I’m sat here planning a trip to Disney and I can’t believe just how much there is to see and do. It’ll take us weeks to get round every ride I want to go on and every attraction I want to see. Then I remember, this trip isn’t really for me. It’s for a 3 year old! I need to concentrate and think about which parks and attractions are going to make your 3 year old jump for joy and have a smile a mile wide. So what Disney park is best for a 3 year old?
The best Disney park for a 3 year old is Magic Kingdom. When people think of Disney they think of the iconic main street with the fairytale Cinderella’s castle towering over the end of it. Your 3 year old will love the hustle and bustle and also meeting all their favorite characters. Approximately 80% of the rides in Magic Kingdom don’t have height restrictions (Around 24 rides in total). In Magic Kingdom, your 3 year old will have the time of their lives.
The Magic Kingdom could take up more than one fun packed day for your 3 year old, there is just so much to do. Don’t forget the parades and fireworks every day as well. No other park is more suitable for a 3 year old than Magic Kingdom. Visiting Disney with a 3 year old can be just as magical for us parents, but it can also be stressful at times. Just make sure to read my essential tips and tricks below to make sure you have the best day ever.
TIPS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE VISITING DISNEY
When visiting Disney for the first time, I was always going to make a few mistakes. I was determined to improve on them this time. They can be time savers or tantrum savers and everything in between. I will list the best ones that have found that really worked for us and we will be sticking to for our second visit as a family.
- Spend more than one day at Magic Kingdom: If you have a 3 year old then plan to spend more than one day at Magic Kingdom. Why? It’s because with a toddler you will find so much to do and see that you might try and rush around and not enjoy it as much as you should. Spend the extra day, make it relaxed and enjoyable for you both.
- Rent a stroller off site: I found that renting a stroller off-site was worth the money we saved. A stroller, when you have a 3 year old in tow, is essential. The amount of walking you will do would be far too much for them to handle. It also gives them somewhere for a quick nap and we found it great for carrying around all our little extras.
- Give them some freedom: Taking a 3 year old to Disney is like stepping into their imagination. It’s important to plan your day but it’s also important to know when to be flexible. If your 3 year old wants to ride the same ride three times in a row, then let them! As long as everyone is enjoying their day, that’s all that matters. Not, how many rides and attractions you’ve seen. It can be all too easy to slip into that trap of ticking everything off your list.
- Know when it’s time to rest: Disney can be a very tiring, over stimulating and fun packed day. It’s wise to build in some time to rest during the day so everyone can calm down a little. I know it can feel like you’re missing out, but trust me, a few little calmer moments throughout the day will make everyone happier and that means the will enjoy their day more. Nobody needs that stress, you’re on holiday. Enjoy it!
- Magic Kingdom has the best parades: The parades in Magic Kingdom are spectacular. You have to wonder how they put these parades on every day, sometimes twice in the same day! Make sure you don’t miss out. It could very well be the highlight of your 3 year old’s day.
3 YEAR OLDS WILL LOVE THESE PARKS
Apart from the standout favorite of Magic Kingdom, what are the other best parks for a three year old? In my opinion these are the other parks not to miss. I have to admit, some of these might even be better than the Magic Kingdom for your child, it all depends on their personalities I suppose. These would be my alternative top picks.
- Animal Kingdom: If you have any little animal lovers in your party then this park just might make it into their top spot. The fact that there are animals there and lots of them, will make your 3 year old love this park. There’s plenty of variety too, from the big to the small and cute. There are also lots of rides and shows not to miss, all with the animal theme. The Lion King show is a firm favorite. There’s a little more space to run around in this park compared to The Magic Kingdom, so that appeals to some 3 year olds if they need to stretch their legs.
- Epcot: An unusual pick for a toddler I know, but from experience, this can also be a great choice for them. If you have a little adventurer, then they will be right at home here. There are so many different cultural experiences to try, with lots of sights, smells, and tastes. The firework display over the lake is also spectacular if you can make it that long with your 3 year old! There are still some opportunities to meet characters at Epcot, so don’t think that the Magic Kingdom has the monopoly in that area. There are also enough rides without height restrictions to keep them busy.
- Hollywood Studios: Is another firm favourite for a 3 year old. There’s the Toy Story land if the are Woody and Buzz fans. There are also plenty of shows to take them too. The park is a bit newer, so it’s great if you’ve been to Disney before as a bit of variety for parents too. They also have plenty of characters to meet.
THE BEST WAY TO PREVENT DISNEY TANTRUMS
A full day at Disney can be testing for adults let alone 3 year olds. We need to plan for their tantrums and do everything we can to help them have the best day ever. There’s no point in hoping for the best, the park is an overload of sights, sounds, smells and people. It can push even normally quite settled 3 year olds to the edge. Before you know it you’ll be having a full blown tantrum over a Cinderella purse in the gift shop, and wondering how it came to this. Here are my top ways to avoid a nightmare trip:
- Prevention is the key: Hoping that some magical dust from Tinkerbell is going to transform your occasionally cranky 3 year old into the perfect child is a bit far fetched even for a Disney movie. So we need to prepare, have plans if they get tired / hungry / over stimulated. I will walk you through some below.
- Don’t over do it: Probably the number one reason why your 3 year old is going to meltdown. I mean it even happens to some adults at Disney. Don’t schedule full days of non-stop sights and attractions, they will burn out. Pick the highlights for them, allow them a bit of freedom to roam then make sure you have wind down times in between. There are plenty of places for a quiet sit down.
- A good night’s sleep: Make sure they aren’t staying up late and getting over-tired before they even start the day. Fill them up with a good breakfast too, no sugary treats because it’s holiday time. This is for their benefit, the fuel from a good breakfast and a good night’s sleep will set them up for a great day.
- Bring wet weather / hot weather gear: Everyone gets annoyed stood in the sun in a hot queue or even soaked by a freak downpour. It happens all the time at Disney, come prepared for changes in weather. Little things like this can make a big difference to their enjoyment if the weather decides to throw you a few surprises.
- Use timeouts: Certain situations can be stressful for your 3 year old and if they meltdown, then you need to give them a little more space. If you’re in a tight queue and they decide to have a tantrum, take them away to somewhere quiet and let them calm down before moving on to something just as fun.
I hope that this information helps you and your 3 year old to have the best day ever at Disney World. I know that a few little tips before you go can really make a big difference when you’re there!