We took Wyatt to Disney World for the first time when he was 9 months old. We didn’t do much that trip – we were only there for two nights. We went back for runDisney’s marathon weekend when he was 13 months old. We had a lot planned for that trip, but most of it didn’t happen because my son ended up in the hospital.
I learned a lot about doing Disney with a baby, though!
Disney perks for babies:
I don’t think I need to convince anyone that Disney is a great place to bring young children – they cater to families of all ages! Kids under 3 can get into the parks for free. Disney knows what parents of young children need, and they offer some pretty nice perks:
1. Baby care centers: There is one baby care center in each of the four parks – next to the first aid station near Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom, in the Odyssey in EPCOT, inside Guest Relations at the entrance of Hollywood Studios, and between the Tree of Life building and bridge to Africa in Animal Kingdom. These care centers are awesome. They offer an air-conditioned place to change and feed your baby. Complete with kitchens with microwaves to heat up food or formula, play areas for older children, and baby necessities – diapers, wipes, food, and pacifiers – available for purchase. Some care centers even have private rooms with rocking chairs for nursing.
2. Rider switch: Disney’s rider switch is awesome. From Disney’s website:
3. Babies can join you on the rides. You can let your baby ride on your lap on any ride that doesn’t have a height requirement or safety belt. Dumbo, Jungle Cruise, It’s a Small World, Winnie the Pooh, and Buzz Lightyear are some baby-friendly rides at Magic Kingdom.
4. Restaurants will purée food. We had to meet with the chef before every meal because of Wyatt’s food allergies (side note: Disney is super accommodating when it comes to food allergies). They always offered to purée food for him.
5. There are babysitters available (for a fee): For babies older than 6 months, Disney offers in-room childcare services through an independent childcare provider, Kids Night Out. So mom and dad can enjoy a date night (or race!). Or, you could just invite Grammy and Grampy to come along on your vacation. I guarantee they’ll have a good time!
6. Characters: Wyatt was scared of the characters during our first trip, but loved them during our second. I highly recommend scheduling a character meal or finding your favorite characters in the parks. It was so much fun to watch him interact with his new furry friends.
1. Wipe down everything the minute you walk into your hotel room. If you only listen to one tip, please let it be this one! Wyatt got norovirus in Disney – which resulted in a trip to the ER, a missed marathon and Goofy medal for me, and a very, very horrible two hours of nurses and doctors not being able to get an IV in my dehydrated little boy. I never want any parent to go through that, let alone on vacation. I was dumb and didn’t wipe down everything immediately upon entering the room. I should have cleaned the remote, door and drawer handles, edges of the table, phone, doorstops, and everything else Wyatt likes to chew on. Note: I do not think norovirus was Disney’s fault at all. It was a really big year for the illness and it’s super contagious, especially if you’re 13 months old and put everything in your mouth.
“Hey mom, watch me get norovirus!”
2. Take advantage of morning extra magic hours. Most days, Disney parks don’t open until 9:00 am – peak morning nap time for a lot of babies! If you stay on property, one park per day opens an hour earlier as part of extra magic hours. If you have an early riser like we do, getting to the park by 8am is no problem.
A bonus: parks aren’t as crowded in the early mornings.
3. Mind nap time. My son cannot skip naps and be expected to function well. Maybe yours can, so I guess this tip is more about knowing your baby. We knew that Wyatt can do well if he takes a short morning nap and long afternoon nap. If we waited until his midday awake time to head to the parks (he could only be awake for about 3- 3.5 hours tops back then), we would have really been pushing it and pressed for time. Instead, we hit the parks when they opened, let him take his morning snooze on the go, and headed back to the hotel after lunch so he could take a long afternoon nap in his crib.
4. Bring a stroller and a carrier. So far, Wyatt has napped in his stroller three times in his life. We ideally wanted him to nap in his stroller at the parks, but knew that probably wouldn’t happen. So we packed the Ergo too, and it did the trick. Note: if you’re in Disney for a runDisney event, strollers are not allowed in the expo. Bring those carriers!
