Simply taking a trip to the grocery store with a toddler can be a challenge, so when it comes to taking a whole vacation with one, you will undoubtedly want to be prepared. If you are used to vacationing as a childless adult – or even just with a small baby – you will likely find that adding a toddler into the mix calls for a major change of pace!
Toddlers are at the age where they are just starting to walk or still getting used to walking; they are curious. They need to explore to understand. They are transitioning from being a baby that needs constant care to becoming a bit more independent and wanting to do things on their own – until they simply don’t want to do anything!
This post is part of our Disney and Orlando series
Orlando has so many fun activities for kids of all ages, making it a great vacation destination for families with toddlers. By the end of this guide, you will be feeling prepared and ready to embark on your Orlando vacation with your toddler!
- Tips for Preparing for an Orlando Trip with Toddlers
- 10 Best Things To Do With Toddlers in Orlando
- Further Activities For Toddlers If You Have Longer in Orlando
- More Helpful Toddler Trip Tips & Visiting Florida With Kids
Tips for Preparing for an Orlando Trip with Toddlers
When taking a vacation with a toddler, it is essential to take regular routines into consideration. The last thing you want while you are trying to enjoy a vacation is to have a cranky and tired toddler with you.
It’s important to have fun, but staying as close to a normal routine and nap schedule as possible is important as well.
As with any vacation, you want to ensure that you are prepared and you pack all the essentials you may need. When it comes to packing for a toddler, you will likely need a long list of items, including spare clothes, diapers/pull-ups (if necessary), baby wipes (essential for diaper cleaning but also great for messy hands and quick clean up as well), extra snacks, sunscreen, and more.
Be prepared for queues, too. We know toddlers aren’t the most patient bunch, so you’ll definitely want some tricks up your sleeve for when you’ll inevitably need to wait turns.
Pack Proper Attire
When you are in Orlando, you will likely be doing a lot of activity between walking around theme parks and other interactive activities, so you will want to make sure that you and your toddler dress comfortably. You can never go wrong with athletic wear such as gym shorts or leggings paired with a t-shirt or tank top.
We always recommend comfortable shoes with stability to ensure your new walkers don’t take a spill as you are walking through crowds and busy environments.
Keep a Stroller on Hand
Although your little ones may have graduated to walking, I wouldn’t part from the stroller just yet! While you may not use it all day, it is a good idea to keep a stroller on hand in the event that it is needed.
It is likely that your toddler will get tired at some point throughout the day due to all of the walking and activity, so having your stroller ready to go will be your lifesaver.
IMPORTANT! If you are planning to take your stroller to Disney World, you must make sure that your stroller is Disney size compliant, and note that stroller wagons aren’t permitted – we compare all our favorite strollers for Disney over here
When planning a vacation with a toddler, keep in mind that things may not always go as planned. Toddlers are unpredictable, and you never know what you may run into. Be flexible with your plans and itinerary to avoid any additional stress or anxiety that you may already be experiencing.
If your toddler is jet-lagged, perhaps you’ll want to start your days later and keep them up later at night while still keeping their naps on home-scheduled times. It’s not the end of the world if they miss a parade or particular picture moment you had in mind.
Set Realistic Expectations
When planning your travel itinerary, make sure that you set realistic expectations as far as how long it will take you to travel, the time you will spend at attractions, and how long your vacation will last.
You may want to do and see as much as you can while visiting Orlando, but it’s important to keep in mind that that may not be possible – consider this a list of Orlando toddler activities suggestions to mix and match, not a bucket list that needs to be ticked off!
When traveling with toddlers or young children, you will want to keep in mind their interests, patience level, and stamina when deciding how many activities you would like to do and what kind of activities will be on your schedule.
I know it is easier said than done sometimes but try your best to remain calm and maintain your patience throughout your trip. Toddlers can have a hard time adjusting to new environments and situations, so taking them on vacation can be confusing and even sometimes a bit scary for them. If you encounter any frustration or tantrums, try your best to remain patient and move forward with your plans or make adjustments on the go.
10 Best Things To Do With Toddlers in Orlando
So now you’re prepared to travel with a toddler; what is there to do in Orlando with kids? We’re going to cover the obvious theme parks, including which work best with toddlers, along with some non-theme park activities in Orlando when you (undoubtedly) will need a break!
