I had trouble finding inspiration for a two year old boy’s second Birthday photos, maybe because 2 years olds are so challenging to photograph. Or maybe because 2 year old Birthday photos aren’t as common as one year old Birthday photos. I was happy with how ours turned out, so I thought I would share them. I took about 500 photos and liked about 10 of them! So, it was definitely a challenge photographing the always moving toddler. I am still so happy I took them though.
My son usually stays in cotton t shirts and shorts all the time with tennis shoes so he is comfortable and can play and get them dirty, but I love the dressed up look! Before having kids, I never understood why Moms were putting their kids in formal wear all the time. Now, I understand. They are so cute in it!
Thank goodness my son didn’t mind the suspenders and bow tie. He did get tired of me photographing him after about 30 minutes though!
Before I put him in the shirt and bow tie, I took some photos outside with no shirt. I love the close-up face shots. And, I especially love his small grin.
I love capturing a few candids in nice lighting especially when all the kids do is move. I have so many photos of the back of his head.
Lake Merritt in Oakland,CA is a great place for a toddler to run around and have enough room between the street and the Lake where you don’t feel too stressed.
My son loved seeing the geese and all the dogs walking. On the weekends, there’s also tons of stuff happening. We also walk over to Oaktown Spice to pick-up on some high quality spices before heading home.
After Lake Merritt fun, we left our car parked near Oaktown Spice shop and walked to Fairyland with our stroller, stopping for high quality coffee at Perch Coffee house. Bonus: Bonsai Garden is another great park to run around in.
We had a great time visiting Fairyland, the inspiration for Walt Disney creating Disney World. This place was really made for little kids. They have some rides that only older kids could ride, but my almost two-year-old enjoyed going down slides, seeing animals, seeing real animals. There is a train, but we skipped it since the line was so long. We went on the Steam train at Tilden Farm the following day! Way better!
Tilden Farm & Steam Train
Tilden farm was the highlight of the activities for my son. He loves train, so he loved the Steam train. We rode it twice! The views were beautiful for the adults too. After the train rides, we drove to the farm to feed the cows.
Pro-tip: Bring your own lettuce or celery when visiting Tilden Farm
Leo loved feeding the cows! He still talks about it months later. We are from Texas, but this was his first time seeing a cow close up and feeding the cow. The farm was FREE and the steam train was super affordable. With it being California, I was surprised! We ran out of time to ride the carousel, but I heard we really missed out because it is so beautiful. We will have to ride it next time.
San Francisco Ferry
We rode the San Francisco Ferry from Jack London Square to San Francisco Ferry Building. There was a garage for free parking if you ride the Ferry. You walk over to the Ferry landing and wait for your Ferry. Then pay for a round trip (or one way) ticket on the boat. Bring a jacket for you and the little one as it is chilly and I wanted to be outside!
We enjoyed dinner reservations on the Bay and my toddler loved our view from the restaurant. We had 5PM Reservations at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana celebrating seeing our wonderful friends in the area. We walked through the Ferry Building right next to the Pier 1. That would be a great place to eat too even though it is busy, the food looked high quality.
Our view on the Ferry back was pretty magical and my toddler loved it too!
Jack London Square
Another great place we ate was Farmhouse Thai in Jack London Square. It was pricey but sooo amazing if you like Thai food. Jack London square has a lot to do too. If we had more time, I wanted to visit the USS Potomac since my little boy likes all things boats, trucks, planes. I also would love to stay at the Waterfront hotel near there.
Hotel: Hyatt Place Emeryville/San Francisco – We stayed here because we had some credit card points and the Waterfront was unavailable. They had a great breakfast with lots of healthy options and the staff was super friendly. There’s a mall walking distance as well as a lot of places around if you need to run to the store. My husband always runs to get us bottled water when we are on vacation. There was a fridge in the room as well.
Best Rides at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for a Toddler
Some people worry that there’s nothing for their toddler to ride at Disney World, but you will probably struggle to do it all! I know I do!
