Disney World in Diapers (a mom’s survival guide)

Pluto FoF

It’s the age old argument – is a child in diapers too young to experience Disney World? If you would have asked me before I had a child, I probably would have said yes, but taking a child to Disney World THREE times before potty training, it was actually a really easy experience! It also brings up the questions “how young is too young for Disney?” and “what’s the point if they won’t remember it?” That’s another conversation for another day, but back to diapers.

So why did I like taking my child under 3/in diapers to Disney? Because it was EASY! No asking “do you have to go potty” before we got into every queue/line. No worrying about accidents in line or trying to keep up with potty training while exploring the parks.

Every single bathroom we encountered (both mens and ladies) had a diaper changing area in them (the mens line was always shorter and I’m very appreciative my husband was up for regular diaper duty and investigation when he didn’t have our girl with him). You also have the baby care center which is located inside each of the parks as well.

The only “bad” part about a kiddo in diapers is the additional supplies you need to bring with you to the parks – extra diapers, wipes, and an extra change of clothes (or two). That also means a bag of some sort to bring with you. For us, it didn’t take up that much extra space and we had a bag with us anyways – backpack mama here, but for those that are used to touring without a backpack, it may be cumbersome! In general, most families that have a child in diapers will also have a stroller, so plenty of storage with a stroller.

In the hot months, hydration is important so being able to keep your child well hydrated without worrying about running to a bathroom after every attraction you experience is also helpful!

A little bit of a look into the question of “what’s the point, my young child won’t remember the experience”. Yes, this may be true. My kiddo remembered the experience from her first to her second trip and after our third adventure, she talks about visiting her “friends” at Mickey’s house. I don’t know that she’ll remember those specific experiences forever but SOME of the trip is honestly for us as well! For me, making the memories with my family is the best art of bringing a young child to Disney parks. It’s pure magic and brings tears to my eyes! Since we know that trip is also for the adults, rider switch is also a helpful piece of taking a child in diapers to Disney. Rider switch is used for attractions with height restrictions. This allows adults (and older siblings) to experience these attractions while avoiding the wait time! For a full rundown on Rider switch, visit my Mom’s guide!

So you’re on board with bringing your little one to Disney. The other great benefit is that children under three are FREE! And

My girl with her main man...I mean mouse!

My girl with her main man…I mean mouse!

in an era where almost nothing is free without any strings being attached to it, this is a wonderful benefit. Children who arrive before their third birthday do not have to pay for park admission, don’t count toward room maximum occupancy, and can share from an adult plate at no additional cost at any dining location. If the dining location is served family or buffet style, children under 3 may have their own plate of food at no cost to the parents! That’s an amazing benefit for me and why we went THREE times before my daughter turned 3.

So how do you get your diapers and supplies to Disney? You have a few different options!

  • Pack them and bring them with. If you are driving, that’s easy! If you are flying, you can pack them in a carry on bag, or pack them with your luggage. We often fly Southwest because we get 2 free checked bags. One bag is often filled with diapers, wipes, snacks, and other supplies to keep kids and adults happy while touring the parks. Some carriers charge for checked AND carry on bags, so know your options and any additional cost before you pack.
  • Ship them to your resort. You can ship them from Amazon or other online retailers directly to your resort without paying a premium for the supplies themselves. You will need to property address them to ensure they go directly to your resort and not a receiving and distribution center before making its way to your resort. Shipments should arrive no earlier than 7 days from your arrival date.
  • Order them from a local delivery – GardenGrocer.com is a great option. You can also get some other basic food options including fresh fruit, milk, juice, or maybe even some breakfast items.
  • Purchasing them from your Disney resort. This is a really expensive option, but in a pinch, it’s a viable option.
  • Don’t forget the swim diapers too!
A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 or 2017 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

 

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Tips for keeping kids occupied on your flight to Disney World

Hooray! You’re going to Disney World! You’ve chosen your dates, you decided to fly instead of drive and now it’s time to think about what to do with your kids for the 2-4 hours while in flight. As a mom of an almost 3 year old we’ve flown with our little girl twice and had 2 really different experiences!

The first time was easy – she spent most of the flight asleep (SCORE ONE FOR MOM!) and the second time we scheduled around nap time and it was much less successful. Maybe an hour asleep of the 3 hour trip.

You’ve got the obvious things…iPad or tablet, snacks, coloring, and books to keep them occupied, but will that take up almost 3 hours of time? For some kids the answer is yes, but for some it’s not enough! Also, make sure your kids will wear headphones of some sort so they can hear what they are doing and to not bother your seat neighbors.

