Just Because: Disneyworld Tips and Tricks

Tips for traveling to Walt Disney World with toddlers

Secret confession time. Or, maybe, not so secret?

I’m a Disney Fanatic. Big time. Huge. When we lived in So Cal, I had season passes and went to Disneyland a few times a month. I was counting down the days until I could take my oldest to Disney World. I read tons of Disney World blogs (yes, they exist!) and I’m even a moderator of a Disney group on Facebook. I could talk about Disney and Disney World for hours. It is to the point that friends and family come to me for planning advice when they decide to take a trip, and I could probably easily get a second job as a Disney Travel Agent.

Since I’m so Disney Obsessed, and I’m currently on countdown for this year’s trip, I thought I’d consolidate some of my longer emails and FB posts for friends into a series on the blog. Obviously this is off topic for beauty, but since it is my blog… yeah, I’m going to do it anyways! These posts will likely be just on weekends, once a week or every few weeks.

Today I’ll address a few general questions that I hear a lot from friends and family.

“Does everyone need to take their kids to Disney?”

No. Absolutely not. Disney isn’t for everyone, and you do not need to feel like this is one of those things that every family must experience.

We love it, but we love watching Disney movies and shows, we listen to Disney songs in the car (my 2 year old loves to sing along) and dance to the songs in our play room. We put up with the crowds in the parks to ride “It’s a Small World” and meet the princesses, which my girls also love.

But if your kids don’t know the shows, don’t like crowds at all… this might not be a good family vacation for you. For my family, we just know that this is a trip that is “easy” for us. I do some preplanning, lots of annoying travel details (such as fetching our bags from luggage claim) are taken care of by Disney, and we know the kids will have a great time.

A few days ago in our Disney Facebook group, someone mentioned that she has taken her school age daughters on a lot of trips to visit parts of the world, but she didn’t think a full trip to Florida for the parks there was a good option for her family. But, she did think that one of her daughters would enjoy the experience. I recommended looking into one of the other parks. Disney has parks all over the world, including Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Shanghai Disney, Disneyland Tokyo, Hong Kong Disneyland. A day at one of these other parks during one of their globetrotting family vacations is going to work best for their family.

“But Disney is sooooo expensive!”

It can be. But, it can also be not so expensive, it all depends on how you’re going to do it. Travel during the peak season, stay at an expensive monorail resort such as the Grand Floridian, and add on a bunch of extras…. you’ll have a big bill. There are a lot of ways to bring that bill waaaay down, and that doesn’t even include staying off site. I’ll dedicate a post to this soon, but there are a lot of ways to do Disney for less.

“But I want them to remember going, we say no Disney before X age…”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember absolutely everything about every trip I have ever taken, even those I took in adulthood. But I do still have plenty of memories of trips from my early childhood. And really, the trip isn’t just for your kids.

We started taking our oldest to WDW at age 2, she’s now 6. She looks at pictures of her first visits and tells stories from them. We took her younger sister last year at 15 months, and we were convinced it was going to be a bad idea. Instead, she was a joy! Just watching her face light up when she was meeting characters made the entire trip worth it to me. She won’t remember it obviously at that age, but her parents and her sister definitely will remember! You can tell which side of this argument I come down on. You’ll remember it, they’ll enjoy it….

“I want to take my 2 week old to Disney!”

I’m not a blogger only. I’m a Pediatric Intensivist. And the idea of exposing an unvaccinated baby to everything at Disney gives me the heebie jeebies. Truly. If you want to take your child to Disney prior to about 1 year of age, I strongly recommend talking to your pediatrician about it. Especially after the measles outbreak that happened a few years ago at Disneyland, there are some steps you can take to protect your kiddos (MMR can be given in the 6-12 month window, but it won’t count later for school, you’ll need to repeat it. But it can still protect them if given early.) We took a year off from visiting DisneyWorld and Disneyland (which is a few miles from Nana’s house) until daughter #2 was over 1 year of age.

As always, when you travel with young kids I recommend being aware of the nearest medical centers for children, just in case! This is extra true when you’re with a very small infant. For Disneyland, I recommend CHOC, which is where I trained for general pediatrics residency and pediatric critical care fellowship. For Disneyworld, I know a lot of people who have worked or now work at Arnold Palmer and that’s a great center.

I’ll be writing more Disney posts soon! I’m planning to cover how we do Disney with young kids, what we wear/bring to the parks, planning the trip and how that’s done, and making the trip more budget friendly. Let me know if you want other topics covered!

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