Monday, July 30, 2012

5 Tips for Touring the Parks Successfully with an Infant

Many families find themselves in the position of bringing an infant to Walt Disney World; however, not all enjoy the experience.  Why do some families have more fun?  Preparation is the answer.  I have had the distinct pleasure of touring Walt Disney World with my youngest son when he was 5 months old, and then again when he was 7 months old.  Learning from my failures and my triumphs, I give you 5 tips for touring the parks successfully with an infant.


1.     Ditch the diaper bag:  That’s right – ditch the diaper bag!  I can hear moms everywhere screaming, “Are you crazy?!”  No, I promise I do not need my head examined.  Just as travelers over-pack, parents seem to carry everything but the kitchen sink in a diaper bag.  I promise – you will not need half a pack of diapers for a morning in the parks.  In addition, do you really want to leave a diaper bag in the stroller, away from where it is truly needed, for people to pilfer and squirrels to pillage?  You will be able to carry everything you need (with room to spare) in your park bag (I prefer the sling/cross-body style).  How?  Only carry the average number of diapers you will need for the amount of time you will spend in the parks – you can always restock when you come back to the resort for a break.  Pack only one bottle with Drop-In liners (see tip #2), single-serving packets of powdered formula in a Ziploc bag with extra nipples, a bottle of water, wipes in a soft container, one change of clothes in a Ziploc bag, and any other necessary items.  You will have everything you need when you need it (no trips back to the stroller), and there will be less to lug onto Disney transportation.

2.     Try Playtex Drop-Ins:  For various reasons, some moms are unable to breast feed, and must rely on formula.  If you fall into this category, try Playtex Drop-Ins when you travel.  You will only need to carry one bottle, and will save LOTS of time cleaning bottles.  Just use a new Drop-In liner for each use, and carry extra bottle nipples (they can stack to save space).  Drop-Ins also come in handy should you not wish to spend extra money on single-serving packets of infant formula.  Just prefill Drop-In liners, roll them up (from the bottom to the top), and place in a Ziploc bag.  Voila!  Seriously, this will save much needed time and energy. 

Mesh Baby Bjorn

3.     Invest in a Baby Bjorn:  Investing in a Baby Bjorn is probably my favorite tip.  It made traveling with an infant so much more convenient.  There are many areas in Walt Disney World where strollers are not allowed.  You will need to park your stroller, and if the stroller is parked, how is this little one getting around?  You guessed it – you are carrying the little one!  The Baby Bjorn is small and lightweight which allows you to simply hang it on the stroller until needed.  Then, just slip on the Baby Bjorn, put the baby inside as directed, and you are ready.  You will save your arms, free up your hands, and keep the infant steady while getting on and off rides.  This also holds true on the buses (which is very important if you end up having to stand).  I know the original Baby Bjorn may be a bit too warm for Florida travel, but there is a mesh version that really breathes and will not overheat your little one.  Try it, and enjoy the freedom!

4.     Bring a sleek stroller:  You are definitely going to need a stroller to navigate the parks, but a sleek stroller will make it so much more enjoyable.  Most parents think they need the deluxe (interpret as large) stroller to give the most comfort to the infant and convenience to the parent.  Honestly, you do not want a large stroller in Walt Disney World.  Sure, you will be able to store tons of stuff; however, when you need to fold-up that stroller to get on a Disney bus, you are going to have a huge problem.  Not only will you need to hold your infant and steady your stroller, you will also need to do something with all the stuff that will not fold-up into the stroller.  You will not need to store all that “stuff” if you “ditch the diaper bag” and use package delivery for your packages (if staying at a Walt Disney World Resort).  Depending upon the age/abilities of your infant, you will only need a sturdy umbrella stroller (not the cheap version) or a sleek stroller that can accommodate a car seat if necessary.  Less is more!



5.     Visit Baby Care Centers:  The Baby Care Centers in the parks are fabulous!  If you need to change a diaper, need to nurse, or just need a break, you need to visit a Baby Care Center.  The Baby Care Centers at Epcot and Animal Kingdom are the largest and most comfortable.  A Walt Disney World Baby Care Center is an air-conditioned haven just waiting for weary travelers!  Seriously, there are private nursing areas, extremely clean diaper changing stations, a television, toys, seating area, sink/microwave area, highchairs and some select items for purchase (at a premium).  Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the “aaaahhhh” moment. 

This is certainly not an all-inclusive list, and only scratches the surface.  What are some of your favorite tips for touring the parks with an infant?  I would love to hear!

 Jenell

1 comment:

  1. Hey J!

    I totally agree with ALL of these tips! I used the individual formula packets as they were already pre-done. Although I did fill up a couple baggies with pre-measured formula when I realized right before leaving that I was just shy of enough formula.

    I would suggest the Jeep 'Umbrella' Stroller. It was big enough to hold my 6 year old and my 1 year old when they both got tired, but wasnt so big that it was a pain to deal with on the bus. Folded up nice and small and had a good compartment underneath when needed. It also has cup holders up top.

    The only other tip I would give you is if you have a 1 year old or so (Jack was just 1 last time we went) and we ditched the diaper bag and had a book bag with all the necessities but we also purchased a cheap insulated lunchbox. it was easy to fold up and we put cold water in there as well as some snacks for those moments where we were in line and needed a little treat to entertain or hold him over. It was so nice to have it while waiting for Child Swap and he would get cranky. It was small enough that when we folded up the stroller, it stayed in place without needing to carry it.

    --T

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