If you follow my shopDisney blog, then you know that in October 2014 my husband and I welcomed our son, Walter Dean Wiseman (Walt for short). Unlike what most people think, we did not start out trying to give our son a Disney related name. What started as a joke quickly grew into a name that our family begged us to use, and so on October 2, 2014, we finally introduced our Walt to them, and everyone was thrilled.
Even before Walt was born, we had an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World and a 4-night Disney Cruise scheduled for March 2015. We did consider rescheduling and even canceling the trip but knew that we would lose a rebooking credit for the cruise and could use a vacation. Brandon and I also had observed many families taking their smaller babies to the parks and knew that, while much different than going as a couple, we could still enjoy ourselves, and Walt, at five months, could enjoy the sounds and colors as well.
Our little family packed our bags (yikes), and headed off on what was to be a memorable vacation. We learned a ton and changed our minds about some pre-conceived ways to tour, but overall we had fun. I wanted to share a little bit about our trip with you in hopes that it will help at least one reader tour the parks with an infant. I have split this into three separate blogs each covering some different aspects of the trip, and we will begin with packing, traveling, and staying at a hotel with a baby.
Where to start! You need so many items each day for a baby, and there is no way you can bring that much luggage on vacation with you. For those who do not know, infants go through about two outfits a day, but knowing ahead of time that we would be gone for almost ten days, there was no way I could bring 20 outfits! The weather was supposed to be warm (it ended up being chilly the three days we were in the parks), so my idea was to put Walt into a shirt and pants outfit at the beginning of the day, and then bring a romper to the parks to change into if needed. This way, I would have a smaller outfit to bring with me into the parks as a backup. I also planned on doing laundry at least twice during the trip, once before our cruise and then again after, so I would be able to reuse outfits and cut down on the number of items to bring.
- If you have the chance to shop while you are on vacation, take the opportunity to pack a little lighter than you normally would. We knew ahead of time that our first stop would be to a local store in Orlando to purchase some items: formula, swim diapers, wipes, and diapers (I ended up packing them because I had space, but wasn’t going to originally). This allowed me to not worry about a big container of formula getting spilled or wipes leaking. Just grab everything once there.
Flying with Baby:
I can openly admit that I was terrified of flying with Walt because of the possibility of him screaming the entire 2 hour flight and annoying other passengers. After talking to some other moms and reading lots online, I came to the same thought: there is nothing that you can do about how your child will react to flying. I made sure I had a bottle ready during take off and landing, but Walt was amazing and slept the entire flight! During the short time he was awake, he was happy and playing. This, I am sure, will not be the case every flight, but this time we got lucky. I can only tell you that if you are flying with an infant, know that you have as much right to travel as anyone and other parents should understand an upset child.
What we did not expect during our trip to Disney was that our son was developing a double ear infection (more on this in a later blog), and his early symptoms were projectile vomiting and diarrhea. Walt threw up twice before we left the house (this did not set off any alarms at this point because he had done this before) and once at the airport, which got all over his outfit as well as my jacket and shirt. Before our flight ever left Indiana, we had gone through our spare outfit and all but one diaper. Another vomiting episode quickly became my primary concern, and I wondered what would happen if I had to deal with that while flying? Luckily we didn’t have to, but we were concerned that Walt wasn’t feeling well on his way to Walt Disney World.
- If possible, pack two extra outfits for flying because you never know what will happen
- Have some of your child’s favorite toys readily available to play with during the flight
- Purchase a carseat travel bag for your child’s seat. There is no charge for it to be checked, and you can pack some additional baby items into it and have some items fly free! We packed diapers, blankets, and some of Walt’s clothing, and it eliminated the need for a carry-on.
I wasn’t worried about this part of our stay at all because Walt had developed a good sleeping schedule at home and doesn’t cry too much at night. I do want to mention that we originally had asked for a Pack ‘n’ Play crib to be put into our room, but then then changed our minds. At the time of our trip Walt only liked to sleep in his Rock ‘n’ Play (a smaller bassinet-like bed), so we disassembled it, and into the car seat bag it went! While I don’t plan on taking that bed on vacation all the time, it was something that made our vacation much easier and was a little piece of home. I had attempted to get him used to another bed prior to vacation, but he wasn’t ready for it, and I just stressed -out myself, and him, trying to force it.
Brandon and I usually stay at our family’s condo while on a Disney vacation, but this trip we decided to stay on property to make traveling to parks a little easier. We wanted to stay somewhere close to the Magic Kingdom Park, but didn’t want to spend lots at a Monorail resort. We ended up booking Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, which is usually a little cheaper, and it was a perfect choice! You have the bus service to all of the areas on property, and the Magic Kingdom is just a quick boat ride. Also, the resort is compact enough that getting to the food court and lobby isn’t a hike.
- If you are using bottles, make sure to bring a small container of dish soap so that you can wash out your bottles in the room. We brought three bottles (and all the required pieces), and I always had one or two being washed. Originally I wanted to bring more, but knew washing was an option and could cut down on items I packed.
- One additional item we brought with us was a sterilizer bag for bottles, pacifiers, and small teething toys. If you are familiar with baby items then this might be something you own. It is a plastic bag to which you add some water and baby items and microwave. It steams the items and makes sure they really are really clean! I only used it once during the trip, but I felt better because I knew that the pacifier that Walt dropped on the ground and bottles that had been touched by our germy hands were really getting clean. I used the microwave in the food court and no one paid any attention.
- I have always used tap water to make Walt’s bottle and continued to do that on this vacation. He didn’t mind the change in water in Florida at all, and it did not upset his stomach (in my blog about our cruise, I’ll touch on how that changed quickly). This was a blessing because most of the resort rooms do not have a microwave, so warming a bottle in the middle of the night could have been a challenge if we had to use bottled water!
We did not have a perfect stay. I admit, there were times that Walt cried more in the middle of the night, and a few times when our room didn’t get cleaned because we were having nap time and needed privacy. However, it was enjoyable, and not having to worry about a car seat on the buses or cleaning our room was such a welcomed change. My advice is not to be overly worried about your first hotel stay. If those around you are upset with the noise, hopefully they will contact the front desk instead of voicing that concern to you. Make sure you bring all of your child’s favorite items, and try not to change sleeping routines too much. Enjoy the stay and your vacation because that is what you are supposed to be doing!
I will focus on touring the parks in my next blog, so stay tuned for that! Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in the comments or on Twitter! I would love to answer any questions you might have, but please know that I am by no means an expert at this parenting thing!
(All photographs are from the authors personal collection.)
Alyssa Wiseman (also known as ajwiseman09 in the box), her husband Brandon, and newborn son, Walt, reside in central Indiana (too far from Disney). Alyssa and Brandon enjoy traveling to Disney several times a year to see what is new and enjoy classic Disney. While traveling, and at home, Alyssa is frequently shopping for Disney products and making a list of items to buy while in the parks. Please follow Alyssa on twitter @ajwiseman09.