Heading to Disney World with a toddler in tow? This Three Day Disney World Itinerary for toddlers (children 1 – 3 years old) will help you maximize your trip. We’ve called this an itinerary, but really it’s a comprehensive plan.
How to read this plan
We approach our comprehensive Disney World plan with 4 steps:
1. Pick parks
2. Make ADRs
3. Make FastPasses
4. Execute schedule
We then break each of the steps down by day, day 1 through day 5.
We have a Disney World base planning process here. Add this plan on top of it, to customize for toddlers and for 5 day length. Step 1 of this plan ties into step 3 of the base process (pick your park). This will be self-explanatory after looking at both.
A word of wisdom on toddlers at Disney World
We always recommend only doing a half-day in the park with toddlers. It’s important not to over-do it with a toddler in the park, or you will probably regret it the next day (or later the same day). It’s one of our best tips for taking toddlers to Disney World.
However, it can be very tempting to just keep going once you’re at Disney World.
For this reason, we have provided optional afternoon itineraries for each of the 3 days. We definitely don’t recommend doing afternoons all 3 days. If you do decide to stay for an afternoon, be prepared for meltdowns.
3 day Disney World plan for toddlers: variations
There is just so much to do at Magic Kingdom (Day 1), so we have options geared towards both character meets and rides.
You can mix and match the rides and attractions you think your toddler will enjoy. There are also options with and without an early breakfast ADR. (More on ADRs here and here).
We have some options for Day 2 and 3 as well.
Summary of our 3 day toddler plan variations:
- Day 1 start: early morning ADR vs rope drop
- Day 1 Magic Kingdom rides and attractions: princess/character-focused vs. ride-focused
- Day 1 afternoon: in park vs rest. If you do plan to stay for the afternoon, use one of your FastPasses in the afternoon.
- Day 2 afternoon: in park vs rest. If you plan to stay, use one of your FastPasses in the afternoon.
- Day 3 afternoon: in park vs rest. If you plan to stay, use one of your FastPasses in the afternoon.
Okay, on to the itinerary!
Step 1: Pick your Park
However, Magic Kingdom is our favorite park for toddlers. Epcot is also great for toddlers but requires a monorail switch if you are staying at a monorail hotel. It is a short walk if you are staying at an Epcot Resort. Hollywood Studios is off the monorail completely, but is also great for toddlers. Animal Kingdom has a more limited selection of toddler activities, but is worth doing if your stay is long enough.
Use our Park Selector table for toddlers to chose your park.
As you can see, for this 3 day toddler plan, we will be planning for:
- Magic Kingdom on Day 1
- Epcot on Day 2
- Hollywood Studios on Day 3
Step 2: Make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR)
Day 1 Magic Kingdom ADR
Make an 8 am early morning ADR at:
- Cinderella’s Royal Table (Cinderella and rotating princesses) OR
- Be Our Guest (no characters)
This will get you into the park before it opens. Even if your ADR is at 8:30 am, show up to the restaurant promptly at 8:00 am. Seating is in order of arrival.
We cover Advanced Dining Reservations, or ADRs, here.
An early morning ADR will allow you to get in the park early, and finish breakfast just as the rope is dropping. When you leave the restaurant, lines will still be short, and you should be able to walk right on your first ride / attraction. Plus, if its character dining, you’ve already met a bunch of characters!
(Note: Cinderella’s Royal Table is a notoriously hard-to-get ADR, so use our instructions to get it. We used to recommend an early morning ADR at Crystal Palace, but as of the changes to rope drop in 2017, this no longer gets you in early.)
Day 2 Epcot ADR
On day 2, we don’t recommend using the early morning ADR trick. This is because World Showcase doesn’t open until 11 and only 2 restaurants offer ADRs: Akershus and Garden Grill.
Instead, make make a 12:45 ADR at Akershus.
(An early morning Garden Grill ADR does get you in to Future World early, but it’s not our favorite restaurant. And, an early morning Akershus ADR can be used to be first in line for Frozen Ever After, but then you have to trek all the way back to Future World and back again when World Showcase opens.)
Day 3 Hollywood Studios ADR
On day 3, make an early morning 8:00 am ADR at Hollywood and Vine. This will get you into the park early, just like at Magic Kingdom. It’s also a must-do if your toddler watches any Disney Jr. You will meet Doc McStuffins, Jake the Pirate, Sophia the First, and Handy Manny.
For lunch, make a 12:30 ADR at 50’s Prime Time Café.
