The following blog is strictly based on my opinion, what has worked best for me and my family and suggests no judgement to anyone that does anything differently.
The first time we took my son to Disney, he was 5 months old. It was during Food and Wine and obviously a trip more for mommy and daddy than for him. The second time was last week for his 1st birthday. Although he won’t remember it, it was for all of us. Some may not agree with taking a child to Disney that young. That’s ok. You gotta do what’s best for you and your family. I don’t and won’t regret it and am so happy to have the memories and pictures from these trips!
Here are a few tips that worked for me:
Plan out what you can control
Are you taking a stroller and car seat? If flying, will you be checking them at the ticket counter or gate?
We checked luggage at the ticket counter (which prior to being parents we avoided doing but the less you have to carry on the better). We took a stroller and car seat both times and gate checked them. This way it made navigating the airport a lot easier. We also had bags which we got from Babies ‘R Us to cover each…prevents some of the bumps and bruises the equipment will take.
If flying, will you be purchasing a seat for your child and their car seat or will they be a lap infant?
Lap Infants are accepted until the age of 2 and saves you money on buying an extra seat. We went the lap infant route and also chose night flights in hopes that he would sleep during the entire flight (and he did).
On one flight, the plane wasn’t full and we were able to have him in a seat for no charge! (please note this is not the norm)
What is your child eating?
Formula, breastmilk, food…whatever it is-figure out what you’ll need, how much and when you’ll be feeding them to be prepared.
What can you buy after you land?
We traveled with bottles on both trips. When we got to Orlando, we stopped at Walgreens to get a small bottle of Dawn and a bottle cleaning brush, which we also left down there – one less thing to worry about.
We also bought diapers and swim diapers there. Of course we had a stash of diapers in our bag; but for the entire trip, it was easier to buy a pack instead of taking up room in our suitcase with diapers to cover the whole vacation.
If your child is on a strict schedule and you live by the schedule, traveling may not be best for you-especially to Disney!
My son is on a schedule, when we’re home. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t change here and there-so I’m not super strict with it.
Your child will not sleep normally when you’re away. Whether that means they’ll sleep awesome during the night, wake up more or take naps at different times of the day-it will not be a normal schedule.
If your child eats at specific times of the day-that may vary as well.
If you’re able to go with the flow when it comes to the schedule-you’ll have a much better and more relaxed time. Just enjoy it and have fun-you can go back to schedules when you get home!
Pack appropriately for the weather. Take an extra onesie, or outfit or 2. An extra set of PJs. A jacket or blanket just in case it gets cooler at night.
Don’t forget the socks (and shoes) if needed.
Prep for the Florida sun
Pack the sunblock…apply and reapply.
Make Reservations but be flexible
With how crowded the parks and hotels are now, you definitely want to make reservations for restaurants you want to visit.
Get fast passes for rides that are appropriate for your child…Small World, Winnie the Pooh, the Carousel, etc. *The People Mover is always an easy ride to walk right on and if your kid is like mine, they’ll fall asleep quick!
When I say be flexible…I mean – you’re traveling with a child-everything may not go as planned. If you’re a parent you already know this from your day to day!
If this all sounds overwhelming-you may not be ready for a trip. It sounds like a lot, but most of this is autopilot-it’s just a bigger “typical day” and in a new place. But if you are home and running errands, meeting family for dinner, visiting friends-you’re always in planning mode.
If you’re going for it-roll with the punches and have fun! My son slept awesome and had a great time on both trips. He won’t remember it but he enjoyed it, we enjoyed seeing him smile and will be sure to show him pictures!
P.S. Not just for the courtesy of others (even though its still a good reason), but for your child-use a changing pad on any changing table you use. You will be changing them on the same surface as 100’s of children in the airport, in the parks, etc. Be prepared. I wiped the surface with a disinfectant wipe before putting the pad down. I went back to the bathroom later, on my own, and saw a child being changed without a changing pad.