If you’ve got an antsy kid who won’t sit still for 3 hours, think about quiet books and other activities that will capture their interest but won’t take up a lot of space in your suitcase. We brought window clings and let our kiddo have the window seat so she could stick and re-stick a snowman to the window (it was Christmas time so lots of clings available!) You may even want to purchase a toy that is NEW for the plane ride so it hasn’t lost its magic with use at home.

The one thing you do NOT want to do is pack too much! On our first flight, we brought the favorite “everything” – books, toys, stuffed animals, blanket, and snacks. We used about 2% of all of the stuff we brought so be a minimalist. Limit items to what will fit under the seat in front of you in a small backpack or bag. You won’t be able to use anything that’s large anyways!

Beyond entertainment, consider something for your child to drink or suck on during take off and landing as they don’t have the ability to adjust their ear pressure as easily as adults. Dum dum suckers are a great easy take along. If your child has a sippy cup, it’s another great way to loosen up their ears (the sucking motion helps). Bring easy to eat snacks with you (and things that aren’t incredibly messy!)

PLEASE bring an extra pair of clothes PER PERSON. I can’t stress this one enough. If you are sitting with a small child (especially one that has never been on a plane), make sure everyone has a change of clothes in case of any sickness in the air. You may want 2 changes of clothes for your little one just in case! Along the same line, bring a plastic bag or two – it can dual as a little garbage bag if necessary.

For older children, prep them about the flight experience if it is their first time. Ask them what they’d like to bring on the flight and allow them their own special carry on bag with their own stuff in it and allow them to pack it (within reason). If you’re traveling during the school year, ask for any homework ahead of time to potentially do on the plane!

Do you have any tried and true tips for flying with your child? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below!

The Pros and Cons of Disney World Moderate Resorts

 

Over the past 2+ years through this crazy little blog of mine, I’ve worked through comparing all Disney World resorts – their pros and cons in general but comparing a value resort to a deluxe resort isn not a fair fight. Generally people plan their experience around budget, so you’re working with a “value”, “moderate” or “deluxe” style budget!

I’m going to break down each of the resorts classes, start with moderate resorts since that seems to be the “middle of the road” for Disney vacations. These are also some of the largest resorts in space and capacity. For more detailed information on each resort, check out the moderate resort page and each individual resort for size, pools, and restaurants. I’ll start with my opinion of “the best of”…

Best Pool: Coronado Springs with Caribbean Beach in a very close second!

Best Grounds: Based on size, Port Orleans French Quarter; Based on overall appeal – Port Orleans French Quarter or Riverside (themes are related) If you want a more vibrant resort, Caribbean Beach is definitely appealing!

Best Location on Disney property: The Port Orleans sisters – Riverside & French Quarter have a bit of an edge because they have boat access to and from Disney Springs! In general, all of the moderate resorts are along a similar line of  “latitude” on Disney property so it takes roughly the same amount of time to get to Magic Kingdom (which is what most guests are the most worried about)

Best Bus system: It’s a really close race here and it truly depends on your timing. Disney buses run every 20 minutes to and form all 4 theme parks. You may see less of a wait time during peak travel times and maybe a bit longer wait during off peak times (11 am – 4 pm), but nothing is more frustrating than waiting for an Epcot bus and seeing 3 Disney Springs buses and 3 Magic Kingdom buses go by while the time ticks closer and closer to park opening. I get it – been, there, done that! I think Coronado Springs has a slight edge with just 4 internal bus stops. Port Orleans French Quarter & Riverside share buses at times, so when that is the case, I don’t think it wins the race!

Best Dining options: Port Orleans Riverside (with a nod going to French Quarter for their New Orleans style food – beignets!) with Coronado Springs in a close second. As a resort with a conference center, it makes sense that it has good food options.

Best rooms for kids: Tie. Port Orleans Riverside Royal Rooms have an amazing princess theme. At Caribbean Beach, you can enjoy a pirate themed room for your swashbucklers!

Best rooms for adults: Coronado Springs Business class is a moderate resort version of the club level service at the deluxe resorts at a fraction of the price. Enjoy a conveniently located room as well as food and beverage service in their lounge included in the cost of your stay. A close second would be Port Orleans French Quarter as the atmosphere can be quite romantic.

The good, the bad, and the ugly. This is all about where you want to stay for your vacation. If price is a factor, Port Orleans (both), and Caribbean Beach rooms all have the same rack (non-discounted) rates for standard rooms. The difference? Location and size. While all resorts in this category have queen beds now with the update FINALLY coming through for Caribbean Beach, resort size makes the difference for us! Traveling as 2 adults? You can guarantee yourself a king size bed by choosing this category room. If you’re a family of 5, you’re stuck with a room at Port Orleans Riverside or going to a different class of resort. It’s the only non-suite option that sleeps more than 4. There’s no real difference in travel time among the resorts to Magic Kingdom as they are located on the southern half of the resort.

