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Things to do With Your Preschooler at Disney World



Most people when they make plans to go to Disney World, decide to wait until their children are older. Not me! I believe in making memories even at a young age. I would have taken my youngest when she was a year old, but being in the military doesn't always make vacation times easy. I had already taken my vacation to visit my dad who was dying at the time, so had used much of my vacation time for that year. When you go to Disney World I recommend staying at least 4-5 days. We decided to wait another year, but then my mother got sick and once again, vacation saved meant taking another trip to the Caribbean. However once she turned 3 (preschooler is ages 3-5), I decided that we had put it off long enough and planned a 2 week trip to Florida, and did not only Disney World but also Universal Studios, Orlando. And what an amazing time we all had. However if you're like me, and age doesn't matter, here are a few things that you SHOULD do with your preschooler, and toddlers, at Disney World.


Make a Plan
This is extremely important, no matter what you plan to do, make a plan and stick to it! Keep your child on as normal of a schedule as you can while on your trip to prevent meltdowns. (This includes eating schedules.) Schedule in breaks, and don’t be afraid to use the baby care centers that are available throughout the park. They offer a nice area to sit down, calm your child down, feed and/or change them, etc. Do not skip the naps. NAPS?!  UGH! I know! I am such a buzz-kill. If you don’t take time and rest during the day – everyone will pay for it later. Cranky toddlers are infectious and you will soon have a cranky mom and a cranky dad. Add in a cranky older sibling or two and put a fork in the day because it is D-O-N-E.

Strollers
Strollers are a must! Even if your child rarely uses a stroller right now, bring one! Disney is huge, and your child is going to need a break from walking. Unless you plan on carrying them around all day, use a stroller to keep their energy for the rides and prevent exhaustion. Bring a big ribbon or something you can tie to the handle to easily identify your stroller from others. Your stroller may not be exactly where you left it as Cast Members need to keep the area tidy and organized, so you want something that will stand out to you.


Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom is your go to park with a toddler. It has the most rides, and the most fun for your little one that won’t cause hassles. There are a few rides that have height requirements and tons of rides that will be fun for your little one. From Peter Pan’s Flight and the Jungle Cruise, to Dumbo and the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, your child is going to have the most fun they have ever had! If the weather is warm, let your little one get wet at Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station. Toddlers love water!


Epcot
Epcot is sometimes thought of as the ‘grown up’ park, but there are lots for little ones here! Ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends and then head over and learn how to talk whale at Turtle Talk with Crush. Take some time to view all the aquariums here – there are so many fish and other aquatic life to see. There are even REAL dolphins! Around World Showcase, there are 11 different Kidcot Fun Stops that are geared just for your preschooler. They can learn about the world in toddler fashion and collect stamps from each stop. And of course, you can’t miss Frozen Ever After, which is opening in just a few weeks!


Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom is alright for toddlers and makes a nice ‘break day’. If staying at the park for more than just 2 or 3 days, you will need a day of small, simple activities to take a break from the big park areas and heavily populated sections and rides. Animal Kingdom has plenty of tours, rides and attractions that provide simple entertainment. Rides like the Triceratops Spin are short and fun. See wild animals up close at Kilimanjaro Safaris. Your little one will also love watching Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo – The Musical. There is also the amazing Flights of Wonder that showcases different birds that your little one may even get a chance to interact with. As a parent, this will be a nice break for you and fun and entertaining for your little one! Don’t forget to stop at The Boneyard before you go and let your toddler burn off some energy.  You can even take a train up to Rifiki’s Planet Watch where there is a petting zoo!


Hollywood Studios
If you plan properly, Hollywood Studios is great for toddlers! There are many shows and rides that are offered that are kid friendly, and provide a nice day of not so busy rides and lines. It’s a good idea to use FastPass+ and plan out what shows you would like to see at what times. Toy Story Midway Mania is a hit for kids of all ages – and even the adults! The shows are entertaining for children, such as Disney Jr. Live on Stage, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, and Beauty and The Beast. If your toddler loves Star Wars, don’t miss The Launch Bay! They can trade with a Jawa and even meet some of their heroes – and maybe even a ‘bad guy’!


