I just CANNOT call it HS) and Magic Kingdom of course.

My question is are Animal Kingdom and Epcot "worth" a trip with a 2 year old. I know he won't mind walking around the countries but he's not the kind of kid to stop and enjoy the scenery. He'll want to keep going. In AK I think he would like the shows (Nemo and LK) and the Safari but other than that I am not sure how much he'll like it there. What do you guys think?

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If he likes Finding Nemo, Epcot has The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Turtle Talk with Crush.

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When my daughter was 2 she loved turtle talk with Crush at Epcot, the Nemo ride, living with the land cause we told her Mickey had planted everything, and the innovation stations. I thought she would love Kilimanjaro Safaris at AK but she slept through the whole thing. She liked triceratops spin, conservation station, and was scared at it's tough to be a bug. So I guess what I am saying is there are things are at every park for a 2 year old but of course they love MK and HS the most because they can relate to it. But remember its your vacation also so as long as they don't melt down go and see some things you desire also.

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We were concerned when ours were young about there being enough to do at AK. They ended up spending 90 minutes walking through the foliage and animals leading into the park. We went to Flights of Wonder, (had to see it twice, because they enjoyed it so much), played 'find the animals' on the Tree of Life (there's lots of pathways with animals around the base of the tree) and did the two shows, lunch and the safari. Suddenly the park was closing. There's plenty to do there.

As for the naps, we skipped the going back to the resort routine. We just didn't think we wanted to do that march out of the park, only to march back to a park a short time later.We would find a quieter place and sit for a bit. Soon they would be asleep. After a 45-60 minute power nap, they were ready to go.

And I will leave you with the best piece of Disney advice ever given to us for going with young children.

"Don't watch the show, watch your kids watch the show". The looks of amazement and wonder are priceless memories you will cherish forever.

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When my son was two, he actually probably enjoyed Epcot more than Animal Kingdom. He loved the Safari at AK and the walking trails, but that was about it. At Epcot, he loves Crush, the Nemo Ride, Spaceship Earth and the Grand Fiesta Ride. Oh, how he loves the Grand Fiesta Ride.

Plus, if you are park hopping, we would spend the morning at MK and then when we wanted to nap we would ride the monorail so he fell asleep and then we would spend time walking around the World Showcase.

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I would yey to hit every park. Like others have said, they all have some fun things for kids to do.

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My buddy and his family are doing the EXACT same thing, but taking a slightly different approach. They are only doing Magic Kingdom, and MGM (Figure ill stick with the name too... heh), and on the third doing DTD. Him and his son are going to do Disney Quest, and let wifey shop.

For a two year old... I honestly don't know how much they will get out of MGM, and AK. Magic Kingdom and Epcot have tons of rides for the little one to go on. We took our daughter at 1 and 2, and don't get me wrong. She had fun everywhere, but because of the age, its more of what the adults would like to do more than anything. So I say just do what you would like to do. Wanna ride Rockin Roller Coaster.... do the pass off where one rides it, and then pass off for the other to go on. The atmosphere itself will be enough to keep the little ones attention to be honest... heh

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I don't have kids, but I think you could find a half-day's worth of enjoyment for a toddler in all four parks. But probably not more than that in some of them. So get the park-hoppers, spend the morning in one park, and hit the Magic Kingdom after naptime. You KNOW your kid will be entertained at the Magic Kingdom.

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My daughter was just shy of 2 when we first took her to Disney. We only did 2 parks, MK & AK. What little kid DOESN'T love MK? She did love AK too. The safari ride, seeing all the animals and the dinosaur section that has that huge boneyard playground was a big hit. They have a Tryceratops ride similar to Dumbo. We didn't go to EPCOT because we didn't think she would enjoy it other than Nemo. Just doing 2 parks was enough, no meltdowns. MK was wonderful because she knows all the characters, has seen a lot of the movies or heard the songs. That's a big thing. If they don't know the characters they might get scared or just not enjoy it as much.

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Bella, it really depends on your child. in AK, mine cried in terror for all of the safari, but loved the animal trails & rafikis. he really enjoyed triceratop spin. we skipped the shows as we knew he would not sit still.
in epcot, he cried all thru the nemo ride & turtle talk but loved the aquariums. he was okay on lving with the land. he did not do well in dark rides other than small world.

you had previoulsy asked about characters with a 2 year old. on day one he was terrified, by about day 5 he was okay, by days 8 & 9 he was running to them for hugs.

Each child is going to enjoy or be scared of different things, only you can be the best judge for your child, and be prepared to change plans for them.

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Bella, we just did AK with our 2 year old. He didn't seem all that engaged, but then he didn't seem to mind it, either. Does he like Animals? Because they also have the petting zoo there which might interest him. Other than that, I would probably focus on the things that you and Dave enjoy, and throw a kid ride in here and there. He's still a little young to be truly engaged imo (based upon my experience with my own kiddoes.) Good luck!

OH - and DS totally napped in his stroller in the parks...but I realize every kids is different...DD totally would not have done so.

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One of my daughters is 52 and I am taking her to Disney in 18 days. I will find out what she likes.
Does that count?
Joe

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Since you're park hopping, I forgot to mention you could probably do MGM in only a few hours with your little one. The past 2 years we got there at park opening and then did Toy Story Mania, Disney Junior show, Little Mermaid show and some walking around. A lot of it is just shows for the younger ones unless you want to do the baby swap for the rides like TOT and RnR!

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My suggestion would be to do AK in the morning/afternoon because it closes by sunset. Epcot is open until 9pm if not later.

