“Brave” was the adjective most utilized when we shared our pictures from the trip. “Crazy” was the adjective used by my husband when I asked him if he thought it would be feasible to take Ruth to Disney World for her fourth birthday. So, I let it lie. But right before our annual trip to Florida to visit Scott’s family near Orlando, I got in touch with our dear friend (who lived next door to us when we were in law school) who works at Disney and asked him whether he thought I was out of my mind to hope to take Ruth to Disney. “Not at all!”, he responded. “Head on over, and we’ll take care of you.”
So, we made it happen. Cody’s (our friend who works at Disney) wife happened to have the day off, and she met us at the gate to help us out with the girls. Scott’s aunt and two cousins (who are much younger than Scott) were also able to come with us and help. Scott’s cousins (two boisterous little boys) patiently went on every baby ride with us without complaint and were so kind and attentive toward the girls. All of our companions for the day were a blessing to us for sure.
A few people have asked for tips on doing Disney with babies and toddlers. Welp, I have done it all of one time, and I think we had such a fabulous experience due mostly to luck, but I can share what worked for us this time.
- Bring help, and preferably someone who is familiar with the park. We were fortunate in that Scott’s aunt was very familiar with the park, living nearby, and Cody’s wife Rebecca was pretty much an expert on all things Disney World. It made things so much easier having a tour guide who knew the rides, the places to eat, and what wait times were good and bad. (She even knew when to protect the volatile toddlers from sudden water squirts on rides!) We had an adult for every child, which also helped with rides that only seated two or three at a time, or rides that I would have to sit out with the baby.
- Have a plan for transporting the babies and young toddlers. I wore Rhea, which worked really well, even though it was beastly hot. I had a little paci stashed in my Ergo for when she got fussy, and she pretty much just napped the whole time. All of the rides we went on had no problem with me wearing her, with the exception of the carousel. I had to sit with her on my lap in the carriage. Go figure. We also used a small, lightweight stroller for Wren. You can rent strollers there, but they were large, plastic, and unwieldy. Wren stayed in it without complaint until it got too close to nap time and she wanted to be held. Then we put Rosie in it.
Stroller shown here. It holds up to 50 lbs and Rosie was pushing that limit.
3. Go in the off-season. The cognoscenti inform me that November is the best month. The park is empty and the weather is lovely. The park was pretty empty when we went (on a Tuesday in late September) but it was HOT! The wait times for rides were only 10 minutes early in the morning and about 40 minutes in the afternoon. We didn’t use them, but I’ve heard fast passes are worth it for the rides and the characters you really want to see.
Hot, y’all. And this was in late September! Can you imagine what it is like in the dead of the summer?!! Heat stroke city.
4. Keep your expectations low. You won’t get to do all of the things you want to do (it seems like the options at Disney are ENDLESS) and the toddlers will start to melt down if you stay too long. We left the second Wren started fussing and managed to avoid any major meltdowns. Because Magic Kingdom is pretty far from parking, and we had to ride the train, then the monorail, and finally do a good bit of walking just to get back to our car. I’ve heard the other parks are easier.
5. Get your pins! Once you arrive on Main Street, you can ask a friendly representative for pins commemorating your children’s first visit to Disney. They helpfully write the date on the back. Ruth got another pin for her birthday too!
6. Miscellaneous. Don’t bring selfie sticks. Apparently those were causing some major problems and are now banned. I don’t know why, but I find that hilarious. Selfie stick duels! Also, if you are an adult, do not dress as one of the characters. It is confusing for all of the children. We saw a Cinderella imposter getting a citation for that very offense.
The girls really did have a marvelous time (we even got a few smiles and giggles out of Rose!). Ruth will tell anyone that will listen about Disney. She even remembers every character that just happened to walk by us (“Chip and Dale and an Aristocat!”) It was the trip of a lifetime for us. We are incredibly beholden to our dear friends and family who helped make it happen.
And now for the photo dump:
I’ll probably bore you with all of the minutia of the rest of our Florida trip in another blog post or five. You have been warned.
Have any of you taken your littles to Disney? What advice would you give? We are definitely going back. Even Scott has been bitten with the Disney bug after our enjoyable trip.