It could sound overwhelming and more trouble than it’s worth to take your 1-year-old to Disney World. But I’m here to show you how easy and fun it could be to take your infant to the parks! We’ll cover why 1 is a fantastic age to go to Disney and what your infant can do at the parks.
1 is such a great age, but traveling with your infant may sound daunting when you start to make your packing list and think about the details of your trip. You may start to ask yourself if it’s worthwhile to take your little one to Disney World.
Is it worth taking a 1 year old to Disney World?
Yes, it’s worth taking a 1 year old to Disney World. There are lots of rides for them to enjoy, as well as attractions, character meets, and play spaces to explore. Just remember it’s not a relaxing expectation, but more of an adventurous trip with lots of new shared experiences.
Can a 1 year old enjoy Disney World?
Absolutely! Unlike other theme parks in Orlando, Disney World has many many rides that 1 year olds can enjoy. Most of these are found at Magic Kingdom, but every park has at least one baby friendly ride. Plus there’s shows, attractions, and character meets (not to mention all the fun play spaces!) Bringing your baby is a great way to make memories while keeping everyone entertained.
For more on Baby Friendly Rides, See this Magical Guide for Disney World Rides for 1 Year Olds.
And if your already convinced, here’s our full guide for taking a baby to Disney World!
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Why 1 years old is a great age to go to Disney World
Some may argue with me, but 1 is a fantastic age to take your little one to Disney!
Your infant is able to ride many of the rides that Disney offers (more on that below) and participate in Disney activities.
Can your infant even do anything at Disney World to make it worthwhile?
In short, ABSOLUTELY! Disney World accommodates all guests, no matter their age.
But what are the other perks of taking your 1 year old to Disney World?
Napping is also easier than you might think
If you’re a part of the lucky few, your older kid can nap anywhere with any noise level. But that’s certainly not the case for everyone.
If you’re not part of the lucky few, chances are that you will have to head back to your resort to get in a decent nap to avoid that not-so-magical tantrum later in the day.
Luckily, it can be much easier to get a 1 year old to nap on the go than an older kid. They can usually nap in just about any circumstance, so the noise levels hardly matter.
Most people agree that stroller naps are the best option, but you can always find a quiet spot, or go to your resort for nap time.
For best nap time success, consider using your stroller. I like to rent a regular stroller from a rental service like Kingdom Strollers (bringing your own is good- but the ones at Disney aren’t baby friendly) and outfitting it with a stroller fan and bringing a stroller rain cover in case it rains.
Did I mention that they are considered a Free ticket?
Any child under the age of 3 gets in for FREE to Disney World! That definitely takes some of the strain off of parents of young ones, especially if you have two or more children.
It might not always be this way though, as LEGOLAND just changed their requirements to ages 2 and up. Disney could consider this, especially if they add more areas for 2 year olds.
But right now, and likely forever, 1 year olds are free at Disney.
Saving parents everywhere, the Disney Baby Care Centers
Disney’s Baby Care Centers give parents a comfortable place to feed, change, and entertain your young children.
They offer private nursing rooms with comfortable chairs, changing stations, high chairs, a small kitchen to heat up food and clean bottles, and even have small shops to buy anything you need for your little one (wipes, sippy cups, over-the-counter medication, and more).
They are nice and cool, plus have water bottle refill stations! I highly recommend bringing a water bottle for both you and your one year old, and a portable fan to keep you cool when you aren’t in the Baby Care Centers.
And the Play Spaces- many of which have areas for one year olds and toddlers
Not *all* play spaces are good for our littlest family members, but many of them have no age limit or a 2-5 play space. Which with a one year old, is easy to modify as long as a parent or caregiver has close watch on the baby.
Here’s the list of play spaces to check out (or save!) for your Disney World trip.
Is it worth it for a 1 year old at Disney World if you want to do Rides and Attractions…
While your 1 year old won’t be joining you on Space Mountain, you can bet your bottom there are attractions that your little one can join you on at Disney World.
