Traveling with little ones…

All of us dressed up as pirates for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - 2011

Today we have a special treat!  My friend Jessica S. (who loves Disney World as much as I do) has shared some of her tips on traveling with little ones:

We are the proud parents of four, yes four, little ladies. Our girls are ages 7, 6, 5 and 1 ½ so any vacation we take must be kid friendly and a Disney vacation is just that! We have learned a few tricks over the years that help make things a little bit easier though!

1. If you are flying, have each child bring their own backpack. Each of our girls brings a backpack with a change of clothes, their blanket and a favorite stuffed animal (you never know who might get upset or scared on the plane and want their security item with them!). I also make sure to pack them each some snacks in their bag, things like lollipops, fruit snacks, and gum for takeoff and landing as well as crackers, pretzels, etc. We also pack any schoolwork in their backpacks and we work on that during the flight. That way, they can get it done early in the vacation and not have to worry about it again!

2. We decided that we would always stay on Disney property, this way we don’t have to worry about transporting and installing car seats on the plane or rental car. The Disney transportation is super easy to use and so convenient! The only thing I would suggest is to make sure you leave yourself enough time to get to your destination – sometimes using the busses can take up to an hour or so to get from place to place.

3. The unit we stay in has a kitchen so we use a grocery delivery service to order groceries before our vacation and they are delivered to our resort the day we check in! We have always used the Disney Dining Plan but it is so nice to have some food back at our room for those mornings when we don’t have a breakfast reservation and can take some time to have a relaxing meal at “home”. We also make sure to buy some kid snacks and bottles of water to take to the parks with us. I always take a cooler of water bottles (that way you don’t waste your snack credits on water and can get something yummy like popcorn, a Mickey ice cream bar or a famous Dole Whip!) and snacks for the kids like goldfish, grapes, pretzels, etc.

4. Bring or rent a stroller! Even if you think your little one won’t need it, you would be surprised how tired they will be! The Disney strollers are awesome! They are lightweight and easy to push. I highly recommend them! You can rent a stroller for the entire length of your stay and pay for it all at once. Then you just keep your receipt and show it to the cast member at the stroller rental place at whatever park you are going to and they stamp you for that day; easy and convenient. The only thing I would say about the Disney strollers is that there is not much storage so if you bring bags with you, you may want to bring a backpack or bring your own stroller that has more storage underneath.

5. I learned after our first trip to Disney to let the kids set the pace. If they are tired and need a rest, take a rest! You can find areas in each of the parks to just let the kids play for a while or you could head back to your resort and take advantage of the pool! I learned that if you push your kids to do everything you want them to do; no one is going to have a very fun vacation.

6. Let each child pick out a few things that they want to do/see/ride. Each of our girls has a few specific things that they like to do each year and so we always make sure that they get to do them, even if no one else wants to! Everyone takes turns and eventually, everyone is happy!

7. Before you leave your house, know and understand that you and your children will be exhausted from this trip! Disney is super fun but it is also super exhausting – so take naps, go to be dearly one night and sleep in a day or two – or just know that when you go home you may need a day or two to recuperate before entering back in to reality (I refer to this as my Disney detox period!)

8. Most importantly, remember to relax and have fun with your kids! It can be as magical for you as it is for them if you enjoy it and watch the magic and wonder in their eyes!

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A little bit about me…my name is Jessica S., and I am a 30-something 🙂:) wife to an amazing man and mother of 4 beautiful little ladies. We live in a small town in Pennsylvania and we love it here. Before we had our girls, I was an elementary school teacher for 7 years and loved my job. But now, I am extremely lucky to be able to stay home with my girlies, and for that I am very thankful. They have made our lives much more fun (and busier!) than we ever imagined – but it is exactly what we want!  I took my first trip to Disney World when I was 9 years old but it wasn’t until I went with my husband and girls that I became hooked! Now, we all look forward to our Disney vacation each year!  You can read more about me at my blog A Real Perspective.

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