Prepare. Prepare. PREPARE!!!! I can’t say it enough.
All mums know (or should) by the time your kiddo is about 3 months old (yep I’m serious) that if you fail to prepare be prepared to fail. You know what I’m talking about…. remember that first pooh explosions? Enough said.
The same goes for Disney.
Here are my top tips (tried and tested), top pit falls I experienced travelling with a then 18month old Pygmy and a few things I’d like to do next time.
Be mentally prepared to do nothing.
Yep. This might sound like an odd one coz’ hey you just flew half way across the world, you’re gona do something right?! WRONG! Let me direct you back to my first point. PREPARE. If you’re going to Disney be prepared to do a whole lot of nothing. (Well not the things you thought you’d be doing anyway.) Kids have a funny way of making their own agendas. just roll with it and you’ll be fine. Sure you just spent £££ on park tickets but trust me memories of happy kiddos on holiday are way more important than tantrums over them preferring to stay in the hotel/villa pool
Its a well known fact that food in theme parks is expensive. However, it’s respectively unknown that Disney allows you to bring food in with you. and I highly HIGHLY recommend that you do. Kids want to eat all the time (yes so do I, no need to point it out) especially when you’re out somewhere the food will cost you their tuition fees! When you head out to the parks make sure you pack some snacks for yourself and the ankle biters! My faves are things like pretzels, cheese sticks, fruit bags and bottled water (frozen) Things that travel well… nobody like a crushed up back of crisps (chips?) or an annihilated cupcake!
Bubbles are your friend. Balloons are not.
The temptation will be there to buy you kid one of those cute (and ridiculously expensive) Mickey shaped balloons – these retail at $15 btw… But trust me, even if you buy that thing at the very end of the day it. just. isn’t. worth. it.
Let me paint you the picture… you buy the thing and tie it to the stroller (or dad…whatever) maybe its a slightly breezy day or maybe it rains… what the hell are you gona do with that thing!!??!! You are in a packed amusement park and the bloody thing is getting tangled around other people, hitting you in the face with the breeze and the rain is beating the crap out of that thing you suddenly wish would just float away….but then wait for it….IT DOES!!! and that’s a swift $15 down the toilet.
Need I say more?
Just buy the damn bubbles man. Same $15 (or buy them in Wal-Mart/ Target/ CVS -$5 hell get them in England £1-£3 if you must before you get there.) The worst that will happen is the kid wont stop blowing bubbles and they might get a little went.
Trauma factor < 10%, Happiness factor > INFINTATE.
Let them walk.
Cannot stress this one enough. You are on holiday. You have nowhere else to be. You should not be rushing round the parks (Ha! its virtually impossible with little ones anyway)
Take your time and let them walk, take it all in and enjoy it.
coupled with this I would like to remind you to a) Make sure your stroller has a really good sun shade/ canopy or umbrella (The Florida sun ain’t to joke) and b) For the love of god cover your stroller when you park it up outside an attraction. That seat WILL GET HOT if left uncovered. If you don’t my above point will no longer be an option but a necessity!
Extra tip for ya: Make sure your stroller is recognisable from a distance. I’m talking flags, lights, heck put tinsel on it if it helps. They will move your stroller over to a new spot when others leave the ride to make space. Believe me EVERYONE has the same stroller as you. You’ve been warned.
Bring a change of clothes. And another change of clothes.
Again lets revisit my original point. PREPARE.
Your kid WILL get:
- Wet & dirty
Therefore (unless you don’t care) you will be needing a change of clothes for them. And as you’re likely to pass one of the 50+ water fountains, soak stations or cheeky cast members in costume with a squirt gun (yes this happens) THEY WILL NEED TO CHANGE.
but lets not dwell eh…
Make time to play.
Your kid will want to play. And yes, you are in a massive playground but you still need to make time for them to run around. No matter how good (or lazy) your kiddo is, they ain’t gona want to sit in a stroller for hours on end.
Find the playgrounds. Use them. Job done!
The time difference is a b*atch!