Port Orleans resorts were renovated in 2012 and Coronado Springs renovated right around the same time. Caribbean Beach is the most recently updated resort having a major update in fall 2014 into early 2015.

Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans Riverside, and Coronado Springs are all larger resorts. If you’re concerned about extra walking in your resort, stay at French Quarter or choose a preferred room at one of the other resorts. Remember these are just my opinions, and if you have your heart set on a specific resort, GO!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

10 things to do on an adults only Disney World vacation!

What? People go to Disney World without kids? That’s right. I’ve done it many times and it’s a totally different experience than going with and for your kids. I actually recommend it if you’re interested in going post having children. It allows you to get the roller coaster experience “out of your system” or a way to get a romantic experience (YES, you can!) with a little fun!

1. Stay club level. The deluxe resorts all have club level service which provides you with a concierge floor and added

The best view in the house - Magic Kingdom from your balcony (view from Contemporary resort but similar views available at Grand Floridian and Polynesian)

The best view in the house – Magic Kingdom from your balcony (view from Contemporary resort but similar views available at Grand Floridian and Polynesian)

benefits which makes you feel like you are the best of the best in Disney World. We’ve spoiled ourselves with many experiences. Interested in seeing what the best Club level locations are and what it entails?:

2. Go on a monorail pub crawl. There are two great ones in Disney World. First, the monorail tour. Start at Magic Kingdom and take the boat to Wilderness Lodge, then make stops at each of the Disney monorail resorts: Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian. I like to go later and stay to watch the fireworks from the Grand Floridian Beach!

3. Try signature restaurants. Disney offers 12 signature restaurants plus Victoria & Albert’s, the finest of all dining locations on Disney property. This is a great romantic setting and to try some amazing food! These meals often take longer than the standard table service, and offer many courses, wine pairings, and some amazing entree and dessert choices. One of the great things about signature restaurants, is many are located at resort hotels, so you don’t need park admission or park hoppers to visit them! Which leads me to my next point…

3a. Take advantage of the Deluxe Dining Plan. This plan is not for the faint of heart, or the tiny stomach. Disney’s deluxe dining plan provides you with 3 credits per person, per night stayed and can be used as a table service or quick service credit. An upgrade to the Disney dining plan, this plan provides an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage for lunch and dinner meals (no appetizer or dessert for breakfast). It’s a great way to try multiple signature restaurants around Disney. While deluxe dining is expensive, it’s a great add on to an adults trip (or upgrade your dining when staying during a free dining promotion for more savings!) If you’re interested in any sort of character dining, you can enjoy that on this plan, too!

4. Enjoy drinks around the world in Epcot. Similar to #3, stop at each country in Epcot and have a drink of the land. This works out best if you share a drink or if you break it up into 2 days, as there is A LOT to try. I haven’t found many people that can each have a drink and make it all the way around and continue their Disney day without being quite obnoxious by the end of the night 🙂 This experience is enhanced during one of Epcot’s annual festivals – both Flower & Garden in the spring or Food & Wine in the fall!

5. Take a carriage ride. A romantic carriage ride is offered at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside (for an additional feel of course).  Port Orleans can be reached by boat from Downtown Disney (a great end to a romantic night after dinner) or by bus from any theme park.

6. Enjoy a spa day. Saratoga Springs & Grand Floridian both have spas available for guest use. Call to reserve your germany-epcotservice before your arrival and pamper yourself!

7. Enjoy evening magic hours. My  husband and I like to enjoy evening magic hours when we travel. It’s an easy way to see more in less time, especially when there are 2 full hours of fun. Families with kids start to dwindle as the hour gets later. We get up early, head to the parks, take a nice long break in the middle of the date, eat a late dinner and enjoy all the extra time Disney has to offer us! Be aware that most of the “adult” attractions will still have some lines during these late hours, but the later they go, the shorter your waits will be as it gets into the wee hours in the morning!

8. Check out the evening offerings at BoardWalk. Disney’s BoardWalk has some fun things for adults including meals, street performers, and a piano bar (JellyRolls). This area is open later than most in Disney!

9. Spend a whole day in the park. While I don’t normally suggest staying in the park for a full 10-12 hours, doing it without kids is manageable, especially for a short trip. To let your feet take a break, park hop and the bus or monorail ride will be a little break. .With dining in there, you’ll be able to rest inside the park as well. This option makes things a bit easier with park hoppers as the transportation gives you a nice rest (as well as a break from the Florida weather!0

10. Pretend you are a kid again. Meet characters, go on water rides, do some character dining, and enjoy Disney like a kid! Just because you’re a grown up, you have no real responsibility. Enjoy yourself!!!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!