If you enjoyed the last installment you will love the adventures of my favorite twins now.
“Why would you take two toddlers to Disney?”
“They won’t remember it, wait until they’re older.”
“That sounds like a waste of money.”
“Is there even anything you’ll be able to do with them?”
“Aren’t you worried about Covid?”
These are all questions and comments I got when discussing our trip. I’ll admit, they’re valid questions, but don’t worry- I’ve got the answers! I love visiting Walt Disney World. Why would I let having babies stop me from something I enjoy if they can safely join me? The toddler years are so short in the grand scheme of things, and that sense of discovery and wonder during this stage is so much fun! They want to watch everything, try everything, learn everything. Seeing the excitement in their faces and watching them take it all in was amazing. It’s true that they’ll never remember it, but its also true that I’ll never forget it! The photos we have and the memories we made are absolutely priceless. Sure, if visiting Walt Disney World is going to be a “once in a lifetime” thing for your family, then it probably is wise to wait until your children are a little older. For us, I know we will be back, and each trip will have its own set of memories! And let’s not forget, children ages 2 and under are FREE at Walt Disney World, so it didn’t cost us anything more than it would have just going as a couple! Disney is a family company. They built their parks with families in mind, so there is plenty for the girls to participate in and be entertained by. I’ll go into the specifics of each park a little later.
When they reopened in July, Disney implemented several changes to make their parks as safe as possible with the ongoing Covid crisis. All guests age 2 and up are required to wear a face covering at all times, unless eating or drinking while stationary, or in one of the “relaxation zone” areas. Plexiglass and plastic barriers have been installed on many rides, the ride queues, transportation, and restaurants. Distancing markers are everywhere, as well as cast members walking around to remind everyone to distance and wear their masks correctly. They are not afraid to call you out, and non-compliance will lead to being escorted out of the park. The ride vehicles are being disinfected frequently, parties are spaced out on the rides, mobile ordering is required in most quick-service food locations, hand sanitizer and hand washing stations can be found all over the parks, the list goes on! I’ll be honest, I felt safer and less worried about virus spread at Walt Disney World than I do at my local grocery or department store. I feel like they are doing a great job with it!
Our first park day was Magic Kingdom. Because we had our car and prefer not to ride the buses if we can avoid it (I am very prone to motion sickness), we decided to drive over to the park. Walt Disney World resort guests can park at the parks at no charge, which made the decision to drive even easier. Parking is not available directly at Magic Kingdom, and the only access is by Disney transportation or walking from the Contemporary Resort. Guests driving in or taking a ride-share service will arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center. From there, you can take either the ferry boat or the monorail over to Magic Kingdom. We chose the monorail and arrived at the park quickly.
Riding the monorail into Magic Kingdom for our first day in the parks.
I was unsure how it would feel walking into the park for the first time with all the changes. Would it feel the same? Would the magic still be there? I can honestly say, that magical feeling was still there for me. Walking under the train station and onto Main Street, seeing the castle, hearing the music, it was amazing. Some of our favorite Disney friends were even up on the train station greeting the guests!
Mickey and his friends dressed in their Halloween costumes, greeting guests as they come into the park.
One of the things I was most sad about with the Covid changes was the loss of character greetings. I wanted my girls to be able to see Mickey, Minnie, the princesses, everyone! I was pleasantly surprised to find characters stationed in various locations. Though they were farther away than normal, we were still able to interact with them and take some photos.
We were able to see Tigger, Pooh, and a few other friends. This was the girls’ first time seeing any characters, and they were not pleased that I turned their stroller around for the photo. They wanted to see Tigger!
Disney also introduced Character Cavalcades- unannounced mini-parades featuring different groups of characters. Since this was Halloween season, some of the usual Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party characters and floats could also be seen! Because these cavalcades were at random times, they were very hit-or-miss. They always traveled the same route, and they were unannounced to prevent people from gathering to wait on them, like what typically happens for the parades. This was a great extra dose of the magic.
While waiting on our mobile order to be ready for lunch, Mickey & friends came right by where we were standing!
We knew we would have to move at a slower pace and take more breaks than we typically would before kids, but we also didn’t want to waste time. Once we entered the park, we headed for Pirates of the Caribbean, one of our favorites! This was the girls’ first theme park ride ever, and they did great! We parked the stroller, loaded the girls into the front-carriers, and got in line. Because of distancing, the line queues did stretch out onto the sidewalk. Thankfully, I was aware of this already and had put sunscreen on the girls and myself. Waiting in the sun was honestly the worst part of the trip. Thankfully, the lines did move fairly quickly and we were back in the shade in no time.
People often ask what there is for little ones to do at Walt Disney World since they can’t ride roller coasters. I love getting this question, because I love seeing the surprise on people’s faces when I start telling them!
Most of the shows are not taking place right now, but we still had plenty to do and so much more we could have done! There is more they CAN do than what they can’t. Our girls were able to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Journey of the Little Mermaid. Even with all that, there’s still more they could have done that we just didn’t. Other rides and attractions in Magic Kingdom that don’t have a height requirement are Astro Orbiter, Country Bear Jamboree, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mad Tea Party, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Prince Charming Carrousel, The Hall of Presidents, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, and the Swiss Family Tree House. There are a few more that are currently close for refurbishment. This leaves only 6 attractions in Magic Kingdom that my 15-month olds were not big enough to participate in. To me, that is incredible! For the attractions they couldn’t do, Disney has a program called Rider Swap. The whole family checks in at the front of the line. The first parent goes through the line, while the second stays with the younger children. The cast member at the front of the line will scan the second parent, as well as up to 3 other family members’ magic bands to come back later. This acts basically as a FastPass. It is a wonderful program and your travel advisor would be glad to give you more information if this is something you’d like to take advantage of.
We had a wonderful first day in the parks and were very encouraged at how well the girls handled it. Check out my next post to see what park we visited next!
The park closed just before dark, which gave great lighting for a few photos before we headed out.
I wasn’t able to get a photo with my girls that first day in Magic Kingdom, so I was glad to get that chance on our second day there. Disney does not allow you to remove your mask for photos, this was taken while we were stationary, in a food & beverage area, having a snack.
Kara Brown is a Vacation Specialist with Coasters & Castles Travel and a mom to twin toddlers. She loves traveling with her family and making priceless memories. Kara specializes in Disney destinations, Universal Parks & Resorts, and Royal Caribbean cruises. You can contact her at KBrown@travelcnc.com.