Heading to Disney World with a toddler in tow? This is our One Day Disney World Itinerary for toddlers (children 1 – 3 years old). This Disney World plan will help you get the most out of a short time in Disney World.
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 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 are at Disney World. And, we understand that if you are only going to the park for a day, you want to maximize your park time. Maybe you are staying elsewhere in Florida, and only have 1 day free to get over to Orlando and do Disney World… For these reasons, we have provided an optional afternoon itinerary in our 1 day Disney World schedule. Again, try not over do it. If you do decide to stay for the afternoon, be prepared for a rest day the following day (and a meltdown or two).
One day Disney World itinerary for toddlers: plan variants
We are presenting a few variations within our One Day Disney World Itinerary for toddlers under three. As above, we have included an optional afternoon schedule. We have also included 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). Summary of one day toddler plan variations:
- Start: early morning ADR vs rope drop
- Rides and attractions: princess/character-focused vs ride-focused
- Afternoon: in park vs rest. If you do plan to stay for the afternoon, we recommend using one of your FastPasses in the afternoon.
Okay, on to the itinerary!
Step 1: Pick your Park
You toddler can have fun at any of the 4 parks (here are our favorite things for toddlers at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios). 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 one day toddler plan, we will be planning for Magic Kingdom.
Step 2: Make your Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR)
Make an early morning 8:00 am ADR at Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest Restaurant.
Cinderella’s Royal Table is a character dining meal in Cinderella’s iconic castle in the middle of Magic Kingdom. You will meet Cinderella and a rotating cast of princesses. We met Jasmine, Ariel, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), and Snow White.
Be Our Guest is not a character meal, and thus will be faster. This will get you out sooner to get on rides early before lines form.
We used to recommend Crystal Palace, which is a great Winnie the Pooh character dining breakfast, with a yummy breakfast. However, as of the 2017 changes to rope drop, the location of this restaurant no longer gets you past the rope early.
(Note: Cinderella’s Royal Table is a notoriously hard-t0-get ADR, so use our instructions to get it). Eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest will get your farther into the park.
Step 3: Make your FastPasses
We cover FastPasses here. This is how you will select your rides and attractions for the day. As we mentioned, we are presenting 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.
- Prince Charming’s Royal Carousel can usually be squeezed in between FastPasses
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!
7:20 - arrive at the park and check in for your dining reservation with one of the employees holding tablets. They are usually located near the left side of the Main Gate. There will be a special line for those waiting to get into the park for early Advanced Dining Reservations. The Welcome ceremony is now at the castle, and Main Street opens an hour before the rest of the park. Guests will be allowed into the area in front of the castle, but ropes will prevent guests from entering any of the lands early, unless you have an Advanced Dining Reservation at Be Our Guest or Cinderella's Royal Table. 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) 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.
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
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.
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.