Favorite Toddler-Friendly WDW Attractions

Tell people you are planning on taking your toddlers to Walt Disney World and you will probably hear a lot of “Really? But they can’t ride anything.” to which I say “Ha! I beg to differ!” (except not really, I would never laugh in someone’s face like that, I’m far too polite) 😉

Sure, they weren’t lining up for the thrill rides that most adults consider the must dos of Disney, but they definitely weren’t bored. 

Here are some of our favorite toddler-friendly attractions from our recent trip to Walt Disney World broken down by park…

MAGIC KINGDOM

Pretty much everything we rode here, Lyla wanted to do again (with the exception of Pirates of the Caribbean). Our highlights were the Festival of Fantasy parade, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel and meeting Mickey Mouse at the Town Square Theatre (he talks!)

EPCOT

We had so much fun on our first day at Epcot that we decided to drop our second Animal Kingdom day and visit again! We loved Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends (and the aquariums that you can visit once you get off the ride) and Frozen Ever After but I think the real winner was the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros in the Mexico Pavilion. Simon really took a liking to Donald Duck on this trip and every time we rode that attraction, he was dancing and laughing. So cute. 

DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

When I think of Disney’s Hollywood Studios I think of lots of great shows (that my kids probably wouldn’t sit through) and the more “adult” attractions like Rock’n’Roller Coaster and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, so when I was planning our trip, I almost didn’t schedule a visit but I’m so glad that I changed my mind! I had made the kids an autograph book to take on the trip and we met a ton of characters at this park. The abundance of character meet and greets paired with Disney Junior Live on Stage and the fun Star Wars mini shows/parades throughout the day made for a great visit. We also stayed for Fantasmic (our only nighttime show of the trip) and the kids did better than I thought! Lyla thought some parts were a little scary and “too loud” but Simon loved it. 

ANIMAL KINGDOM

As I mentioned above, we originally had two days planned at this park but ended up dropping the second day in exchange for another day at Epcot. I don’t regret our decision at all, but unfortunately because we thought that we were returning to DAK, we didn’t hit up a lot of (ok, any) of the attractions that I thought the kids would love. No safari, no Festival of the Lion King, no Finding Nemo the Musical. It was our first full day at Walt Disney World. We only spent a few hours in the park with our friends who live locally but we still had a great time. The park is so beautiful and the kids were excited to be doing something besides sitting on airplanes for hours and hours. I did grab a couple of Fast Passes for Expedition Everest so that the big boys could ride, it looks like they had a good time 😉

 

So there you have it! Our favorite toddler-friendly Walt Disney World attractions. Are any of these on your favorites list?

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Strawberry Fields Forever

On our recent trip to Michigan, we spent one morning at a local farm picking strawberries with my grandma. Lyla wore a pair of my old overalls and picked berries like a pro. The sun stayed behind the clouds, leaving us nice and comfortable. We joked, we worked, we tasted sweet berries (shhhh, don’t tell). It really was a special morning and I found myself holding back tears numerous times. My grandma must have felt it too because she kept telling me to make sure I grabbed some photos, so I did. I’ll let them do the rest of the talking…

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California Recap

Happy Monday, folks! I hope you all had a good weekend. We spent the last few days house hunting, trying to finally fight off this bug that we’ve been carrying around since we got home and dreaming about endless buffets of food.

Oh, I guess that last part was just me.

Baby boy must be having a big growth spurt because I have been SO hungry lately and never really feel satisfied after a meal. I’m trying not to give into the urges too often but really wish that I could go to a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. Can someone make that happen?

Anyways – I didn’t come here to talk about buffets, I came to tell you all about the California portion of our trip! 

We started off in Fallbrook with some of Alex’s family. His Grampa Earl was celebrating his ninetieth birthday so we all gathered at Aunt Susan and Uncle Bob’s for delicious dinner and fun family time. 

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Next up was Disneyland with Mimi! We stayed at the Anaheim Magestic Hotel which was awesome — I totally recommend it (not sponsored by them or anything, just really pleased with our stay)

At the risk of sounding like “that girl” I have to confess that I love Disneyland and taking my daughter for the first time was so much fun! She really soaked it all in and, even though she wont remember this trip, I know that she enjoyed herself.

Her highlight? Definitely watching Disney Junior – Live on Stage. Her mouth was open in shock the entire time as she watched some of her favorite characters up on stage. I’m going to say her least favorite were the fireworks — kinda scary for a tired toddler (but a great show for everyone else)

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^girlfriend don’t play at a buffet 😉

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After Disneyland, we made our way up to our old stomping grounds in Ventura County. We spent some time in Ojai, hit up the beach and Ventura Pier, and ate lunch at our favorite Mexican food place. It was so great to be able to get the cousins together and to spend time with Alex’s side of the family. I even got to squeeze in breakfast with my good friend, Beth 🙂

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^ Aren’t they cute? Little Grant and Lyla are only one week apart 🙂

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We finished up the trip at a beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple. Congratulations to John and Lauren! 

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It’s always hard when we get to the mainland because there is never enough time to time to see everyone and do everything but I feel like we did a good job this trip. Looking forward to next time!

 

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The View From Here Is Magnificent

So there is this special little place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that my family is kind of obsessed with. It’s an eighty acre piece of land dotted with old trucks, two barns, a log cabin and a 100-year old brick house.

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We call it “the Pharm”.

And it’s magical. 

For as long as I can remember, my grandparents have lived on the Pharm. I’ve always spent my summers there with my cousins and I absolutely love that even though most of us are grown, we all still make the pilgrimage there around the 4th of July to get our fix of Paradise. 

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^ not even close to all of us, but a good shot

Oh, I didn’t mention that? Yea, the Pharm is on Paradise Road. So perfect. 

Time seems to stand still at the Pharm. Sure, my grandparents have made changes to the house over the years. They’ve built a new barn, rearranged the living room furniture a few times, built a new deck and installed a fire pole in the house (no joke) but somehow everything still seems to stay the same. 

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The basement has smelled the same my whole life. It’s a wonderful smell, in case you were wondering, that my cousins and I look forward to smelling all year long. 

The couch is always housing somebody for a mid-morning, afternoon, or evening nap. 

The table is always set with the same orange, green and blue tupperware cups filled with ice cold milk or Faygo Cream Soda. 

The house is always filled with Grampa’s deep, booming voice as he asks us over and over “are you listening!?”

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And in recent years, my dad got a place down the street which is equally as magical. The driveway is lined with the most perfect tunnel of trees that you can’t help but feel like you are in a movie every time you drive through. There is a beautiful pond in the backyard that perfectly mirrors the endless sky above. There is almost always a bonfire burning in the distance, begging for s’more making to happen. 

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It excites me to know that my children will grow up visiting both of these places. They will have their own memories of summers spent on Paradise. Memories filled with the sights, sounds and smells of summer. So, so good. 

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Where is your happy place?

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