Disney Springs
Disney Springs is a great place to spend the day if you want to take a break from the Theme Parks. It requires no admission. Your toddler can build their own racecar at the Lego store and race it against other kids’ creations. If your little one loves dinosaurs you will want to be sure to make reservations for T-Rex or dine in a rainforest at The Rainforest CafĂ© (be sure to make reservations starting 180 days in advance). You can also see very fancy boats on display at The Boathouse Restaurant. Don’t forget to stop at Goofy’s Candy Company for something sweet to eat.


Fireworks
Most children love a good fireworks show. Three of the four theme parks offer this nighttime treat nearly every night. Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot, Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Wishes nighttime spectacular at Magic Kingdom. Check the park’s times guide for that day for details. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere hearing the big bangs and missing out! If your child is afraid of loud noises, you may want to bring protective ear wear or stay out of the fireworks areas completely during this time. You may also want to look into a fireworks dessert party, which is currently offered for Wishes and Illuminations. This will allow you and your family to relax in a VIP seating area and snack on yummy treats and beverages. Your toddler has some breathing room this way and is free to move around the party area.


As you can see, there is LOTS for little ones at Walt Disney World. You don’t have to ‘wait until they are older’ to plan your family’s next visit. And if you're interested in more Disney tips and tricks, you can check out my friend Rachel's blog, The Dreamer Family. Rachel is a Disney travel agent and former Disney Parks Moms Panelist, so she certainly knows what she's talking about.

Let's discuss: What will your little one be excited about the most?

Note: All photos are my personal photos from past trips to Walt Disney World, with the exception of Madison in her Mickey Ears, which was taken at Disneyland Paris.

Annmarie John
90 Comments
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90 comments:

  1. Great tips! We have taken all of our kids when they are young. They outgrow that magical phase quickly. It's so fun to see how excited they get when they see their favorite character and they really believe that is Mickey or Elsa (or whoever their favorite is)

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    1. They sure do. Now when I take my older kids, they aren't as excited and ca be spoil sports because they never want to do anything, while my youngest is all up for everything and gets disappointed when she can't do some of the rides. :(

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  2. Yay! Kids sure love Disney and if you're already there, it's overwhelming. You need to make sure you get to visit the whole area.

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    1. It is almost impossible to do the entire area of any of the parks, you are surely going to miss something but it is a good idea to try.

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  3. I've been dreaming to visit this place when I am still young. Until now, my wish is to see this place in reality together with my tweens.

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    1. You can do it. Start saving for a special trip and go and have fun.

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  4. Disneyland.. Where every dreams come true.. Such an amazing place for the kids to visit.. Even adult like me likes to go there!

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    1. While Disneyland and Disney World are very different, dreams do come true at both.

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  5. My kids have been going to Disney since they were babies and I was always able to keep them busy and occupied while we were there.

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    1. That's great Robin, maybe you can share some tips.

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  6. We never did Hollywood Studios, but Animal Kingdom was a much more mellow day. It was only half a day whereas the Magic Kingdom was definitely NOT a half day. Same with Universal.
    Des loved a lot of the train and slow rides. He loved Turtle Talk with Crush. He loved eating. He loved sleeping in his stroller! Strollers are definitely a must.

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    1. Hollywood Studios I think will be more appreciated by older kids but there are tons of meet and greet there. Magic Kingdom you're definitely going to need an entire day for. Turtle Talk with Crush is a lot of fun. We loved that!

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  7. You nailed it with these tips and you know we are going back in July and I just fast passed Frozen Ever After when they opened up the FastPass availability last weekend. So, very excited and definitely will have strollers again, as I couldn't agree more with you on this either with young kids as all the park are pretty large in size walking wise and even for a few minutes break here and there strollers are indeed very necessary.

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    1. Oh I'm jealous because we're not going back to Disney World until next year July, but we're going to Disneyland this July instead. Can't wait to experience it.

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  8. Disney World is surely a place of entertaint both for adult and kids. Can't imagine the feeling of being there. Must be more than exicting. All the tips you share are useful especially for parents with toddler and plan a trip to Disney World. I hope I visit it one day.

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    1. I hope you're able to visit one day too and thank you for stopping.

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  9. First, I took teens and wished for a stroller and second, I hadn't heard of Disney Springs! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Disney Springs used to be called Downtown Disney. It transformed into Disney Springs just recently. It is BEAUTIFUL! Prettiest place you will ever shop.