All of the four major theme parks have attractions that do not have a height requirement. However, if you’re looking for the theme park that offers the most attractions for infants and toddlers, here is a breakdown:
- Magic Kingdom: 6 of their 34 attractions (18%) have a height requirement
- EPCOT: 3 of their 16 (19%) attractions have a height requirement
- Hollywood Studios: 7 of their 9 (78%) attractions have a height requirement
- Animal Kingdom: 5 of their 17 (29%) attractions have a height requirement
So, if you’re looking specifically for attractions for your 1 year old, Magic Kingdom has the highest ratio of rides your little one can enjoy.
What can a 1 year old do at Disney World?
When you think about a theme park, it’s hard to imagine an infant or small toddler enjoying the parks. However, there are many activities that young ones can enjoy at Disney World!
Head over to the Baby Packing List to see more recommendations on items to grab (or not bring) as your planning a Disney Trip with a one year old.
Ages 0-2 has to be the easiest age range to wait in line for character meet-and-greets! If you have a few snacks, the ability to nap (so easy to use your baby wearer for this), and a couple of fun toys, your little one will have no problem waiting in line to meet Mickey or your other favorite characters!
This is also a great time to fill up your autograph book! These can be purchased at Disney World (they have several to choose from), or you could do a budget hack and get it off Amazon or at the local Target by Disney (affectionately named, Disney Target, because it has pins, books, souvenirs, clothing etc etc for great prices)
Or, if you want to get in some character pictures while taking a load off, you could visit one of Disney World’s sit-down restaurants with characters. Your 1 year old can take a nap in the air conditioning while you relax and let the characters come to you! We LOVE character meets for infants, here’s a list of the best ones to head to with your baby.
Enjoy the pool at your Disney resort
All Disney World resorts have a pool on-site. These can range from elaborate pools with slides, waterfalls, and hot tubs, to more standard pools (albeit large and on-theme!).
There is no age restriction to using the pools, so as long as you have a swim diaper for your little one, you are free to enjoy. (You can purchase the disposable ones at the resorts, or bring your own reusable one)
Disney does have Lifeguards on duty, but the best plan for safety is constant touch. “No matter what age, parents should always practice touch supervision, or holding their child,” Dr. Katchmarchi says (read more on that quote and water safety here)
While Disney does offer poolside activities during the day, most of these are geared towards older kids. We do like to watch the movies by the pool (sometimes they are on the lawn though, so check at the resort). But most of them air at 8-9 pm which is pretty late for a one year old.
Periodically, you’ll run into fun dance parties at the parks and Disney Springs. And what toddler doesn’t LOVE a good dance party?
Disney has everything from fun DJ pop-ups to full-blown concerts, depending on the time of year.
So if your toddler loves to listen to fun music and dance with other little ones, try to scope out if Disney World is having any concerts during your stay.
When is it not worth taking a 1 year old to Disney World?
I can’t list all the pros and not talk about the cons. After all, there were more then enough times when I questioned why I was out in the heat (or random extreme cold for florida) with a 1 year old at Disney World.
Here’s the thing… it’s not always worth it. You’ll know your baby and your situation better than I will, but we can all agree that each family has their own needs.
It’s not worth it if:
Your trip has to be super short and rushed- meaning that your 1 year old won’t have time to get adjusted and will be confused and upset the whole time. A trip with a one year old should be at least 5 days to give everyone time to make the most of the vacation. (or less than 48 hours- fly in, visit, fly out, and deal with the grumpiness at home in familiar surroundings)
You are going during the busiest time of the year- Christmas. Sure its magically, but the lines on July 4th, Christmas Week and the week of January 1st are wild. 0/10 do not recommend.
Your child is sick, or you have another sick/medically fragile child. There’s not a lot of wiggle room for families that have significant needs. Yes the DAS pass is helpful, yes they can manage food allergies, yes they see all sorts of people- but it’s not the same when your hands are overly full ( in fact it’s more stressful than if you had stayed home!)
In this instance, grab a family member, friend, caregiver, or hire paid help to assist you in the parks.
That’s it for our break-down on if it’s worth it to take your 1-year-old to Disney World!
Have you found any activities offered at Disney World that your 1-year-old loved?
What is have you found is an absolute no-go for your infant at the parks?