Disney brings out the kid in all of us. Whether your first visit to Disney World is as a small child or as grandparent, there is plenty to do and to see. But what is the perfect age to take kids for the very first time? Preschool age! At that age kids get so excited so seeing Disney through their eyes is pure magic.
10 Things To Do With Your Preschooler At Disney
Meeting Mickey Mouse – The biggest wow for preschoolers is the moment they meet Mickey Mouse (or their favorite Disney character) for the first time. Character meet and greets are available throughout Disney World, but the best way to meet characters is through character dinning. This gives kids the opportunity to meet several characters all together. Plus everyone has to eat anyway, so character dinning is a great way to make the most of your time and do two things at once.
There are 15 character dinning locations at Disney World. Inside the Magic Kingdom you can meet Pooh and Friends at Crystal Palace and Cinderella and other princesses at Royal Table. My preschooler was in awe meeting her favorite Disney Junior characters at Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood Studios. And Chef Mickey at the Contemporary Resort is our all-time favorite character restaurant.
Make time for the Parades – Parades are great fun for preschoolers and Disney knows how to do parades like no one else. Because you will want to arrive early for a front row seat, parades are a great chance to have a snack and sit for a spell. Then when the music stars, watch as your child dances, waves and jumps up and down as colorful floats filled with favorite Disney characters wind their way down the street. For mom and dad, the costumes and pageantry of the Festival of Fantasy parade are truly beautiful.
Pint-Sized Thrills – While some of the big roller coasters are out of range for little ones, there are still great rides for thrill-seeking preschoolers. In addition to Goofy’s Barnstormer, the new Mine Train coaster has a height minimum of 38 inches, which means my daughter has been riding it since she turned three. Just tall enough to ride, it is her favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom.
(Let’s play spot Sissy in both pictures – once with dad and once with mom!)
A Souvenir Scavenger Hunt – Another way to keep little ones from wandering into every store with wide eyes is to distract them with a mission. Located throughout the Disney parks and resort areas are old fashion penny-press machines. Each penny-press machine offers several themed flattened penny designs for $.51. Since no two machines have the same design it becomes a scavenger hunt to find the next machine and collect a new design. Tip – you can buy a book to hold your pressed pennies for $8.95 throughout the Disney parks.
The Final Bang – A full day at Disney is as exhausting for parents as it is their preschoolers, but Disney’s fireworks displays are not to be missed. My biggest tip for families staying on Disney property is to take advantage of the hotel and take a much-needed break mid day. Not only does it get you out of the heat of the day, but letting preschoolers nap frees them up for late night fireworks and nighttime parades. The dazzling lights of the Main Street Electrical Parade are a family favorite, and there is something truly magical about Disney after dark.