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    2. ANY AGE is perfect for Disney from 0-200! I love seeing the characters interact with even the tiny little babies. The children won't remember, but mom and dad will remember that forever! Although the toddler years, are probably my favorite. They are old enough to know what is going on but innocent enough that every second is magical.

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    3. Seems like Rachel let you know about Disney Springs. They just recently changed the name when Downtown Disney got it's makeover.

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  10. Good on you! It is important to make memories at any age and I have always wanted to visit Disneyland can you take me lol!

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    1. We would LOVE to take you since it will also be our first time visiting Disneyland if we went, but this is about Disney World. :)

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  11. My son went the first time at age 4 and was in love with the Animal Kingdom. He couldn't get enough of all the animals and the hands on petting area. Now at 16 he is all about EPCOT. He loves to shop the world show case.

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    1. It's funny how their interest change when they get older. Epcot is great too!

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  12. My kids are older now but I definitely remember bringing them to the Disney parks...We live in South Florida so it was a no brainer! I highly second your tip for the stroller...we actually rented a double stroller at the park for a very affordable price and my daughter and nephew spent any time not on a ride in the stroller...it was perfect!

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    1. Oh yes even at age 4 my daughter still gets in the stroller whenever we go to a park. I would never go without one.

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  13. This is a great list :) and I agree, yes! Take a stroller - we took one of those little fold down "umbrella" strollers and it worked great. We also built in an afternoon nap, and stayed in one of the nearby Disney hotels for that reason (we went to Disneyland in Anaheim). I don't know that I'd splurge for the Disney hotels every time but man it was nice to have a short walk to the room in the afternoon. I'd also recommend NOT going over 4th of July weekend. Way too crowded.

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    1. Oh we went for the 4th July weekend last year and yes it was crowded. We're trying to go to Disneyland late July or early August this year.

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  14. I love LOVE taking my little ones to Disney. Last time my little one just sat on my mom's lap in her wheelchair. She LOVED that!

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    1. Oh I can certainly see how that would make her smile. She got her own personal ride.

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  15. I don't have a kid. But if I ever did, I think they'll get excited about the mascots and rides.

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    1. Well Lana, Disney isn't just for kids, grownups actually enjoy it too!

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  16. Disney World is definitely one of the best places to go to with the kids, they have everything that a kid loves, from the cartoon characters to the rides, and the food! I like following a schedule so every time I'm out with the kids I make sure we have a plan, it's a must in every list!

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    1. Oh that is so true. Following a plan sure does make it easier to enjoy the day.

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  17. Aw Disney World! Been dreaming to visit that place. Useful tips but I don't have a kid haha, maybe if I go there I'll feel like a kid because of my childhood memories about Disney haha

    www.retlync.wordpress.com

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    1. Well Disney is for everyone, not just kids. Aren't you still a kid deep down inside?

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  18. There's so much to see at Disney world. It would really help to have the strollers once the kids gets tired walking.

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    1. Yes it sure does help and I would never go to a big amusement park without one.

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  19. Disney World has something to do for all ages, there's no doubt about that. I love that place and I can't wait to go back!

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    1. Oh I can't wait myself too. We're heading back there next year.

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  20. We went to disney land for the first time ever this year. Loved it so much that we'll have to go back again and do some of these things.

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    1. We've never been to Disneyland. We did do Disneyland Paris which isn't quite the same but we're planning on a Disneyland trip soon.

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  21. I love Disney! We haven't taken all of our kids, just the oldest when she turned 1. I can't wait to bring them all down there though - so much fun!

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    1. Oh I'm pretty sure they'll enjoy it. You need to share your trip when you go.

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  22. Great tips! I especially agree with the stroller tip. I used to work at disney world and I would see so many children not being able to fully enjoy it because they were so tired and hot from walking everywhere. Disney is the ONLY time I don't cringe when I see big tall kids in a stroller, lol!!

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    1. Oh I certainly agree. If your child is too tired from walking then it becomes no fun at all.

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  23. Wow this is so fun, I wish to go to the disney world too. There are so many things to do together.

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    1. Yes there is a lot to do. You'll love it!

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  24. You're a great parent. My mom too made sure I began my travels as a toddler and I'm more than glad she did it. Your daughter would be too!!

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    1. Thank you. Yes I want her to experience different cultures like my own mom did for me.