Step 3: Make your FastPasses
Day 1 Magic Kingdom FastPasses
We cover FastPasses here. This is how you will select your rides and attractions for the day. As we mentioned, we are presenting Magic Kingdom options that are character/princess heavy and options that is ride heavy. These are ordered for an efficient trip without a lot of back tracking.
Character Princess focused:
- 9:00-10:00 am FastPass – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (ride)
- 10:10-11:10 am FastPass – Meet princess at Fairy Tale Hall (character meet, redundant after Cinderella’s Royal Table)
- 11:20-12:30 am FastPass – Enchanted Tales with Belle (interactive show). Note: If you don’t get a FastPass for this and really want to see it, consider doing this as your first attraction after breakfast and then heading over to Peter Pan or Winnie the Pooh. This attraction lasts approximately 20 minutes.
- 9:00-10:00 am FastPass – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (ride)
- 10:10-11:10 am FastPass – Dumbo the Flying Elephant (ride)
- 11:20-12:20 am FastPass – Under the Sea: The Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Peter Pan’s Flight: this is our favorite ride for toddlers. Rather than use a FastPass, we are going to take advantage of being in the park early to get on this ride with minimal waiting.
- Mad Tea Party can be squeezed in between FastPasses
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant does not necessarily require a FastPass, because there is a toddler friendly play area in the waiting line. This can be a good way to cool down in the afternoon.
- Prince Charming’s Royal Carousel can usually be squeezed in between FastPasses
Day 2 Epcot FastPasses
- 9:00 – 10:00 FastPass – Spaceship Earth
- 10:10-11:10 FastPass – The Seas with Nemo and Friends (Seas Pavilion)
- 11:15 – 12:15 FastPass – Ride Frozen Ever After (Norway Pavilion)
Day 3 Hollywood Studios FastPasses
- 9:00 – 10:00 FastPass – Toy Story Midway Mania
- 10:10 – 11:10 FastPass – Disney Jr. Live on Stage
- 11:20 – 12:20 FastPass – For the First Time in Forever, A Frozen Sing Along Celebration (review here)
Hollywood Studios notes and alternates:
- You can interchange Disney Jr: Live on Stage and For the First Time in Forever, a Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, depending on FastPass availability.
- Toy Story Midway Mania‘s lights and sounds will entertain most toddlers, but only older toddlers will be able to engage in the shooting game. It’s still a fun time for everyone.
- Voyage of The Little Mermaid is a show that is well-suited to toddlers. You may be able to squeeze this in between FastPasses, especially in the earlier morning.
- Muppet*Vision 3D is another show that entertains all ages, although your toddler may be too young to wear the 3D glasses. He or she will give it high marks anyways.
If you don’t get exactly the FastPasses above, or can’t get them in that order, its not the end of the world. This order was only selected for an efficient path through the park. A little extra walking never hurt as long as you’ve got a good stroller.
Step 4: Execute the schedule!
Day 1 Magic Kingdom
7:20 - arrive at the park and check in for your dining reservation with one of the employees holding tablets. They are usually located on the far left of the Main gate. Main Street opens an hour before the rest of the park, and ropes keep guests out of individual lands, with the exception of those with early ADRs in FantasyLand at Cinderella's Royal Table and Be Our Guest. 7:30 - Get a photo in front of Cinderella's castle on the way to your restaurant. 7:45 - Check in for your reservation at the restaurant. 8:00 - Eat breakfast at ADR reservation (or get in line for rope drop as close to FantasyLand as possible) 9:00 - Ride Peter Pan's Flight in Fantasyland. We skipped the FastPass for this ride in this schedule. Instead, take advantage of early ADR or rope drop to get on this very cool, very popular ride with little to no wait. 9:00 - 10:00 First FastPass - The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 10:10 - 11:10 Second FastPass - Fairy Tale Hall or Dumbo the Flying Elephant 11:20 - 12:20 Third FastPass - Enchanted Tales with Belle or Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid Squeeze in between FastPasses: It's a Small World Squeeze in between FastPasses: Prince Charming's Royal Carousel Lunch - We recommend heading back to home base in the afternoon for a nap and to wind down, swim, and relax, when with toddlers.
Day 1 Magic Kingdom Afternoon Option
If you are intent on getting as much of Magic Kingdom in as you can… We recommend saving at least one of your FastPasses for an afternoon option.
