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!
A few weeks ago, I desperately begged for your tips for flying alone with a toddler. The flight didn’t go so well, but we survived, and we’re heading home this morning. I wanted to share what I learned.
Flying alone with my son: one of my top two least favorite mommy duties. The other is cutting his nails.
I want to point out that my biggest concern when flying with Wyatt is keeping him happy. At the risk of sounding rude, I really don’t care what the other passengers think. I cannot control what someone else thinks of me, so I don’t worry about it. Of course, I do my best to keep Wyatt from kicking the seat in front of us or climbing on other passengers. But when he’s screaming and crying I’m not thinking, “please stop crying because I don’t want you to bother other people.” I’m thinking, “please stop crying because I’m your mom, and I hate seeing you upset and uncomfortable.” I think giving other passengers treats or offering to buy them drinks is unnecessary, and it would create more of a hassle when I’m already stressed.
Here are my tips (also check out my 10 tips for flying with a baby):
1. Get a window seat. I usually opt for a window, but the agent moved me to an aisle because it was the only seat on the plane with an empty seat next to it. Huge mistake. Maybe this would be OK on a longer flight if you plan to walk around with baby (I don’t like the idea of walking around with him in case of unexpected turbulence), but we found the aisle seat to be unsafe. My son jumped backwards out of arms at takeoff. Not fun.
2. Test out apps beforehand. A lot of people suggested fun, toddler apps. I downloaded them, but didn’t show them to Wyatt before the flight because I thought something new would hold his interest better. Well, he wasn’t into them at all. Lesson learned! I tested out a couple apps yesterday and made sure he approved of them. (He loves Peekaboo Barn!)
3. Bring night-night supplies. I carried on Wyatt’s lovey and blankie in hopes that it would make him think it’s time to go to sleep. He didn’t nap, but he did lay on me and snuggle his head into his blanket for a while.
A+A swaddle blanket. One of our most-used baby items!
4. Read lots of books. The only time Wyatt is content sitting still is when we’re reading books. Sure, carrying a lot of books through the airport is borderline crazy, but if it works! I carried on two bags to make more room for books.
5. Ask the flight attendant to take away everything in the seat pocket. Wyatt either wanted to eat the magazines and emergency info card or throw it on the floor over and over again. I simply asked the flight attendant to take them away, he did, and then I put Wyatt’s books in their spot.
6. Organize your diaper bag. Is anyone else’s diaper bag a black hole? I cannot keep that thing organized to save my life. I divided the stuff in the diaper bag into three categories -- diapers/wipes/changing pad, toys, and food – and used a huge ziploc bag to keep stuff separated. It’s much easier to find a pack of Mum-mums this way! I only kept these items in my diaper bag and stored other necessities – a change of clothes for me and him, book, and blankets – in another carryon.
7. Arrive at the airport on the later side. I know this goes against common sense, but hear me out. If I was flying with another adult, I would have loved to chase Wyatt through the airport while the other person sat with the stroller and luggage. But when flying alone, I cannot let Wyatt run through the airport. He won’t walk holding my hand and he certainly won’t stay in a little corner and play there if I happen to find an empty spot. In my perfect world, I’d get through security, make a pit-stop in the bathroom for a quick diaper change, and arrive at the gate when the plane was boarding. I had about 25 minutes to spare last time, and 20 of those minutes were not fun!
8. Ask for help. I’ve lucked out the few other times I flew alone -- someone always offered to collapse or open Wyatt’s stroller for me. This time, no one did and I could not keep my son next to me and fold the stroller at the same time. I asked one of the people boarding at the same time for help, and he happily obliged. The worst someone can say is “no”.
Does anyone have any other tips? I also prefer early flights. Not because I think he’ll sleep, more so I don’t dread the trip all day long. It’s like ripping off a bandaid – I just like getting it over with!
This week has been pretty crummy. Wyatt got sick and it forced me to postpone our flight for a few days. We’re still in NJ through the weekend, which would be awesome if I wasn’t supposed to be throwing my sister-in-law-to-be’s bridal shower in SC on Saturday.
My son has been needing my attention around the clock which means work has taken a back seat. This cost me to lose a pretty lucrative freelancing gig. It made me really angry at first, but I guess I can’t blame the company. Now I know why it’s so much harder for women to get ahead in the workforce.
When it rains, it pours. At least the weather matches my mood.
Some other personal stuff has been going on, too, and I’ve basically turned into a toddler. I’m overtired, a huge grump, and acting like everything is such a big deal.
But it’s really not. It was a (slow, rainy) run yesterday that gave me a dose of perspective and brought me back down to Earth. I’m so, so lucky that I have a little guy with a croupy cough keeping me up at night. I’m a mom! Me. I am so thankful for this sick little boy. And he’s really all that matters.
Wyatt loves the “baa baas”. He’s going to be bummed when they won’t fit in his suitcase.
Mother’s Day is something I don’t take lightly. It’s a big deal. I’m excited because being stuck in NJ means I’ll get to celebrate with my moms and some other women in my family. But, as always, I’ll be saying a prayer for all the women who long to be moms and for everyone who has lost their moms. I can’t imagine how hard this day is for you all.
Happy mother’s day to all the special mamas in my life, especially my mom and all of my mommy friends -- both in real life and online -- I seriously don’t know what I’d do without you guys!
I hope you all get the pampering and appreciation you deserve this Mother’s Day!