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  25. Great tips! I have always hated strollers so my kids always walked around whenever we were at one of the parks. I guess it was a little easier to be so lax about it because we have always only been about an hour away from Disney and have had passes. We love Disney! I like to use Animal Kingdom as our slower day parks, when all the others are crowded it is nice to head over there.

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    1. I guess your kids might have also been a little bit older. When you have a tiny pre-schooler a stroller comes in very handy.

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  26. Strollers are a must!!! I am such a fan of how much easier they make functions involving children.

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    1. I am in total agreement with you on this. Strollers are a must!

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  27. My daughter was three when we went to Disney World. It was a really big place. We only visited two out of the four parks. Disadvantage is you cannot really ride adult rides you like.

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    1. That is true Fred. I had to do other things because Madison wasn't at the height limit for a lot of the rides. :(

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  28. Your daughter gives the most fiercest faces. I am trying to take my preschool bbaby cousin to Disney this year it will be her first time.

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    1. Awwww I'm sure you'll both have fun. Madison very rarely smiles and I'm now thinking it's her trademark look :)

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  29. Your kid's locks are beautiful. Even if I don't have a kid, I'd go nuts if I am able to visit Disney World!

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    1. Oh yes you would. Disney World is for everyone and not just kids.

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  30. We've gone to Disney so many times we could write a guide book. It was so convenient living 15 minutes away from Disney in CA.

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    1. That's how we feel about Disney World. We still have yet to visit Disneyland in CA but planning on doing it soon.

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  31. I think most preschoolers will be happy just to be there...LOL...this is such a great experience

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    1. I have to say that you're absolutely correct!

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  32. I agree about bringing strollers when visiting a park like Disney World with your toddler. Kids that age easily get tired of walking, roaming and running around.

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    1. Oh yes, they sure do and there's nothing worse than having to hold a tired toddler/preschooler.

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  33. This is great for families of younger children. I wanted to take mine when they were pre-school age but we were discouraged from doing it and now I wished that we did!

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    1. You should have done it, you'd have had a great time!

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  34. This is wonderful. Disney World is literally my favorite place on earth. I don't have children but I often travel with young nieces and nephews. So much helpful information to apply to our next trip!

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    1. I'm sure that you all have a great time when you're there.

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  35. I definitely agree that there is no age limit when it comes in makign memories. Glad that you are that kind of a mom. Sure that your daughter always enjoy the company of being with you aside from being her mom. Oh, the ideas you have here, this is definitely a good guide for those parents who are still thinking twice should they go or not.

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    1. Oh she truly does. I'm now where I have to hide in order for her not to be around. :)

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  36. These are awesome tips. Would share with my friends who are planning to visit Disney world soon.

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  37. These are great tips. My kids would love Disney World. My kids are older now, but will share this with my sister who has a little one.

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    1. Thank you Amber. I hope she appreciates the tips.

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  38. Wow it looks like you guys had a lot of fun! I'd love to visit Disney someday and see magic kingdom and all of that stuff. It always looks wonderful in photos

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    1. Oh it's beautiful in person. You've got to go!

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  39. Thanks for the tips. What I found was having a week long pass was the way to go. That way you could concentrate on one area then when you got tired or bored you could go and come back the next day. The attitudes one day were different the next.

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    1. We never stay less than 5 days. The last time we were there, we stayed for 2 weeks and will be doing it again next year.

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  40. We recently went to Animal Kingdom. It was the first time we'd been to that particular park in ten years at least. I thought it was awesome!

    As for strollers...def. a must for children. I missed having one this time (my guy's too big now and I had to carry everything).

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    1. Oh Animal Kingdom is amazing!!! We loved the Safari Tour.

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  41. I am so excited to take our 4 year old to Disney! I grew up at Disneyland and cant wait to experience Disney World with our family. We thought about taking our 1 year old but feel she is too young. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're very welcome Denea. I've never been to Disneyland but I'm hoping to visit in a few months.

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  42. How fun! I am with you on making memories young :) We just got back from Disneyland a couple of weeks back, and my 3 and almost 2 year old had such a blast!

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    1. Oh they always love it and as long as you take photos (lots of them), you'll always have those memories.

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  43. Great tips! I definitely agree with making memories early! The experience is different at every age!

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    1. It sure is and remember to take LOTS of photos.

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