Plus, AK, MK, and HS/MGM all have parades in the afternoon, Epcot doesn't. I think she would like the parade in AK.. it's bright, colorful, and has funny 'animals'. You could easily be done with AK by 4-5 pm, go back to the hotel and nap/eat and then hit Epcot at night.

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Lizzy_B wrote:

OH - and DS totally napped in his stroller in the parks...but I realize every kids is different...DD totally would not have done so.

Ugh, this is my fear. Holden is NOT a fan of his stroller. We haven't used it since he started walking well. We plan on bringing it (because I am not insane) but I thinking the naps in the stroller probably won't happen.

Thanks for the tips everyone! I think we'll just go with the flow and see what happens. We don't even plan on riding (many) big rides. Since it will just be Dave and I we don't really want to be apart too much..we're weirdos like that. We have a few favs like ToT and Space Mountain we will have to do but other than this this trip is more about the little dude.

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Bella wrote:
Lizzy_B wrote:

OH - and DS totally napped in his stroller in the parks...but I realize every kids is different...DD totally would not have done so.

Ugh, this is my fear. Holden is NOT a fan of his stroller. We haven't used it since he started walking well. We plan on bringing it (because I am not insane) but I thinking the naps in the stroller probably won't happen.

Thanks for the tips everyone! I think we'll just go with the flow and see what happens. We don't even plan on riding (many) big rides. Since it will just be Dave and I we don't really want to be apart too much..we're weirdos like that. We have a few favs like ToT and Space Mountain we will have to do but other than this this trip is more about the little dude.

See...you talk about your trip, and all I hear is..."We're SOOO meeting in Epcot for a Strongbow." Lizzy and Bella! Together! At long last! I'll wear my ears if you'll wear yours...

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Lizzy_B wrote:

See...you talk about your trip, and all I hear is..."We're SOOO meeting in Epcot for a Strongbow." Lizzy and Bella! Together! At long last! I'll wear my ears if you'll wear yours...

I am excited! You better be there! Strongbow is a must and cupcakes had better be involved. It just seems appropriate for some reason!

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I am making a similar trip with my 22 month old grandson in April. I am finishing up my Masters degree and this is a mini celebration for me! clapping Also, my grandson's Mom is deploying to Afghanistan in late April. She will be training and in Texas the week I am planning this trip. A good way to distract myself from the inevitable departure to the sand box.
Questions: What rides are available for the under 3 crowd? mickey Do I take my 18 year old daughter too? Steve She usually just rides the coasters and goes off with her older sisters. I am flying, so bringing a friend is a little too hard to plan for her.
Am I crazy to want to go with just my grandson? DH has to work, we are planning a second trip this summer.

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6sixgees wrote:
Questions: What rides are available for the under 3 crowd?

Yikes! It's been about 10 years since I've had an under 3 crowd.
Pretty much every ride in Magic Kingdom except Space Mountain, Splash Mountain & Big Thunder is perfect. My kids at that age loved Dinoland at Animal Kingdom, the Safari and the shows. Nemo, Imagination, Energy & Mexico at Epcot. I don't think I ever took the kids to Hollywood Studios at that age, not because there wasn't stuff to do, more that it didn't fit the schedule.

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Melissa W wrote:
Since you're park hopping, I forgot to mention you could probably do MGM in only a few hours with your little one. The past 2 years we got there at park opening and then did Toy Story Mania, Disney Junior show, Little Mermaid show and some walking around. A lot of it is just shows for the younger ones unless you want to do the baby swap for the rides like TOT and RnR!

My grandson 22m, loves Little Einsteins, Buzz and Woody, and knows Jake and the Pirates. We watch Maison de Mickey (Mickey's Clubhouse) all the time. MGM has a Disney Jr. show that features the Little Einsteins, Handy Manny, Mickeys Clubhouse, and Jake and the Pirates. I think he will love this show. There is also a character breakfast and lunch at H & V featuring some of these characters too. Buzz and Woody characters are also at this park and in their parade. I figure my DD18 can ride ToT while we watch the parade. crossfingers

I've starting watching some of these parades and shows on YouTube with my grandson. I figure it is good propaganda! awesome

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DS was 22 months when we took him last year, he loved the breakfast @ H&V, he likes to looks at the pics of himself with his "friends from the TV". the Show terrified him and we had to leave, its dark, loud and has special effects. The breakfast was almost empty and he got to spend lots of time with the characters.

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My 28 month old did NOT like Lion King or Nemo. She just couldn't sit still, even though she LOVES music and both of those characters. She did love anything on a boat - Pirates, Small World; anything in a "car" - Pooh, Ariel, Haunted Mansion, Spaceship Earth; she loved the Carousel. She loved loved loved the aquarium part at Epcot - we almost missed our ADR because we couldn't get her out of there.

There's a lot of rides they can do if you're patient. We found it was easier to go at the *end* of the day rather than fight the early morning crowds of littles.

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When is your next trip, Bella?

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Bella sort of disappeared Poppet. Hasn't been on for about 6 months.

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mrhub wrote:
Bella sort of disappeared Poppet. Hasn't been on for about 6 months.

Really? Sorry to hear that. Hope to hear from her soon and she and her family are doing well. Always enjoyed her posts.

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I don't know what's been said yet, but we only had 4 days for our honeymoon and this was our schedule: Wizarding World at Universal and dinner at MK for Day one.....Day Two: Hollywood studios and Downtown Disney
Day Three: Animal Kingdom and Epcot
Day Four: Magic Kingdom

We arranged it so we could take advantage of the magic hours!

Have fun!