Disney World with a 4 year old- Planning Guide and Tips

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If there’s an age where taking kids to Disney World starts to get easier… it’s 4 years old.

Many four year olds can go without a nap, have better bathroom usage, are slightly more flexible and understanding when plans change… and oh yeah, they can actually tell you what they want between tears instead of having a total melt down.

That’s a win in my book!

Four year olds are also insanely fun. They’re able to talk/communicate more and really enjoy *being in the moment*. I talk about this in our 2 year old and 3 year old guides, but there is something so special about each of these ages and the ever changing reality of how they see the magic around them.

Is Disney World good for a 4 year old?

Obviously a good question, as costs, vacation time, and travel are involved. I would say that Disney World is one of the better option for a 4 year old as there are a lot of families vacationing there, plus entertainment for kids, plus play spaces. At 4 years old the magic of Disney really starts to come alive and they remember so much about the trip!

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Going to Disney World with a 4 year old- best items to pack

Besides the obvious items and the custom items (and I have a full packing list for 4 year olds here), there are a few things I highly recommend you pack.

  1. *at least* two pairs of shoes (I’d recommend three!) so you can alternate each day to avoid blisters. We’re a big fan of crocs for the parks. Consider if you’d need moleskin or extra large bandaids or lots of socks. And what you would do if you lost a shoe/it broke in the parks.
  2. Pack a Stroller Poncho, or a regular poncho in case it rains. Consider a sunhat or sunglasses.
  3. Fun light up toys or bubble makers (or budget 30 dollars per item in the parks)
  4. Noise Maker for nap time or bed time, especially if you are in a hotel.
  5. Kid’s water bottle. I’d avoid the one with a straw as it gets funky after a day or two (or bring a scrubber!) Grab an autoseal bottle since straws aren’t ideal, but neither is spillage!
  6. Portable potty seat for the resort. We use the jool seat from target (and also on amazon), as it folds up and is so easy to use while traveling (and also easy to clean and your kid won’t fall into the toilet) . Plus mini post it notes for using over the automatic toilet seats inside the park.

Does a 4 year old need a stroller at Disney World?

Yes, a four year old needs a stroller at Disney World. I would only recommend skipping the stroller if you plan to be in the parks for less than half the day. Experts say, 1 mile per 1 year of age… so a 4 year old should be able to walk 4 miles in one day. But the average Disney Park day is 6 miles (times however many days and you’ve got straight exhaustion!) A Stroller helps with everything you’ll need to carry like spare clothes, shoes, entertainment and snacks.

At four years old, the hard plastic strollers at Disney World are an OK option instead of renting one. But if you have multiple kids, or a kiddo that will ride most of the day, or need a nap place, I recommend bringing or renting a stroller from a third party.

You can rent strollers at Disney World, but they are weird plastic ones that I don’t really recommend when you can rent them elsewhere for cheaper! We use Kingdom Strollers for rentals and they are awesome! The price is cheaper, there’s better cleaning, and it’s more comfortable.

Related: See what age you’ll no longer need to plan for a stroller at Disney World

Best rides at Disney World with a 4 year old

Each park has rides that a 4 year old can do at Disney World (including the water parks!) But there are a few rides that my kids are absolutely obsessed with!

At Magic Kingdom, my 4 year old loves LOVES the Barnstormer. This is a ride that has a height limit and most four year olds are at the perfect size to ride this.

We’ve tried Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom, and it’s alittle *too* scary… the picture below I was paired with another parent and their 4 year old. We looked at each other after the ride and both said we had made a grave mistake! but Navi River Ride and Flight of Passage (height limit) are great options.

Over at EPCOT, Frozen is a favorite… and so is Journey into Imagination with Figment, Finding Nemo and Test Track (height limit)

Lastly, Hollywood Studios has Slinky Dog, which 2 of my kids love (the other one hates the up and down motion citing anxiety). Plus Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Traveling to Disney World with a 4 year old

I honestly think that traveling is the *worst* part of the trip. Some might argue it’s meal time or bed time, but for me, it’s the ‘how long till we get there’, ‘ i’m tired’, ‘I’m hungry’… on repeat while you drive or fly!

It goes without saying, but hype up yourself and your kids for the trip. Pack a separate trip bag with clothing and snacks so you don’t need to dig into your luggage. Plan for entertainment from sticker books and nick nacks to tablets and activity pads!

Lastly, remember that once you get to Disney World it DOES get easier! There’s snacks and meals on every corner, Playgrounds to enjoy and explore, and lots of things to distract (I mean entertain) the kids!

Outside of the Parks- fun things for 4 year olds in the Disney Area

Four year olds are so fun, especially because they can do other things now that they are older.

I highly recommend LEGOLAND for four year olds, and it’s only about 45 minutes from Disney World.

On property, there is Putt Putt Golf, plus the water parks, and some fun (and free!) activities at Disney Springs.

And Universal Studios is ok too! There’s not as many rides there though, but they do have some really involved play areas. Universal toddler and preschooler rides

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