5. Don’t overlook what the resorts have to offer. Wyatt was still a super crank at 9 months old, so we were not about to spend money on park tickets. Instead, we splurged on the hotel – we stayed at the Polynesian – and spent a lot of time there. Babies are allowed in resort pools (with swim diapers of course), and the Poly has a water play area which he loved. For the two days we were there, enjoying the resort and Downtown Disney was more than enough to do.
6. Consider getting a car. One of the perks of staying on property is the free bus service between the resorts and the parks. Unfortunately, sometimes the buses take a while and make multiple stops – it can literally take an hour between the time you leave your room and when you arrive at your destination. This is an eternity in baby time. In January, we had a car and it made things a lot easier. Note: most airlines allow you to check or gate check carseats for free.
7. Request a crib. Usually when you request a crib, you get a pack n’ play, which isn’t so great if your baby knows how to knock them over. Disney has cribs though – we landed one in January, but not September. Request it all over your reservation, cross your fingers, and pray you may get one!
Who else has done Disney with a baby? Share your tips below!
I predict my Dumbo medal will win for my cutest medal ever. And also? Wyatt will steal it.
I could not fathom officially training for that long, but I am starting to think about training plans for these races. I’d like to officially start training for Dumbo at 12 weeks out – so in 3 weeks. I’ll need to keep NYCM in mind when I choose my Dumbo training plan since they’ll overlap for a few weeks. This isn’t a huge deal -- it just means I’ll have to do runs longer than 12mi towards the end of my Dumbo training.
Normally, I don’t stress much about training plans. I just plug my numbers into Runner’s World’s Smartcoach and loosely follow that. But I need a change. Smartcoach is not working for me lately. I haven’t raced well in 6 long months.
This is likely not Smartcoach’s fault. Rather, it’s user error. I was sick for a lot of December and January, so using my old paces for a training plan wasn’t my wisest move. It’s also probably what lead to my IT band woes in March and April.
Hmmm. Not my best training cycle!
Still, I think I want to try something new for Dumbo and NYCM. I really want to PR in the Disneyland half (I’m just going to take it slow in the 10k) and the marathon.
The training plan I choose has to meet the following requirements:
- 4 days of running per week, including 1-2 days of speedwork per week.
- 2 days of cross-training per week (I have a sprint tri in September after all).
- 2 days of yoga or lifting per week, likely combined with my cross-training or easy run days.
- 1 day completely OFF per week.
- Low mileage. I don’t want to go over 40mpw for marathon training to prevent injury. I’ve never been a high mileage runner and don’t want to start now… or ever.
- Two 20 milers. One seems like too few, three seems like too many. Two is just right!
- Flexibility. I usually have no problem getting all of my runs in, but they don’t always happen on the planned days.
Here are my thoughts for training plans:
1. Hal Higdon Intermediate Marathon training plan. I’d have to tweak this a bit. I’d need to add 3 more weeks to make ample time to train for Dumbo. I’d also replace one run per week with cross-training.
Oddly enough, Hal’s plan calls for a half and a full 9 weeks apart – the exact amount of time between Dumbo and NYCM.
Pros: There are only two 20 milers, and after I replace one run per week with cross-training, the max mpw peaks at 43mi. Not too far off my goal.
Cons: No speedwork or pacing guidelines. I could try to combine it with Hal’s advanced marathon training 1 program, but that plan calls for 6 days of running per week so I feel like merging the plans could get sloppy. Plus, there is nothing “advanced” about my marathon skills!
2. Runner’s World Smartcoach. I could go back to my old tried and true training buddy, but use a new recent race time instead of going by my old paces.
Smartcoach thinks way too highly of me. A 3:30 marathon?! Hahaha.
Pros: I know Smartcoach can work. It allows you to adjust it as you go, and you can make the plan for as long as you want. You can even customize your training intensity level – moderate, hard, or very hard. I usually choose “hard”.
Cons: I’d have to run a race in a few weeks. Paying to run a race when I’m out of shape does not thrill me. True, I could do a fake “race” around my ‘hood, but I know I wouldn’t perform as well. Besides, I kind of want to try a new training approach this go around.