1:00 Meet Ariel at her Grotto (if you haven't met her today already) 1:45 Mickey's Philiharmagic (FastPass not usually needed) 2:30 The Enchanted Tiki Room (FastPass not usually needed) 3:15 Magic Carpets with Aladdin 4:30 Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater
Staying Cool at Magic Kingdom
You and your toddler will probably need to cool off during your day. We strategically included air-conditioned rides in this itinerary so that you can cool off in between walking treks. These include:
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (ride only; line shaded)
- Princess Fairy Tale Hall
- Under the Sea: The Journey of the Little Mermaid (ride only, line shaded)
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant (line and ride)
- Enchanted Tales with Belle (line and ride)
- Tiki Room (attraction only)
There is also a splash pad located in the Storybook Circus area of Fantasy Land called Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak. Kids have a blast running through the water and splash features. But be warned, they will end up soaked. Check out our tips on staying cool at Disney World here.
Play Areas at Magic Kingdom
We didn’t schedule playgrounds into this itinerary. Most visitors with only 1 day in the park will want as much time on rides and attractions as possible. Having said that, if you want to sit down and let your toddler run around in a play area, we recommend:
- The line for Dumbo the Flying Elephant (air conditioned with seats for parents)
- Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak in Fantasyland
- The Laughin’ Place near the exit to Splash Mountain (shaded, outdoors)
We have a more comprehensive list of Disney World play areas and playgrounds here.
Other Notes about Magic Kingdom
- Park hours often change from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m. Call the day before to ensure you know what time the park is opening.
- If you don’t have an early ADR, being at Magic Kingdom for Rope Drop is important in order to get a head start on the crowds.
- Magic Kingdom generally lets guests through the turnstiles, but not all the way into the park, 15 minutes before park opening (usually 8:45 am). If early crowds are large enough, Disney may let people in early or open the park early.
On to day 2!
Day 2 Epcot
8:00 - Arrive at park to wait for rope drop 9:00 - 10:00 First FastPass - Spaceship Earth Squeeze in between FastPasses: Space Base play area. Enter through Mission: SPACE exit, and walk through the gift shop at the exit of the ride. 10:10 - 11:00 Second FastPass - The Seas with Nemo and Friends (Seas Pavilion) Squeeze in Between FastPasses: Turtle Talk with Crush (Seas Pavilion) 11:15 - 12:15 Third FastPass - Ride Frozen Ever After (Norway Pavilion) Squeeze in Between FastPasses: See Anna and Elsa in Norway if you have time 12:45 - ADR for Akershus Royal Table
Day 2 Epcot Afternoon Option
1:45 - 4:45 - Walk around the World Showcase See while you are in the World Showcase: Mexico Pavilion - Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros (air-conditioned) France Pavilion - Serveur Amusant (if performing) United Kingdom Pavilion - Rose & Crown Pub Anything else that interests you.
Staying Cool and Play Areas at Epcot
We recommend taking cooling break during warmer months. The Mexico Pavilion building is a cool, air-conditioned break from the sun. In addition, there is a great indoor, air-conditioned play area for toddlers at the exit of Mission: SPACE, called Space Base. Enter through the exit of Mission: SPACE, and walk through the gift shop.
Day 3 Hollywood Studios
7:00 - Get on bus to Hollywood Studios. Buses do run in time for early ADRs even though the official line is that they start an hour before parks open. 8:00 - Breakfast Advanced Dining Reservation at Hollywood & Vine 9:00 - 10:00 First FastPass - Toy Story Midway Mania Pro Tip - if the standby line is short, ride standby first and then ride a second time using your FastPass, or cancel your FastPass and use it to get onto another ride later. You can do this on the Disney mobile app or at a FastPass kiosk. 10:10 - 11:10 Second FastPass - Disney Jr: Live on Stage You do not want to be the first in line as the stage is high and those who arrive first sit in the first row with an obstructed view. Squeeze in between FastPasses - The Great Movie Ride (watch ahead on YouTube to see if your child would find this frightening). My two-year old loved it and wasn’t scared. 11:20 - 12:20 Third FastPass - For the First Time in Forever, a Frozen Sing-Along Celebration 12:30 - Lunch ADR for 50’s Prime Time Cafe
We recommend heading back for a rest at this point. If you want to stay for the whole day, we recommend saving one FastPass for an afternoon attraction. We think Hollywood Studios is a great half-day park, and thus, perfect for toddlers.
Day 3 Afternoon option
1:45 - The Great Movie Ride (if you haven’t already been on it) 2:30 - Jim Henson’s Muppet-Vision: 3D (show) 3:15 - Voyage of the Little Mermaid (show) 4:00 - Meet Characters - use the remainder of your day to meet characters Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars, Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc., Phineas and Ferb, and the Incredibles are characters that are only found at Hollywood Studios.
That’s it! That’s our comprehensive 3 Day Disney World Plan for Toddlers. Do you have improvements? Let us know in the comments!