1. You will remember how much fun they had. 
  2. They are free
  3. First haircuts at Harmony Barber Shop
  4. Baby Care Centers
  5. Unmatched character experiences

We tried to resist it and be normal people, but this year, we have embraced the fact that we are crazy Disney people. We just are. It is who we are and we shouldn’t have to change for anyone. We love the excitement of planning the trip and the arrival through the archway that welcomes us. We love the way the gate attendants at the hotels say “Welcome Home” when we arrive. We love the characters and the rides and the hype. We love it all. We are who we are. 

Our first family trip was when Big Love was almost 3. We had been a few times previously as children and together as adults, but this would be our first time visiting Walt Disney World as a mom and dad. People tried to tell us that it was not worth it to go with a toddler because she wouldn’t remember it and it would be really tough. We decided to ignore those fools and give it a try on our own. We loved it so much, we did it again with Little Love just after she turned 1. 

Comedian, Nate Bargatze sums up my feelings perfectly in this bit: 

This guy is hilarious.
  1. Obviously, kids this age won’t remember it. They don’t remember much. You’re not taking them for their memories – you’re taking them for your memories. There are going to be countless situations when they will see something thrilling and their little faces will light up. You will come home from that trip with thousands of adorable photos and videos to remind them for years to come that they went there. Each time you look through the photos together, they will think they were a cute tiny baby and you will tear up a little at the wonderful memories you have tucked away of those moments in time. 
  2. Kids under age 3 are free. The best part of it is that you don’t age in Disney World. If you decide to go for her third birthday, their whole trip is free, even if she left your house as a two-year-old and came back home as a three-year-old. You don’t get a lot of free stuff in Disney World, so take what you can get. *Disclaimer – they are not actually free – they will want a bubble wand and a stuffed Minnie Mouse and a thousand Mickey Ice Cream Bars. And you will buy all of the things because that’s the Disney way. 
  3. It is a little-known gem that there is an actual barber shop in Magic Kingdom. Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom is an old fashioned – you guessed it – barber shop – where anyone can get a simple haircut. You need to call to make a reservation, but it is completely worth it for a toddler’s first haircut. We took Big Love in 2017 and had them trim the tiniest bit off of her adorable curls. They were so sweet to her and put her hair up in a nice high ponytail. Then they finished it off by sprinkling Pixie Dust in her hair, which was the icing on the cake. Some people go to Bibbity Bobbity Boutique, but this is much less expensive and time consuming. You even get Mickey ears embroidered with “My First Haircut” as a keepsake. I’m not sure if things have changed now since it has been a few years, but the hat and a certificate was included with our price. My friend is the one who told me about it, and she said how sad she was that they lost their hat somewhere on the trip home. She asked if I could purchase a new one while I was there. When I told the barber the story, she gave me an extra hat to take home to her for free. This is what Disney Magic is made of. 

4. Each Disney park has a very comfortable baby care center. I have only used the one in Magic Kingdom, but it was lovely. There is a TV playing Disney shows or movies, plenty of changing tables with disposable liners so you know your baby isn’t getting someone else’s dirty junk on them. Other notable features are nursing rooms, relaxing chairs, microwaves, sinks, and a selection of necessities available for purchase in case you forgot something like formula or wipes. We also saw some strategically placed Disney baby toys, strollers, and stroller accessories that undoubtedly grab your attention and tug at your heartstrings. 

5. Some of my favorite Disney memories come from character interactions with my toddlers. When Big Love was almost three, she visited Merida (may she rest in peace) and it was just magical. We were the last in line before Merida went on a break to go feed her horse, Angus. Big Love showed Merida how she could shoot a bow and arrow and they were instant best friends. Merida walked her down the way to show her the family tapestry and pointed out all of her family members. She made witty conversation and it felt like she spent a little extra quality time with our girl. 

Another memorable experience happened when we took Little Love when she was 13 months old. Since we have a Disney Visa credit card, we are able to get into a special character experience in Epcot. There was no line at all and we walked right in to see Pluto and Minnie who were dressed in their 50th Anniversary attire. The Photopass photographer and character handler were just the absolute best and said we could stay as long as we wanted. The kids had quality playtime with their new besties as they played peek-a-boo and made silly faces. We could hear some new people coming, so we started wrapping it up to leave. The photographer made a joke about how we could really stay all day and that this was the best part of her day. This kind of Disney magic doesn’t cost anyone any money, but the level of care and kindness is unmatched and let us know that it was absolutely the right decision to bring a toddler to the Happiest Place on Earth. 

The big take-away here is that Disney with toddlers can be a great time. It is also challenging and requires a lot of planning. Families with older children or people who go with only adults will have a completely different experience than families with littles. Disney is fun in a wide variety of circumstances and situations and is worth the cost no matter your age.  

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