Probably the most notable Orlando experience (rightfully so) will make for a great experience for your little ones. Disney World is an excellent family-friendly activity that will have your toddler smiling ear to ear.
The property is made up of four theme parks, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. All four parks are family-friendly and suitable for guests of all ages, but if you only choose to visit one park, we recommend Magic Kingdom for the best toddler experience.
We highly recommend staying at a Walt Disney World Resort for the complete experience. Not only does it work out cheaper to package your Disney accommodation, it can save you on car parking and make it super convenient if you need to head home in the middle of the day for naps.
Cost: $109-$189 per ticket. Price varies based on the season.
Bonus: Kids under 3 years old get in for FREE!
Universal Studios Orlando is another huge theme park in the Orlando area. Universal Orlando Resort includes two theme parks and a water park, with a number of fun rides and attractions that your kids will love!
Despite what you may be told that Universal is not for little kids, we have visited three times with toddlers and would argue we actually had more fun there and with fewer crowds to contend with than Disney!
Within the theme parks, toddlers will get to see rides that feature some of their favorite characters and movies, including Despicable Me, characters from the Dr. Suess books and movies, Shrek, and Marvel.
They may be too young for some of the most talked-about rides at Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Diagon Alley, with its fire-breathing dragon, may be a little overwhelming. However, we’d still highly recommend a trip to Universal Orlando with toddlers. Mardi Gras season especially, is toddler-friendly, and there is plenty of character meet-and-greets and live music to enjoy.
Cost: $114-$189 per ticket; price varies based on the season (grab your tickets in advance here)
Bonus: Kids under 3 years old get in for FREE!
You may find this guide helpful to distinguish between the key rides and attractions of Universal Studios vs Hollywood Studios at Disney – similar sounding names but different experiences!
If you have a builder on your hands, Legoland may be a great addition to your itinerary! The Legoland park focuses on young children between the ages of 2-12 years old, and all rides and attractions are kid-friendly, many of which are suited for toddlers.
In addition to rides, young kids will also love to see the many sculptures made from legos, and they will, of course, have the chance to play and build with legos while they visit as well.
Set just 45 minutes south of Orlando in Winter Haven, it makes a great option for a day trip. Or alternatively, stay in one of the on-site themed Lego rooms at the Legoland Hotel with tonnes of bonus activities to make the most of your time at Legoland Florida.
Cost: Starting at $84 per person (NB, unlike other Florida parks, Legoland starts charging for kids tickets from ages 2+ Grab your 1 day or 2 day passes here).
Rounding out our list of theme parks, a visit to SeaWorld Orlando is an excellent choice. We’ve found SeaWorld is great for toddlers because this is usually the age that they are becoming interested in learning about animals, and it’s always fun for them to play in the water.
You can mix faster rides and roller coaster attractions if you have older kids, whilst the younger children have still got plenty to keep them entertained without lots of waiting around.
SeaWorld gives them an opportunity to not only have fun, but they are able to see sea life up close and even have the chance to interact with them.
Cost: Starting at $99 per person (Grab your tickets in advance here)
Bonus: Kids under 3 years old are free – or if you’re a Florida resident, grab your Pre-schoolers card for free entry up to 5 year old.
The Crayola Experience
What toddler doesn’t love coloring and crafts? At the Crayola Experience, kids will have the chance to spend the day creating and using their imagination making this one of our favorite things to do on a rainy day in Orlando.
Popular exhibits include the color playground, kaleidoscope, melt and mold, and cool moves. During their visit, they will get to learn how Crayola products are made, enjoy a number of fun crafts and activities, and even make their very own crayon!
Cost: Starting at $25.99 per person (3 years+) (Grab your tickets in advance here)
Bonus: Guests 2 years old and younger are FREE!
The Central Florida Zoo
Anytime I take a vacation, our family can’t skip on visiting the local zoo. Zoos are a great way to spend the day, and I personally always find it to be a fun and unique experience during your trip.
The Central Florida Zoo is great because not only do you get to enjoy the experience of getting to know a variety of both native and exotic animals, but a visit to the zoo also includes a large splash pad and a children’s garden that your kids will love!
Cost: $15.95-$21.95 per person – Children 2 and under are FREE! (Grab your skip-the-line tickets here)
Sea Life Orlando Aquarium
Going hand in hand with the zoo is a visit to the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium to enjoy a deeper look into fish, turtles, jellyfish, and many more living species of the sea.
