For families with small children, Orlando is obviously one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. It has plenty of family-friendly attractions, fun theme parks, and spectacular night-time shows year-round, so there’s bound to be something to enjoy in Orlando no matter when you visit. 

    While travelling with small children and babies presents its very own set of challenges and issues, most hotels, restaurants, and attractions go above and beyond in terms of service and facilities to make sure that families can enjoy a worry-free holiday in Orlando


    Go to Walt Disney World instead of Universal Orlando

    While both theme parks are great options, Walt Disney World does a slightly better job of catering to young children with their themed rides, shows and activities. Height requirements at Disney tend to be far more inclusive for young kids, allowing them to ride more attractions than they would at Universal. Character meet-and-greets allow small children to meet Mickey, Buzz Lightyear and Elsa, just to name a few. All Disney parks are suitable for small children, with the Magic Kingdom being the most popular one. 


    Make use of Disney’s Rider Switch

    If your child doesn’t meet the height requirement or simply does not want to ride a particular attraction, Disney’s Rider Switch program allows both parents the opportunity to experience it separately. While 1 parent waits with the child, the other rides the attraction. Once they come back, the child will stay while the 2nd parent experiences the attraction without having to wait in line. 


    Universal’s Child Swap program caters to those families with young kids who are unable to or don’t want to ride a particular attraction. 1 parent waits with the child in the Child Swap Zone (often near the attraction’s loading area), while the other parent waits in the normal queue. Once that parent has finished experiencing the attraction, they can switch turns without having the family to queue up again.

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    Establish a meeting place

    Theme parks are large places with thousands of people, and children oftentimes get lost. Although all parks follow strict procedures for a lost child, it's often a good idea to prepare for this situation before even arriving at the entrance. Designate a meeting place in case the family gets split up, such as a large fountain or a recognisable store. 

    Young children should also be aware that they can always reach out to a theme park employee for help. These employees can be recognised by their uniform or nametag. It's also a good idea to clip the parents’ phone numbers to the child’s shirt, especially if the child is too young to speak for themselves.


    Rent a stroller

    Strollers are widely available at an affordable price, which saves you a lot of hassle at the theme park transport centres. You can rent one from any park guest service office for around $15 to $20. Double strollers are offered for families with several children. Renting a stroller from the theme park itself saves you the hassle of having to constantly fold and unfold your own, as that's the only way that it's allowed on public or theme-park transport.


    Find the hidden Mickeys

    Keep the kids busy during long wait times by finding the hidden Mickeys. These can be hidden anywhere in the park, from picture frames and doorknobs to fountain lights and Cinderella’s castle. Over 1,000 hidden Mickeys have been found at Disney so far, so bring a detective log, a pen and get to hunting! Waiting times can stretch up to 90 minutes at peak times – that’s a lot of time to fill for young ones.

    photo by Matt H. Wade (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Stay at a kid-friendly hotel

    Many all-inclusive resorts in the Orlando area offer activities such as paddle boarding, rock climbing and scavenger hunts. A great choice in Orlando is the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. The hotel has just about everything, from evening marshmallow roasts to arts and crafts sessions and a full arcade. A smaller resort with a pool area or nature walk would also be a great option to keep the kids entertained.


    Professional babysitting services in Orlando

    Some of the most popular Orlando babysitting companies are Kidz Night Out and The Babysitting Company. Whether you’re looking to have a spa day or a night out, both of these companies come to your hotel room to watch the kids. All babysitters are individually screened and have received CPR training and passed thorough background checks. Although both companies ask for reservations to be made 24 hours in advance, they are often able to assist with last-minute bookings as well.


    Popcorn Flick in the Park

    Popcorn Flick in the Park is a free event hosted by the Enzian Movie Theater every other Thursday. They show kid-friendly movies and encourage everyone to bring a blanket and snacks. This fun family event takes place at Central Park and starts promptly after sunset. Kids’ games often take place at the park to keep them entertained while they wait. This outdoor activity fully depends on Florida’s unpredictable weather conditions. Cancellations will be notified via Enzian Theater’s Facebook page.

    Location: 1300 S Orlando Ave, Maitland, Florida, USA

    Phone: +1 407-629-0054


    Home to over 500 animals, the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens offer various educational programs for young children. These include safety demonstrations and meet-and-greets with different species. You can partake in giraffe feedings throughout the day, as well as a rhino encounter on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The zoo also offers an aerial adventure course for children and teens (including zip-lining) as well as a water playground for toddlers. 

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    Location: 3755 W Seminole Blvd, Sanford, FL 32771, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 407-323-4450


    photo by Dr. Syed Wali Peeran (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

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