Kids 5 or Under
Want to guarantee a magical trip to see Mickey? Try our no-fail Disney plan -- personalized for your family. Whether you're traveling with a big group, very young kids, a special-needs child, or are keeping a close watch on your wallet, we have the perfect trip for you.
Go when school is in session to avoid crowds. Hit the parks early in the morning, and head back to the hotel after lunch for a nap or swim. Return for parades and fireworks when the kids are refreshed.
Where to Stay
Disney monorail hotels, such as the Contemporary and the Polynesian, offer the easiest access to the Magic Kingdom (from $260 to $525 a night). Or stay at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Hotel, and take the resort's free shuttle to the Magic Kingdom. Rooms start at $69 per night. For a fantastic view of Epcot fireworks, ask for a room above the eighth floor, facing downtown Disney (800-348-3765, www.orlandoresorthotel.com).
Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland -- especially Dumbo the Flying Elephant (ride it first!) and the Winnie-the-Pooh ride. Next, stroll to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Mickey's Toontown Fair (where children can meet the famous mouse at his house). Catch Cinderella's Surprise Celebration show in front of the castle.
Eat in your room at breakfast, and have a speedy lunch at a counter-service restaurant, like Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe at the Magic Kingdom. For a quiet place to feed babies and toddlers, duck into a free Baby Care Center (there's one in each Disney park). It's equipped with rockers, high chairs, and toys, and it has formula and baby food for sale. Take-out dinners may be more relaxing than sit-down restaurants, but plan one character meal, so your kids can mingle with their favorites. Popular picks include the Crystal Palace buffet with Pooh and pals, or the princess breakfasts at the Cinderella Castle and Epcot's Norway (reserve 60 days in advance; 407-939-3463).
Bring snacks and toys to distract kids while in line, and take frequent breaks. In the Magic Kingdom, kids can chill out at Ariel's Grotto and Donald's Boat -- sprinkler areas guaranteed to revive even the crankiest (don't forget to pack your kids' bathing suits).
Words of Wisdom
"Research rides beforehand so you know what might be scary," says Janine Ewing, a Scarsdale, New York, mom of two preschoolers. "My daughter, Natalie, then 4, was frightened by anything noisy or dark, including the Sea Witch at the Little Mermaid show."