A few weeks ago, I was invited to go on the ultimate mommy and me trip to Disney World with some friends and their kids. Since I haven’t been to the parks in over 15 years, I asked the advice of friends on social media to decide whether or not it was practical for me to take Landon to Disney by myself at 6 months pregnant. Everyone who replied seemed confident that we should go, and enjoy our time together. So, I loaded up the car and we were off for the 3.5 hour ride to Orlando!
Having just returned from our trip, I think all my friends definitely mislead me. Maybe going to Disney with toddlers is a lot like giving birth, after a while you forget how long and hard it was, and only remember the beautiful outcome. Let me just say, going to Disney with a toddler, and without help, is a TON of work. Going to Disney with a toddler, and without help, and 6 months pregnant, during spring break, in 85 degree weather is not a good idea.
Sure, we have beautiful memories to look back on, and I am glad I went. I am thankful for the friends who invited me on the trip and for my husband who was totally supportive of us going. However, I certainly would not consider Disney to be MY happiest place on earth. I’ll start with the obvious reasons, there is a lot of walking. I mean a lot of walking. The first day we went to Hollywood Studios and were there for about 4 hours, the next day we went to the Magic Kingdom and were there for 7 plus hours. I was surprised to find for parks in Florida, where it is sunny most of the time, there are very little shaded areas. Again, there is a lot of walking and a lot of walking in the bright sun and heat.
If you are with a toddler, you should probably bring a stroller. My son never uses a stroller at home, but we brought one for the parks so I would not have to carry him when he tired, and so he could take his afternoon nap. But be aware that you will need to fold and lift your stroller often. A stroller is both a help and a pain. I also purchased a clip-on stroller fan, which was great for keeping Landon cool during his nap, and I turned it around a few times to cool me down as well!
If you are with a toddler, be mindful that they may not like the crowds, rides or characters. Some kids do and some kids don’t, and you won’t know until you get there. Landon was half and half, he did not want to go on the rides, but after each ride ended, he said he had fun. The problem was waiting in long lines in the heat with a toddler who was pretty sure the long line was not worth the wait. I found myself having to carry him while we waited in line. Also, many of the rides designed for toddlers are in the dark, which your little one may find scary.
Plan on bringing healthy snacks. I hope to never eat another fried chicken nugget in my life! I have heard great things about the sit down restaurants at various parks, but we did not plan this trips months in advance and thus did not get reservations to any of them. Plus, our time was limited and we didn’t want to spend too much time inside at a restaurant. So, we were left with the quick service food options, which reminded me of low-quality fast food restaurants. I work hard to make sure Landon eats balanced meals, and I know I need to eat plenty of nutrients for baby #2, and all of that was lost while at Disney. To be fair, there was a salad offered on every quick service menu, but something about ordering a salad from a hot cafeteria style restaurant makes me want to gag. So, we ate chicken nuggets and fries every day, lunch and dinner. Also, if you are with a toddler, you will likely find yourself resorting to bribes and negotiations involving sweet treats. I know each of the moms I was with, including myself, used ice cream, juice and candy to get our toddlers to comply with whatever we needed them to do.
If you are going to Disney with a toddler, be prepared for some tantrums and whining. Walking around the park, I saw tons of meltdowns all around me, including a few from my little guy. This is to be expected, there is a lot of stimulation, you will probably be off your routine and nap/sleep schedules, and the heat will definitely get to your little ones. If you go in expecting meltdowns, you will probably handle them better. I know I did.
Lastly, if you are going to Disney when pregnant, remember your immune system is weaker during pregnancy. I was constantly wiping down my hands and Landon’s hands with anti-bacterial wipes, washing our hands, etc. and I still ended up with bronchitis when we returned.
2 Recommendations for Magic Kingdom: (1) Walt Disney Railroad, a steam train that does a full circle tour of the park. Every toddler loves trains, the lines are short, the ride is shaded and there is a great cool breeze. We stayed on the train for as long as we could! (2) The shaded tent next to Pete’s Silly Side Show is the perfect place for your little ones to nap. Once they doze off in their stroller, head to the tent which is completely shaded and has overhead fans. There is plenty of comfortable seating for you to put your feet up and cool off while your little ones sleep. It is also a great place to nurse if you are going with a baby and they have areas to charge your mobile devices.
I skipped out on Day 3 of our adventure to Animal Kingdom and headed home. As I said before, I am glad we went, but the trip was really taxing on my body. I consider myself to be in good shape and good health, but I returned exhausted and sick, leaving me yearning for a spring break of my own. Should you go to Disney with your kids? Of course, but know you are in for some serious work!
Some of our happier moments from the trip, which I will remember always!