Magic Kingdom is definitely the park with the most options for rides that toddlers can ride.
Here are all rides for a 2 year old at Magic Kingdom! I have put stars by my top favorites!
Fantasyland – This land was made for the little kids!
Peter Pan – Good Fast Pass Option – Always a long line! This is a short ride too.
*It’s a Small World – fast moving line
The Carousel – short wait
Mad Tea Party
Journey of the Little Mermaid – Great Fast Pass Option for those littles that love Ariel!
*Jungle Cruise – good option for Fast Pass
*Enchanted Tiki Room – A great break in the air conditioning! Grab some dole whip too! They now let you bring it inside!
*Pirates of the Caribbean
*Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Good fast pass option
*Astro Orbiter – Good Fast Pass Option
*Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress – a short wait and a relaxing time in Air conditioning
Tomorrowland Transit Authority – Short line and fun ride for a break
Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor
Tomorrowland’s Speedway – must be 32 inches (one of the shorter height restrictions)
*The railroad!- No, not big thunder, but the railroad around the park is so fun and can help you avoid extra walking. NOTE: The train was currently closed for refurbishment at the end of 2019 and they said it could be 1-2 years before it is back and running, but it is available for photos.
Cinderella’s Castle is a great thing especially for little girls that love princesses!
Fireworks shows and Parades are also great entertainment. People often wait for hours to get the best spot. That is not worth it to me with a toddler, but you can put them on your shoulders for a better view for them!
We have a couple of Disney trips planned with Leo as a toddler. We just came back from our first trip, and here are my top tips for visiting Walt Disney World with a 2 year old!
Schedule in Nap/Rest time
I debated trying to push through and just try and have my son sleep in the stroller, but rest is for us too! I love Disney World, but it is hot and full of people. I love laying in a clean air conditioned hotel room and maybe even taking a nap myself!
Disney World Fast Passes!
Toddlers do not have patience, and with nap times and snack times, our time in the park is valuable! If you are staying on Disney Property (or a Disney Neighbor hotel), then you can book these 60 days out. If you stay on property, you can book them 30 days out. You can still grab really great fast passes 30 days out, but the top couple of rides at each park might already be taken!
Disney World Buffets
Honestly, I hate buffets. But, I want my son to see all the characters. Character meals are a great way to do that without waiting in long lines and using up fast passes on character meets. We ate at Chef Mickey’s lunch buffet. This restaurant is on the monorail at the Contemporary Hotel. After lunch, we ubered back to the room for some rest before heading back out for more Magic Kingdom fun. Dining reservations can be made as early as 180 days out. Dining reservations are good to have as some places fill up early, but I still found some good reservations booking a few months out. It depends on when you are going and how busy the park will be too! Avoid Park HoppersWe are always a family to stay on property and buy Park Hoppers, but with a toddler everything moves slower. This is the first trip we are staying off property and not getting a park hopper. This is how we able to fit in this weekend trip before a longer trip in 2020 by cutting back.
Magic Kingdom is your best friend
I always love Magic Kingdom because it is so classically Disney World. IT HAS THE CASTLE! But, this is also the best park for toddlers. I love the other parks, especially Epcot. There’s not as much to do in Epcot for toddlers. I love Animal Kingdom too, but there’s a lot of walking in that park which can take a lot of time as well. One day, I definitely want to bring Leo to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, a great place for a toddler that loves animals!
Take Advantage of Rider Swaps!
If you want to ride roller coasters, make sure to use Rider Swap options. When someone has to hang back and watch the child that can’t ride, you can use a rider swap card for two fast passes to ride after the person waits.
Disney Park Baby Changing Rooms
Even though Leo isn’t a baby anymore, I still use the baby rooms when we are nearby. They have diaper changing tables and air conditioning! This is a great escape for a clean changing or feeding place for the little ones. Also, it is okay if there is something YOU want to do at Disney too. I rode some of my favorite rides the Leo isn’t old enough to ride yet! These are my top tips for going to Disney with a Toddler!
Check out this blog on my favorite rides for a toddler.