Let’s face it, there are a million reasons why having a baby makes it hard to travel. I mean, (1.) They have too much stuff! or (2.) You used all of your annual leave the first few weeks after the baby was born, or (3.) What if he cries on the plane? And then there’s that whole argument that he isn’t going to remember the trip. There are so many excuses that you can make to just stay home. But if we had, we wouldn’t have gotten to go to Disney World and see this smile! (Which was literally everytime I sang, “M-I-C… K-E-Y… M-O-U-S-E” – you’re welcome for getting that stuck in your head!)
So yea. We made our minds up long before we were even expecting that having a baby wasn’t going to change our lifestyle. We love to travel and our kids are just going to have to get used to being taken along. Of course, where we travel might change for a little while (kid-friendly locations), but we have absolutely no intentions of staying home.
Fortunately, we were blessed with a happy little guy who lets us cart him anywhere without too much fuss! Since we didn’t have too much annual leave left, we used our 3-day weekend over Veteran’s Day to go on our 1st trip just the 3 of us!
We flew out late on Friday night (our awesome sleeper went right to sleep on the plane at bedtime) and we arrived at our hotel in Orlando just before Midnight. Unfortunately our hotel gave away the pack and play that we were promised (not a Disney hotel), so my husband went on a Wal-Mart run at 1am to buy one. During this time, our little man was a good sport and snoozed in a Boppy on the floor (I know, I know sleeping in a Boppy is scandalous. But we were desperate and he was completely supervised the whole time!) . It was a late night for all of us, but we managed about 6 solid hours of sleep before it was time to get up and head to Magic Kingdom!
We spent the whole day just at Magic Kingdom. Before we left, I researched all of the Disney parks and determined that Magic Kingdom has the most activities for a small child. And since we were only spending one day at Disney before moving on to visit friends, that’s where we decided to go (Someday I’ll make it to Islands of Adventure…. but I digress).
We used our 3 Disney Fast Passes to ride (1.) Dumbo (Mommy’s choice), (2.) It’s a Small World, and (3.) to meet Mickey Mouse (Jackson tried to eat Mickey’s nose!). We also got to ride Prince Charming’s Carousel and to meet Princess Belle (yea, that picture is awkward….!). The only ride that we wanted to do and didn’t get to was the Mad Hatter’s Teacups. The line for the Teacups was never that long (Max 40 min wait on a Saturday of a Holiday weekend), we just didn’t make it to that one (see Fast Pass Tips below).
In addition to the rides, we ate some awesome food (seriously, Disney’s food is better and less expensive than most theme parks!) and took a bunch of photos around the park using the Photo Pass. Jackson was amazing and took a nap while we ate a delicious lunch at Pinocchio’s Village Haus. Most of the infant-friendly rides are in Fantasyland and this restaurant is nearby (outside Small World) which is handy. It serves Italian choices like flatbreads, chicken parmesan, and a delicious side salad. When Jackson decided he was ready to take his second nap, we strolled through the park and enjoyed a Dole Pineapple Whip Float from Aloha Isle in Adventureland. Yummy!
After wandering around and shopping for souvenirs, we finally decided to eat dinner at Pecos Bill’s Tall Take Inn before leaving the park at about 7pm. Jackson’s bedtime is 8pm and he was so wore out, he passed out immediately in the car while we drove about 2 hours to meet friends who live nearby. All in all, we had a great day. While Jackson won’t remember the trip, we have a bunch of cute pictures to show him how much fun we all had together. And Brian and I will always remember some of the moments, which is really what traveling is all about.
Things we Learned while visiting Disney with an Infant (Tips so you Don’t Make our Same Mistakes!):
1.) USE FAST PASSES WISELY – You get 3 Fast Passes before you go. You can go on the App up to 30 days in advance of your trip (60 if staying at a Disney Resort) and make reservations for your must-see attractions. We highly recommend using them. It cuts your wait time by a lot! On the day of, once you have used your 3 Fast Passes, you can log into the App and get 1 Fast Pass at a time. Therefore, if you book your 1st 3 for as early in the day as possible, you can keep getting Fast Passes during the day.
2.) DON’T WORRY ABOUT FEEDING YOUR BABY – They let you take a cooler! We used an insulated tote bag that we filled with ice from our hotel. The ice melted slowly during the day but the water stayed really cold and so we didn’t have to worry about the breast milk or formula going bad. The tote bag is a bit big, but we shoved it in the basket underneath our stroller and didn’t worry about it. If you breast feed, you can easily find a bench to sit on.
3.) TAKE YOUR OWN STROLLER – The Disney stroller parking works great! We took our own stroller since we knew he would nap in it (and honestly the rentals just look uncomfortable). Just parked it outside each ride and we didn’t have any issues at all. We even left the diaper bag on it with no issues. We kept our few valuables in a small bag that my husband wore on his back.
4.) THEY HAVE A BABY CARE STATION – Disney has a Baby Care station near the entrance. We actually never had to set foot in there, but if we had forgotten something then it’s nice to know that this place exists!
5.) PHOTO PASS – Disney sells a Photo Pass for $200. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it was worth it for us because we didn’t take too many pictures (well honestly most didn’t turn out that great because Mommy is not photogenic and babies don’t always look at the camera). But just know if you decide to buy this pass, you can ask for “Magic Pictures” and they will add images to the photos. I wish we had known this before we went, we didn’t get any Magic Pictures!
6.) PARKING AT DISNEY – OMG. The parking lot at Disney is Crazy!!! Our hotel was only about 15 minutes away from the park. It took us 2 hours to get from our hotel and inside the gates at Disney. Parking takes a long time as you have to pay for parking, then wait in line for a space, then ride a tram, then go through security, then decide if you are going to Ferry or take the Monorail, and then you get to the gate. (I know that was a lot, but you see my point???). I recommend either (a) getting to the park really early (Main Street opens 1 hour before the park does), or (b) staying at a Disney hotel and riding the Monorail. We have sworn to never stay off-site again.
So that’s it! We had the best day showing Disney World to our little man. If you’re hesitant at all, just go for it! Even though some things may not go as planned, the memories are worth the hassle. <3