3. Hire a running coach. I’ve been toying with this idea for a while. It would definitely have to be a virtual running coach because I don’t have the time to meet up with someone on a weekly basis. A lot of my favorite bloggers are Road Runners Club of America certified running coaches. I’ve been curious to see what they have to offer.
Pros: My own personal cheerleader! I haven’t had a running coach since high school, and this may be just what I need to take my training up a notch. I also may stick to my plan better because I wouldn’t want to let someone else down.
Cons: The price. I don’t know if I can justify spending that kind of money when I know how to create a training plan myself. Can a running coach really guarantee that they can create a better plan for me? Will a running coach allow me to be flexible with my training? The pressure of not letting someone else down may also get to me.
How do you guys choose training programs? What are your favorite plans? Have you ever worked with a running coach? Was it worth it? Is there anyone you recommend? Thank you SO much for the help!
I’ve been using my new Garmin -- the Garmin Forerunner 10 -- for 3 months now, and have received a lot of questions about it. Some people even told me they bought this Garmin because I mentioned it. Eek.
So, I feel that it’s necessary that I share my thoughts about my newest running gadget. This post is not sponsored by Garmin.
The short version – I’m not a fan of this Garmin. Keep in mind that I don’t use the fancy functions that come with it – like the virtual pacer or auto lap options, for instance – I just want to know my overall time, pace, and distance.
It’s not all bad, though. I really am a Garmin fan. I got the Forerunner 10 because my old Garmin – the Forerunner 305– wasn’t holding it’s battery well anymore. I had it for three years and used it 4-5 times a week. I loved the 305 abd felt like I got my money’s worth out of it, so I didn’t think twice about buying another Garmin. I had been eyeing sleeker styles and heard good things about the Forerunner 10.
- It’s pretty! In addition to neon green, it also comes in bright pink, purple, orange, and black.
- It’s light and not bulky like the 305. I’d always take off my 305 immediately after a race because it was so big and uncomfortable.
- It can be worn as a watch.
- It has a pretty long battery life. It supposedly lasts about 5 hours if used continuously. I usually charge it every week and a half or so – which is about 30 miles or 255 minutes.
- It takes forever to locate the satellite. Forever! I gave up after 16 minutes once on a sunny day. Other times, it’s shut itself off because it was searching for satellite for so long. My other Garmin always took a few minutes, too, so I’d place it outside, go in and put my shoes on, come out, and it was always ready in time. That never happens with this one. I find this really strange – I’d think a newer model would locate the satellite more quickly?
- It doesn’t seem as accurate distance-wise. When I started using this Garmin, all of my runs were coming up a bit short. I thought I was remembering my routes incorrectly or something. This past weekend, I ran with my friend on a 4mi course I know like the back of my hand. She wore her Forerunner 10 and when we hit what I know was 4 miles, her Garmin only said it was 3.75ish. Granted, it was a shady route, but that’s still a huge discrepancy. Plus, my old Garmin always got this course accurate. This makes no sense to me because I’d think all Garmins would use the same satellite?
- You have to toggle between screens – and wait – to see all of your stats. This Garmin doesn’t display time elapsed, distance, and pace on the same screen like my old Garmin. I usually run with time and distance displayed, and have to toggle the screen to see my pace. I didn’t think this would be a big deal but the Garmin pauses for a second and there’s an extra screen that tells you what the next screen will show before it actually displays your pace. Waiting those few extra seconds is annoying and unsafe when I’m running with the jogging stroller.
- You can only charge it by plugging it into your computer (ETA: unless you have a wall USB charger -- which I didn't know existed until you guys told me in the comments!). Maybe I’m the weird one, but I never charged my old Garmin using my computer – it’s just so much easier to plug it into the wall (I never upload any workouts so my Garmin is never near my computer). This is a hassle, especially when I’m traveling.
Who else has the Forerunner 10? What are your thoughts? I hate to give such a negative review, but I regret the purchase and don’t want anyone else to make the same mistake.