Guys, I'm so excited that my pal Cynthia from HappyGoStuckey.com is guest posting the next two days. I've heard so many times from friends about waiting to take their kids to Disney until they are "older", so to allay all your fears, I've enlisted this mom of 2 to share some insight & ways to make the trips easier. Be sure to check out her blog (hello - amazing words & recipes!) & help me welcome her to my little piece of the internet!
I am so happy to be here with you at TheHomemadeFig. Amanda is a dear friend of mine and we share a love of many things, but Disney is high up on the list! I have two children, ages 7 and 4, and despite growing up in Florida, my real love of Disney World came once the littles came along.
We first took our daughter when she was two years old and I will never forget the sound of her tiny voice shouting from Daddy's shoulders when she first caught a glimpse of Cinderella's Castle. To this day, she still loves to look at the photo book we made from the trip. We have been able to visit the world a few more times since she was two, and I can honestly say that each trip is different and special. I do believe there is a magical Disney age, and it is whenever you choose to take them. It just gets better every time.
I will admit that taking little ones to Disney World can be slightly more challenging than taking older children, but with a little planning and proper expectations, it can be the backdrop for wonderful family memories. My goal in this post is to share a few things I have learned about the process before (the planning stage), and during the actual trip. Today, let's focus on the before.
I am the crazy person who "may" very well enjoy the planning stage of a Disney trip as much as, if not a little more than even the actual trip itself. I like to plan every little detail and then once we arrive, RELAX and just enjoy the work that's already done. I believe that Walt Disney World is one of those rare vacations where mom can truly relax as well. (Well, relax in a ride-the-carousel and eat Dole Whip and meet Disney Princesses kind of way). But it can take planning.
Where to Stay.
My very first choice of an on-property Disney Resort would be the Port Orleans Riverside or Port Orleans French Quarter Resorts.
The gorgeous grounds make a complete retreat from the parks. The boat to Disney Springs (Wolfgang Puck Express is our favorite, and it's considered a quick service!) is a special not so hidden gem. This resort's beauty requires at least a half day free from the parks to explore, maybe on your arrival day?
Riverside and French Quarter are about the only sister resorts where you can pool hop at, which is great because both main resort pools are different and themed well. French Quarter is a smaller resort but Riverside is more of a Deep-South feel. They are both fantastic!
I mean, just look at this place!
But before you can settle in to your resort you have to settle the packing task.
What to Pack.
Here are the nine things I would never drive through those happy gates without.
1) Pop Up Laundry Hamper. Even with a few people in one hotel room you can all really accumulate the laundry piles, and this helps keep it contained and helped our kids help us keep things tidy. I slip this in my suitcase, and then at trip's end - toss it in the back of the car. Also makes next day laundry not such a task of finding everyone's dirties!
2) Rain Gear. If you happen to travel during hurricane season or there is rain forecasted on your park days, I would suggest lightweight rain jackets that breathe for everyone in your party. We've only needed these once, but we needed them every.single.day. And in the Florida heat, be advised a windbreaker is NOT the same as a breathable rain jacket. Ask me how I know. HA! ALSO - The cheap plastic rain ponchos from the dollar store are amazing as well. Great for quick storms or Splash Mountain! Finally, consider a stroller cover if you are taking a stroller. Really, game changer if it's going to be a rainy trip! We have rented a double stroller from KingdomStrollers.com and they actually include a free rain cover if you ask. It saved our trip one September.
3) Small Absorbent Washcloth. Tuck this in your park bag from drying off ride seats, wiping sweat, etc.
4) Ziplock Bags in Quart, Snack, & Gallon Size. SImple, but necessary. We always travel with a handful of each size. They hold snacks, wet swimsuits, spare change of clothes for a child, our phones if we go on a water ride, and the remaining 3/4 of that Mickey Rice Krispie treat that someone couldn't finish.
5) Aquaphor. It's a great lip balm and soothing for blisters and skin irritations.
6) Clickable Sharpie Markers. These larger pends are easy for characters to use and easy to have ready when you're standing in line.
7) Travel Baby Wipes. Even if your kids are bigger - these are a must-have. Oh, the opportunities for sticky child (and adult) faces at Disney.
8) Great Kids Shoes. Ok, the shoes I'm about to mention we just discovered and haven't had them for a Disney trip yet. But the Native Jeffersons for Kids (affiliate link) are SUPER rad and an ideal park shoe. I can't wait to test them out when we visit again. Cool, comfortable, and supportive - their feet will be ready to go from Rope Drop to Wishes!
9) Pennies and quarters for the penny press machines. Really, this is always the highlight for our girls and that makes it a highlight for us too. They love looking at their little penny collection between trips.
**Honorable Mention. My honorable mention would have to be a Sunscreen Stick, because it's handy and easy to get around those little noses and ears. Orlando is an entirely different kind of hot.
Next time, Loving Disney World with Little Ones, Part 2. We're talking the Top Ten Can't Miss Moments at Disney World & sharing our favorite souvenirs - see you real soon!