Coming from the UK you can pretty much take it as a given, the time difference is gona kick the crap out of your kid (unless you hit the jackpot) and in turn you. That 5 hour time zone thing is a hard nut to crack… we had one crashed out pygmy by 6pm many a night when we were at the hotel (or not in the parks) He was a trooper mind you and managed to stay up until almost nightfall when we were in the parks but never quite made it to fireworks *sad face*
They will get dirty. Very dirty.
Now this links in with my tip above about a change of clothes. Its a pit fall because unless you are a packing ninja (like me) this will almost certainly mean bringing sh*t loads of clothes for using the washing facilities (if you have access to them) while you’re there. Yes it sucks… doing chores on holiday isn’t my idea of fun either. But be prepared nonetheless. (See what I did there…another seamless Segway lol)
Waiting in line.
There really is no way around this one. High season, low season, holidays or not you are going to be waiting in line. Might as well accept it now. Some queues move faster than others and some will even have built in surprises and interactive elements to (try) and help make the waiting more bearable but either way you’re still gona wait.
Don’t get caught out with nothing to amuse your kids (or yourself) bring stickers, a small toy (Dear Lord not a ball!) your phone, snacks etc. to help keep it interesting.
Water parks will suck. Hard.
If your kid is like mine, getting him/her out of the tub at bath time is an utter shambles and let me tell you…the water park will be no different.
Now if you’re lucky, the little bugger will tire themselves out so much you can simply dress them and wheel them on out of there with minimal fuss but if you’re not. God speed.
Also those ideas you had of maybe catching a slide or two are basically out the window too… Disney water parks have a designated child play area with baby slides (which you cannot ride with them, nor can they ride alone unless they are happy to sit unaided on a floatie or slide without a hand to hold) and lots of little shallows for them to wade around in and splash.
Besides that and maybe the lazy river (this was my friend) its gona be a pretty dull day in terms of activities completed.
On the plus side; if you bring a waterproof cover for your camera (or have a waterproof one in the first place) you’re sure to get LOADS of great splashy shots of the kids.
Your kids will get food bored. (Or sugar addicted this depends on you)
Now its no secret that the food in theme parks isn’t exactly amazing. Disney does have some great table service restaurants but this will require you to make reservations (more
on this in another post I promise I’ll link back to) so that leave counter/ quick service.
Now I’m lucky that my kid will eat (or at least try) anything but if you have a fussy eater get ready for a whole lot of chicken nuggets and pizza! There just isn’t much choice for kids / fussy eaters. Pygmy got so bored with the food he actually demanded veggies at dinner when we got back to the hotel and practically bit my hand off for some pasta as it was a welcomed changed to chips (fries?) and chicken fingers. A lot of the time he refused food altogether, opting for fruit, cheese and drinks (well ice but that’s still water…eventually). Luckily for me he’s not big on sweets but if you’re kid is… the sugar meltdown WILL definitely ensue.
Things I’d do next time
Take more videos – I really didn’t take much video on Pygmy’s first trip. I wish I did. Those memories are priceless. I wish he could see them now. Get a GoPro or something. It will be worth it!
Buy that Disney t-shirt on day one – We got Pygmy one about a week in and we had the characters we met sign it but he never actually wore it. Now I wish I had that day one photo of him in his first ever Disney World T….don’t make my mistake.
Eat out more– its the food thing again. There is a lot of great food to be had both in and out of the parks. Don’t over think it. Just go eat food man!
Use the damn kiddy cot stations!! – Disney does a great job of facilitating babies and small children. These stations are fully kitted out areas for sorting the little ones. They even have ovens (yes you heard me) to heat/ cook the kids food! I never actually used them because I like to keep things moving but if I had a small baby I definitely would.
FYI: EVERY restroom has a baby changing station. Every restroom. Even the men’s room. (Ain’t cutting daddy no slack!)
Just stay for the fireworks – We didn’t see any fireworks on our last trip (boo!) and I honestly regret it. We did the responsible parent thing and took the kid home when he crashed out only to have him wake up 10 mins after arriving back at the hotel.
One night wont hurt. Disney fireworks are amazing. Magical even. Plus word on the street is they even use drones now too to light up the sky!
There you have it adventurers!
Happy Disney adventures.