The aquarium is Florida’s only 360-degree Ocean Tunnel making your experience unlike other aquariums you may have visited. There are a number of interactive exhibits, including the Jelly Wall, Feeding Frenzy, and the Coastal Rockpool. A visit to Sea Life is a great way to spend your day indoors.
Cost: $29.99 – $34.99 per person (Grab your tickets in advance here)
Pirate’s Dinner Adventure
If you have had a busy day and you are looking for a casual yet fun way to spend your evening, you may consider a visit to the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure.
During this dinner and show experience, you will enjoy an entertaining story featuring dueling pirates. Your toddlers will love to see the show, and if you’re lucky, they may even get to see a member of the family participate in the show!
Cost: Starting at $42.95 for children ages 3-10, $68.95 for adults age 11+ (Book your spots in advance here)
When you have had enough of the hot Florida sun, visiting an indoor play area like Monkey Joe’s is a great way to have some fun in the cool air. There are a number of fun activities, including arcade games, blow-up slides, climbing walls, bounce pads, and more!
In addition to all of the general play activities, there is also a dedicated toddler area if you are concerned with your little ones playing with bigger kids as well.
Cost: $9.99-$16.99 per child for unlimited play time (Adults are FREE!)
My Little Town
My Little Town is another great indoor play area for kids. This playground is very different compared to Monkey Joe’s because the activities are much different but still a lot of fun. The activities at My Little Town are very real-life-focused, including house play, grocery stores, driving cars, and more.
This is a great way for kids to have fun and play at their own pace with whatever they find entertaining, and one of the best places to head when the weather isn’t playing nicely in Orlando!
Cost: $14 per child for up to 2 hours of playtime (Two adults free with every child ticket purchase!)
Further Activities For Toddlers If You Have Longer in Orlando
As we mentioned at the outset, Orlando with toddlers isn’t about seeing and doing it all; you will need to carefully consider your pace and how much you want to jam into your itinerary.
If you are in Orlando for several weeks, here are a few more suggestions of things to do during your time in the Sunshine State:
- A trip to Gatorland can be a fun outing for little kids who love everything animals; it’s smaller than the other theme parks, so feels more manageable! Grab your skip-the-line tickets here.
- Mead Botanical Garden is a beautiful spot for a quieter stroll and play, less than 30 minutes from the city. Another outdoor option is the Orlando Wetlands Park.
- If you’re up early and got your own wheels, the perfect place to head for a morning is just outside of Orlando to Blue Spring State Park to see the native manatees. It gets busy in the middle of the day, and parking may be shut, but early risers are rewarded here! Open from 8:00 AM and at just $6 per car park entry, it’s a steal!
- Head for lunch at Disney Springs – not nearly as full-on as a full day at the theme parks, but still with those magical Disney touches. Visit the Lego store, play in the splash pad, take the marketplace train, and enjoy an early meal before the theme park crowds tend to head over, mainly in the evenings.
- If you’ve got a mixed age group to entertain, a day trip to Kennedy Space Centre can be a winner, with a little something for all age groups to enjoy. There’s the New Planet Play for those aged 2+, with plenty of interactive and hands-on displays and activities; it’s one of our Florida hidden gems! You can grab your skip-the-line tickets here.!
If you are planning a trip to Orlando with your toddler any time soon, I hope that you have found this guide helpful.
Do you have any favourite toddler spots in Orlando that we missed? Feel free to share them with other readers and us. We are always excited to add additional fun activities to our list.
More Helpful Toddler Trip Tips & Visiting Florida With Kids
Florida has long been one of our favorite destinations to travel to with our kids; we’ve been returning for years at different ages and stages. The sheer range of fun activities and great sunny weather for most of the year makes it unbeatable for a family vacation!
You may also like to read these helpful guides when planning a trip to Orlando:
- We always combine a trip to Orlando with a fabulous Florida beach vacation. We share here all the closest beaches to Disney – plus, you’ll want to read up on our toddler beach day suggestions (with a beach packing list for little ones)
- Driving to Orlando? The road trip there could be half your battle; we share all our best toddler road trip tips and packs.
- Staying at Disney but want to visit Universal for a day or vice versa? Why not stay at an off-site resort that offers shuttles to both theme parks?
- If you want to extend your Florida vacation even further, check out these beautiful islands and keys for that quintessential Florida vacation in the sun.
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